Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Stay in shape on a Dime

Because, hey, before you know it we'll be gym-rats again!

The ever-anticipated Memorial Day weekend has come and gone, and for those of us Divas in the Northeast it means three key things:

1. We can finally wear white without worrying about that fashion-faux-pas, which was ingrained into our minds long ago.
2. Our tanlines are no longer non-existent.
3. It's "summer."

My point here is this: Take advantage of the next few months of beautiful weather and consider taking your workout routine outside. As a frequenter to the gym for as long as I can remember, I never thought I'd be one to say, "I'll be 'freezing' my gym membership this week." But I just said it, and I am. Because I realized two MAJOR benefits of doing so: I'll get fresh air after a long day in the office and save a pretty penny each month.

If you're locked into a gym membership, inquire about "freezing" it-- some gyms will charge you a small fee per month to keep it "frozen," while others may not even allow it. Because of the state of the economy, however, plenty of gyms in the area are offering promos to those "freezing"-- not canceling-- memberships (such as no-charge "freezing" for X-number of months).

Once you've "frozen" that membership, warm-up outside with one of these no- or low- cost exercises:

1. Running. Burns 600 to 700 calories/hr. There's plenty of routes in the area to conquer head-on, including the Charles' River Esplanade or down Beacon St., retracing the Boston Marathoners' route. Look up other local routes at MapMyRun.com.

2. Walking. Burns about 250 calories/hr., depending on your pace. Make it as simple as walking, instead of other transportation, or go for a power-walk along one of the MyMyRun.com routes.

3. Swimming. Burns 500 to 600 calories/hr. The Mirabella (North End) Pool (Commercial St., North End). $10 for the entire summer. Enough said.

4. Tennis. Free outdoor courts throughout the city (Patience not included! Courts can be busy and waits can be long, especially on weekends). There are two courts on the Common, one in the South End's Southwest Corridor, two on the Esplanade close to North Station, and several at North End park on Commercial St.; check out a complete list of court locations (and which ones are lit) here.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

To another Diva...

...and fellow Hands-of-Gold cousin. Thanks for finding this stellar article.

Yes, I Look Fabulous, but Inside I’m Saving
Published: May 19, 2009
Hard times are summoning a distinctly Hollywood response: maintaining a fabulous facade on the cheap while paring expenses behind the scenes.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Making Monday MAGNIFICENT!

Let's face it: No matter how we swing it, Mondays just aren't fun. But, discovering a handful of Diva-worthy deals each Monday, may make this dreaded day of the week a lil' more bearable. Here's the debut of "Magnificent Mondays: Five On-a-Dime Deals to get you through the Week."

1. The White Sale at National Jean Company (34 Langley Rd., Newton Centre) begins on Thursday, May 21st through Monday, May 25th. All whites 30% off; Entire store 25%.

2. Every Wednesday, from 5:30 to 7pm, enjoy "snacking time" at Sensing Restaurant & Bar (Fairmont Battery Wharf, 3 Battery Wharf, North End). The restaurant's signature small bites--infused with French techniques and global flavors-- are just $.99 per item.

3. Snacks aren't enough? Stop by Teatro (177 Tremont St., Theatre District) for its classic piattini menu, just $3 after 8pm.

4. JetBlue's Summer Sale kicked off today, with select one-way flights from $29 to $129. Travel must be booked by May 21st and take place between June 2nd and September 9th.

5. Cool off with $1 oysters Monday through Friday at The Living Room (101 Atlantic Ave., North End).

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Fine Wine on a Tight Budget

Because our palates are better well-off than our wallets...

At the Boston Wine School (BWS) (1354 Commonwealth Ave., Alston/Brighton) this Wednesday, May 20, from 6:30 to 8:30 PM, join the Boston Young Professionals Association (BYPA) for its newest program, Fine Wine on a Tight Budget.

BWS's Wine Extraordinaire and Teacher, Jonathon Alsop, says of the program:
Tired of people talking themselves into a recession? Do something about it! We'll taste all my favorite wines around the $10 mark, bottles that taste consistently more expensive than they really are.

