Thursday, March 20, 2014

Roadtripping: 10 Ways to Save on the Road

Original CC image courtesy of Marc Smith

If you've been reading the blog for awhile, then you know that I've been talking about our road trip to New Orleans for weeks now. And if you know me personally, then you can imagine that I did pretty much anything I could think of to scrimp and scrounge for a few extra cents to put away for the trip. Now, combine my aforementioned wanderlust and frugality, and of course we're left with this incredibly helpful money-saving road-tripping guide! Read on for ten great ways to save!

1. Pack a lunch! First and foremost, consider the one thing that you need more than anything else - and the one thing that you're going to consistently be tempted to buy along the way - your food. I know it's more convenient to just not worry about it, to make a quick drive-through detour along the way, to pick up a bottle of soda to drink here and there as you make bathroom breaks, but in all seriousness, don't. Think about how long your drive is, and prepare any meals, snacks, and drinks that you know you'll be eating ahead of time.

2. Don't stay at a hotel. The next thing your body will need is sleep! As someone who has stayed in a lot of crappy hotels to save a little money (albeit often company money), I can honestly say that you're better off not opting for the cheapest deal you can find at a nearby motel. Instead, save money by camping out at the local grounds, on the beach, or in your car. Even staying at a cozy bed & breakfast typically costs less than a cheap motel, and is much more comfortable.

CC image courtesy of Vidya Crawley

3. Plan ahead. Okay, maybe this should have been the first bullet on the list. Depending on your interests, you may want to stop at a roadside attraction, make a several-hour amusement park detour (not that I have ever done this, *ahem*), or have a fancy dinner date before settling in for the night. You can save some time and money by doing a little research and pre-planning. For example, printing relevant coupons, finding the cheapest lunch menu in a town you'll be driving through, or researching national or state parks at which to stop and enjoy a nice picnic. A great resource to find stops along your trip's route is Roadtrippers.com.

4. Set your budget. I couldn't imagine stepping out the door without knowing how much I'll need to cover gas for the trip's duration! For longer trips with planned stops such as parks or roadside attractions, figure out how much admission costs will add up to, as well as average meal prices at nearby restaurants. By having your budget laid out ahead of time, you'll know immediately whether or not you can afford the opportunity to do something spontaneous.

5. Sign up for AAA. I have to admit that Brad and I are currently not members of AAA, but have experienced their benefits in the past. If you know you're going to be leaving for a vacation, it may be a good time to consider signing up! It's always great to know that someone is there to help you if you get into vehicular trouble, but you'll also have opportunities for membership discounts at certain hotels, airlines, amusement parks, and other businesses and services.

6. Take your pets with you. As much of a hassle as it can be to take an animal on a long road-trip, it's so much cheaper than boarding your pet, and probably easier than finding a friend that's willing to stay with them 24/7 and give them all the excessive attention that they're used to because you work at home and just snuggle the crap out of them all day.

CC image courtesy of dagnyg

7. Pool your resources. If you're going to be traveling with friends or family, then consider carpooling, splitting the hotel bill, or have each adult pack part of a meal, for a sort of pot-luck dinner on the go. With larger parties, you even have the option to look for restaurants or hotels with special group prices.

8. Be prepared for emergencies. If you don't have an emergency kit in your car, then this is the best time to get one together! Consider what you would need in a worst-case scenario: jumper cables, jack, tire iron, spare tire, as well as some personal emergency items, such as a flashlight, blanket, or toilet paper. You'll be glad to have these items with you if you have car troubles in the middle of nowhere, and it will be much less expensive if you can deal with them yourself.

9. Watch gas prices. This isn't as complicated as it sounds! Just figure out your vehicle's MPG and gas tank capacity to find out approximately how often you'll need to stop for gas along your trip. Now place your trip parameters in Google Maps to find the areas along your route that you'll be in when you need a refill, and pair it with a site like GasBuddy.com, which allows you to search for the lowest gas prices within a certain search criteria.

