Too Thrifty Chicks

Think.Thrift.Create


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Forward, Not Forgotten

I took down the photo of me and my big sister who I consider a role model. The picture of my mom wearing a sombrero on her birthday a couple years back. The picture of me pretending to play drums with my mouth wide open because I’m laughing so hard. The black and white picture of me looking dwarfed next to the word “BELIEVE” painted on a wall, and the photo of Ricks and me displaying satisfied, mimosa-induced smiles after her birthday brunch last year. Then finally, the photos of friends-turned-family tacked to a tiny board behind my desk. It is my last day of work, and it is official. I am moving to Memphis for a new job.I am SO glad I don’t share an office or work in a cubicle, because I had a good ol’ cry session this morning.

 

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I have to admit. This is hard. D.C. is the first home that has felt like home; a place where I feel like I could live permanently. And even as I type that, I remember the essence of a quote from Dr. Maya Angelou where she says she doesn’t believe that one can never go home again, because you always carry home with you.

Well, since I can’t carry ALL of the D.C. with me, I’ll carry a few things: memories of late night/early morning conversations, new friends that feel like soul mates, wine-filled nights, tattoos, and bonding. I’ll carry the person I am into a new adventure that will continue to shape the person I’m becoming.

And I’ll remember today when I said to a group of my friends, “I am having a hard day,” and they all responded with loving reassurance (and feigned jealousy of my yet-to-be new friends)…actually, it might not be feigned. I have a whole list of “dos” and “donts” for my new friends…lol….and Keila, who is not a fan of Memphis (and that’s putting it mildly), finally said she will come visit me after months of saying she wouldn’t. Yes, Keila…I have it in writing and now EVERYONE knows you’re coming to Memphis.  Today, I am a little melancholy as I wrap up my time here, but I am happy and at peace with knowing that I live by the words  I surrounded myself with in my office, including these from The Angry Therapist:

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Memphis….another adventure. Join me, yes?

-A.Reese

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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We Live Among Miracles

Someone tried to mess up my zen this morning, and in the midst of calling that person a bad name in my head, I opened facebook and read the most awesome status:

11-13-13…..marks 12 years since a brain AVM (arteriovenous malformation) was discovered.

Janeen practicing her selfies.

Janeen practicing her selfies.

Well two as a matter of fact. They were discovered by one if them rupturing. In short I was on disability from work for a year….and was told I wouldn’t be able to walk without a walking device (cane or walker). Obviously I thought that was silly. Fast forward 12 years and I have so many great people in my life that have gave me the confidence to try to go above just walking. I have a half marathon this Sunday…and it’s not my first. I thought a great anniversary gift to myself would be to do a box jump in crossfit. Now to others that seems like an easy accomplishment….for me not so much. Well I have been working on them I was able to jump on the box but then I sort of fell backwards BUT I got up there. So I consider this a win. So this D Day anniversary I choose to celebrate my awesome friends that motivate me everyday to be more than ordinary.

Running friends celebrating Janeen's anniversary.

Running friends celebrating Janeen’s anniversary.

I’m so glad I didn’t step my game up and wear eye makeup today. Can you say eye sweats? I mean, reading this stopped my complaining dead in its tracks. I thought about Janeen–her amazing story, the feats she has overcome. I live among miracles. We all live among miracles. Among us are people who were never supposed to walk again. Someone who was not supposed to live beyond six months or run that marathon they wanted to run or even get a job they were not qualified for on paper. Yet, these things are happening around us, among us. Thank you, Janeen for celebrating your miracle and for celebrating your friends. I’m happy to be included in that lot, because today you reminded me that miracles are not a thing of the past; they are always happening, always present. You are proof of that–one mile and one box jump at a time. Happy Anniversary, Janeen!

~Reese


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Too Thrifty Cooks: Lookout for the Cookout

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There is very little that we love more than getting together with friends to eat, drink and make merry. But let’s face it, we all have lives and nailing down the schedules of a handful of our favorite friends is a beast! Lucky for us, everyone (including the thrifty chicks) was in town post Fourth of July, which weirdly fell on a Thursday this year.

We wanted to invite our friends for a casual cookout that included good eats and drinks, but what do you do when a friend is allergic to strawberries, another does not eat mushrooms, some friends are strict vegetarians, some are eating “clean” and the rest are flexitarians like the two of us?

You ask people what they want to eat, what they are willing to eat, you cook it and keep it moving! We bought the most adorable, tiny grill, some charcoal and prepped to get it in! To keep this thrifty gathering cost-effective we asked our friends ahead of the event to chip in $10. This way they didn’t have to cook a dish, or rush to the store last-minute to pick up something that everyone could eat.

If you’re sweating how to afford feeding everyone for a gathering, consider just asking everyone to chip in toward the cost, or do what you can to cover the food and ask your guests to contribute wine, spirits or some other extra thing. Most times your friends won’t come empty-handed and will want to contribute something so you might as well ask for something you need.

20130706_202444Our friend Kim makes the bomb sangria. WE MEAN THE BOMB! Instead of chipping in money we asked that she bring that. So she brought both a red and white wine sangria. We blended up our own summer fruit drinks including an adult beverage and…let’s just say a good time was had by all.

