May 31, 2011


Posted by Lori~

Remember the shower post that I did recently that featured pinks, browns, owls, and so much more—it was DIVINE!  (PS:  Still no news on the new baby, but mom is ready for her arrival!).

Crafty Katie and crafty Danielle threw this shindig and it was AWESOME! 

Danielle, soon-to-be-mom Andrea, and Katie!  ADORABLE!
One highlight was the tissue paper pom-poms that decorated this shower!  (Remember Ethne and I were cheerleaders and of course L.O.V.E. pom-poms too!) 


WOM-MOM wanted to learn how to make these crafty poms and asked these ladies to do a guest post.  And so, here it goes:

Take 8 to 10 sheets of tissue paper and cut in half. 

Take one of these halves and fold accordion style, making each fold approximately an inch wide.

Then take a light gauge wire about 6 inches long and wrap around the center of your accordion folded tissue paper.  You can fold this in half to make sure that the wire is in the center.

Trim ends to be either rounded or pointed - we did some of both. 

Fan the two halves created by the wire. Gently pull apart each layer of tissue paper until they are all separated.

Tie a ribbon or fishing line to the wire to hang.

Katie with a finished pom-pom
Sounds simple!  And AFFORDABLE!  Thanks Katie and Danielle for this simple and adorable tutorial!  ETHNE AND I DEFINITELY PLAN TO MAKE THESE SOON!  Totally WOM-WORTHY!

May 30, 2011


Posted by Lori~

One of my favorite things to do, and Steve’s favorite things to do, is to eat out. Remember—Ethne and my quantum leap goals (we plan to have 1996 bodies by Thanksgiving (AKA our Quantum Leap All Inclusive Vacation))?  Of course, eating out doesn’t exactly fit into our weight loss goals; however a person can eat healthy options.  Coincidently, Steve and I just agreed to (and even shook on it) that starting on Thursday will start a summer free of eating out (unless we are out of town or on vacation). 
Even still—I wanted to teach our WOM-MOM followers and readers how Steve
and I SAVE BIG at restaurants.

I receive emails like these promoting major savings! has lots of promotions running all the time.  I first heard of when Steve and I were planning our circular road trip across the US with Mur-Man.  You see last summer we went from little city, ND to Omaha, NE to St. Louis, MO to Kansas City, MO to Nashville, TN to Chicago, IL to Wisconsin to Minneapolis (Mur-Man went to his first concert Weezer and LOVED IT!) to Iowa (Whit’s wedding) and then back to little city, ND.  And we did all of this in one week!  IT WAS FAN-TASTIC! 

Steve and Mur-Man

Me and Mur-Man!  He loves to boogie!

While planning the trip, I used Priceline to purchase all needed hotel rooms (we did stay with fabulous friends along the way most of the time).  While researching deals, I discovered that was offering a deal (a $25.00 gift card for only $2.00).  And so, Steve and I decided to try it.  We purchased a $25.00 gift card to the House of Blues in the heart of Chicago and ONLY paid $2.00 and it worked. 
House of Blues was great--but even better because the total price tag was $2.00!
Since then, I get email alerts on these sales all the time and have searched for restaurants in ND.  We’ve stocked up, we’ve given them as gifts, and we have recommended these gift cards to friends.  And so, we wanted to pass the savings onto you.

Of course, there are a few rules and guidelines we have found that go along with these cards. First up, they don’t expire (at least we have found this so far, but sadly a few of our favorite restaurants did close prior to using the gift card, but of course we were ONLY out $2.00—it’s gamble you have to take).  You can only use one gift card per table/group. Typically there is a required minimum bill amount (typically I have found that you must spend $35.00). Gratuity is included in your bill automatically (so if you want to tip less than 15% you cannot).   Not every restaurant participates in promotions, but they are always changing. 
Try it out—your tummy (and your wallet) WILL LOVE YOU!

