Life in Mascara

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

5 WAYS TO HOST A BACKYARD BBQ ON A BUDGET


With Summer in full swing I find myself wanting to be outside enjoying all the fun activities. And nothing screams Summer like having a barbecue. I love having my friends over and sharing laughs and especially food! This doesn't mean that it is time to break the bank. Let me show you how you can stay within budget and still host a party.

1. Decide on the menu.
Keep it simple. You will be outside probably most of the time. It will be hot. Try a no fuss menu. Burgers, hotdogs, simple salads. Things like that. You aren't trying to impress anyone. It is about being together and enjoying being in community.

2. What can you make from scratch?
Want fries, cake, and burger patties? Great! Me too! Chances are you already have the ingredients at home to make these. Give yourself some time and plan out when you can make these. You can even make some of these ahead of time. It is way more affordable to buy ground beef, especially if you discount buy it, and then experiment with what you season it with. In my case lots of garlic mmmm. So my patties are not perfectly round. Who cares? They taste just as good or even better than the premade ones at the store for a fraction of the price. And don't get me started on the price of store bought cakes! In upwards of $15 easy. Bake from scratch or a $2 box mix (store brand) will taste amazing!

3. Make it a potluck.
I love trying out new recipes and my biggest source of inspiration are my friends. Often when we eat at their house or offer to bring something to ours I get the recipe for it. So turning your bbq party into a potluck can turn into a fun recipe swap! You can even ask your friends to bring the recipe already typed out or on index cards to share with the rest of your group. Now you have another fun element to your party!

4. Skip the decor.
As much as you want to make your home look like something out of a magazine spread there is no need for it. Your friends and family won't remember all the props you had at your photobooth. They WILL remember what a great time they had together.

5. BYOB
Everyone has different taste in alcohol. Some people don't even drink. I normally provide water, tea or soda (whatever surplus I have from a coupon haul), and will buy one case of beer. I advise everyone of what I will serve and let them know to feel free and bring their own. 

And remember, enjoy having everyone over. Really that is what it is all about.


Monday, June 25, 2018

Horrible At Saving? Start Here!


Finances are such a difficult thing to deal with. More often than not I felt like I was building my savings account only to drain it at the first unforeseen expense. When I expressed my frustration to a friend of mine she told me that that is what savings were for. To use in times of crisis. While I agree with her to an extent, that seems to be more directed for an emergency fund rather than for actual savings. This is what each means to me:

Emergency Fund- This fund is to be used when unexpected expenses occur that you could not have foreseen. For example, when our main water pipe collapsed the week before our wedding. Or when my dog took ill and was hospitalized for a week. The amount of money that you have in this account can vary depending on what your expenses but I would rather have more than less. So here think in the range of $1000 and $1500.

Savings- This is money set aside with a purpose for the future. This can be money that you are putting aside for your retirement, money to build so you can invest it later into an IRA or stocks, or even the purchase of a car. You can have various savings accounts set up designated for each specific item or you can keep it all in one and keep a ledger of how much money is for each specific thing. Personally I have three: long time savings, emergency fund, and specific item saving.

*NOTE- When faced with the loss of employment or long term chronic illness, I do see how it would be necessary to reach into both accounts to keep afloat. You worked hard for your money. Now let your money work hard for you while you figure things out. Let that be the last of your worries since you thought ahead and saved.


WHERE HAVE I BEEN?

View of Elephant in Water

Let's address the elephant in the room, shall we? I stopped posting 2 years ago. I crashed the site. I put away all the equipment. I deleted all the data I had spent years accumulating. Simply put, I vanished. Then in January 2018 came one lonely post about the thing I love the most, books. Then once a month another lonely book post would appear. But never once did I reference my being gone. I was hoping you wouldn't notice.

Simply put, I completely lost my shit. Anxiety hit. Depression hit. Two things I never thought would be something I would have to deal with. The factors leading to this are very personal and are things I am still dealing with. But it was in learning how to actually acknowledge them and get help that I slowly started to get my voice again. The itch inside me to write started to creep up again until I couldn't ignore it anymore. So here I am again. Relaunching this blog hoping that you are still there. And if you are, let me know. I would love to hear what you have been up to.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

MAY BOOKS

No automatic alt text available.

May's books. Not pictured The Lying Game. Not to bad for having traveled half of the month.

23. The Women in Cabin 10- loved the suspenseful storyline then it ended. Just like that. It needed a few more chapters.
24. The Lying Game- I liked it more than her first book but again her endings are really abrupt.
25. Anxious for Nothing- "Anxious people are out of breath because of the angst of life." Amen!
26. Kinsey & Me- what a treat to revisit a loved character that will never have an ending after the author died last year.

Onto June and already halfway through#52bookchallenge #26/52

Monday, April 30, 2018

APRIL BOOKS

No automatic alt text available.

April's books brought children's books every adult should read. Except, A Wrinkle in Time. You can skip that one. #bookchallenge #22/52