Halloween is now just a week away! Are you prepared for the best holiday of the year? If you are looking to throw a Halloween party with some creepy yet delicious appetizers, check out some of my favorite recipes below! These super simple spook-tacular Halloween recipes will be fun for you and all your party guests no matter what age you are!
1. Mummy Dogs:
2. Mummy Pizzas
Do you have any favorite Halloween recipes you’d like to share with us? If so, leave a comment below!
Until Next Time,
Halloween is that time of year where rules do not apply. You can be anyone or anything that you chose. But, the hype of Halloween can get pretty costly. That’s why I always recommend making your own costume! It’s so much more fun than walking into the costume shop and spending between $50-$75 on a costume that you could easily make yourself for under $20! Below is a list of my top 5 favorite DIY Halloween costume ideas for 2014! Check them out!
1. Ninja Turtles
3. Sun Drop Girl
4. Gumball Machine
5. Mario and Luigi
If you are looking for more creative DIY Halloween costume ideas, check out the Coolest Homemade Costumes website! There are tons of creative ideas you might be able to use this Halloween! Or get creative and think of your own idea! Whatever it is that you decide to do, have fun and be sure to send me your pictures of your costume!
Until Next Time,
Sometimes to get in the Halloween spirit you just need a little scare or a childhood memory to remind yourself of why you love the holiday so much. What better way to do that than watching your favorite Halloween movies? Check out this list of my top 10 favorite Halloween movies. Ranging from kid friendly to the scariest movies of all time, these are all worth checking out! Enjoy!
1. Hocus Pocus (1993): Why is this on my list of the best Halloween movies of all time? Because it is by far the best and most important part of Halloween. Three witches (played by Sarah Jessica Parker, Bette Midler and Kathy Najimy) return 300 years after being hung for their spell work in 17th-century Salem, Massachusetts. To hold onto immortality, they have to take the life of a child, and the three kids who accidentally resurrected them are doing all they can to stop the witches from returning Salem to the way it was when they first lived. This over-the-top comedy has witchcraft, black cats, and lots of laughs, and it’s sure to make your Halloween a blast!
2. Halloweentown (1998): Halloweentown is a Disney Channel Halloween classic in which three siblings who aren’t allowed to celebrate Halloween run away with their Halloween-loving grandmother and discover that she’s a witch from a town called Halloweentown! Sit back, relax and have a Halloweentown marathon this year—it has three sequels!
3. Beetle Juice (1998): Adam and Barbara are a normal couple…who happen to be dead. They have given their precious time to decorate the house and make it their own, but unfortunately a family is moving in, and not quietly. Adam and Barbara try to scare them out, but ends up becoming the main attraction to the money making family. They call upon Beetlejuice to help, but Beetlejuice has more in mind than just helping!
4. Hotel Transylvania (2012): Dracula, who operates a high-end resort away from the human world, goes into overprotective mode when a boy discovers the resort and falls for the count’s teen-aged daughter
5. The Addams Family (1991): They’re creepy and they’re kooky, they’re all together ookie … so they’re perfect for Halloween! The Addams Family is another classic to watch this Halloween no matter what age you are!
6. Scream (1996) : The original Scream movie is a Halloween classic. The Ghost face killer that reappears in the subsequent movies makes its first appearance in this movie, killing teenagers living in a small town. A girl and her friends set out to find him, but doesn’t end so well for the majority of the group!
7. Halloween (1978): You might want to keep the lights on when watching Halloween—it’s seriously scary! It’s about a murderer who killed his brother and sister when he was little, so he was institutionalized. But then he escapes and that’s where the horror begins.
8. Disturbia (2007): Shia LaBeouf stars in this thriller about a teen who thinks his neighbor is a total serial killer. Watching the movie, you’ll be trying to figure out the same thing! Great plot with some crazy twists!
9. The Ring (2002): I still believe this is the scariest movie of all time. A young journalist, Rachel Keller, must investigate a mysterious videotape which apparently caused the death of four teenagers. There is an urban legend about this tape: the viewer will die seven days after watching it. If the legend is correct, Rachel will have to run against time to save her son’s and her own life.
10. Paranormal Activity (2007): This is one of those movies you are either terrified of or find extremely comical. Unfortunately for me, this movie haunts me. After moving into a suburban home, a couple becomes increasingly disturbed by a nightly demonic presence. If you haven’t seen it but are looking to do so, make sure you watch with someone else or keep a light on just to be safe ;)
What are your favorite Halloween movies? Did your favorites make the list?
Until Next Time,
Halloween is by far one of the best holidays of the year! It’s a perfect way to channel your inner child and I encourage you all to do so! Get creative, dress up, make spooky recipes and have fun with your friends! Whether you throw a Halloween bash, or just want to impress the neighborhood trick-or-treaters, decorating for Halloween has never been easier! Check out this list of DIY Halloween decorations that are sure to add to the holiday fun while saving you some extra cash!
