Category Archives: frugality

In Case You Were Wondering Where I’m at in My Life Right Now (a post by Lee)

Today, one of my students threw out a half-full bag of pretzels in the trash can under my desk. After she turned her back to me, I surreptitiously plucked the bag out of the bin and hid it in my desk for me to eat later when she’s not in the office.

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Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It: Lunch Edition (a post by Anna)

So last Friday, Bobby got me on The List for some swanky lunch break dance party. He told me in advance that a bunch of young professionals would be gathering on the rooftop of The Standard Hotel, where we’d be greeted with drink tickets, free food, and a DJ/dance floor. Because apparently having a dance party at a popular club during your lunch break is normal in NYC?!

(After some research, I learned that Sweden beat us to the punch.)

Check out that skyline.

The Standard Hotel is known for its architectural design and stunning views of NYC, among other things. Sure enough, I found myself in the middle of a dance party at 1pm on a Friday. Directly next to the dance floor was a hot tub. (Apparently a business lady fell into the hot tub during the same party last week.)

If only I had an animated GIF.

We spent a fair amount of time taking model shots in the fancy chairs.

How Not to Mingle / Make Friends

We ascended to the rooftop to check the view and fake grass. I was too busy living the high life to remember to take photos (what has gotten into me?!), but the view truly was spectacular. We even made it on their Facebook page:

Photo by Jasmina Tomic

As though this experience wasn’t bizarre enough already, the rooftop featured a crepe stand. Here I found more Nutella than I’ve ever seen in my life.

See those VATS OF NUTELLA?!

By 2:30, the lunch break dance party was over. The place cleared out, and everyone headed back to work. Needless to say, this Flavorpill lunch really raised the standard on all sorts of levels.

There IS such a thing as a free lunch, and I ate it. (a guest post by Jordie)

It is no surprise that AM and I are cheap frugal. But we’re not the only ones! So is our third half, Jordie. He generously offered to write us a post about… his lunch? Anyway, enjoy!

In the workplace, people tend to get all excited about the littlest things. I am no exception.  For example, I got really excited about getting some free cake last week when co-worker Amy was having a goodbye party. I looked forward to it all day. Hence this gchat:

Click to enlarge

I also got really excited when one of my co-workers accidentally closed her pen in her laptop and it exploded all over the screen.

Imagine my excitement when someone at work told Anna Marie and me that we were going to get free lunch on Wednesday. I talked about it all week.

When I asked our co-worker where this lunch was coming from, she said something about having connections and a  Marriott hotel. I didn’t quite follow, but I knew it was going to be great.

Finally, the big day arrived. Around 11:15 am, a mysterious man and woman with Russian accents came in with boxes of food and then left. The whole thing was pretty confusing and exciting. I called Anna Marie and whispered into the phone, “I see labeled lunch bags! Two boxes of them! One of them is labeled ‘chicken wrap!’ Wait! I see one labeled ‘protein pack!’ What is that?! Omigosh!”

“What I want to know is, are there drinks?” she replied. She was whispering as well even though her office wasn’t anywhere near the action.

“I don’t know.”

“Omigosh!”

Click.

Turns out, there were drinks. 20 FL OZ Pepsi! I was bouncing off the walls.

When I got my bag (it was tuna), I did a jig. I was so happy.

Dances with Tuna

Guys, Anna Marie was really happy too.

Even theater majors can’t fake joy like this.

As you can see, co-worker LRoss wasn’t quite as impressed as we were.

Not as enthused

After we calmed down, we took inventory of our bags. They included:
-A sandwich
-An apple
-Chips
-Some warm coleslaw
-A napkin
-A knife
-A fork

I laid it all out nicely on my desk and we stepped back to admire it.

That’s whole grain bread, son!

Next, it was time to eat it. It didn’t really matter what it tasted like. I was gonna love it.

Highlight of my day

In the end, the only clue I found about where this lunch might have originated was on the napkin.

Eat. Drink. Connect. But where???

Unfortunately, “The Bistro” is about as generic a title as they come.

I am realizing now that I just wrote a post on someone else’s blog about what I ate for lunch on Wednesday.

A sandwich.

The Queen of Coupons (a post by Anna)

I’m an Extreme Couponer, and I have a lot of photos of me with coupons.

Tuna-finity And Beyond! (a post by Anna)

A year ago, Jordie attended the Rice University Tuna Festival. The fact that he somehow neglected to inform his best friends about this bizarre outing didn’t stop him from bragging about his experience for the past twelve months. This year, the event was not to be missed.

Without us even asking, a friendly gentleman offered to balance Mike for this photo.

Here’s the concept: a Rice professor went fishing some nine years ago and caught a lot of tuna. Then, not knowing how else to share the wealth, he cooked it up and gave it away on Rice’s campus. Over the years Tuna Fest has been established as an annual Rice tradition, bringing students, faculty, and staff together for a day of tuna and fun. [Disclaimer: this story may only be rumor.]

We were unaware of Tuna Festival’s hilarity until we saw this year’s theme: Tuna-finity And Beyond! A fish shaped Buzz Lightyear mascotted the event.

