Friday, August 31, 2012

this needed to live.

This text is retrieved from the guts of the Web as it appears that the original post from the blog of Duchess St. Rollins just disappeared…   This is also a good reminder that ANYTHING posted on the Web starts the life of it’s own. The Web never forgets.
It’s a very well written piece but there is some colorful language that might offend more prudish readers… You have been warned.


Poor Ann Romney, she had to eat tuna fish and pasta

A letter to Ann Romney…

AUGUST 30, 2012
If I hear Ann Romney talk about how she and Mitt lived in a “basement apartment” and “ate lots of pasta and tuna” because he’s a self-made man and “nobody handed him his success,” I might fucking implode…or worse.  The thing about these people that scares the shit out of me is that they are so detached from reality they can’t even understand WHY us “common people” are annoyed.  Maybe a letter is in order.
Dear Ann Romney,
No one really gives a shit that you are rich.  No one begrudges you a good life or is insinuating that Mitt didn’t work hard to earn your money.  Granted, “working hard” may have a vastly different meaning than taking over companies, loading them with debt, gutting them and then collecting huge fees to anyone with a modicum of conscience and decency, but we’ll get into that, as well as the tax havens and loopholes he milks for every last time, some other time.
What you don’t seem to be able to get through your pretty little blond cranium is that, while you may have had to live in an apartment sans multiple Cadillacs and dancing horses in your college days, you always knew that there was a familial safety net there to catch you if you fell.  You didn’t had to live with the terrorizing realization that your lights might get turned off at any moment because you chose to buy food or medicine for your kids instead of paying your overdue utility bill.  You weren’t working two jobs while going to college, and STILL living in constant fear of eviction. You never had to apply for Food Stamps because your spouse died and then cower in embarrassment at the grocery store checkout counter, aware of the judgmental faces all around you glaring at the nice cake you put in your cart because it was the ONLY thing you could get your son for his 5th birthday.
In other words, you living like many of us live our entire lives for a couple of years isn’t reality…it’s a cute story, an anecdote to chuckle over at Thanksgiving dinner in one of your many mansions.  It’s bullshit.  You don’t know what it’s like to be a regular American any more than I know what it’s like to be a Sudanese orphan or a fucking amoeba.  I think it would make us all feel slightly better if you would just conjure up a little goddamned humility and admit that.
What is even more perplexing and infuriating is that the political party you endorse begrudges a social safety net to those not fortunate enough to be born into a supportive family.  You don’t seem to grasp the fact that a stroke of PURE LUCK afforded you a start in life that most of us can only dream about.  I’m not saying that your family didn’t have problems, as I’m sure they did, but regardless, they were able to care for you in a way that gave you huge educational and financial advantages.  And, good for you!  I’m happy for you and any other person that is raised in a stable environment.  The difference between us is that I realize that when some poor soul is born into a situation with, say, a meth-addicted mother and an absent father, it is our job as society to make sure they have at least a chance in life.
We’re not all envious, Ann.  We don’t want to take what you have or villainize you because you are able to live a luxurious lifestyle.  We just want you to show some respect and compassion for all those not as blessed as you have been and confess that you have no idea what their lives are  really like.  In short, we want you to stop being such a self-deluded, egocentric daft cunt.
Us People

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Grocery Shopping in South Florida...

