Saturday, March 30, 2019

Naptime In A LoveSac Beanbag

Look! A giant beanbag -- 8 feet long and 4 feet high -- it is fittingly called the BigOne. Made by LoveSac, a furniture company that also manufactures sacs and sectional couches, the BigOne is stuffed with Durafoam, which unlike plastic beans, doesn't compress over time and distributes weight evenly according to the retailer. Moreover, it comes with a changeable and machine washable faux-fur slipcover. 

Provided you have room in your home and don't mind the $1,300 price tag, the BigOne looks like a comfortable resting place to take naps or watch television. Can you envision one of these in your living room? A couch, a chair and a BigOne. Your furball will surely give it his seal of approval.
A gallery photo on the LoveSac website. Too adorable not to post.



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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Snickerdoodle Cake

Photo: Foodnetwork using a whipped egg white frosting and torching it, I simplified the frosting.
Due to the gas shutoff (after the hookah smoker's fire) in our building, I haven't posted recipes on THE SAVVY SHOPPER lately. Have you noticed? I miss baking yet meanwhile, discovered snickerdoodle cookies. After ConEd gives us the green light to return gas to our apartment line, I'll make this cake. As usual, I like to share ... but also can click here myself to remember how to make it (the one and only time, I'm not testing my tweaks beforehand. But, no worries, it's a simple butter cake flavored with cinnamon and brown sugar, therefore I can eyeball the ingredients :) --

Snickerdoodle Cake

Photo: thespuceeats

Ingredients:

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1/2 cup white sugar 
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs (Add one at a time and beat in-between.)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla

Extra butter to grease your cake pans.

Directions:

1) With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugars.

2) Add one egg at a time. Incorporate.

3) Next add the buttermilk, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

4) Toss in the rest of the flavorings: cinnamon and vanilla. Mix until uniform about 2 minutes.

Usually I use two pans, than if I desire four layers, I cut each cake layer in half. However, you can use 4 cake pans if you wish.

5) Pour the batter into 2 well greased 9" cake pans. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 30 minutes, or until done in the center. 

6) After removing from the oven, let the cake cool for about 5 minutes, scraping the sides of each pan with a knife. Wait a beat and while they are still warm, remove from the cake pans. (Too hot, they fall apart, but if no longer warm, they stick to the sides of the pans and fall apart.) After removal, cool completely.

Snickerdoodle Frosting

Ingredients:

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup condensed milk (or rich cream, I never stock it.)
2 teaspoons vanilla (or more!)
2 teaspoons cinnamon (or more!)
5 cups of confectionery sugar (I just grab the box and add powdered sugar until I get a stiff, yet creamy consistency.)

Optional: Add 2 - 3 tablespoons of soft butter (I usually skip the butter in the frosting. The butter will help keep the frosting moist if you plan to eat the cake days later, as well as, add flavor and more calories. (You must take the bad with the good.)

Directions:

Generously, frost all your cake layers. Some people sprinkle the frosted cake with cinnamon sugar, but I don't. I might sprinkle a little cinnamon powder on top to garnish.

++++++++++++++++++++++
Should we turn the recipe into a Single Serving Mug Cake?

Ingredients:
Photo: sugarandspiceglitter

1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
6 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 pinch of salt
Skip the egg (unless you use the rest (minus a tablespoon) of it for something else). Substitute 1 tablespoon of applesauce; or mashed banana; or mashed avocado; or even a nut butter.
3 tablespoons buttermilk (If the batter needs a tad more, add it drops at a time)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (or more!)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

1) Mix the ingredients (in the order as the above cake directions, beating with a fork in the same mug you will use to bake it in the microwave. Incorporate well.

2) Microwave for one minute. Check it. Microwave for 10 seconds more at a time until done.  

3) Frost the mug cake by making a small portion of the frosting above. Eyeball the amount. Garnish the top with cinnamon. 

Baking is science, but not rocket science. Enjoy!


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Friday, March 22, 2019

IT's Velvet Luxe LBD Makeup Brushes For Ulta

Quality makeup brushes are necessary, but usually pricey! With cheap brushes, shedding is often a problem. After I tired of picking tiny hairs off my face, I walked over to Ulta to buy an IT Powder Brush For Ulta (lists for $48)  from the company's Velvet Luxe LBD line. Fortunately, it was half price on promotion. 