May 29, 2011


Posted by Ethne~
Shaun’s job requires him to organize and monitor live and online state auctions.  About once per month the live auctions (on Saturdays) are put on.  It’s a long week prepping, and a long day putting the auction on, so he’s pretty tired by the time he gets home.  This weekend was just such an auction – and to top it off it rained half the day (auction outdoors!).
What’s better than to come home after a long, wet and rainy work week than a big plate of spaghetti?  Shaun thought that was a great idea.  But a kink in the plans: Lori was in town for our too-short get-together on Saturday morning.  Thankfully Thrifty Nana came through in the clutch and made a BRILLIANT spaghetti sauce for us.  She even boiled the linguine so we didn’t have to do anything but heat the whole meal up.  Woot!
We are a create-your-own spaghetti sauce (and sometimes pasta too) type of family.  We often start with a generic brand of basic spaghetti sauce from the grocery store (or in the fall and winter I use TN’s and my jarred and frozen tomato sauce till it’s all used up).  Then we build from there – and we love when we can use this as an opportunity to clean out the fridge.  Each batch is different, but here is how you can create a phenomenal spaghetti sauce:
Red Peppers were in the fridge!  PERFECTION!
-Clean out your refrigerator of tomato juice and tomato sauces (I had half-used containers of both)
-Add a jar of store-bought sauce and add another half-jar worth of water
-In a separate pan, brown 1-2 pounds of ground beef (Thrifty Nana had a ton of uncooked brats, so instead of beef, she squeezed the brat meat out of their casings (around 6-8 brats), browned it like hamburger, and it was awesome)
-When the meat is browned add some veggies like a chopped onion, chopped celery, green or red pepper and/or chopped carrots (TN had onion and carrots on hand, so that’s what she used) and cook with the beef for several minutes until they start to get tender
-Add seasonings (we like herbs such as parsley, basil, oregano, thyme), dried garlic chips (Costco fave), and TN’s fave seasoning, Morton’s Nature’s Season spice/salt blend
-Red wine – we do this to taste – start with ½-1 cup and add more depending if you like it.  This is a MUST when Shaun makes sauce (which he usually does)
-Salt and pepper to taste.  You might not need any, but make it till you like the flavor
Bubble until it’s hot and thickens slightly (to your preference – the longer you bubble uncovered, the thicker it’ll get).
Ready for noodles!
That, my Friends, is all she wrote.  Neen had linguine or fettuccine pasta (I’m not sure which).  We like almost any kind of pasta; I like to use whole wheat pasta.  Sometimes we do this with my homemade gnocchi, but that’s a different post.
THRIFTY TIP: When Lori and I had lunch at Jimmy John’s, I picked up a loaf of their day-old bread for $.50!!  It’s awesome.  I intended to have this as garlic toast with the spaghetti, but then I remembered that if the girls see bread on the table, they won’t eat anything else.  So we used it for French Toast this morning instead.  Perfection!
Day old bread--WHO CARES?  Still delicious!
I usually keep a wedge of parmesan cheese in the fridge and grate that when I want it, such as an Italian meal of spaghetti, lasagna or risotto.  Yum.  And the wedge is way cheaper – about $5 per wedge, and you get loads of use out of it.  Plus, when only the rind is left, you can bubble that in broths, soups or sauces for a ton of flavor (then take it out and discard).
Bottom line, Thrifty Nana made us a delish batch of spaghetti.  Thanks Mom!  The perfect home-cooked meal for Shaun to come home to.  You may all have your own methods for cooking spaghetti, and for those of you in Italy who read our blog (yes, we do have viewers from there!), don’t get upset if we’ve completely Americanized your red sauce – our version is still darn tasty!
All we have left are 2 small containers of leftovers:  J
Thanks Mom!

May 27, 2011


Posted by Lori and special guest Danica~
Maybe you’ve seen it…and you know Ethne and I have seen it!  TLC’s new show Extreme Couponing!  Well, did you know that there is such a thing as an Extreme Rummager! That’s right!
Most Saturdays during the summer when I am in town (in Little City, ND), I will hit the garage sales and I have my girlfriends that like to hit the sales with me.  One friend is Danica and I know that Danica, like many of us, is always looking for a fabulous find or a deal!