CC image courtesy of Jacob Enos

10. Buy travel supplies ahead of time. There are plenty of convenience stores and rest stops along the way if you've forgotten sunscreen, phone chargers, sandals, or personal hygiene items, but they're often over-priced because of their attainability. You can save a few more dollars by bringing these items from home or buying them at a grocery or discount store.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tuesday Treasures 11

This is the angel Liwet, a bust of papier mache handmade by Lora Lee of Centsations. The feathers are entirely made from copper, as is the armor surrounding the bust. Currently, Lora is actually working on a revamp of this beautiful piece, which you can learn more about by following the Centsations blog!


This DIY Pendant Lamp at Dear Emmeline is so cool! Plus, it's made from embroidery hoops! If you don't happen to have any of those just lying around, they're just a few cents each! I can't wait to make one for my craft studio!


This beautiful mixed-media brooch is handmade by Giova Brusa and stitched with a tiny little tree! I love the variety of muted colors all working together to make this such a bright & warm, yet neutral piece. You can buy this one-of-a-kind treasure from Giova Brusa on Etsy.


I'm really loving this beautiful collection of living room items curated by the interior design studio of Nickey Kehoe. This photo was taken by Kimberly Genevieve at and was featured on Design Love Fest's Florals in Your Space.


Our final work of art is a gorgeous embroidered sweatshirt by Anna of Cazadora de Inspiración. Anna demonstrates how to easily achieve any shape you may want to embroidering by simply basting your outline beforehand. Check out more beautiful detail shots over at Cazadora de Inspiración!


Thanks for reading, and have a great week! Tomorrow morning I'll be leaving for my vacation, but I've a few blog posts put together to take care of you for the next couple of weeks, so stop back in soon!

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patty's Day from Brittanibus!


Hey folks! I just wanted to stop in today to wish you all a very happy St. Patrick's Day!

Also, if you've been reading my blog for awhile now, then you're probably aware that I've been counting down the days to my vacation, and it's so close to finally being here!

On Wednesday Brad and I are finally leaving for New Orleans, and a few days after that we'll be driving east for an amazing time in Daytona Beach! (We initially planned on leaving tomorrow, but unfortunately it's just not in the cards.) I seriously can't stop thinking about it, and I can't wait for Wednesday to just hurry up and get here!

While I've already got my blog posts covered for the next few weeks, I may be a bit lax in my sharing and social media habits. And, let's face it, I may not get around to checking my comments and emails as often in the upcoming two weeks, but my inbox is always open if you have any questions or comments, or if you just need someone to talk to.

I wish you the very best holiday, and that you do not envy me in flying south, for your own Springtime is surely right around the corner. Thanks for reading, and be sure to stop in tomorrow for Tuesday Treasures!

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Saturday, March 15, 2014

DIY All-Natural Health & Beauty Recipes (Part Three: Hygiene)

Original CC image courtesy of kahvikisu

This is the final installation of a three-part series! If you're just tuning in, be sure to check out Part One: Ingredients and Part Two: Cosmetics!

In this edition of my DIY All-Natural series, I thought I'd begin with the one health & beauty product that started it all, deodorant. Often, the active ingredient in deodorants and antiperspirants is an aluminum compound, which can actually increase the chances of breast cancer and Alzheimer's Disease when used, especially after shaving. It should come as no surprise then, that this is the first product I dumped when I realized that I needed to cleanse my cosmetics cupboard and adopt a healthier lifestyle. Luckily, I've found some really wonderful blogs that provide great resources on making your own! Read on for even more health & hygiene DIYs!

Friday, March 14, 2014

DIY All-Natural Health & Beauty Recipes (Part Two: Cosmetics)

Original CC Image courtesy of Debs (ò‿ó)♪

Hey, folks! Today's post is the second portion of a 3-part feature! If you're just joining us now, be sure to stop over and check out Part I: Ingredients! If you've already done that, then congratulations! You only need to read through a few more of my rambling introductory paragraphs to get to the good stuff!

In Part Two of my DIY All-Natural Health & Beauty series, I'll be discussing the bread and butter of any beauty routine - the makeup! If you're like me, then perhaps you've found yourself pretty fed up with the amount of parabens and unnatural toxins & chemicals found in your makeup, and you're looking for a wonderful do-it-yourself alternative.

