DIY Girlfriends Spa Day – One Fabulous Gift!

Holy Cow! Christmas is just a few days away. How the heck did it get here so darn fast? And you still haven’t found that perfect gift for your best gal pals!

What’s a Frugalista to do? I’ve got you covered, Cupcake. . . Give your friends a Girlfriends Spa Day. . .  I know, I know. You’re thinking,  “Has the Famous Frugalista lost her freakin’ mind? That’s way out of my price range.”

Stop stressing and take a deep breath! My Spa Day Plan is simple, fun, and best of all, you can put it together in a jiffy on a bargain basement budget. Bet I’ve got your attention now. . .

All you need are some of my DIY spa recipes, a cute coupon you make yourself, and an afternoon set aside just for you and your friends. After all the hustle and bustle and stress of the holidays, a gift of relaxation and pampering . . . What’s not to love?

Fancy spas specialize in pampering their guests and that’s just what you’re going to do. To set the stage for your Spa Day, brew up some delicious herbal tea and whip up a platter of hors d’oeuvres. Or pour glasses of sparkling cider or wine or champagne if you’re in the mood to splurge.  (Remember, best prices on champagne are usually just before New Year’s Eve.) How about some chocolate-dipped strawberries? Or rich, decadent cookies to go with your beverage of choice?

Being the smart cookie that you are, you’re not only going to put a fabulous Spa Day together without emptying your wallet, you’re going make it easy on yourself too. After all, you want to enjoy the day right along with your gal pals.

Don’t worry about gathering up a bunch of robes and slippers. No need. Just ask your friends bring their own robes along. Trust me, they won’t mind a bit! Then all you have to do is mix up my super-simple spa recipes, put out some fluffy towels, a little food and drink —  and you’re ready to R-E-L-A-X.

Want to make it even more spa-like? Put some relaxing background music in the CD player, light a few candles, and serve the food and drinks on your best dishes. That’s right!

NO paper plates and stryofoam cups allowed, Pumpkin! Make it an elegant and oh so special event. You may be saving money, but there’s no reason to look cheap, so don’t even think about going there.

Here are three super-easy facial recipes you can make up in minutes. And Darlin’, there’s not a single harmful chemical in them either. Who needs all those added pesticides, preservatives, and toxins?

Yogurt, Oatmeal, and Honey Mask

In a small bowl, mix together 1 tablespoon plain yogurt (room temperature) with 1 tablespoon finely ground oatmeal (toss it in the blender or food processor if you’ve got one) and a teaspoon of honey. Blend well. This recipe is for one facial mask, but it’s easy to make up as many as you need. And you don’t need a degree in calculus to figure it out.

Apply the mask to your face and leave it on for 10-15 minutes. Use warm water and a washcloth to rinse it off.

Oily Skin Citrus Facial

Blend 1 teaspoon orange juice or lemon juice with 2 teaspoons honey and half a cup of plain yogurt, room temperature. Slather the mixture on and let it dry. Rinse off with warm water.

Dry Skin Avocado and Honey Facial

Mash half a ripe avocado in a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup honey and mix well. Smooth on to your skin and leave the mask on for 10 minutes. Use a wash cloth and cool water to remove.

Need a moisturizer? Smooth on a dab of plain olive oil. Works for all skin types. Now that your face is looking great, it’s time for a luxurious hand, foot, and leg treatment:

 Honey, Oatmeal, and Aloe Vera Scrub

Most of the ingredients for this recipe come right from your kitchen cabinet. For each scrub, you’ll need:

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons aloe vera gel

2 tablespoons oatmeal (To get the right consistency, grind the oatmeal in a food processor or blender. It should be kind of like sand.)

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 teaspoon lemon juice.

Mix it all up until it looks like a paste. Then, just splash some warm water on your feet, legs, and hands and massage the paste on using circular movements. Rinse off with warm water, towel dry, and apply a bit of olive oil to your skin.

Oooooh, doesn’t your skin feel amazing? Did I just hear a great big “Aaaahhh?”

Now it’s time to pour the drinks, munch on those goodies, and enjoy a gab-fest and some giggles with your girlfriends. And Sweet Pea, your Spa Day will be talked about for weeks to come as the best gift ever! So what are you waiting for? Get busy and make up some coupons for Christmas!

Want to add even spa treatments to your line up? Check out these articles.