But, Danica is different than me!  She plans, she strategizes, and she prepares for a big Saturday of garage sales and I think her instructions are brilliant…because it saves time!  And saving time is important for WOMS!  Not only that, but saving time allows you to hit sales and score major finds before your competition. 
I asked Danica to explain and here it goes:
So many bargains, so little time! I moved to little city, ND 14 months ago and began my current love of rummaging.  New to this small city, I was frequently lost and wasn’t able to efficiently find the sales.  You see this little city, ND city is cleverly divided by hills and a river which haphazardly divided streets and avenues twisting, turning, and magically making some streets simply disappear.  This is where a little bit of preplanning helps to keep rummaging a thrifty efficient experience instead of a frustrating drive wasting a lot of gas.  The key to success:  online classifieds, Google maps, and MS Word. 
Here’s the scoop to weekend rummage madness. 
1.   Open the rummage section of the online classifieds.  (Our Little City, ND classifieds are divided by area of the city, not by day).

2.   Open a new word document; Label the top of the page Friday and the bottom of the page Saturday. 

3.   Copy each listing including the address and the ad.  Place it under the appropriate Friday or Saturday

4.   *tip* Sales that are two days long are often really picked over on day two, its best to go the first day and not bother with the leftovers.

5.   When you’ve completed transferring all the descriptions, take a minute to read though the descriptions if you spy an entry you have no interest in, delete it but keep in mind you never know what treasures you will find.

6.   Open a web browser to Google Maps.  Type in your starting address and click add destination.

7.   Copy and paste each address, don’t worry about putting them in any order.  Now that you have all the addresses listed click Get Directions.  You’ll get a map that looks like this:

8.   Notice how the addresses are all over the place?  Simply click the letter you would like to rearrange and drag it to where it makes more sense.  If starting at A location B should be where location F is.  Click on F and drag it to B on your list of addresses.  Play with the letters until you have a map that looks a little more rummage friendly.

9.   Print a copy of the map by clicking the print option.  You will be given the option to print a large map as well as printing with directions.  Print with directions!  It will be much easier for your navigator or you to get from home to home on your rummage quest. 

10.               Print a copy of the address and description page as well.  I write the letter of the site from the map on the listing; it is also nice to have a reference of closing/opening times and the featured items of each sale when you are on the road.  I also like to make my phone do my thrift work for me, so I also email a copy to my blackberry, just in case additional references are needed.

Additional Tips:
Have a few canvas bags in the car. I have a favorite cloth bag that rolls into a small ball generally attached to my purse; this eliminates the need for plastic bags. (Remember the home-made shopping bag post—you can make your own!)
Designate a rummage wallet.  This should have cash, small bills preferably and a dollar or so in quarters to make transactions fast for both you and the seller.  REMEMBER WOMS NEED TO STAY ON BUDGET!
Keep a list of the treasures you are hunting for.  I keep it in my phone.  For example, I have a list on my phone of all my nephews and niece’s sizes.  If I am looking for something special, perhaps the remaining Harry Potter books, or something to repurpose for a TV stand; knowing the measurements and details of the want can save a lot of troubles down the road as well as duplicates.
Most importantly have fun, bring a friend, crank up the tunes and grab a cup of your favorite morning beverage; enjoy the hunt for new treasures. 
Thanks Danica for this FABULOUS POST!  You extreme rummaging is motivating!  Can’t wait to go on the hunt soon!

May 26, 2011


Posted by Ethne and Special Guest Whit~

My sister, Whit, is my make-up guru.  You’ve heard about her here and here.  She’s pretty much a *Rock Star*.

See, Whit's gorgeous!
[That, my Friends, is a true-to-life pic of KD]

In rock star spirit, Lori and I know that being a WOM is more than just being a thrifty mom and cool gal.  It’s about feeling good about ourselves and having fun too! 

To keep ourselves WOM-ified, Lori and I spend time out with our friends (kid free), go on date nights with our guys, go on girls’ night out and Girls Trip with our very best girlfriends and go shopping and hang out (kids with or kid free) with our moms and sisters.  Or some combination of that!

Girls Trip '10

Part of this includes feeling gorgeous.  You know we are trying our best to work on our bodies and well-being in our Quantum Leap mission.  That will make us feel beautiful and healthy. 

Lori, our girlfriends, Thrifty Nana and Whit also know my motto:  “You only live this life once so you should live every day gorgeously!”  (Don’t quibble, that’s my word.  WOMs can make up words if we want to.)