About the best economic news I've heard in a while is that we're living in a golden age of cheap wine. I say we can sip our way out of our economic slide, and here's how.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Savvy at its finest

craigslist has gotten quite a bad rep lately; but if used correctly, it can be quite a savvy tool for a frugal Diva.

The story of the craigslist killer is no new news to us in Boston-- and I certainly don't recommend using this site to advertise or seek out such dodgy "services" as "massaging," or even more legit ones as cleaning, moving, etc. But what I do recommend using this site for is getting rid of excess clutter in your digs, whether it be un-used gift certificates, useless furniture tucked away in corners, and other odds-and-ends that aren't as marketable on sites like EBay. (Note: Items such as "like-new" jewelry and designer clothes can be marketable on EBay. Because I have no experience selling on EBay, I hesitate to give any advice regarding it; however, I can and will, in a few short graphs, give advice on EBay bidding).

Just a few weeks ago, I sold four $25 gift certificates to Red Lobster, which had been laying around my apartment for months. I cut the buyer a break, offering all four for $75 (a $100 value), and they were sold within hours. Here are a few points to keep in mind when posting your item and negotiating a transaction:

1. Don't disclose any personal contact information on the post.
2. When arranging to exchange the item, be sure to bring a friend, meet during daylight hours, and meet in a public place.
3. Trust your gut instinct. If something tells you not to do business with this person, then don't.
4. Make a separate account for craigslist transactions; that way, your personal address, nor identity, is never in jeopardy.

Become a Yurman-ista on Ebay
Although this Diva doesn't sell on EBay, she does bid on-- and often win-- items on the bidding site. I've won two David Yurman bracelets on the web site (one brand new and one just worn several times) and saved close to $600 total. Sure, I may not have gotten the glass of champagne, individual attention, and heaps of David Yurman-branded packaging when purchasing my bracelets, but the money saved was well worth it.

When bidding on EBay, remember:

1. If the bid isn't over for a few more days, mark it as an item that you're "watching," but don't start bidding until time starts running out.
2. Take note of when the bid is going to end (remember to check what time zone it's referring to!) and plan to be near a computer at that time or have your BlackBerry or iPhone close by.
3. A "max bid" doesn't mean you're safe-- they can help you, but you're not in the clear until the bid has ended.
4. Set a limit that you want to spend and don't exceed it-- the same item will most likely be posted by another seller sometime soon.

Good Luck and Be Frugal!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Three's the lucky number

Now Divas can wine and dine in style at least twice a week-- Introducing Felt's Recessionista Menu, which debuts tomorrow.

Every Wednesday starting at 6pm, Felt (533 Washington St., Downtown Crossing) will feature this menu for Recessionistas (aka, Divas on a Dime):

$3 appetizers/$3 entrees/$3 desserts

The launch party's tomorrow night, and each week features as new theme. Taken from the event's facebook page, here are the following three themes:
May 13 :: BEAUTIFUL. Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all? You of course! But who can’t use a little consultation every now & again? Tonight we’re featuring complimentary hair & skin consultations for all by Daryl Christopher Wellness Salon & Day Spa. One lucky lady will even be picked to enjoy an on-site makeover. We also have famed fashion photographer, Stuart Smith on-site providing instructions on how to look fabulous in photos—and who doesn’t want to look picture perfect every snapshot?

May 20 :: HOLLYWOOD. Put on your oh-so-chic oversized sunglasses, the bright lights of Hollywood are coming to FELT tonight. Our glamour girl guests will have the chance to audition to become the next reporter on NESN’s Dirty Water TV & sign-up for the 2009 Miss Boston competition. Each starlet will receive an exclusive pass to the FELT nightclub for Social Club Saturdays. Oh, and we haven’t even mentioned the Sex & the City, 90210 & Gossip Girl trivia that we planned…yes, that’s right—you know who’s the star tonight.

May 27 :: DANCE. This season, Dancing with the Stars made us want to shimmy, shake, dip & dance with that guy from The Sex & City movie. We didn't get him but we do have the professionals from Studio 665 coming tonight to show you a move or two. Complimentary dance lessons, fun dance music and no Bruno to judge? What more could you ask for? Except for maybe the free Smartwater for all those who choose to bust a move.