- Floating ghosts: Blow up a balloon and drape a white sheet over it. If you place the tied end of the balloon at the top, you can insert a safety-pin through the sheet and the tied end of the balloon to suspend the ghost from the ceiling or from a tree using ribbon, string, etc. Once the sheet is on, secure the bottom with a rubber band to make the shape of the head. Use a black sharpie to draw the face.
- Tombstones: Use Styrofoam to shape gravestones. Color the tombstone with gray spray paint. Use a black marker or paint to write on the front of it. Hang your tombstone on a door, or to stake it in the ground, by inserting long dowel rods through the bottom of the gravestone.
- Spider Webs: Hang fake spider webs and plastic spiders to spook up a hall, corner, or chandelier.
- Window Silhouettes: This is more of an indoor/outdoor decoration. Cut out popular Halloween shapes in black paper and stick them to your windows. When the indoor lights are on, the shapes will come to life!
- Glowing Eyes: These spooky eyes are super easy to make. Cut the eye shapes out of cardboard tubes and place a plastic glow stick inside the tube. Once they are finished, tuck a few sets of eyes in bushes around your front yard to give the trick-or-treaters a little fright.
- Specimen Jars: Fill old glass jars with plastic rats, toy bugs and doll heads or whatever you have lying around the house, then add a little colored water. Stick a label on the jar with the name of your specimen – shrunken heads, poisonous tarantulas, baby rats, human brain, etc.
What are your favorite Halloween decorations to make? Share with us in a comment below!
Until Next Time,
All I can say is that I had been waiting for this movie for what seemed like forever, and let me tell you, it doesn’t disappoint.
A friend of mine suggested reading the book because I am someone who loves suspenseful/mysterious things. I am that person who would sometimes rather stay in on a Friday night and watch 48 hours, hence the recommendation. If you are anything like me, then this is a must read!
GONE GIRL [R]– directed by David Fincher and based upon the global bestseller by Gillian Flynn – unearths the secrets at the heart of a modern marriage. On the occasion of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) reports that his beautiful wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike), has gone missing. Under pressure from the police and a growing media frenzy, Nick’s portrait of a blissful union begins to crumble. Soon his lies, deceits and strange behavior have everyone asking the same dark question: Did Nick Dunne kill his wife?
If you haven’t seen the movie and are looking to do so, check out the $5 Movie Tuesdays promotion at any Marcus Theatre. Click here to find a theatre near you!
Without giving away too many details, what were your thoughts on the book/movie? Share with us in a comment below!
Until Next Time,
Let’s face it, keeping up with the latest beauty trends can be super pricey! Getting pampered, getting your hair done frequently, buying top branded beauty products…. it all adds up! However making quick changes to your beauty cabinet can save time, money and your carbon footprint by choosing items you have around your kitchen. Eliminate questions about some of your favorite commercial beauty products by switching to natural alternatives for your beauty routine. Check out these five easy green beauty swaps.
1. Reduce eye puffiness with cucumber slices
Cucumbers have been proven to help with the swelling and puffiness of eyes. Because cucumbers are usually cool, the cold from the cucumbers can help reduce puffiness of the skin. Ingredients within cucumbers may also help reduce skin irritation. Slice two thick pieces of cucumber and place each piece over eyes for at least 10 minutes. Choose cucumbers over your typical eye cream, and you have a natural product that costs only pennies and can be thrown in the compost pile for recycling after your mini spa treatment.
2. Treat acne with strawberries
Struggling with skin breakouts? Clear your skin with strawberries. Mix a half cup of diced strawberries with a spoonful of sour cream. Rub gently onto your face and leave as a mask for at least 10 minutes. The strawberries will help remove dead skin cells, tighten pores and give your skin a healthy glow.
3. Use teabags to highlight hair
Before picking up a box of hair brightener at the drug store, consider soaking your hair in black tea. The tannic acid in black tea can highlight your hair if you soak your hair regularly over time. Start by making several servings of very strong black tea. Pour the tea carefully over your hair and allow it to sit for 30 minutes before rinsing.
4. Combine corn meal and banana for a foot cream
Soften your feet naturally with items from your pantry. Begin by mashing a ripe banana in a bowl Add several tablespoons of corn meal, until the banana has a gritty consistency. Spread liberally on feet and allow to sit for 30 to 45 minutes. Wipe off the mixture and rinse well with water.
5. Reduce frizz with banana and avocado
Does humidity make your hair a frizzy mess? Before buying a bottle of anti-frizz hair product, make your own in just a few minutes by mixing banana and avocado. Begin by mashing one ripe banana with a fork. Cut an avocado in half, remove the seed, and scoop out the green fruit. Mash the avocado with the banana. Apply to hair and allow to sit for at least 15 minutes, and then rinse hair thoroughly.
