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Saturday, November 14, 2015


Two summers ago, Mr FS took a solo walk and discovered a wonderful park near our humble abode in Paris. We spent many hours there. Last summer, Miss Em paid us a visit and we walked to the park after dinner.

There were many more people there on our visits than shown in the photo below. Said Miss Em:

"Is this paradise?"

“They, looking back, all the eastern side beheld
Of Paradise, so late their happy seat,
Waved over by that flaming brand, the gate
With dreadful faces thronged and fiery arms:
Some natural tears they dropped, but wiped them soon;
The world was all before them, where to choose
Their place of rest, and Providence their guide;
They, hand in hand, with wandering steps and slow,
Through Eden took their solitary way.”

― John MiltonParadise Lost

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Roused from Slumber Again: Eileen Fisher Harem Pants for $55! Nordstrom Rack

This is a good deal for those who have wanted to try these iconic/weird pants. I love them myself.

Nordstrom Rack: as of this posting, sizes XS, S, and L remain.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Roused from Slumber: Paula's Choice Super Deal and THANK YOU

A very long blogging slumber. Miss Em is back from Serbia and work is exhausting. Both are good causes.

A few weeks ago, Paula's Choice had a decent sale and I succumbed. Now, she's having the BEST SALE I've ever seen. Arghhh. I don't need anything else, but perhaps you do. In honor of Halloween (??), everything on the site is 25% off. Discount code is right on the site.

Remember, if you haven't bought from her and use my code, we EACH get $10.  Not too shabby.

And THANK YOU. My last post was on trying to be LESS PATHOLOGICALLY frugal. So many good suggestions have come in. So far, I have mostly bought lots of medium-sized presents for my children (art supplies! boots! backpack!).

We also had a lovely meal at Rue 127, somewhat off the tourist track. You should give it a try if you're ever in New Orleans.


Saturday, September 19, 2015

80/20 Frugality?: Spend more on...What?

Mr FS and I have a combined age of 124. We are close to retirement if we really want it. In fact, we are too old for early retirement. Not that we wanted it. What could be more rewarding than yapping about literature?

Every now and then, I make a vow in this space. Generally, I do not keep my vows. Everyone knows about the Pareto Principle, right? That's the idea that everything is 80/20. You get 80% of the results with 20% of your effort. Then, to get the other 20%, you need to put out 80%. This works with stuff also: we wear 20% of our clothing 80% of the time; we use 20% of our cookbooks 80% of the time, and so on.

This would mean that--in my frugal path-- I've gotten 80% of the benefits from 20% of the effort. For a long time, we put in the extra 20%: we wanted, for instance, to make sure our kids graduated college without debt. DONE. We wanted to pay off our house: DONE. 

Thanks to the recent swoon in the stock market, I have reverted to my 2008 behavior: I no longer look at retirement balances. Time is no longer on our side: whatever we save now will have a relatively small impact in the long run. 

That is disappointing, but freeing. It's hard to change habits. But I herewith vow to try to do only the 20% that will garner the 80% of results. 

So I'm trying to figure out what add-ons we should indulge in. Frugal Son wants us to treat him (and ourselves!) to more of the pricy restaurants in New Orleans. So we're doing a bit more of that.

I can't think of anything else. Any ideas?

Have you ever deliberately INCREASED your spending? On what?

Thursday, September 17, 2015

CHEAP CHIC is back!

OK. I just copied and pasted from the publisher's website. Anyway, THIS was the book we used to pass around the vintage clothing store where I worked. THIS was the book that taught me about COST PER WEAR. THIS was the out-of-print book that was going for big bucks on Amazon.  Did you read this book back in the day?

The Ultimate Fashion Bible CHEAP CHIC Is Back in Print!

40th Anniversary Edition -- With A New Foreword by Tim Gunn

The Ultimate Fashion Bible CHEAP CHIC Is Back in Print!