Walmart Neighborhood Market (Hialeah 103rd St) : There are a lot of things that I love about shopping here. The produce prices are SUPER LOW! They give other major chains a run for their money with tomatoes being 20 cents a pound cheaper, avocados at 88 cents each instead of $1 each and so on. The biggest con with the produce is that you'll be hard pressed to find any certified organic produce (or anything organic for that matter) for the exception of some prepackaged baby greens and broccoli.
The meat is well priced and they have plenty of choice cuts. I got two T-bones for $9, a package of 3 NY Strips for $9, I haven't cooked them yet so we'll see about quality soon enough. They do have product that most places don't have because they don't have the departments like most mass grocers do. In leau of a deli department they have pre-sliced packages of deli meat similar to what you would find at the deli counter, but guess what... no taking numbers, no waiting, no debating on sliced thickness... it's all just right there. Instead of a bakery department they have prepackaged cupcakes and sliced cake in a cooler and pastries in a heated walk around with wax paper and paper bags so you can help yourself.
 They also have Coca-cola and Pepsi products in 18 can and 24 can packages at about 25% discount per can from most other grocers. Their dry good department is one to be reckoned with, with an extensive selection of baby care goods and personal care products, but lacking variety in pet food. But with the prices as low as they were I didn't mind not having a coupon for any of the brands they carried.
The Dairy selection was greatly limited as well. They have 2 brands of milk, a store brand and I think MacArthur for almost twice the price, and no organic selections. They only have one brand of Almond milk, and 2 brands of Soy milk, only one of which was fair trade and organic. There egg selection was weak too. They have cage- free/free range/grain-fed hen eggs, but no certified organic eggs to speak of.
There were other things that made the store attractive. In every department I was asked if I needed help, granted this is Hialeah so no one spoke English, but it was still nice. The produce department had misters much like the newer Winn-Dixies do, but they don't have motion sensors so keep in mind that entering the produce department that you will be misted while grabbing a head of lettuce. Next to the dairy selection they have a pastry rack filled with "day-old" baked goods at a serious discount, which is fun. There was one little detail that I adored, the cashiers wore vinyl gloves and changed them out after each transaction. I like. Very much. But the severe lack of organic product will probably keep me at bay.

Publix (Biscayne and 20th, Biscayne and 95th): What I love about Publix is their variety of organic products. It's insane! The new Publix I frequent on my way to or from work on 20th and Biscayne gives whole foods or fresh market a run for their money, with a vast selection of ready-to eat products that are healthy and cater to very specific dietary needs and a huge selection of certified organic produce at an astonishingly reasonable price. What I love about my Publix on 96th St is that they have receptacles by the front door to recycle plastic bags and Styrofoam trays.

Winn-Dixie (107th at 7th ave): The better things about Winn-Dixie is their sales on meats and their eagerness to just give things away. Their produce is much more pricey, and regular groceries are about the same price as other grocers. The benefits of their customer rewards program is pretty awesome tho. You can not only save money on groceries by being a member, but save money on gas. But that's all they really have to offer. I'm not a big fan of visiting this Winn-Dixie because I feel like I'm taking my own life in my hands, but if I can score a damn good deal, then so be it. lol.

Yellow-Green Farmer's Market (Taft, just east of 95): Love this place. Yellow-green is like the holy grail of South Florida farmer's markets in that everything I could possibly need at a grocer is available at the market sold by local entrepreneurs. When I have a late in-time at work, I'll take CJ to the market for lunch. I wish I could be a more devout Market go-er, but alas they are only open Saturday and Sunday. Lame.  There is a gentleman selling his grass fed hens eggs, chickens and beef from his local farm, and 2 or 3 stands selling produce. Now, keep in mind that I can't verify that any of the produce is organic or local grown except that one stand says "Local Produce" on it. They also didn't have any prices on their fruit, but as a whole the prices of produce where the lowest of any other grocer option, and I felt better buying produce from a neighbor then the fat-cats at Walmart.

I bought some yummy goodies too! I stopped at the french bakery for some freshly baked sliced rye bread, whole grain bread and a couple of slices of some super yummy apple pie. Then stopped by a young lady selling honey and bought some locally harvested coffee honey. The honey isn't infused with coffee but is made from the bees who pollinate the coffee bean plants. It's so much smoother, lighter and sweeter than regular wild flower honey your used to. She had other honey too like palmetto and orange blossom and had them set up in a honey bar of sorts so you can try the different flavors.