Well, look no further! In this post I'll be linking you to some of the best blogs that provide tried-and-true all-natural beauty recipes for your own cosmetic detox, neatly sorted by product type. First, let's get your face covered.

Original CC image courtesy of Matt Trostle

Foundations & Mineral Veils:
All Natural Homemade Foundation at Thank Your Body
DIY All Natural Mineral Foundation by Tara Mackey at My Organic Life
DIY: Mineral Veil Face Powder by Reese Kistel
Homemade Foundation Powder by Kristin at Live Simply
DIY Natural Powder Foundation at A Blossoming Life
DIY All Natural Pressed Powder Foundation at A Blossoming Life

Concealers:
DIY Herbal Concealer (parts 1 & 2) at Back Roads Beauty
DIY Healing Concealer at Humble Bee & Me*
Touche Éclat - Let's Make Our Own by LisaLise*

(*Concealer recipes marked with a star contain titanium dioxide, which is all-natural, but may be a known carcinogen. At this time the topic is under debate.)

Blushes:
Natural Blush Makeup Recipe by Wellness Mama
All Natural Homemade Blush at Thank Your Body
DIY Homemade Blush at One Good Thing by Jillee
DIY Homemade Blush at Live Simply
Easy DIY Beet Blush & Lip Gloss: 3 Ways at Yum Universe
Powdered Blush or Bronzer Recipe at From Nature With Love

Original CC image courtesy of Jerine Lay

Eye Shadow:
All Natural Homemade Eye-Shadow Recipe at Thank Your Body
How to Make Cream Eye-Shadow at Soap Deli News
Pumpkin Shimmer Eye-Shadow Recipe at Witch-Blog
Powdered Eye Shadow Recipe at From Nature With Love
How to Make Eye-Shadow at Makeup Notebook

Eye Liner:
Homemade Non-Toxic Eye Liner by The Coconut Mama
DIY Natural & Non-Toxic Black Eyeliner at Beauty by Britanie
Eye Liner Recipe at From Nature With Love

Mascara:
All Natural Homemade Mascara at Thank Your Body
DIY Natural Clay Mascara at Humblebee & Me
DIY All-Natural Mascara +5 Homemade Mascara Reviews at Natural News Blogs
DIY Homemade Cake Mascara at Team EcoEtsy

Original CC image courtesy of JFXie

Lipsticks:
Homemade Natural Lipstick Recipe at Wellness Mama (with lots of color options)
Red Velvet Lipstick at Humblebee & Me

Glosses:
Mint Chocolate Lip Gloss at Food+Words
DIY Lip Gloss at dōTerra Everyday

Balms:
Hemp Honey Lip Balm at Garden Therapy
Lip Balm Recipe at Beautylish
DIY Beauty Bar - Make Your Own Lip Balm at Autostraddle (with flavor ideas)
Natural Tinted Lip Balm Recipe at Wellness Mama

Pigments:
Sheer Lip Color Recipe at From Nature With Love

Original CC image courtesy of Kate Hiscock

Hairspray is another product that's typically laden with unknown fragrances, as well as other chemicals that may be just as bad for you as they are for the environment. Many of the active ingredients in modern hairsprays have yet to be tested for carcinogens, so at this time it's unknown if the usage of these products can be linked to cancer. Unless, of course, you make these products yourself, using all-natural ingredients that you know and trust.

Hairspray:
Homemade Natural Hairspray at DIY Natural
Homemade Alcohol-Free Hairspray That Works at Whole New Mom

Texturizing Spray:
DIY Coconut Lime Beach Waves Hair Spray by The Hippy Homemaker
DIY Beach Waves Sea Salt Texturizing Spray by Wellness Mama

Hair Serums:
How to Make Your Own Hair Serum at Natural Hair Recipes

Pomade:
DIY All-Natural Pomade That Rocks by The Hippy Homemaker
Homemade Natural Hairspray Recipe by Wellness Mama
Make Your Own Natural Hair-Styling Products at The Hairpin

Dyes:
Homemade Herbal Hair Dye at DIY Natural
All-Natural Herbal Hair Color Recipes at Wellness Mama
DIY Red or Dark Hair Naturally: 5 Ways at Organic Authority

I would like to end by strongly suggesting that you do your own research to find out which of these recipes will work out for you. Really, no two bodies are the same, and everyone reacts differently to certain ingredients; only you can know what does and doesn't work with your skin type.

