Blog Posts by Fabulous & Frugal

  • Waste Less Food

    by Stephanie Berenbaum - December 07, 2011

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    Answers to Your Kitchen Questions

    As Fab & Fru as I am, I have a confession: I throw out more food than I would like to admit. Often it's simply because I am just not sure about expiration dates and food safety rules. So, rather than continue to be wasteful, I dug into the book "The Kitchen Answer Book" by Hank Rubin, in an effort to educate myself about food safety and save myself a lot of money in the process!

    Preserve Your Parmigano

    Fresh Parmesan cheese is delicious - and expensive. To preserve it, make sure you wrap it tightly in plastic wrap - and that you use fresh wrap after each use! Hank also recommends storing it in the warmest part of your fridge (40 degrees).

    Mmmm…Mold

    If I see even a hint of mold on cheese, I toss the whole thing out. Apparently, not necessary! All you have to do is cut about a half inch off the surface from the affected side, and use the remainder within a week. A definite money

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  • Getting Schooled in Gift Giving

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    Our friend Shelley has been teaching grade school for years. And while she loves her job, as we all know, a teacher's pay isn't exactly a king's ransom. Traditionally, for the winter holidays, the parents would give Shelley and the other teachers gifts - many of which were in the form of gift cards or cash - and were greatly appreciated - particularly around holiday shopping time!

    Well, this year the school decided to make a change. Because some parents were concerned that teachers' favoritism might be "bought" via monetary holiday gifts, this year the school forbade parents from giving money, and told them they could only give actual gifts with a dollar value of maximum $10. Not to sound ungrateful, but besides the fact the Shelley has more note cards and scented candles than she knows what to do with, she was really counting on the extra cash she usually got at holiday time.

    Was it the right call for the school to equalize the parental gift giving playing field, or

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  • Holiday Glamour on Dime

    Holiday Glamour On Dime

    by Brandi Savitt - December 5, 2011

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    Light Up Your Wardrobe This Season

    Looking for a way to dress up your holiday party look without spending your entire gift budget on clothes for yourself? Well, supermodel and runway coach for the Miss Universe Organization, Lu Sierra has some Fab & Fru tips that will not only add a bit of glam to your winter wardrobe, her chic yet affordable suggestions will get heads turning in YOUR direction this holiday season!

    Vintage Is Your Best Friend

    While it's no secret that shopping at vintage stores for designer looks for less is a Fab & Fru must, Lu reminds us all that "shopping vintage is also a fashion diva's way to give back to Mother Earth". It's the ultimate way to recycle while paying tribute to style through the ages! And like all of the best money saving tips, Lu wants you to get creative when putting together your holiday look. While shopping at her favorite vintage shop, Stella Dallas, in

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  • Tax Planning Tips

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    What Tax Deductions Can You Take?

    No, this tax article isn't a misprint! It's the end of the year, and 'tis the start of tax season. Our good friend - and Certified Financial Planner - Michael Hardy, of Mollott and Hardy, Inc. (along with Efile.com), just reminded us about one of the greatest holiday gifts you can give yourself: to be well organized and make sure you have all the relevant documentation for tax time NOW, so you can save as much money as possible when you file your 2011 taxes.

    Here are some key questions Michael wants you to ask yourself to help determine what deductions you are eligible to take advantage of. -Thanks Michael!

    Make Your Job Work for You!

    • Do You Pay For Parking At Work? You may be able to deduct the cost of parking.
    • Do you Use Your Car For Business? You may be reimbursed for business use of your vehicle based on miles driven.
    • Do You Ride A Bicycle To Work? If so, you may be reimbursed for the cost of the bike as well
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  • Host a Posh Potluck

    Throw a Dinner Party on a Dime

    Want to throw an upscale holiday dinner party without the price tag? Has your office party been canceled this year because funds have been cut? Don't let the bad economy put a damper on your social sparkle - throw a Posh Potuck instead! Your next elegant evening could be as near as your very own cupboard. We love the very Fab & Fru idea of hosting a Posh Potluck anytime of year, but the holidays couldn't be a better time to celebrate in style. 'Posh' and 'potluck' are not two words which we generally associate with one another. But, put the two together, and you get an incredibly chic evening -- at a bargain basement price!

    In fact, Brandi and I just threw a Posh Potluck a few weeks ago at my home in LA. Here's how we did it!