I then bought some of the BEST grade B maple syrup I have ever had in my life and maple sugar and some loose leaf tea from a gentleman next to the honey stand. I also got some raw cat's claw (shit heals EVERYTHING)  herb and Maca root powder from a super knowledgeable young herbalist. I bought some organic coffee and chai tea that is blended with a sort of mushroom that has over 100 antioxidants in it. Hey, I'm game. (and no, you don't taste the mushroom.) All and all, I LOVED IT! But if you plan on bringing the shorties, be sure to bring some Off! spray cause CJ got eaten alive by mosquitoes. I can't wait to go again!


Monday, July 9, 2012

How I shop for groceries.

I've had a few people ask me how I go about getting the savings I do, so here it is... the complete explanation. Now mind you, I am a novice at this but I usually take home a savings of between $100-$200 every two weeks when I do my shopping. No too shabby if I say so myself. Once I get my printer hooked up and I'm able to tab into the online coupon world, I'm pretty sure my savings with be through the roof! Now this will take time, but I dedicate about an hour total a week on coupon-ing and it saves me tons!

Step One: Make sure you have access to as many coupon and "weekly's" sources as possible. In Miami I will only shop at either Publix or Winn Dixie solely because I don't speak Spanish. I just like knowing what I'm I make sure I get the weekly's for both of these stores every Thursday when they are released. I also get the Sunday paper for coupons and red plum and valuepak coupon mailings. If you have a printer, there are TONS of websites where you can print out manufacturer's coupons.

Step Two: Cut them all, but know what you're willing to give up and what you're willing to splurge on. So let's say you have used Product X body wash for the past 5 years and you're running low but can't find a coupon for it. You do how ever have a coupon for Product Y body wash which also happens to be on sale.... now you should be MORE than happy to switch brands, but if it's a situation where you can't use that particular brand because of a skin condition, then skip sale is worth the drama. You can always give the coupon to another money saving Momma or swap coupons with a friend.

Step Three: Stay organized! When I started clipping coupons I kept them haphazardly in labeled envelopes and attempted to put them in chronological order. I worked, don't get me wrong, but it was far from efficient and frankly, an embarrassing mess at checkout. I keep a three-ringed binder that zips shut and has a handle. ($12-15 at most places that sell school supplies) I then have dividers that separate by type of coupon (ie: beauty, pet food, hygiene, dry foods, beverage, produce, OTC Drugs, etc...) Then in those sections I keep 2 plastic inserts, the first one holds the coupons that will expire at the end of that month, and the other holds coupons that will expire later on. Some people use the little plastic inserts that are used to hold baseball or collector cards. I can see the use in this, but yet to have come across them. Then I keep my weekly's in the front pouch for reference if I need to compare produce or meat prices.  

Step Four: Buy what you need when you need it. If I see I'm down to 10-20 diapers, I start stalking sales and the best prices I can find. I'm not one to stock up on anything unless it won't expire anytime soon, I have extra money and it's an AMAZING DEAL. The item literally has to meet all three requirements for my to back stock on it. Items like pastas, jarred or canned foods, and toiletries for the most part fit this requirement. Publix and Winn Dixie usually run BOGO (buy one get one free) sales on Pasta and Pasta sauces about every two weeks. If I had a good week at work and I have a coupon for the product I'll buy some to stock pile for a rainy day. Produce has a tendancey to go bad fairly quickly so if it's a great deal and you end up buying more than you will conventionally use, consider going online for new and exciting recipes or learn to can. Seriously! If you found an amazing deal on Strawberries (which btw: this week are $1.77/pt at Winn Dixie) and you bought 4 pints because you expected to spend $5 on berries, but only ate 1.5 pints in the course of 2 weeks, break out your pots and pans and a few mason jars and get to making some jams and jellies. Most grocers sell canning supplies and it's a great way to reduce waste. Not enough cupboard space? Tie on a pretty bow and BOOM! Instant hostess gift, birthday gift, whatever gift. People will love that you made it yourself and will think of you every time they spread their jelly in the morning :) So happy!