Check out our menu, which was a serious hit with our friends!

Lookout for the Cookout Delicacies

Seasoned wild-caught salmon skewers: These are previously frozen salmon filets that we cut into bite sized pieces seasoned with salt, pepper and a lemon herb blend to taste. You can certainly use fresh salmon if you can catch it on sale. We put about three pieces of salmon on each regular size skewer (four if the pieces were smaller). Let the seasoning marinate at least 30 minutes to an hour. Cook until to fish is firm and flaky.

Tandoori wild-caught salmon skewers: Same frozen salmon filets. Mix about half a packet of tandoori 20130706_202236seasoning that you can probably find in your local international market with a small container of greek yogurt. Coat the salmon in the sauce and let it marinate until you’re ready to cook. Bake until fish is firm and flaky.

Wild-caught shrimp and homemade pesto skewers: We used previously frozen shrimp of a good size to get about three shrimp to a skewer. Feel free to use fresh shrimp if you can catch it on sale. You can use store-bought pesto, but we make our own using basil, walnuts, grated parmesan cheese and olive oil. Coat the shrimp and let them marinate  for about 30 minutes to an hour. Grill until shrimp is firm and pink.

Wild-caught shrimp and barbecue sauce skewers: Same shrimp. We used a zesty store-bought barbecue sauce from Trader Joe’s and added some teriyaki stir fry sauce . We also let these marinate. Bake or grill until shrimp is firm and pink.

Baked sweet potatoes: Slice them in thin rounds and fold them in packets of foil. Add some cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar if you’d like. Roast in the oven until tender. The steam inside the packet will cook the potatoes.

Fresh “Creole” corn: Take fresh sweet corn ears and cut them in half. Put a pat of butter, the amount is up to you, for each half ear in a packet of foil with as much corn as you can hold without spilling. Add creole seasoning such as Tony’s or Zatarain’s, a generous amount of garlic powder. Wrap them in foil and roast in the oven until tender.

Farm fresh squash and zucchini: Toss with olive oil, grill in a grill pan on the stove, outside if you have the space (we didn’t), or roast in the oven.

20130706_183719Reese’s baked mac ‘n cheese: You’ll need pasta and at least two kinds of shredded cheese. Use whatever kinds you like, just not pre-shredded. We used monterrey, pepper jack and gouda. You’ll need about 1/4 cup of milk  and seasonings such as garlic, onion powder, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste. You’,ll also need butter. Cook the noodles until Al dente, stir in about half the cheese and butter. Add enough milk to make it creamy but not watery. When the cheese has melted, transfer to a baking dish. Add the leftover half of cheese and stir until it is well mixed. Top with another 1/4 cup of shredded cheese and breadcrumbs if you’d like. Bake until brown.

We broke out our folding chairs, blankets and the Too Thrifty Chicks Photo Shoot playlist on Spotify and hung out in the park until long after dark! Good Friends + Good Food = Good Memories! This whole shindig was put together for less than $100 and a good time was had by all. To us, that is the hallmark of a successful, thrifty gathering!

Until next time,

— R&R


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Chucks & Cupcakes

What do you get when you put together a birthday, cupcakes, chucks, and laughter? A jolly good time! We celebrated our friend’s birthday with a fantastically ridiculous photoshoot featuring our favorite sneakers. The bad side of such shenanigans? R&R drooling all over the converse website when we got home. No worries Operation Do Better friends. We refrained from purchasing new sneakers (after all, this is a want and not a need, right?), BUT when it’s time to celebrate another milestone, we already have pairs picked out.

This post doesn’t need a lot of words….the photos speak for themselves.

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Who shows up with an Ikea bag full of chucks? This chick does! Had to be at least 25 pair.

T with her pile of chucks…check out the custom made ones! *swoon*

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It’s cold in DC today, but Ricks definitely looks like Spring. Color and more color! Put away your drab clothes and pull out the fun ones!

Feeling a little flighty with the pale pink shorts w/birds on them. Paired with flowery sunglasses and this girl is ready to take on Spring.

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Quick! Blow out the candles that aren’t lit! (lol) Happy Birthday Nikki!

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If someone has a chocolate allergy it’s reasonable to assume she wouldn’t eat chocolate right? Wrong! This chick tried to be sneaky and snag a bite before anyone noticed…but the evidence is on her face! CAUGHT! (btw–she’s not being sentimental. Those tears are from laughing so hard!)

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Nikki, you’re fierce and fabulous. You have to learn how to growl. ROOOOAAAAARRRRRR!

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Red velvet cupcake to match the red chucks she got for her birthday. YUMMMMM! Nikki B. is all smiles and so were we. 🙂

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The birthday girl loves her car and her chucks…put them together and she’s in heaven!

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::singing:: Friends….how many of us have them?

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Look at this awesome collage. This is the only way to show you all the pics at once…LOL.

We had so much fun celebrating Nikki’s birthday…and nearly 500 photos to prove it. Have a friend who has a birthday coming up? Celebrate her in  a way that reflects who she is. We did, and we’ve got some fun memories to show for it. Happy birthday Nikki B.! We hope you have a fantastic birthday filled with laughs, love, and light!

xoxo

R&R