In addition, there are new scientific studies every day that are discovering more and more harmful toxins that are being distributed throughout the general public, and not just via the cosmetic industry. The only way to stay safe from these substances is to continually investigate and keep an eye out for new ingredients that are making their way into your beauty products, and make a concerned effort to use safe, all-natural ingredients every day.

Thanks for reading, and be sure to stop by tomorrow for Part III: Hygiene & Hair Care! If you know of any all-natural beauty recipes that aren't on this list, feel free to share them in the comments below!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

DIY All-Natural Health & Beauty Recipes (Part One: Ingredients)

CC Image courtesy of ilovebutter

I'd like to start this post by saying that I am, in no way, an expert in dermatology or cosmetics. If anything, I tend to think of myself as the complete opposite, a floating particle of dust on the outskirts of the all-encompassing cosmos of cosmetics.

Having come to this realization far later than I'd like to admit in the scope of my life that I shall heretofore refer to as my "womanhood", well, let's just say that I decided I'd need to do lots and lots of internet research in a small amount of time to make up for it.

So, I did, and the results of my research were both incredibly vast and relatively terrifying. For every article on makeup and different ways of applying it, I discovered a new dangerous ingredient to look out for - from Cancer-causing parabens, phthalates, and aluminum, to carcinogenic coloring compounds and mystery chemical concoctions labeled simply as "fragrance".

Because of these issues, I decided it would be beneficial to compile a list of all-natural recipes and alternatives to the harmful everyday concoctions that are extensively available in cosmetic and department stores.

First, I'd like to talk about ingredients. Even if you don't particularly care that the ingredients used in your beauty products are all-natural, you should still be aware of any harmful substances that you're putting directly onto your skin. Thankfully, 6 Ingredients to Avoid in your Beauty Products from DIY Natural covers the six biggest offenders you'll find in everyday beauty products, why these ingredients are dangerous, and what products they're commonly found in.


The next biggest factor in making the switch to an all-natural beauty routine is, of course, your makeup-building arsenal. The greatest challenges you'll face in this journey are learning which ingredients you'll need and figuring out where to buy them. Of course, this will depend on whatever it is you're going to be making.
Luckily, the following article from Wellness Mama covers 7 Basic Ingredients that can be used in at least 21 different beauty recipes!


Once you've read the previous article, you know what ingredients to buy, but you may have questions lingering still. That's where the Natural Makeup DIY guide from Keeping It Clean comes in handy. Here you'll find information on the benefits of all-natural makeup, a further run-down of commonly-used ingredients, tips on introducing home-made cosmetics into your routine, and what equipment and expectations to bring when making your own makeup for the first time.

When creating all-natural health & beauty products, you'll come across the topic of essential oils. Essential oils can be extracted from a wide variety of plants, and have been known to yield certain health benefits when properly used. As with any new ingredient that you introduce into your routine, you should be aware of the possibility of negative side effects when using essential oils regularly, excessively, or while pregnant. For more information, here's yet another guide from DIY Natural, which touches on the basics of essential and carrier oils, as well as precautions one should take when using them.


Finally, when using essential oils, you will oftentimes find the need for a carrier oil, for the sake of diluting an essential oil. Once again, DIY Natural comes to our aid with a brief guide on what carrier oils are often used in DIY health products.


Thanks for reading, and I hope you've found this post helpful in planning any upcoming health & beauty recipes! To read on, check out Part II: Beauty & Cosmetics Recipes, and Part III: Hygiene & Hair Care!


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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tuesday Treasures 10

I'd like to start this Tuesday off with this super-simple DIY Figurine Trinket Dish by Ashley over at Sugar & Cloth, written for the Touch of Gold series over at LuLu*s!