© The Famous Frugalista 2011


Do-It-Yourself Kahlua

Bottles of Kahlúa photographed with a Canon Po...

Image via Wikipedia

Mmmmmm! One of my favorite little treats is sipping an after-dinner coffee with a dash of Kahlua added. Or maybe a bit of that yummy coffee liqueur served ice cold with some heavy cream floating on top. Yeah, totally decadent, I know.

When money’s tight, those lovely little extra treats have to go, right? After all, a bottle of Kahlua costs about $25.00 and that kind of splurge isn’t in the budget, especially right now when I’m thinking more about Christmas, paying the heating bill, and buying new tires for the car.

WRONG! I’m The Famous Frugalista and I know how to cut corners without cutting out every cotton-pickin’ little goodie in life. Not to worry, Cupcake. You can make your own liqueur on the cheap! (I don’t think you’ll be able to tell the difference between your own homemade cordials and the expensive stuff.)

And I’m not talking about hiding a still out in the bushes in your backyard either, Darlin’! It’s perfectly legal to craft a little homemade hooch for your personal use and enjoyment. But don’t you even think about selling barrels of it to your friends and neighbors or you’ll be in the slammer quicker than you can say “Revenuer”.

Here’s a quick and super-easy recipe for Do It Yourself Kahlua:

• 3 cups white sugar

• 3 cups water

• 10 tsp. instant coffee (not the freeze dried kind)

• 1 quart vodka (I bought the cheapest brand available and the Kahlua turned out great)

• 6 tsp vanilla

Here’s how to mix it all up:

Put the instant coffee, water, and sugar in a large pot. Stir well and bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling, turn the heat down and let the liquid simmer for an hour, uncovered. Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool. I put mine in the refrigerator overnight. A sort of “skin” will form on top. You can remove it by laying plastic wrap right on top and just lifting that “skin” off.

Next, pour in the vodka and add the vanilla. Mix thoroughly. (The liquid will be slightly thick.) Use a funnel to pour your homemade liqueur into clean, dark bottles (like used wine bottles) and cork ’em up. Store in a cool place.

You can drink this right away and it’s delicious, but if you’ve got a little more patience and let it age for a few weeks, it’s even better.

Just so you know, I doubled the recipe so I could give a couple of bottles as gifts. Doubling it makes just a bit more than 4 wine bottles full of Kahlua and it cost me less than $15.00 to make. Makes an elegant Christmas gift for your liqueur-lovin’ friends.

Coffee cup

Image by doug88888 via Flickr

Looking for some other ways to enjoy your Kahlua? Check out the links below for some mouth-watering recipes.

© The Famous Frugalista 2011

A Christmas Thank You Letter to Treasure

Today’s Famous Frugalista Christmas gift suggestion is for a very special person on your list. It will take an hour  — maybe even less — to create and you won’t have to lay out a single penny. The best part is that whoever gets this one-of-a-kind and unexpected gift will think you’re absolutely incredible for giving it. Have I got your attention now?

What is this super-sensational, extraordinary, marvelous, totally amazing present? A letter.

That’s right, but not just any letter. A letter written straight from your heart that tells why you’re so thankful to have that person in your life. The kind of letter that will lift a person’s spirits and make them smile. The kind of letter that will be read again and again and again.

All too often we mean to acknowledge a special someone, but life gets busy and somehow we just never get around to it. Nobody gets through this life all alone and each of us has people that have made our lives sweeter. This is the season to say “Thank You!” — but  it’s kind of hard sometimes to express what we’re really feeling face-to-face. isn’t it? That’s why a letter is so perfect, Sweet Pea.

Some idea sparkers:

• How has this person had a positive effect on your life?

• What have you learned from her?

• How has he inspired you?

• Picked you up when you were down? Encouraged you when you wanted to give up?

• Helped you through a rough patch?

• Made you laugh?

• Been loyal and supportive no matter how many dumb wrong turns you took?

Who will you write to — a parent, an old friend, a mentor, a pastor, a teacher?

Do it this Christmas while that special person is still living. Don’t wait until it’s too late, Cupcake. Get some paper and a pen right now and get busy. You’ll get all warm and fuzzy-feeling inside (a bonus just for you!) and you’ll give someone special the best gift ever. A pure pleasure boost. A gift worth it’s weight in gold. It will mean more than you can possibly imagine.