Some beauty items are a little more difficult to swap with natural items (like makeup or hairspray). Check the eco-rating of your beauty products at GoodGuide.com found here!
With these easy changes, you can reduce the cost of your beauty routine while making choices that are better for your skin and hair, as well as the environment!
Until Next Time,
Almost all of us have leaks in our budgets, but what’s worse is that you may hardly notice some of them. Unfortunately, those small leaks can add up to big bucks over a short period of time. The trick is to find the holes and fix them so you can keep more money in your wallet. That extra cash could be just what you need to save, invest or break the frustrating cycle of living paycheck to paycheck.
- Paying Checking Account Fees
No one likes paying bank fees. They serve no purpose other than to make banks more money! That’s why you should switch to a credit union today. Credit unions are known for having low to no fees on their accounts and best of all, free checking! Why should you have to pay money in order to keep your money safe?
- Paying ATM Fees
Expect to throw away money every time you use an ATM that isn’t in your financial institution’s network. That’s because you’ll pay an ATM surcharge, and your own credit union or bank might hit you with a non-network fee. Make sure to check with your financial institution to see what kind of fees you will be paying if you use an ATM not in their network.
- Tossing Food Based on the Expiration Date
This is something I am 100% guilty of. There’s a good chance you’re throwing away hundreds or even thousands of dollars’ worth of food each year before it has gone bad if you’re using the sell-by and expiration dates as a resource for whether food is still edible. These dates are just the manufacturers’ best guess of when food is at peak quality and are not related to safety. You can usually expect food to be safe for another 5-7 days past the sell-by date printed on the package. The best test to tell if something is still good is to smell it or take a small bite.
- Buying Brand-Name Instead of Generic
From groceries to clothing, you can save money by choosing generic over brand-named items! And in many cases, you won’t sacrifice much in quality. Clever advertising and fancy packaging don’t make brand-name products better than lesser-known brands. So next time you are at the store, don’t feel pressured to purchase the name brand items! Save money, and go with store brand!
- Paying Late Fees and Missing Bills
If you pay a stack of bills every month, it’s easy to overlook one or two every now and then. But if you miss a credit card payment by even one day, you will pay a late fee. Not only that but your credit score could also take a hit if you pay your bill late. Remember that your Payment History makes up 35% of your FICO credit score. Always pay your bills on time and try to pay more than the minimum payment to pay less in interest over the course of your loan. To help you stay on track, sign up for automatic payments or billpayer! It will save you time, stress and money!
- Keeping Unhealthy Habits
A cigarette here, a few drinks there or maybe just tanning to look good for that big event. Indulging in these unhealthy habits is often portrayed as the fun part of life, but letting bad habits go unchecked can have a harmful effect on your wallet — not to mention your health. Just ask yourself… are the short terms effects worth it in the long run?
- Paying Too Much for Shipping
If you do your shopping online, you probably know that shipping fees are outrageous unless you decide to spend $100 on your total purchase. Don’t give into that! There are many retailers that offer free shipping, ALL of the time. And for those that don’t, you can find free shipping codes at FreeShipping.org, or you can take advantage of days like Cyber Monday when there are great deals and no shipping costs!
- Fast Food
Food takes up a big portion of our budget. If you are spending a lot of money on eating out every week, you may be surprised at just how much money you can save by kicking the fast food habit. In addition to saving money, you may experience health benefits since you can choose healthier options to eat at home.
- Overspending on Gas and Oil
There’s no need to splurge on premium fuel if the auto manufacturer says regular is just fine. Also, are you still paying for an oil change every 3,000 miles? Many models nowadays can last 5,000 to 7,000 miles between changes, and some even have built-in sensors to tell you when it’s time to change the oil. Check your owner’s manual to find the best time for your car’s routine maintenance.
What are some of your bad money habits? Or what are some ways you kicked those habits to the curb? Share with us in a comment below!
Until Next Time,
Happy Friday Everyone!
Football season is finally here and I could not be more excited! The early morning tailgating, the smell of meat cooking on the grill, thousands of people roaming Melrose Ave and the Iowa Fight song blasting in the background…. it’s all just so perfect. Now there isn’t really a wrong way to tailgate, but with another football season beginning, here’s some advice on getting the most out of your day at the lot. Go Hawkeyes!
1. Ham and Cheese Sliders
I know what you are thinking…ham and cheese sliders…. does that really require a recipe? The answer is YES it does. These have so much flavor and everyone at your tailgate will absolutely love them. If you are interested, click here for the recipe!
2. Bacon Wrapped Smokies in Maple Glaze
Of all the tailgating food I have made, this is by far one of my favorites. Warning: They are super addictive! They aren’t necessarily the most healthy food of choice, but they sure are delicious and super easy to make! Plus, who doesn’t love bacon!? For the recipe, click here!