Special Guest Steph and me, GT'10

We want all of you WOMs to live gorgeously too.  And the best place to start is the basics.  We knew just whom to consult: Whit!  So here’s what Whit has expertly deemed the essentials of a make-up kit:


Here is a list of things every woman should have in their cosmetics satchel (Whit likes this word better than bag).

Eye primer*

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion in Sin $19.00
It has the perfect nude shimmer (not glitter) that can be worn alone on the weekends or lazy days during the week.  The great thing about this primer is that no matter how oily, or dry for that matter, your eyelids are, your eyeshadow and liner will NOT move during the day.  Your shadow will also look more intense, allowing you to use less, and save money in eyeshadow costs in the long run.  I have tried them all, believe me, and this one is the best.
*I provide no alternative to this product, because frankly there is nothing that even remotely compares to the benefits of using this.  And to those of you who do not wear eyeshadow primer, it will change your life in terms of cosmetic satisfaction.

Face primer

There are many face primers that are wonderful out there.  Smashbox, Mally, Urban Decay, and Stila all make really great primers.  The primer I am liking (at the moment) is by Fusion Beauty.  The thing I love about Fusion Beauty is that they carry skincare and color cosmetics, and every single product has clinical research showing it gives immediate AND long-term benefits.  I’ve read the research, tried most of the products they carry, and am a believer. 

Fusion Beauty Prime Results Primer $42

Available in 4 options: Anti-Acne, Anti-Wrinkle, Anti-Redness, and Brightening.  All four are targeted towards combating that particular area, and as I said before, have long-term cumulative benefits as well as just being a great primer for a smooth canvas for foundation and long-wear.
FYI: The same woman who created Fusion Beauty also created the line of fragrance CLEAN.  I have to say that they are completely different than anything you’ve ever smelled.  All, or almost all, of the fragrances are EDP, not EDT, so they will last longer.  And with names like Fresh Laundry, Clean T-Shirt, Summer Linen, what’s not to love on a Saturday!  Warm Cotton is my absolute favorite!

Loreal Studio Secrets Magic Perfecting Base $12.99

I have not used this personally, but the reviews on this product have been glowing.  I have also heard many testimonials at work that it is just as good as some of the higher priced options.


Mally Beauty Volumizing Mascara $20 (or 2 for $28!!)

This mascara is my favorite.  It doesn’t clump, flake, or irritate my eyes.  The black pigment in this mascara is the best I have ever encountered.  It also is a little shiny and that is a good thing for eyelashes.  It gives amazing length AND volume, and it is buildable to make the longest and thickest eyelashes you’ve ever seen.  My advice, wait a few seconds for it to dry before applying another coat.  And it doesn’t smear onto your face when you put it on your bottom lashes.  Please apply mascara to your bottom lashes too.  Yes, some makeup “looks” look fabulous with no mascara on the bottom, but using it on your bottom lashes really emphasizes your eyes and makes you look great.

Loreal Voluminous Mascara $6.99 in Carbon Black

This mascara has a cult following, and has been around a long time.  But why change a great formula?  It can clump, but if you dedicate a few more seconds to mascara application this can give you great volume and length.

Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner $21.00

I love this little pot.  It wears all day and into the night.  It does require a brush to apply, but you can achieve so many more looks by using a brush with eyeliner anyway.  A brush also allows you to get right between your lashes so there are no gaps between your lashes and your eyeliner (Ethne always has this problem).  The pot will last you a very long time.  The pigments are fantastically dark, again, allowing you to use less of the product.  You have a few seconds before this sets, so you can smudge or play around with it too.

Covergirl Liquiline Liner $7.99

This pencil liner rivals Urban Decay’s 24/7 eyeliner pencils.  It is very soft and waxy (this is a good thing), so it glides on and stays on.  The pigments are good, and comes in basic and a few wild colors.  You do have to sharpen this pencil, some people don’t like that hassle.  The benefit is the wood (or whatever it is encased in) keeps the product from drying out.  It has long-wear.