So write that letter today. If you’re feeling extra-creative, you can always add a decorative border or a little drawing or sprinkle a few sequin “jewels” in the envelope. Remember, it’s what you say, straight from the heart, that makes your Christmas Thank You Letter really shine.

© The Famous Frugalista 2011

Give a Gift With a Story Behind It

The Black Friday madness is on! Zillions of people waiting outside stores in the freezing cold, willing to brave the crowds ready to trample anyone too slow to get out of the way when the doors open. . . Shoppers grabbing any bargain they can get their mitts on, buying stuff just because it’s on sale . . . but not you and me, Cupcake. No siree!

We’re giving gifts with sentiment and meaning behind them this year. Gifts we create ourselves. And we’re not spending a fortune or going into debt to do it either. Don’t you feel pretty darn smart? OK, let’s be honest, maybe even just a tad smug? It feels pretty good, doesn’t it, to know that everyone on your list is getting something individually designed and distinctive? Something original and unique? Oh yeah, it does!

Did anyone ever give you a present with a special story behind it? If you were lucky enough to get a gift like this, I’ll bet you were thrilled that someone cared enough to give it to you. I’ll always treasure a black string shawl given by a dear friend who wrote a “legend” to go with it. How terrific is that?

What can you give that has a great story to go with it? Go through those boxes in the attic or garage, check the top shelf of the closet, dig around in the cabinets. You’ll find some goodies there. The actual article can be just about anything — salt and pepper shakers, a hat, a plate, a family heirloom, a book — even a gum wrapper that you’ve formed an emotional attachment to. (I’d recommend framing that gum wrapper to make it totally amazing though!)

Here’s how to amp it up and make your gift a real treasure. Sit down and write about where it came from, who owned it before, and explain why it has a special meaning to you — and most especially, why you’re giving it to that particular person.

Give specifics about anything and everything that you can think of. Is there a wonderful family event associated with it? A reminder of a fabulous vacation spot? A funny story? Something that happened the day you got it? Be creative! What makes this particular item extraordinary? Put your heart into it, Darlin’.

And if you don’t have a terrific tale to go with it, write up your own “legend.” Make it fun . . . or poignant . . . or silly . . . or adventurous. Go ahead — it’s your tale. Get those creative juices flowin’, Pumpkin, and let ‘er rip. (This isn’t the time to get all self-conscious and negative about your writing abilities. Just start writing! And it doesn’t have to be ten pages long. One little ol’ page, that’s all you need.)

When you’re finished, sign and date it. Then carefully wrap it all up and be prepared to “feel the love” when it’s opened.

© The Famous Frugalista 2011

DIY Gift – Ooh La La! Lemon Body Scrub

Well, Darlin’, the countdown to Christmas is officially in full swing, judging by the number of annoying commercials on TV. Wouldn’t it be great to actually get through Thanksgiving dinner without being urged to get out there and “Buy, Buy, Buy!” — especially when you’re on a tight budget?

Not to worry though. All this week I’m sharing simple and sensational Famous Frugalista ideas for making Christmas gifts that people on your list will LOVE, LOVE, LOVE.

We all know how it is when money’s tight. . .  lots of us women don’t feel like we can splurge on little luxuries for ourselves, right?  Alright, Cupcake, that’s where you step in and whip up a glorious spa treatment that any woman on your list would go crazy for. And the best part is it’s gonna cost less than a buck to make.  (Heck, you can make up a dozen jars and keep a few as a special treat for yourself — without feeling the least bit guilty!)

I promise these recipes are soooo easy and won’t take more than ten minutes to mix up and package.

Ooh La La! LemonBody Scrub

What you need for each jar of body scrub:

• 1 cup sugar (I like to buy the regular ol’ white sugar on sale, but this recipe works with brown sugar too) 
• 1/2 cup olive oil  
• 1 T lemon zest (grated)  

• small jar with lid

• sparkly ribbon, fabric scraps, small candy canes, beads, feathers, old broken costume jewelry pieces, etc. for decorating the jar(optional)

Here’s how to make it:

Mix the sugar, oil, and lemon zest until thoroughly blended, breaking up any lumps in the sugar.

A used jelly jar with a tight-fitting lid makes a nifty container. Just spoon the body scrub mix into the jar and tighten the lid.