First we spotted tables of free grilled tuna!

We made it just in time for... TUNA!

And Texas’s own Blue Bell!

Blue Bell has never wronged me.

We then ran into our friends from St. Arnold’s!

We neglected to ask our St. Arnold's friends to be in the foreground of this photo.

And that’s not all folks! There were free t-shirts, tuna tattoos, and a pinata!

You should've seen the kids demolishing that pinata.

Just when we thought the day could not possibly get any better, I looked up and saw a sign for segway demos.

What?!?! SEGWAY DEMOS?! Is this real?

It IS real. And apparently so is Toby's Wholesale Ice truck.

Tuna Fest ended with a lot of dancing.

Photoshopping is one of Lee's many claims to fame.

Many thanks to the The Richard E. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology for hosting this grand event!

A Post to the Longevity of Local Libraries (a post by Anna)

I really love having a business card. It makes me feel important. Everytime I have an opportunity to give someone my card, it’s like a little ego stroke. When Lee first got a job, I urged her to jump on the business card bandwagon. She hopped over to a website, ordered some free business cards, and waited patiently for them to arrive in the mail. This is how they turned out:

Best business card ever.

As cool as they are, Lee and I constantly joke about several aspects of her business card that I find hilarious:
A) Her address is our apartment address.
B) She included our blog URL.
C) In order to get free business cards, you have to allow the company to print any image in the background. You don’t know what the image will be until you receive them in the mail. Lee’s features a tree.

Ok ok, now that I’ve got that background information exposed, I’ll move on to the real story.

I can’t really tell if it was my desire to fulfill what I consider a civic duty or my recent obsession with Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games series, but the time had come for me to finally join the Houston Public Library.

After expressing this to the librarian at the front desk, we were overcome with emotion when he asked for a proof of residency. I panicked. I had nothing on me that printed my home address. And neither did Lee. And the library was closing soon, so it’s not like we could just run home. Then, out of nowhere, Lee proudly pulled out her business card. “Will this work?” she asked. The guy seemed a bit baffled, then passed us both the library registration form. Success!

The paperwork.

After filling out the registration forms, he handed us our new library cards.

Jealous??

Next we meandered around the facilities, taking in the sights. Lee particularly loved the egg-shaped chair.

Someday maybe I will have one of these in my home...

I tried to contain myself since we were in public, but I was kind of flipping out when I found Book 2 of my latest infatuation.

The Hunger Games are soooooo goooood.

But the excitement wasn’t over. As we approached the check-out counter, we realized it was a self-check out! Score!

Lee, self checking-out!

As you can see, our library experience was nothing but AWESOME.

Lee managed to have the same expression in every photo. Until now.

In closing, I have agreed to make a public statement that I will never again satirize Lee’s business card. Much credit can be given to it in making our library experience possible. Even if it does spotlight a cheesy tree.

The Houston Museum of Natural Science. (a post by Anna)

Lee and I moved to Houston, Texas last week. Our first week involved furniture shopping and long drives on fast highways. Amid a long day of couch shopping, we decided to take a short recess by seeking out a nearby tourist attraction. After a brief brainstorm, we both decided it could be in our best interest to visit a museum, considering Houston is known for having one of the largest museum districts of any city in the States. We set our minds [and our GPS] for The Houston Museum of Natural Science.

Much to my surprise, Lee was aware that the renowned Faberge Jewelry was on exhibit at this location; for this reason we got super pumped on the drive through the museum district. As we parked our car, we agreed to commit only one hour to this cultural experience, then return to furniture land. It was going to be awesome!

As soon as we entered the museum, we hopped over to the main counter to figure out where to find our desired exhibit. That’s when we noticed the large counter of cashiers, complete with museum fees posted above. Not only was it going to cost us a chunk of dough to see the regular exhibit halls, but the Faberge exhibit was even more costly. [Mind you, neither of us have started paying jobs at this point in our lives.] We had 45 minutes left in our stopwatch, so we made the game time decision to save the museum for another day and instead enjoy a leisurely meander through the museum gift shop.

The gift shop stroll provided pretty much an overview of the museum. If nothing else, we were able to gather an idea of the potential exhibits we came so close to actually seeing.

Lee's favorite animal.

The gift shop offered a variety of books on subjects that were most likely displayed throughout the exhibit halls.

Scholarly, Scholar Lee.

With an entire section dedicated to magic tricks and experiment kits, we found it safe to assume that the museum was featuring magicians.

Magically, Magic Lee

And most importantly, we quickly discovered that the gift shop had a potpourri of science themed hats and masks of all designs. This discovery marks the moment that the museum truly won us over.

Visualizing the magic trick exhibit.

Envisioning the dinosaur exhibit.

Apparently there's a butterfly exhibit?

We couldn't have asked for a better gift shop.

As you can see, Lee thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Houston Natural Science museum and is excited to return next time to actually go inside!

Lee LOVED it!

Thus ends our visit to The Houston Museum of Natural Science.