Step Five: Compare! I never buy anything unless it's on sale or I have a coupon. The best savings happen when I have both. For instance, Winn Dixie has these great sales where you buy something for $11-$12 and get 4 or 5 items for free. Now here's the interesting part. If you have coupons for any of the items in the deal, it counts towards lowering your bottom price. When grocers offer deals like this, it shows up in the cash register as if the store is paying for the item. The item is still getting paid for, just not by you, so manufacturer coupons are still valid. Another great trick is getting store specific coupons and manufacturer coupons for the same item. This is a little bit trickier because usually the store won't issue coupons for an item that they know the manufacturer has issued, but a lot of times you can get savings on the manufacturer websites. Procter and Gamble are always willing to send you coupon books when you sign up to their mailing list, as well as some companies offer promotions to LIKE their Facebook pages. Be sure to read the fine print on the coupons to make sure you can use more than one coupon on one item. Also check the weekly's and compare prices on produce and meats. For instance, grapes and cherries were and entire .50 cents a pound cheaper at Publix than Winn Dixie and considering how much I love to snack on these items, I ended up saving $2.00 just by buying them at Publix. Winn Dixie and Publix sell the t.p I use for about the same price; $9.99. But at Winn Dixie, I could get the size up (normally $12.99) for the same price if I had a winn dixie card and I had a $1.00 off coupon! WOOHOO! That's like getting 6 extra rolls of the same exact product for FREE, just for opening my eyes and having a Winn Dixie card.

Step Six: Don't be afraid to broaden your horizons. This can be taken a few different ways. One way is that if you have to travel out of your way for a good deal it better be a GOOD deal. For instance, Target had a sale on "Simply" juice products, 2/ $4. Ok, this $2 less then what Winn Dixie OR Publix have it on SALE for and happens to be my FAVORITE JUICE EVER. Plus they had good prices on cat food (of which I have coupons for) and cute spider man clothes for CJ. DEAL! But also broaden your horizons with food too! Hummus is on sale at Publix... have you ever tried it? Ever make a Hummus and seaweed salad? Or use hummus instead of regular condiments on a sandwich? It's super yummy! Or sprinkle some lime juice and top with cilantro jalapeno and diced tomato for an interestingly yummy party dip or nacho topping. Just because it's different than what you normally buy, don't be afraid to try it. Flounder and Cod filets were on sale at Winn Dixie (BOGO) so I plan on making almond crusted flounder with brown rice and home made salsa verde one night for dinner and the beer battered fried cod for fish n chips for lunch or dinner another night. (Publix had red potatoes, for the chips, on sale for .89 cents a pound.)

Step Seven: Save the planet while you save money. When you're done with your weekly's, recycle them. Bring your plastic bags back to the store to be recycled or just use cloth bags. Have your meats wrapped in paper so they don't cross contaminate other groceries in your bag. If there are no amazing deals on produce the week that you will be going shopping or if you're willing to spend a few extra bucks, go to your local farmer's market and buy local and organic. For instance, I REFUSE to buy honey at a mass grocer. I will only buy locally harvested honey. It's an extra $2.00 but I know I'm helping my local bee keepers, which in turn keeps my environment on point and pollinated. (Without pollination, the world would be without food) I also prefer buying my fish from a local fish monger, and buying flowers local (they're usually a better deal anyway) Produce can be hit or miss, sometimes the prices are as good as the mass grocers and often the same product. Look for stickers on the produce or even ask if the produce came from their own farm. If it's not locally grown, you're better off getting it at your grocer (the chances of poor food handling is greatly reduced). But another great things about farmer's markets is that usually you will discover a new flavor that you never knew you couldn't live without. For me it was Lavender infused Honey or locally grown citrus green tea leaves! Usually when people create or grow their own product, they aren't afraid to compliment the flavors they've worked so hard to create giving you the upper hand on gourmet foods, without the epicurean price!

