5 Fitness Freebies to Start a Healthier You

August 29, 2013 Ideas for Cheap Fun

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Sometimes with summer, you get out of your fitness routine. Now that fall is here and the kids are back to school, get back into your routine and back to a healthier you. Here are some free options to get you started –

  1. Podcasts from MotionTraxx.com help motivate you during your workout (*you can download many of the mixes for free)
  2.  Tailored routines to target the body areas you want to work on SurfGym.com
  3.  Always wanted to try yoga? Here is your chance – in honor of National Yoga Month, Athleta will be offering a series of free online yoga classes (starting on 9/1 throughout the month of September) available on Athleta.com/YogaMonth
  4. Sessions with Coach Nicole,  and excellent trainer from the Sparkpeople YouTube channel
  5.  Awesome workouts from trainers like Denise Austin and Jillian Michaels on the LionsGate BeFit YouTube channel





Recharge your girl power

March 4, 2013 Ideas for Cheap Fun

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Women tend to have close friendships with their girlfriends, and spending quality time together is one way the batteries stay charged in those relationships. Unfortunately, going out to dinner or clubs tends to be the easy, go-to get-together, but that can get pricey. Keeping in touch doesn’t have to mean a dwindling bank balance, however. If you’re looking for some new, fresh ideas that won’t break the bank, try being a kid again. Do you remember how some of the best times you spent with friends when you were a child didn’t have to cost a lot of money? Go retro, and do some of those things again. It might take a little convincing to get some of the ladies to go along for the ride, but once you re-connect with your inner child, you’ll be amazed at how much fun you can have!

Do you remember the time-honored tradition of the slumber party? Those were some of the best times a girl could have! Granted, there are some things you probably DON’T want to do again—we’ve outgrown prank phone calls and freezing each other’s bras (hopefully), but a lot of the other fun passes the test of time. The best part? No one has to spend a lot of time fussing with getting ready—comfy jimmies and sweat pants are the required attire for this event! It doesn’t matter if the women actually stay the night—the best part of slumber parties were the things that happened well before anyone slept! Your best bets for slumber party entertainment? Rent some movies and pop some popcorn (or cheaper yet—have everyone bring their favorite DVDs), break out the Ouji board, take turns doing each other’s nails, play Truth or Dare. You’ll be amazed at how good it feels to let loose and be silly!

Did you and your friends spend many weekend hours at the local skating rink? This is another fantastic idea that lets everyone let their hair down. It doesn’t matter if you’re a skating pro or a novice—the idea is to get together and have a good time. Whether you’re rollerblading or ice skating, this is a great to be a kid again. The added bonus? It’s also a great workout AND an amazing stress reliever! You may feel a little awkward being on skates again, but so does everyone else. You’re all in it together, and that’s a great bonding experience.

In most neighborhoods, many summer afternoons were spent playing such time honored games as kick-the-can, Red Rover, and hide-and-seek. Large corporations spend big money to come up with activities that break down barriers and promote team-building. Many of these activities are no sillier than any of these. Get the ladies together and play away! Once everyone gets over their initial reserve, this can be a great time.

How about a good, old-fashioned tea party? Once upon a time, nearly every little girl sat around her play table with her play tea set and dress-up clothes and had a tea party. Doing the grown-up version is a great excuse to get over-the-top dressed up and chat the afternoon away! If anyone has a great, funky hat, this is the time to wear it. Flashy costume jewelry, feather boas, satin gloves—all are great accessories for your grown-up version of a child’s tea party. It’s also the perfect opportunity to break out the “good” dishes—so many of us pack them away and only use them at holiday time. If you feel the need to decorate, bringing in wildflowers from outside and putting them in whatever mismatched vases you have on hand is a nice touch. Brew some tea, make some cute little cucumber sandwiches, and you’re ready to go.

Another fun gathering is a board game party. Don’t limit this to just traditional Monopoly. If anyone has classic favorites like Hi-Ho Cherry-O or Candyland, these can be a hoot to play with other adults. This party is even better if everyone’s children are older—when the kids are young, you may spend too much time playing these games as it is. Once the kids have moved on or moved out, these games often get packed away in a basement or attic and collect dust. Pull them out, blow off the dust, and act like a bunch of kids!

In this often overly fast-paced, high pressure world, getting back to the child you are at heart can be the perfect “re-boot.” Share the experience with friends and remember what fabulous girls you are at heart!


Wine About It

December 1, 2012 Ideas for Cheap Fun

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So the economy is tight, and our budgets and tighter. We can get together with our girlfriends and whine about it…or we can get together with our girlfriends and wine about it. Yep, when the going gets tough, the tough…have a wine tasting!

Just because our budgets our stretched doesn’t have to mean that our days of great get-togethers with friends have to come to a screeching halt. Instead, it’s simply time to get creative and find new ways to keep things fresh and plan simple parties that don’t have to bust the bank.

There was a day when wine was reserved for special occasions only or seemed to be more of a “highbrow” libation. These days, however, it seems everyone is enjoying a glass here and there, so why not make it the centerpiece of your next party?

This doesn’t have to be a stuffy get together, and it certainly doesn’t have to be expensive. Quite the opposite actually. Plan this party to be low-key and laidback, and your guests will find themselves relaxing and having a great time.

With a little planning, you can create one-of-a-kind invitations that set the perfect tone for your party. Save empty wine bottles—or ask others to do so for you—and steam the labels off the bottles. Once the labels have dried, adhere them to plain scrapbooking paper, cutting the paper to fit the label. On the scrapbook paper side, list the invite details for your party (the date, time, location and R.S.V.P. information), and also instruct each guest to bring their favorite bottle of wine in a plain bag. No two invites will be exactly the same, and this kind of invite gives your guests the hint that this will be a fun, informal get together.

Set the stage for your party by lighting some candles in the area you are entertaining in. Don’t worry about making sure everything matches. Eclectic is in, so take advantage of it! Candles of varying heights and shades look fantastic when grouped together.

Keep the menu light for the party—crackers, cheese, olives. You don’t want anything heavy or anything that will interfere with the wine tasting, but you do want to give your guests a little something to munch on.

Once guests arrive, discretely spirit away the wine they have been instructed to bring, and quickly jot down the name of the wine each guest brought as well as who brought it. Cover the labels so that guests can’t see them—a piece of dark or heavy paper works well for this. Label each bottle with a number (one through however many bottles you have). Have a table set with small, inexpensive plastic cups. Since this is a “tasting,” there is no need to break out your expensive wine glasses.

This is where the fun begins. Open the various bottles and choose wine to begin. Pour each guest a small sample in a cup. Provide guests with paper and pens. Ask that each guest jot down three things about each wine they taste: what kind of wine they think they are drinking (merlot, cabernet, pinot noir, chardonnay, etc.), the brand name or wine maker if they can guess it, and the name of the guest they think brought the wine.

Once you have made your way through all of the wines, have the guests tally the number of points they have to see who was the evening’s best “winer.” Each correct answer gets one point. It’s all in fun, but if you wish, have a small token “prize” to give to the guest who had the most right—a set of wine charms, a funny wine refrigerator magnet or a decorated wine glass. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it can be fun to provide a token prize as well.

If you want, go online and find information on various types of wines and their suggested food pairings to give your guests a bit more information about wine. There are lots of tips on wine tasting out there, and although this is an informal tasting, it can be entertaining to learn more about the topic. Printing out some of these tips for guests to check out is a nice touch.

At the end of your evening, you may find that not only have you all had a great time, you may have learned a little more about wine and a little more about each other’s tastes as well.