Bye Bye Summer?

bye bye summer

The media is saying good bye to summer with tons of articles, blogs, and TV specials, but I say hold on! It’s still over 85 degrees in many parts of the US.  It’s 88 degrees here in Glendale, and 85 by the beaches.  In fact we typically don’t see a cool down in Los Angeles until closer to Halloween.  Meanwhile department and online stores have cleared out mini skirts and tank tops to make room for wool sweaters and jeans.

Dear Department Store,

We can’t wear wool in California. Just stop it!

While finding summer clothing in September can prove to be challenging, the good news is that many summer items are already on sale.  If you’re in need of items to stay cool in, visit the sale section of your favorite online retailer.  It’s also a great time to buy a swim suit for the rest of this season, or for next season. Can’t find what you’re looking for online? Visit the nearest outlet mall.  Many stores send last season’s items off to the outlet locations, and mark them down sometimes up to 70%.

Don’t know where to start? These online retailers are offering great deals on summer fashions now:

Express: 40% off Clearance

J Crew: Extra 25% off Sale Items

Victoria’s Secret: Swim Suit Sale & Clearance Items

Forever 21: Tons of trendy styles on sale now

Zumiez: 60% off Labor Day Sale

LuLu’s: Plenty of summer dresses under $30

You can save on more than just clothing in September.  There is still plenty of time to have that summer BBQ you never got around to throwing.  Target and Walmart are both offering great deals on patio furniture, and plastic dishware, everything you need to have a great outdoor party with friends.

Target: Up to 50% off Patio Clearance Items

Walmart: Patio Clearance

Don’t be fooled by the media.  There is still plenty of time to enjoy your backyard, take a dip in the pool, and rock a mini dress.  Take advantage of these great deals, and enjoy the heat while you can.

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Skip the Chain Restaurant Game

Cook at home

You Get to Lick the Bowl

Sure cooking at home takes a little more work than driving to the Cheesecake Factory, but the results are worth the effort.

1) Mo Money in Your Pocket.

Eating out gets expensive, and these aren’t the times to be squandering your pennies on a meal you could create at home.  Cooking can become expensive as well, but if you are smart about how you shop, you can definitely save a couple hundred dollars a month.  There are few dishes that a restaurant can make at lower cost by purchasing in bulk, but most meals can be made at home at lower cost.  Certain conveniences like pre-cut vegetables and fruits, and frozen pre-made meals can get pricey, so if you’re on a budget you will get much more for your buck by cutting your own produce.

2) Get Fresh with Me.

You would be surprised to learn how many restaurants use Campbell’s soup, or packaged pre-made sauces.  If you’re going to eat these pre-made items, why would you spend $15 to $20 on a night at an Italian restaurant when you could spend $5 and eat from home.  Those chain restaurants you love get their meals from test kitchens.  A chef prepares the meals in a test kitchen ahead of time, the meals get packaged, frozen and shipped to your chain location where they then proceed to microwave your order.  Doesn’t sound to appealing does it? Not to mention the fact that places like TGIFridays sells these same items at your local grocery store, and you can microwave the dish yourself and skip the tip.  Taking the time to pick out fresh produce, meats, and cheeses will taste so much better on your plate.

3) That has HOW many calories?

Now that it’s pretty standard to display calorie amounts on restaurant menus, life has become pretty depressing.  I find it very difficult to enjoy eating out when I can see that my one dish has more calories than I should be eating in an entire day.  As someone who has lost over 85 pounds, calorie counting became an important part of my life.  From the age of 16 I started researching how many calories are in food items.  I know that a bean and cheese burrito I make at home has less than 300 calories, so why is it up to 900 calories when you eat out? And there is just NO reason why a salad should ever have 1,000 calories.  When you prepare your own meals at home you can cut so many unwanted calories.  Try cooking from home for one month, and see how much weight you lose.

4) Tip Yourself

Tipping has always been an interesting topic for me.  I have a set of tasks I have to accomplish at work every day.  Whether I am friendly and smile all day, or act grumpy, I’m going to get paid the same amount.  If I decide to bring my boss his cup of coffee, or ask if he would like a refill, I’m not going to get paid any more.  As a waiter/waitress you are being paid to serve people drinks and food.  It is in your job description to bring them what they ask for, and check up on them.  That is your job.  The restaurant owner should be paying you an adequate salary for performing your job tasks.  It shouldn’t be up to me to make up the difference for what your boss stiffs you on.  Are you going to pay me extra when you see my ads on Google, because you think I’m not being paid enough for what I do? I don’t think so.  That being said, I always tip around 18%. I know how it feels to struggle, and I’d be embarrassed if I tipped any less than what was standard.  If I’m on a budget I won’t go to a restaurant.  I won’t stiff on the tip, I just won’t go.  If I make my own meal, I get the credit and I can save my tip.

5) The Wait

When I get really hungry I might as well be lost on an alien planet. I know I’m hungry, but I’m lost as to what I want to eat.  I know I need food in me now, but that’s about it.  My patience grows very thin, I feel weak, and I sometimes want to cry.  So dramatic, but it’s true.  When I’m hungry, and I walk into a restaurant where the hostess tells me it’s going to be 30 minutes to an hour for me to be seated, I want to throw my purse at her.  Not only do you have to wait to be seated, you have to wait for the server to get to your table, take your order, get the food prepared, then bring it to you.  In all that time I could have just fixed myself a sandwich at home in under 10 minutes.