And that's it. Does it take time? YES! Will you have thousands of dollars a year? YES! Like I said, it takes me about an hour a week to clip and get organized, but the way I see it, it's almost like getting paid $50+ an hour to clip coupons, and I'm okay with that :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Good evening readers! Out of all the things I gave up when I found out I was pregnant, not many of them returned... except one. I was a hardcore LUSHIE. For those of you who are not in the know, Lush is a Canadian bath product company that makes all natural and super yummy products. I would spend hundreds of dollars on bath bombs and soaps and lotions and soak in an amazing bubble bath almost every night and still had a stock pile of product that I knew I would never go through. Now, don't ever think that this single working mom of a 17-month old boy has ANY time for baths, but my son sure does. In fact he gets a bath every see where I'm going with this don't you. I have to say out of all my pre-pregnancy habits, being a Lushie has been my son's favorite by far. Every night he plays in lovely smelly bubbles and colored bath water sometimes playing with glitter and sometimes playing with confetti. All this has led me to a different way of thinking about raising my son. When you were a kid I'm sure you would react to something your parents would do with "I will never do that to my kid." Well what were the things that your parents did for you that you can't wait to do for your kids? I have decided to concentrate on raising my son in the positivity of being an American kid. MY American kid. For so long I would think that being a Mom is super serious business and in that, I forgot how to play. Playing is essential to learning and crucial to proper development. I mean parenting is important, but who says it can't be fun and engaging? It's time to no longer care about what's "normal" and be silly and amazing in my son's eyes. After all, I see the woman I need to be in my son's eyes :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

On my journey to the body, mind and life I want....

...I have been researching the latest and greatest in scientific knowledge on what (foods, activities, behaviors) is good for us.... and wouldn't you know it.. I have been gorging out on sugar and hopelessly depressed. I know what to do. I know exactly what I need to do to be the person I want to be, but for some reason, I can't get out of this "dream" phase. Then while watching Dr.Oz today he had a shrink on the show that said something that sort of made sense. It was something along the lines of using the "pain" associated with healthier foods and exercise as fuel instead of a deterrent. That's all good and well, and maybe that's why I am so afraid to continue. Maybe because it's just easier to be sedentary and eat whatever I please. I was eating a Klondike bar today when Chris came over to make dinner. "Geez, eating those again?" Was what he said rude? Sure. But WTF! I was EATING THOSE AGAIN! I know better... WTF! So as per usual, I hit the internet (of course not without finishing my klondike) with the initial attempt to find some more information on a program I should go on. Like I said I know better, I guess I was trying to find some inspiration and I stumbled across the Paleo-Diet. I had heard of it before and in fact the only times I had ever been successful at losing weight was following a variation of this way of nutrition. It makes sense to me. Check it out:

More Health and Fitness News & Tips at Greatist.
So needless to say this is my first entry on my new conquest in life: To live MY BEST LIFE!!!

Monday, May 7, 2012

"Finding" yourself....

Sometimes I wonder where we went astray trying to "find" ourselves. It seems like that's the thing to do when you're in your early 20's and you're absolutely retarded. What the hell did we think we were going to find? Eureka! I'm meant to be a blah blah blah. Wow, what a waste of time. Meanwhile we quit the things that would actually be beneficial to us... most likely, school. Ugh.

Seemingly, in my generation at least, the skipping of college years may have actually been beneficial considering the economic downfall our country underwent. Just as all my college-going colleagues where being laid-off their recently acquired corporate need-at-least-a-bachelor's-degree-to-even-apply jobs, I was okay. Not GREAT, being an underpaid single mom isn't AWESOME, but okay.

That's really when you tend to find yourself... when you're not okay. When you have built up this entire life you have been told is the right life as an American adult only to have it all stripped away. That's when you are at your rawest. What are you willing to do for your family? For your survival? Are you someone that can rise and flourish in the face of adversity or will you just conform and ride the wave to where it takes you? It may not be losing the career you spent 4+ years and thousands of dollars on education for, but maybe the loss of a loved one, or just a "series of bad luck." At some point you have to have dealt with the rawest of who you are.