OK, let’s add a little pizzazz to your gift. If you want a simple and elegant look, just cover the lid with some brightly colored fabric and wrap a couple of sparkly ribbons around it. Or tie on one of those cute little miniature candy canes and some greenery for a traditional Christmas vibe. Perfect!

Want a little extra glitter and shine? Glue beads, feathers, pieces of broken jewelry or whatever you like to the lid. (Oooh, I do love those sparkles, don’t you?)

Here’s how to use the body scrub:

After you shower, scoop out a teaspoonful or two of the scrub into your hands. Using a circular motion, gently massage it onto your wet skin. Rinse off and pat dry. Your skin will feel soft and silky smooth. Oh La La! Luxurious!!

Don’t like the scent of lemons? Try a tablespoon of orange zest instead. Or substitute a half teaspoon each of cinnamon and nutmeg for the citrus and voila! A spicy body scrub to pamper any lady on your list.

© The Famous Frugalista 2011

Simple, Heartfelt Gifts to Make for Christmas

Yowza! The year is zippin’ by, isn’t it? Seems like we were just throwing our 4th of July bash, then it was “Trick or Treat” time. And now Thanksgiving is just a couple of days away. Which means Christmas will be here in the blink of an eye and we’ll be singing “Jingle Bells” before you know it.

I love, love, love this season! Decorating the trees, cookin’ up all kinds of yummy treats, Christmas carols, watching “It’s A Wonderful Life” for the 127th time, finding just the right gift for everyone on my list. . .

Screenshot of Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed in ...

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Most everyone I know is on a budget these days — and that makes Christmas shopping kinda stressful. For anyone trying to figure out how to make those dollars s-t-r-e-t-c-h, the holidays can give you a big, bad case of heartburn.

But it doesn’t have to be that way, Cupcake. Quit worrying about where the money’s gonna come from to cover everyone’s presents. I’ve got your back on this!

How about I show you how to give sensational, stupendous, awesome gifts that won’t cost you one cent? That’s right. Easy-peasy and quick to make. And the person getting one of your gifts is guaranteed to absolutely love it — and YOU for dreaming it up. What could be better?

Christmas gifts.

Image via Wikipedia

All you’ve gotta do is gather up some stuff you’ve already got around the house, get the ol’ creative juices flowing, and spend a little bit of time.

All this week I’ll be giving you super-simple, step-by-step directions for heart-felt Christmas presents your family, friends, and neighbors will love.

And they’re not gonna bust your budget, have you whipping out a credit card, or overdrawing your checking account either. Ready? Then let’s get going on the first one!

Personalized Services Coupon Book

What you’ll need:  

2 index cards or pieces of thin cardboard

paper cut the same size as the index cards

colored markers, crayons, pictures cut from magazines, old Christmas cards, anything that you want to use for decorating the cover

glitter, sequins, etc. (optional — but isn’t glitzy fun?)

Step 1:  Now’s the time to put your imagination into high gear. Think, Sweetpea, think! What would the person getting this coupon book really love having someone else do for them? Clean out the garage? Wash the windows? Give the family chariot a good scrub and wax job? Bake a couple dozen chocolate chip cookies? Or take care of ironing a big pile of clothes? (I’d sure like that!)

Maybe a coupon for an evening of baby-sitting for a friend or neighbor who never gets to go out? Or a coupon good for helping her finish that scrapbook she started years ago? How about a few hours of yard work? Help with planting a vegetable garden in the spring?

Step 2:  This isn’t hard, is it? Once you’ve got a fistful of coupons (write them out by hand or do ’em up on your computer), it’s time to sandwich them in between the index cards so you have a front and back cover. Staple it together — or tie it up with a ribbon, stick them in with a Christmas card, whatever tickles your fancy, Darlin’.

Step 3:  Whew! The hard part is done. Now you get to design and decorate the cover. Have fun! Play with this and make it special. Make it stand out with color or drawings or a collage of magazine pictures. Go natural with pretty leaves, seeds, or dried flowers. Sprinkle on the gold and silver glitter.

Christmas in the post-War United States

Image via Wikipedia

Remember, it shouldn’t be “store-bought perfect.” What makes this so wonderful is that in this age of fast food, race track speed lives, and a “just grab anything and go” attitude, you’re taking the time to create a heart-felt and personalized gift.

Who wouldn’t love you for it?

© The Famous Frugalista 2011

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