Physicians Formula Eye Booster 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner + Serum in Black $10.99

This felt tipped liner is amazing.  It is far more superior to many of the high end liquid liners.  It stays on all day and does not budge.  The color stays intense too I can’t speak to the serum claiming lash growth.  I do not buy into it haven’t noticed a change but it can’t hurt!  I also have very sensitive eyes and this has never bothered them.  I love the felt tip too, you can really get between your lashes or use it sideways to get a nice thick line.


Benefit Posietint $28

This is a little tricky to apply, but if you get your technique down it creates the longest-wearing lit-from-within pink cheek I’ve ever seen.  It is a gel-liquid that comes like a bottle of nail polish.  The way you apply it is to take out the nail polish wand and swipe it over your blush brush just a bit, gently smush your brush onto a piece of Kleenex and then apply it to your cheeks with the blush brush.  It sets very quickly, so you want to use the blush brush technique to avoid marks on your cheeks.  This blush is buildable too, so start with less to avoid clown cheeks because once this blush sets it is there all day.

Nars blush in Orgasm $27

This is my favorite blush of all time.  It is peachy-pink, and has the tiniest bit of gold shimmer.  The pigments are so fine that it practically blends itself and you can never overdo it.  I absolutely recommend splurging on this blush for every woman in the world.

Bare Minerals blush in Laughter $18

I like Bare Mineral’s blush because one container will last a year or more.  That is a great value in my opinion.  The color is a peachy pink with no shimmer.  I am a big fan of peachy pinks because it gives any complexion a happy, young-looking face.  I promise, try it.


Bare Minerals Foundation in Original or Matte $25 or $28

I wore Bare Minerals for 9 years and loved it.  I decided to try something new because I just wasn’t getting the same look anymore with my BE.  I don’t know if my skin is changing as I get older from hormones or what but I just didn’t like the sheen from the ingredient bismuth in the BE original foundation any longer.  The BE Matte does not have the shiny bismuth in it, but it does not give me the coverage I desire.

Amazing Cosmetics Velvet Mineral Foundation Loose Powder $34
The mineral foundation from Amazing Cosmetics does not have bismuth in it, and I love the coverage I can get.  There are far less color options to this foundation, but it feels great on my skin and wears just as beautifully as BE used to.
I recommend a mineral foundation to everyone.  But be sure to check the ingredients to make sure it is actually mineral and not just a foundation company “saying” it is mineral to sell it as one.  Talc is an okay ingredient, but it is one that can cause the ghost-like look in photos.  [Talc in blush is fine, so don’t worry about that.]


Dermablend Smooth Indulgence Concealer SPF 20  $21
This concealer is the smoothest liquid concealer I’ve come across that does not crease and really does wear all day.  It only comes in 4 options, and I don’t even really fit into a shade!  I use the lightest and then cover it with my foundation to blend it in with my skin color.  However, if you can use one of the colors, you will be so happy with the results.  It completely hides any blemish or dark circle, period.  And it has physical sunscreen in it (titanium dioxide and zinc oxide) as opposed to chemical sunscreens, so it is ideal for the sensitive area around the eyes.  Complete coverage and anti-aging protection in one tube. Oh, and very little goes a long way.

I always recommend a liquid concealor for under eyes as opposed to using Bare Minerals Bisque or Foundation.  BE does not cover everything, and as much as the reps say it doesn’t, it does in fact enhance the look of fine lines.


Too Faced Sun Bunny Bronzer $28

Not at all orange and comes with two colors if you want to use the lighter one for contouring under your cheekbone.  I swirl them together and buff it on in a W shape starting at my temple, hitting my cheek, to the top of my nose, and repeating to the other temple.  I dust my hairline on my forehead, and touch a little on my chin.  I also bronze my neck, because the sun usually gets your face and misses your neck; and we want our “tan” to look uniform!  Using bronzer under your jawline is also an easy way to slim your face in pictures.

NYX Tango with Bronzing Powder in Bronze Ensemble $14.99

This product is almost identical to the Too Faced bronzer, but it is not as finely milled.


Neutrogena Revitalizing Lip Balm SPF 20 $8.99

I buy different lip products like candy, but one product that is a must for every woman is a good balm.  And I like a tinted balm because this way you can start off your day with moisturized lips that have just a little color in them.  And it protects them on the drive to work because it has SPF.  This Lip Balm is wonderful, it doesn’t sting or have mint tingle, and it is just a nice balm with about 5 color options.  Sunny Berry works on everyone, so try that one.