This powder brush is a makeup tool I love! The handle is easy to hold and control. The brush is dense; soft; and gives an even application for a smooth finish. After daily use for the last 8 months, there is absolutely no shedding of bristles.

If you are going to splurge on one cosmetic brush, this is the one to buy.

Recently IT launched a travel kit of 5 brushes, however, I think it's a waste of money. Full-size brushes don't take up much room in a suitcase, nor add significant weight. Instead: Splurge on one good brush that you use daily ... for me it was IT's Velvet Luxe LBD powder brush. For you it could be the retailer's blush, or eyeshadow brush. Whatever cosmetic you use daily, buy a good cosmetic brush to apply it.

With its sales and rewards, Ulta is an excellent retailer to pick up cosmetics and makeup tools.


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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Home Sweet Home

A hookah uses coal and can run out of water, both hazards in a family dwelling. One smoking session is the potency of inhaling 100 - 200 cigarettes.
It is amazing how much damage one hookha smoker can do to a Manhattan apartment building ... and how long it takes to undo all the turmoil caused by the fire of one careless person. The costs are great, and we are getting a maintenance increase later this year to pay for it, we are told. Management framed the undesirable hike in such politically correct language that you'd never know it had anything to do with the expense of cleaning up after the fire and flooding.  

Although I'm happy to be back home there is much to do to get the apartment back to normal. Due to the fire, flood and water damage, I had to clean and paint my entire apartment. My intercom, one of 5 areas where water streamed down, is out. Upon reporting it, I was told that I am "on a list," so I am not alone! Furthermore, furniture, shoes and various items are ruined. My plush 8' by 10' wool area rug is beyond repair. The carpet cleaning company gave me the heartbreaking news hours ago.😓

To replace walls, my cupboards were removed from the kitchen, but surprisingly management did not replace the now weathered and damaged wood, nor broken kitchen (and living room) floor tiles! Through no fault of the excellent Fire Restoration Company, chunks of wood are missing from my cabinets as a result of having to pry them off the walls so the waterlogged walls could be replaced. Floor tiles crumbled due to the flood, plus removing wall moldings to take down walls; and I now have a hole and crumbling wood in the back of one cupboard, which was simply returned to the apartment and put back into place! I asked management to step up ... fix the hole. However, I'm still waiting for resolution.

Additionally, I had to buy a new kitchen stove, but we continue to await for the cooking gas to be turned back on, therefore I eat lots of fruit, avocados and whatever I can microwave, as well as, restaurant food. Eating out gets tiresome when it's a must!

I now make German potato salad with microwaved potatoes, bacon and scrambled eggs! In fact, it is a hybrid potato salad, since eggs do not belong in German potato salad.

Another new dish is Ramen noodles. Please don't judge! How can something so bad taste so good!😄 I add leftover chicken (or cubes of tofu) and frozen mixed vegetables. Delish ... a hot savory (if unhealthy!) microwaved meal.

Usually I make pizza from scratch, yet without gas for the oven, I buy frozen Celeste Pizza Deluxe to which I add: pepperoni, extra cheese and dried spices (garlic, oregano, basil, and red pepper flakes). The crust isn't great, but hey, another hot dish!

Thankfully my lovely readers, these are 1st world temporary problems. To be sure, there's no place like home. The building's mayhem makes me sensitive to the plight of chronic world hunger and homelessness, which are not temporary.

Suffice it to say, strawberries and blueberries; melted cheddar on grainy bread; and um, nacho tortilla chips are my friends! A gal needs to keep up her energy to forge on!


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Thursday, March 14, 2019

Round Up: Prom Dresses

Here in the USA as spring arrives (next Wednesday!) high school seniors have prom dresses on the brain. It's been decades since I went to my high school prom. My parents let me go to a bridal shop to buy my gown. Once selected, the bridal/prom industry scheme for money-making is to make the length of the dresses a yard too long, so that a customer must pay another $4o to shorten it. 

(After buying a couple of gowns the year of my prom for weddings, my father said, "We're not buying any more of these. If anybody else asks you to be their wedding, you tell you no!"😅)

Times change ... and sometimes for the better! Nowadays a young woman can find beautiful off-the-rack dresses to wear to her prom without emptying her parents' wallet. Here is a quick roundup from Lulus, a retailer offering a wide selection of classic prom (as well as wedding party and formal dresses) for under $100.