Then there's the dreaming... of the perfect life. The perfect body, car, husband, career, family... life. Which is all fine and good, I will never negate anyone's dreams... they are super powerful, but what about the life you have now? I too am guilty of paying too much attention the to life I THINK I want then stopping and taking a look at the life I've been given. This glorious messed up little life I live.

When did I stop counting my blessings and started trying to keep up with other peoples blessings? I'll tell you when... When I was trying to FIND myself.

Uhmm, yea HELLO! You're right here dummy. Not there, HERE, IN THE NOW! Act like it! Like I said, dreams are powerful and goals? AWESOME! But don't neglect the life you have RIGHT NOW.

I have a great little roof over my head in an amazing neighborhood. There is nothing I love more then coming over that bridge after a long hard night at work and leaving the day in the bay. I have so much! My car is awesome... well loved and running great. Sure she could use a bath, but so could the cats. My cats greet me and my son every morning by jumping on their backs for a belly rub. The cuties! My support system is amazing. I know my family and extended family will be there for me always and my son will never need for anything. I really have an amazing life.

Now, it's time to make the most of what I've got. I've always wanted to have a garden... My 5 day old seedling have just sprouted! I feel like a new Mommy! Coming home to my little seedlings is another little joy before I walk into my home, my sanctuary. Granted, there isn't a lot of space for the FARM I essentially desire... but I'll make the most of what I've got. So far I have watermelon, cantaloupe, pumpkin, sunflower and cucumber seedlings that have all come in 4 days sooner than expected :) I have tea rose, lavender, rosemary, oregano, hibiscus, strawberry and red bell pepper growing like crazy! I love it! I plan on a little more organization then I'll be ready to transplant and come this fall, we'll be ready to harvest! It'll truly be magical being able to can and give away my garden's harvest! So to all my friends and family... I sure hope you like homemade canned goods, MERRY CHRISTMAS! HA! And hopefully that means carving the pumpkins from the garden for Halloween... that would be simply amazing.

I had dropped my confection and make-up hustle to work 50-60 hour weeks supervising at the Rock. In turn I have been going through the management candidate gamut in hopes of finally getting the promotion. I am so grateful for this opportunity you have no idea. It can be daunting at times, but I have to remind myself that I truly deserve this and I know I am capable if given the chance. As of the last few weeks, I have worked considerably less hours due to the fact that the new managers started. Blessing! Yea sure, my pay checks have been cut in half, but now I get to pick up where I left off with my businesses and of course, with being a MOM. I missed my little guy so much the past 4 or 5 months it's crazy. I know he missed me too. He's going thru hella crazy separation anxiety right now so it's EXTRA heart wrenching to be away from him.

Just as the universe would have it, after my schedule at the Rock was cut in half, I got three make up bookings for May almost the same day! HIGH FIVE UNIVERSE! I went to a workshop tonight for my colleague's growing mobile beauty business that I will be a part of as well. So super excited!

So I guess that's what it's all about... you're not lost... no need to find yourself. Just live the best possible life you can. Operation Best Life...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Hello Again....

I know I haven't posted in, well, forever... but here I sit and it's almost 1am. CJ's asleep.. he's 15 months now and walking and trying to talk. My Mom is asleep... she leaves in a few days, I'm going to miss her. And I'm up, as usual... dreaming about the life I want for my son.

I'm at a crossroads in my life and it seems like my decisions on where my family and I will be in the next year are dependent on the attitudes and decisions of others...
kinda weird.

I'm hoping for a promotion at work... working hard and hoping. Lighting candles even. I'm pushing for them to keep me in Miami too. But if not I am still prepared.

Starting to save money... which is a nice change...

Giving HIM one last chance to try to make our family work... every bone in my body is telling me he will fail... but at least I gave him a last chance.

Started eating healthier and exercising and I feel a ton better... finally got my periods back on track too... thank Goddess!

I'm going to go and lay down with my shorty... my new goal is to try to post as close to daily as possible... let's try n see :)