3. Skinny Taco Dip
In case you are looking for something a little lighter, check out this skinny taco dip! It’s delicious, popular and it only takes about 5 minutes to make! Just don’t forget the Tostitos! Click here for the recipe!
Who says games are just for kids? Spice up your tailgate with these fun and popular games that everyone in your group will enjoy!
1. Bags (Cornhole)
The simple “bags” game is a great addition to a tailgating event! Bags sets can get a little pricey though, so why not make it yourself! Decorate it with your favorite college/NFL team colors, add your team logo, and you will be all set for game day!
2. Life Size Jenga
As a kid everyone loved the game Jenga. So why not turn it into a life-size tailgating game? My brother purchased this game online and has taken it to several Iowa football tailgates. It is always such a huge hit that people walking around want to join in! You can purchase this online or if you are feeling crafty, try making it yourself!
3. Ladder Golf
Another fun game that adults will love is Ladder Golf! Ladder golf is an addictive game that can be inexpensively made using PVC tubing, string, and a few golf balls. It’s fun, easy and it’s a game for all ages!
Do you have any delicious recipes or games that you play while tailgating? If so, please share with us in a comment below! Be safe and Go Hawks!
Until Next Time,
Identity theft is nothing new, and yet millions of people are affected each year. The Federal Trade Commission released a survey showing that 27.3 million Americans have been victims of identity theft in the last five years, including 9.9 million people in the last year alone. Thankfully there are many things you can do to avoid identity theft! The bad news is, many of us do little beyond choosing a decent password and what’s even crazier, is that some people don’t even do that! Get smart and protect yourself! Below is a list of easy targets for identity thieves and ways you can prevent it from happening to you!
1. Your Trash Can
Even if you’re really careful about the information you put online, your trash bags and recycling bin can still be an easy target for identity thieves. Dumpster diving may sound ridiculous, but it’s still an easy way for identity thieves to get access to your personal information.
- Get a shredder and use it! Get into the habit of shredding things like bank statements, expired credit cards, utility bills, cell phone bills, pay stubs, old boarding passes and travel itineraries, ATM receipts and anything with your social security number on it.
- Don’t forget to check your envelopes! Anything with your name and address on it needs to be shredded, too.
2. Your Phone
Chances are you’re carrying a lot more in your phone than just your contacts. With smartphone theft on the rise, protect yourself:
- Have a password-protected lock on your home screen. This is a standard feature on all smartphones for a reason, so take advantage of it! Bonus points if your smartphone also has a location tracking (also known as the “find my phone” feature).
- Public Wi-Fi networks are not secure, so avoid checking your bank accounts or doing your online shopping from the local coffee shop or during your layover at the airport.
- Do not store sensitive information on your phone–storing passwords or login information in a note taking app is bad news.
3. The Pin Pad
It seems like every few months a new point-of-purchase scheme emerges– skimming devices, keystroke loggers, ATM hacking… the list goes on! Here are some good practices for when you’re out and about:
- When making a purchase, keep your debit or credit card in sight at all times.
- Use your hand to block the buttons when entering your pin number, even if there’s no one immediately behind you–a camera can always be watching.
- Choose a good PIN. Avoid PINs derived from your personal information, like your telephone number, address, or birthday. Avoid easy-to-guess pins, like the dreaded “1234.”
- Change up your PIN, especially if you use the same combination to unlock your phone as you do for your debit card.
4. Your Mail Box
Like the dumpster-diving approach mentioned above, mail tampering is a low tech but relatively easy way for identity thieves to compromise your personal information. Here’s what you can do:
- Familiarize yourself with your billing cycles. A late credit card statement or a bill that never shows up could be a sign of mail tampering.
- Identity thieves will sometimes request a change of address to illegally reroute your mail to a different location. If you suddenly stop receiving mail, check with the post office to make sure this isn’t the case.
- Use a mailbox with a locking system to avoid thieves.
5. Your Computer
You think this one would be common sense by now, but every so often a virus or scam comes along that trips us up. Stay one step ahead of scammers:
- Keep your firewall, anti-virus and operating system software up to date. No matter how new and fast your laptop is, it still needs protection.
- Enable spam filters on your email accounts.
- Look out for sketchy links and emails. Ignore any suspicious password reset requests, unexpected mail tracking numbers, or anything that asks for your personal information over email.
- Don’t over share on social media. Do your Facebook friends really need to know your home address, cell phone number or even what year you were born? Can people tell when no one is home based on your social media feed? Keep your accounts private and make sure you’re not accidentally broadcasting sensitive information.
Do you have any identity theft stories to tell or tips to prevent it? If so please share with us in a comment below!
Until Next Time,