I'll feature several possibilities that would be fun and easy-to-wear on the dance floor, as well as, late into the night. They are lovely, comfortable, and will look formal with the addition of jewelry. My mother also let me wear her white fur stole over my gown, and my date brought me a corsage. It takes a village to dress for a prom!

Do you have a favorite dress; and do you remember your prom?


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Thursday, March 7, 2019

Join The Revolution Of Makeup

RevolutionPro Lip Kit
Revolution is a London based beauty company with 28 years of experience, who creates makeup, skincare and haircare of the highest quality for less. The products are 100% cruelty free and mostly vegan.

The cosmetics have top-notch formulas and rich pigments that stay put after application, and there's a wide range of colors. Nude continues to be a popular lip shade this season, so I'm featuring their much loved Naked Lip Palette, but it's only one of several, including reds and noir colors. A super affordable $14 splurge!
Revolution Pro Regeneration Eyeshadow Palette
Equally appealing is the eyeshadow palette with 18 highly pigmented and wearable shades. Some are neutrals while others have a tad of shimmer. The colors can be mixed and matched or blended. This palette is calling Angie Smith's name, a friend and reader of THE SAVVY SHOPPER!

What's more Revolution's makeup tools and accessories, needed to apply eyeshadow, lipstick, powder or blush are an excellent value too. Be sure to take a look!

Revolution Ultra Contour Palette

The contour palette has 8 creamy and blendable colors to flatter your skin tone while giving your face extra definition.

Revolution is a global-selling company, and shipping is free the world over. Savvy Shoppers are sure to find some too-good-to-be-true bargains featured under the "sale" and "outlet" tabs on its website, so take a browse.

What are your cosmetic temptations? Mine tend to be skin care and lip stick. With Revolution, treating ourselves won't break the bank!


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Sunday, March 3, 2019

The Savvy Shopper Is A Decade Old Today

Opps, I nearly missed a milestone. THE SAVVY SHOPPER'S 1st post hit the internet exactly 10 years ago today! Thank you, lovely readers, for coming along for the ride. 

I hope you get some helpful tips, a bit of wisdom and much needed humor when you stop by. Here's to another year of learning, writing, fresh ideas, a chuckle and fun stuff for eyeballs.

Happy 10th Birthday to THE SAVVY SHOPPER and its awesome readers!


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Friday, March 1, 2019

Buy One Plus One

Ok, ruby earrings are a bit of a stretch, but it's difficult to find a Plus One image. So feast your eyes on these Effy designed beauties ... you select your image, and I'll select mine: One Plus One. Fits the bill!😅
One of my goals in life is to avoid clutter. Nearly all of my possessions are purchased mindfully, and I try to stay clear of over consumption. A practical aim is to buy what we need, not more than what we need.

A few years ago I noticed I owned too many t-shirts and too many bars of scented soap. How did it happen? Every time Old Navy (makers of t-shirts, $3 promotions), or Bath and Body Works (sellers of scented soap, $1 promotions) ran a sale, I couldn't resist the bargain prices and bought a few. One day when I saw how many I had, I decided to use and wear out the ones I owned before adding new ones. Done!

My new goal is to use the shampoo and hair conditioner I have stocked in my cabinet before buying more. While not excessive, I do have more than what I need, and it will take time to deplete my stash.
Photo: Shuterstock
How did it happen? Well, I sometimes buy 4 - 5 of Tried-and-True-Essentials in order to qualify for the best price, or free shipping. But now it's time to pause until I go through my supply. Once I'm nearly out, I plan to adopt a new rule: Buy one, plus a spare. Period! So often after we buy more than what we need, we lose interest in the commodity before we finish it. At times a new formula comes out that I'm dying to try, but instead, continue to use the old formula since I already paid for it and have no desire to waste product or my money.

So from now on, I will be doubly mindful: My new mindset is: Buy One, Plus One! (Except for toothpaste, which I tend to buy 6 - 10 (8.2 ounce tubes at Walmart) at a time. I mean, there's never a day we don't use toothpaste at least 3 times per day). That way I won't (1) worry about running out too soon; (2) have to run back to the store; (3) or buy more than what I truly need.

How many units of staples do you like to buy ... and is it triggered by an attempt to be thrifty? Give an example if you like.


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