On the cheap: Iced Coffee

This week, we've finally gotten a bit of a break from the heat. Plagued by 95 degree days for the last few months, Manhattan has been something of a sweat box. In an effort to combat the extreme temps, I've dabbled in a daily iced coffee. After weeks of spending a minimum of $2.50 per day on iced coffee from my local bodega, and sometimes an admitted $3.25 per day at Dunkin’ Donuts, I decided it was time for a change. While it's not a huge expense, I'm all for cutting corners where I can and saving up a bit of cash to put towards more fun things, like a good Sunday brunch. And can we take a moment for the fact that iced coffee should in no way cost more than hot coffee, which can easily be scored for under $2? Not only is it the same product but they are in fact giving you less coffee. There had to be a better way; a way to do it on the cheap.

Enter my new friend and commuting buddy - the COPCO iced coffee cup, a heavy duty reusable plastic cup and straw with a screw-on lid. Can we say genius?

Just when I thought I was the only person living under a rock and had just discovered this wonderful invention midway through the summer, I was pleased to find that I wasn’t the only one who was frustrated and looking for a solution. As I was riding the shuttle to the Path last week, a few co-riders marveled at it, their amateur eyes lighting up with envy. And I have to tell you, I don’t blame them. It is pretty wonderful.

The cup has long since paid for itself while saving me time in the morning, not to mention daily dollars. I simply brew my coffee at night, let it come to room temperature, store it in the fridge overnight and dress it in the morning. And so you know this isn't just hot air, here's the breakdown:

COPCO iced coffee cup: $7.99 (though technically free since my wonderful Mom purchased it for me)
1 bag Dunkin’ Donuts French Vanilla ground coffee: $8.99
Half & Half: $1.29 (though already had, for my weekend coffee)
Total: $18.27 for at least 3 weeks of morning coffee and counting

For $18, this would buy me 7 days at my local bodega (at $2.50/cup) and a mere 5 days of coffee at Dunkin Donuts (at $3.25/cup). Is it me, or does this make so much more sense? And quite honestly, I think the coffee from my own home tastes so much better, not to mention the fact that now I get to enjoy my coffee during my entire ride to work rather than having to wait until crossing into Manhattan. Oh happy day.

So that's how I've managed to save some coin each day while celebrating a personal victory that I'm not being taken advantage of for my $3. So what do you think? Do you BYO or prefer to purchase?

PS - TAA was in no way paid to or offered any compensation or incentive to push the COPCO iced coffee cup. We just happen to think it's tops and want to share!

Beauty on the Go

As a city dweller with a brand spankin' new job, I'm constantly on the go...but not always as awake in the morning as I'd like to pretend. Have you ever slept in just a little too long and wondered, how is it possible to make myself not look like a natural disaster victim today? Who hasn't? I'm happy and excited present our first guest blog entry by none other than beauty blogger and makeup extraordinaire, Christine (who also happens to be my fabulous younger sister). Like what you read? Catch Christine on her own blog, On a Mission Beauty, where she shows different makeup looks, gives video tutorials on makeup application, and provides insight to the hottest and newest beauty products on the market. Think you know makeup? Think again. Check it out...and enjoy!

So we all wish we could wake up looking like Melanie Griffith circa The Working Girl, however, the women of Hollywood never have to deal with the real “Working Girl” problems.

Of course any savvy commuter may know, it’s not always easy to look beautiful while on the go but hopefully these tips will keep you looking fresh and gorgeous for the office (or even a night out on the town).

Let’s set the scene: It’s Monday morning and you’ve hit the snooze button just a few times too many and now you find yourself pressed for time. Any other girl would freak out but the Commuter Girl knows exactly how to handle this.

-No time for blowing your hair dry? Skip washing your hair for a day! Girls, meet your new best friend: Batiste Dry Shampoo. Just spray it on greasy hair at the roots, brush it through and you’re left with voluminous, oil-free hair. Seriously it’s that easy, and the best part? Only $7.50 at any local beauty supply store.

BATISTE DRY SHAMPOO $7.50

-On to the hard part: Makeup. Actually, this happens to be my favorite part. Here’s a hassle free look that really can brighten up even the sleepiest of faces.

Step 1: Conceal those under eye circles- preferably with a salmon colored concealer because that will counteract the blueness under your eyes. This will probably already make you look 10x better. CoverGirl makes a good one.

FRESH COMPLEXION UNDER EYE CONCEALER $5:
Step 2: White Eyeliner= Holy Grail. Line your waterline (the moist strip of skin between your eye and your lower lashes) with white eyeliner and smudge a bit into the inner corners of eyes (near the tearduct). I promise it will brighten your whole face up! This is the only time I really recommend a higher end product because of the staying power. MAC makes my personal favorite.

FASCINATING EYE KOHL $14.50:
Step 3: Chapstick. In my 19 years on earth I have learned that chapstick is the best beauty product a girl could own. Every night I coat my lips with this stuff and I am constantly reapplying throughout the day (this would explain my super soft lips). This will give your lips a natural gloss without the stickiness that comes from lipgloss. My favorite one is Carmex, plus it has SPF 15 in it!

CARMEX $2.50
Finally just coat those eyelashes with your favorite mascara and your ready to go. You’ll have no need for blush because chances are your cheeks will already have that natural glow as you run out the door!

This is me before these simple steps… obviously unhappy

and this is me after!

I hope everyone gets a few tips from this post and I hope next time you’re in a bind this will help you out!
Until next time
Xoxo Christine

Do you want to be a guest blogger? We'd love to have you! Check out this article to find out how!

Kindling


Say goodbye to hard copies of books and make way for the electronic reader in the form of the Kindle, a synergetic reader that seems like such an obvious idea, it makes me mad that I didn't think of it first.

How it Works:
-Set up your Amazon.com account with credit card info and automatically link to Kindle
-With a few clicks and scrolls, you have thousands of books, newspapers, and blogs at your immediate disposal (Not only do you buy the reader from Amazon - but then all of your books are purchased via Amazon.com).
-Books/newspapers/magazines/etc can be archived and basically kept forever
Why it Rocks:
-Keeping you sane on any claustrophobic PATH or Subway ride
-Ease of transport - no more being weighed down by Breaking Dawn, hard cover edition!
-Can access the Internet (via super cool Amazon Whispernet) for free!
-Not only can you download books, but daily New York Times, Journal, Post editions delivered before you're even awake each morning
-Automatically bookmarks your pages so no more tattered pages or slips of paper holding your place
-You just look cool having one
Gripes:
-Having to pay for each book, albeit at a discounted price.
-No more passing around books with friends, so before you recommend something, be sure to alert your fellow reader that one does not share via Kindle.
-The free leather case leaves much to be desired from a functionality standpoint (remember balancing coffee, Kindle, handbags...)
-Getting the first edition for Christmas, only for Amazon to follow it up with Kindle 2 one month later.
Bottom Line:
Fab for commuting and general travel, but beware that your monthly book expenses could go through the roof.

Anyone else out there using this nifty device?