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencil in Naked $18

This pencil uses the same formula as the 24/7 eyeliners, but in lip colors.  It does really stay on well, and this particular color works under any lip gloss and any lipstick.  If you change your color of lip often, then this lipliner is perfect.  Because it is a nude color, you can also extend your lip lines or fill in your cupid’s bow.

Urban Decay 24/7 Lip Junkie Lip Gloss in Naked $19

You can wear this slightly minted gloss alone, or if you pair it with the Naked lipliner you will have the most gorgeous nude lip EVER.  These two colors work on everyone, and the result is amazing.  Some nude lips are too pink, peach or orange.  Naked and Naked liner create the most perfect nude on all skin tones and ages.  As I keep telling Thrifty Nana, wear gloss, it will make you look younger!


Benefit Browzings $30

I recommend the Light color for everyone except for almost-black to black hair.  The Medium is just so dark!  The product has a tinted taupe wax, and a taupe powder.  It comes with 3 miniature utensils, including a mini Tweezerman tweezer.  I am fair skinned with blond hair, so I usually use either the powder or the wax depending on my lazy level for the day.  Either will give you a great brow for the day.  But Benefit’s directions say that you should use the wax and then the powder on top to give it a natural look.  Using a good slanted brow brush, one with a handle and not the two minis included, will give you precise application and a natural look anyway.  I find that only if I am going out somewhere where it will be hot, sticky, or sweaty will I use both the powder and the wax.  This product will last you at least a year or more, so it is a good value for your money if you think of it that way.
BareMinerals Brow Color $11.00

This comes in a little tiny BE jar with no sifter, so be careful when opening and handling it because if you drop it it’s gone.  The shade options are so wonderful for people who are just starting to use brow products, because they can go on very lightly and not give a dramatic look.  I know Ethne is way to hesitant to do anything with her brows because she’s afraid it will look clownish.  I tell her that if she just does it a tiny bit, she’ll be amazed at how wonderful filled-in and shaped brows can frame her face.  This little pot will last forever.

Eye brightener

Mally Beauty Lightwand Eyebrightener Double-Ended Pencil $25 or 2 for $35 on

Put the pencil on first, then dab the powder over the top, or use one or the other separately for a more subdued look during the day and then double it up at night for glam.  There are many lookalikes out there, but this is the one and only as far as I am concerned.  Mally picked out the 18 or so light-reflecting pigments that make up this wand and they are awesome.  They are not white (bad, don’t ever do it!), pink, or peach.  It is a very blushy pearl color almost, and if you use it in the inner corners of your eyes, you will have an ethereal glow that lasts all day and looks amazing in photos.  I have done this on every single bride I’ve ever put makeup on.  I personally will wear it every day or as often as I remember, because, well, why not?


I recommend using brushes instead of spongy applicators anyday.  Brushes do not waste your product like sponges and can give you precise application and a blended and flawless look.  I recommend EcoTools brushes to many people because they do not harber the bacteria quite as easily, and the will last you double the length of natural hair brushes.  Don't worry, your mineral foundation will apply just as great with synthetic brushes too.  Just be sure to wash your brushes with a gentle shampoo or an antibacterial brush shampoo at least once a month and lay out to dry overnight.  And please, don't throw your brushes or applicators into your makeup bag with the rest of your makeup.  It can possibly spread bacteria, ruin your brushes, and just make a mess.  Keep them in an empty candle jar to recycle, or a pretty glass cup from GoodWill or a garage sale.

Ethne~ See Friends?  I knew Whit would be able to get you gorgeous.  The key basics are essential – to an artist like Whit, your face is a palette – you have to have these basics to prime your palette for the make-up that comes next!

Stay tuned for more Whit Tips.  She is a genius, as you can obviously tell, so whatever we post from her is sure to be GENIUS!  (I don't know about you, but my regular vocabulary does not refer to make-up in terms of face-framing and pigments.)  I have to say I am so proud to have Whit for a sister.  Each of us WOMs deserves to be gorgeous - and she'll make sure we are!