This beautiful embroidered work of art was hand-stitched in Athens, Greece by a lovely artist and with help from her cat. No, really. Check out Fabulous Cat Papers on Etsy for more embroidered works that are also available as art journals!


While shopping around for black statement necklaces, I discovered this stunningly minimal leather necklace, hand-cut to resemble a raven's feather by Sabrina Chin at Love at First Blush. There are a few options available for this design, including one that is decorated in gold, as well as similar sets of earrings!


I've never really shared any sort of food or recipes on Tuesday Treasures before, but when I saw these Pepper Jack Bites on A Beautiful Mess, I pretty much freaked out. I really love mozzarella sticks, but the amount of love I have for pepper-jack cheese is unimaginable. Combining the two ideas seems like such a no-brainer!


This stuff is literally the coolest! I can think of so many occasions in which I needed some kind of conductor to fix something, or... or... okay, maybe I can't think of any craft projects right off-hand that would require an electric paint pen with conductive ink, but that doesn't make it any less amazing!


Thanks for reading, and have a great Tuesday!

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Saturday, March 8, 2014

Travel Plans: Daytona Beach

As you may know, I'm still counting down the days until Brad and I leave for vacation this month (only 10  left)! So, out of sheer excitement, I thought it would be wonderful (and helpful to anyone else who may be traveling in these areas) to share some loosely-made travel plans and exciting tourist attractions that we'd like to hit! Last week, I discussed ideas for an adventurous romp through the flavorful city of New Orleans, which you can read here!

This week, I'd like to discuss the area in which we'll spend the second half of our adventure in the making, the beautiful Daytona Beach! While Travel Plans: New Orleans focused entirely on events within that city, it seems we'll have a little more wiggle room while in Florida, so I'll be touching not only on locations within Daytona Beach, but also some in the surrounding area and along the Daytona Beach shoreline! So here are my remaining vacation plans:

Visit Manatee Island Park.

CC Image courtesy of Tracy Colson, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Svc. Headquarters

Nestled right into Halifax River is a small island and wildlife reserve known as Manatee Island Park. As an inland Northerner, the idea of possibly spotting a manatee while dipping my toes in a river is pretty astonishing.

Walk along & go for a swim at Daytona Beach.

CC Image courtesy of Melissa Hillier

The city isn't called Daytona Beach for nothing! The shoreline stretches on for miles, and is open to the public at all times. If you're one of those romantic types that's always wanted to stroll along the beach at night, then this is the place to be.

Take a tour of the Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory.

CC Image courtesy of Rob Bixby Photography

Okay, despite living in Pennsylvania for about half of my life, I have to admit that I've never taken a tour of that famous chocolate factory that everyone knows about, which shall remain nameless. Still, there's no comparison when it comes to enjoying something that's handmade by people who love what they do.

Visit the Marine Science Center.

CC Image courtesy of Andrea Westmoreland

If you're looking for a more hands-on, kid-friendly learning environment that's also inexpensive, check out the stingray touch-pool at the Marine Science Center! Also, be sure to check in at the turtle hospital, where thousands of injured sea turtles have been rehabilitated since 2002.

Climb to the top of the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse.

CC Image courtesy of Dorothy Finley

I'm under the impression that most babies born in Michigan have a weird romantic obsession with lighthouses. Okay, maybe it's just me, but I'm going to climb to the top of this lighthouse.

Go Parasailing!

CC Image courtesy of John Trainor

Parasailing is something that I've wanted to do for a long time! It's a little intimidating and somewhat expensive (so this item is a bit lower on my list of priorities), but there are plenty of places along the beach to make it happen if this is on your bucket list, too!

See the ruins at Old Stone Wharf.

By Ebyabe (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

History buffs, this one's for you. Hidden in the rise and fall of the Daytona Beach shoreline are the ruins of one of the oldest English settlements in American history.

Check out the Daytona Beach boardwalk & pier.

CC Image courtesy of Boston Public Library

Packed with hot food, carnival rides, shops, and nightly fireworks, you'd be silly not to stop in at the boardwalk of the "World's Most Famous Beach"!

Have you ever been to Daytona Beach? What's your favorite Daytona getaway?


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