  • Imprint: Three Rivers Press
  • On sale: 9/1/15
  • Price: $16.00
  • Pages: 224
  • ISBN: 9781101903421
CONTACT:Rebecca Marsh
With a new foreword by Tim Gunn and hundreds of timeless tips and tricks, the ultimate fashion bible CHEAP CHIC is back in print.
“I think it’s terrific.” –Diane von Furstenberg, of the original edition of Cheap Chic
Before there were street-style blogs and ‘zines, there was CHEAP CHIC by Caterine Milinaire and Carol Troy. Originally published in 1975, this little book about personal style sold hundreds of thousands of copies in its first iteration and was an international hit. Decades later, it continues to inspire designers and attract fashion lovers, gaining a reputation as a cult classic.
Back in print and with a new foreword by Tim Gunn, the fortieth anniversary edition of CHEAP CHIC: Hundreds of Money-Saving Hints to Create Your Own Great Look (Three Rivers Press; Trade Paperback; $16.00; On Sale September 1, 2015) is both a fascinating fashion artifact and a timeless style guide. It was one of the first fashion books to show photographs of “street style” intermixed with couture.
Whether you’re a lover of designer labels or a master thrifter, CHEAP CHIC is about cultivating your personal style on any budget.CHEAP CHIC covers all the basics, and provides advice for stocking up on must-have items such as T-shirts, denim, exercise gear, and one-of-a-kind couture pieces. There’s a reason that classics – like a good pair of leather boots or a navy blazer – never go out of style, and CHEAP CHIC is proof of their staying power.
Astonishingly relevant forty years later, CHEAP CHIC provides great practical advice for creating an affordable, personal wardrobe strategy: what to buy, where to buy it, and how to put it all together to make your own distinctive fashion statement without going broke. It is the original fashion bible that proves you don’t have to be wealthy to be stylish.
CHEAP CHIC also includes interviews with fashion icons like Diana Vreeland and Yves Saint Laurent, along with beautiful vintage photos of stylish celebrities from Greta Garbo to James Dean to Cher. The model on the cover, swinging from the logo designed by Bea Feitler, is Jerry Hall.
CHEAP CHIC provides excellent tips on thrifting, layering, and more – readers will even learn how to make a bikini or tie a headscarf properly. Packed with style ideas, shopping tips, and ways to develop your unique look, CHEAP CHIC is a go-to for fashion inspiration.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Housekeeping: Does Anything EVER Wear Out?

I am in the 1% of housekeeping--the bottom 1%. There are many things I can't do (fold, sew, e.g.) or don't do (iron): other things I do seldom AND badly. 

One of the things I do seldom and badly: getting rid of things. I have a wee bit of motivation because Miss Em is returning after a year abroad. She left behind too much stuff also, but at least she's an excellent folder and organizer.

Stuff I will NOT need to buy for at least 5 years
bed linens
pots and pans
kitchen equipment

I should probably add clothing to that list, but am sure I will be enticed by many things. Still, it's amazing how little really wears out. 

Example: Mr FS got a beautiful shirt at Marshall Field (a definite blast from the past) in Chicago in about 1986. We were at a conference so I remember the date. Even at half price, the shirt was a splurge for us at $25. It remained a favorite for many years (very interesting chambray fabric). He must have worn it for almost 25 years. Finally, the collar shredded. We were ecstatic!

Another still-used item: cloth diapers. We bought our diapers second-hand (so a bit shredded from the get-go) from the very diaper service used by Mr FS's family back in the day. Both our kids used them. Then--after much searching--we found someone who wanted SOME of the diapers for her little one. We still had a lot left.

Miss Em uses them to wipe off her paint brushes. She loves them. They should last another 20 years.

Have you had anything wear out lately?

Saturday, September 12, 2015

A Little Help for Syrian Refugees in Serbia

My daughter's last weeks in Serbia--a country that has embraced her and that she has embraced--are coinciding with the masses of Syrian refugees entering a country with a dubious and tragic history of its own--and in the midst of a terrible economic situation. Emma has been volunteering at various refugee sites.

Her drawings of Serbia have met with a wonderful reception, both in Serbia and in the Serbian diaspora.

She is offering a set of postcards for a mere $5, with all proceeds to go to aid for Syrian refugees in Serbia.

This is from her FB, through which you can link to her commercial site. No paypal, I'm afraid. It is not available to residents of Serbia.


I know we all want to do our part, however small, to help refugees as they make their long and difficult journey toward a better life.
These postcards are a small contribution we can all afford: 100% of proceeds will go to Refugee Aid Serbia. The postcards are tokens of appreciation for what is, for all intents and purposes, a generous donation.
Receive something beautiful and do good all at the same time. What could be better?