    Use What You've Got

    Like so many of you, I sometimes forget I have all the makings of an elegant dinner party just waiting to happen! I mean, who doesn't have some hidden treasures lurking around, just dying for a

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  • Deal or No Deal?

    Our friend Lia was going through her inbox recently and realized she had just missed a 20% off sale at her favorite boutique - it had ended just the day before! Because she shops at this little boutique all the time, she figured she would try calling them and see if they would extend the discount to her if she came in that day...

    So, Lia called the store and apologized for not seeing the "private sale" email sooner. She then asked if she would be able to use the discount if she came in that afternoon?

    What she heard from the salesperson on the other end was a huge sigh, and then a pause. "You know," said the sales woman "we just had another woman come in here and try to do this. I'm only going to say yes if you come in today AND you buy at least 4 items."

    Lia was shocked. She was a good customer and not trying to take advantage of anyone - though that's exactly how the shopkeeper made her feel! The result? She didn't go in to shop - and probably won't for a good long

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  • Cook Up Crowd Pleasing Crostini

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    Fancy & Frugal Anytime Appetizers

    Looking for easy to make appetizers this Holiday Season? And, yes, of course we mean ones that don't cost a lot, but will please even your foodiest of friends. Well, you've come to the right place: Try out our 3 delightful, meatless crostini variations and instantly become the hit of the dinner party! Make one kind - or do what we do - make a sampling of them all. They're bite sized, beautiful, and sure to please even the most curmudgeonly (is that a word?) of relatives.

    Quality & Freshness Count

    The difference between making a good crostini and an excellent one is starting with the freshiest ingredients. None of the ingredients in the following recipes are expensive, and a little will go a long way - so don't skip on quality and taste just to save a few pennies...

    Start with Good Bread

    The first step in creating a perfect crostini is a good French baguette. One large baguette will yield about 40-45 crostini. Slice the baguette into 1/4 inch Read More »from Cook Up Crowd Pleasing Crostini
  • Taking or Leaving the Leftovers?!

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    Last year, Renee hosted a huge Thanksgiving dinner for all of her friends who were staying local. She and her hubby cooked a giant turkey, two kinds of stuffing and their famous sweet potatoes. But with a guest list of over 30 adults and kids, Renee asked every family to contribute a crowd-pleasing side dish or dessert. People happily went all out cooking up their Thanksgiving specialties. The food was delicious, and the holiday was a total success.

    Naturally, there were leftovers, but not enough to send everyone home with a doggy bag. As some of Renee's friends began helping to clear the plates and get the dishes started, most everyone said they'd stop by over the weekend to pick up their serving platters and containers. However, when Renee's friend Shelli started packing up her kids, she also packed up her casserole dish that still held some of the delicious mac & cheese that she had made for the event. A little surprised that Shelli didn't leave the leftovers, Renee

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  • Pet-Proofing Your Home


    Keep Your Furniture & Floors Looking Like New

    I happen to be quite the pet lover. Although I won't be appearing on Animal Hoarders anytime soon, I have a hard time saying no to any cat or dog that is in need of a home. Full disclosure: I recently even brought an injured baby rat home...

    All of this pet friendliness may ensure good Karma, but it tends to wreak expensive havoc on my home if I'm not careful. It seems there are two ways to keep your furniture from looking like it belongs at the dump: discipline or prevention. Since I'm a big softy when it comes to cute and cuddly creatures, I researched some tips to keep paws and teeth off the furniture!

    Cat Scratch Fever

    I learned pretty early on how important it is for cats to keep their claws, so declawing has never been a consideration for me. I certainly can see why it's so tempting, though. In the past, my cats have scratched and shredded everything from my sofa and hardwood floors to the big suitcase in my

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  • Financial Terms Decoded

    Learning the Language of Finance

    This past year, I have become much better acquainted with the ins and outs of my own personal finances, and in the process, my vocabulary has also expanded greatly! Terms that once left me puzzled are easier to comprehend, which really helps when big money decisions and stacks of agreements are waiting to be tackled. And since the definitions themselves can be somewhat mind-numbing if you are not in the know, we've decided to do a Fab & Fru breakdown of some common terms to help YOU savvy up when it comes to financial speak!

    Equity

    Equity is the value of an ownership interest, including shareholders' equity in a business.

    Which means: The term "equity" can be a bit confusing because it refers to a few different things. So let's break it down - the stock market is also called the "Equity Market," because stock ownership represents the portion you own in a company. Okay, not so daunting, right? So what else is there.....

    You probably

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