Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Random Tuesdays 06/26/2012

Southern Finland, 2012. The entrance to our house. We fixed it a bit during Juhannus and now it's nice and green :)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

NYC shopping on a low budget

As a stay-at-home mom my funds are pretty limited. I have a small income of my own, but other than that its pretty much my husband who takes care of our finances. I'd love to shop on Fifth Avenue and all the designer stores, but right now that's not really a possibility. So here are a few of the places I shopped while in NYC that would not kill my budget :)

Burlington Coat Factory (116 W 23rd St) is my #1 source for jeans, dresses, tops and jewelry when on a low budget. They also sell coats (duh! :) toys, linens etc. so pretty much everything under the sun is on discount. If you're not too picky about the quality, you can make really inexpensive finds. For example two of my tops were only $3. I bought a couple of pairs of jeans, sunglasses, dresses, a bunch of tops, toys for our lil man and a baby toy for my new Godson. Husband found a pair of shorts and a nice looking tie.

Some earrings from Burlington Coat Factory, I think they were like $5 a pair

Century 21 (22 Cortlandt Street) is fairly popular with tourists since they advertise in all the tourist guides like NYC weekly etc. From previous experience I stuck to two departments: shoes and bags. The clothing departments are chaotic and messy, so I usually just skip them. The shoe annex is crowded as well,  but the shoe selection is pretty good. 

Shoes from Century 21, Adizero sneakers for less than $50 and Sam&Libby ballerinas for $23.

Daffy's (several locations, one on 1311 Broadway) is usually the place where I get my cocktail dresses. This time the selection was not as good so I ended up leaving with just one dress and a ton of books for our lil man. Daffy's sells a lot of clothes, shoes, bags and some toys.

Strawberry (several locations including Manhattan Mall) is another cheap clothing store. I left with a bunch of tops, each less than $10. Their sizes vary a lot though, so it's recommended to try them on. I'm usually size small, but this time I  bought a couple of tops that were size large.

I also usually stop by at JcPenney (Manhattan Mall) and this time was no exception. They have really nice baby, toddler and kids clothes for fairly cheap, so I stacked up on them upcoming birthdays in mind :) I've also been a fan of Arizona jeans, but didn't find any good ones this time. Instead I found a really nice summer dress for $17 for my Godson's christening, which was right after we got back. I got a lot of compliments, so it was a good buy :)

Other places I've shopped at are Forever 21 (which has some really nice tops among other things), Rainbow (cheap clothes), American Eagle Outfitters (for jeans), Aeropostale (for simple tee tops) and some sample sales. Samples sales can be a gold mine, but more often than not I've left empty handed. I Googled some sample sales before I left, but none of them seemed to appeal me this time, so I didn't go to any. I've heard there's a bunch of decent flea markets too, but I'm not really into buying clothes from them. 

Besides the stores mentioned, I also stop by at Sephora and Walgreens/Duane Reade for all my cosmetic needs :)

Do you have any tips for shopping in NYC when on a low budget?
Hope everyone's been having an amazing weekend!

Update 08/09/12: I just received an email saying that Daffy's in going out of business :( 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

MBA here I come!

Earlier this year I wrote about my plans for the future (or the lack of them) and how I felt a bit lost. Well, I decided to do something about it and I got some exciting news yesterday; I got accepted to the Master of Business Administration program! 

So more studying is in the cards for me :) At first I was planning on returning to work this fall, but things happened and I won't be able to work just yet (issues with my back). I nevertheless wanted to do something to advance myself and decided that finishing my Master of Arts degree and then starting a part-time MBA could be just what I need. The MBA program starts this fall and has classes once a week every other week, so it works perfectly for me. I can still stay at home with the lil man and get a new degree as well.

This means I really have to finish my MA thesis this year. I'll be working on it this summer and hoping to get it to the stage where I'll just have to do minor changes to the thesis during the fall. I'll still be attending the thesis seminar, so technically I'll be going to two universities at the same time. Since I have no classes left to take for my MA, it should be doable :)

photos from weheartit.com

So, hopefully this time in two years I'll have two Master's degrees. Now I'll have to convince the husband we need to stay put in Finland for a while so I can get all this done :)

Wishing everyone a wonderful Midsummer weekend! Enjoy the summer solstice!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Random Tuesdays 06/19/2012

Eastern Finland, 2010. It's Midsummer (Juhannus in Finnish) on Random Tuesdays! This photo was taken at the summer house during the Juhannus weekend two years back and can anyone guess what this structure is? Well, I'll save you the suspense; it's the outhouse! Attached to a collapsing storage building. Yup, the summer house does not having running water, but it does have electricity, how modern! ;)

Happy Juhannus everyone!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Restaurant.com couponing in NYC

We had some Restaurant.com coupons to use in NYC compliments of United Airlines frequent flyer program. If you live in a bigger city in the U.S Restaurant.com coupons are a nice way of saving a little bit of money while trying out new restaurants. Since we didn't have to pay for the coupons, it was a big save for us :) Based on the location, menus and reviews, we chose four restaurants: Healthalicious (1594 2nd Avenue), Copper Door Tavern (272 3rd Avenue), Dewey's Flatiron (210 5th Ave) and Rafina (630 1st Avenue). We ended up never using the Copper Door Tavern coupon as it was way too crowded (by drinkers) when we got there, but here are our experiences of the other three.

We went to Healthalicious after spending the whole day at the Met and we were superhungry. Healthalicious didn't disappoint us: the portions were huge and very affordable. I had a veggie burger with a mango smoothie and husband had a beef platter with a coke. We shared a brownie for dessert. My veggie burger was delicious as was the mango smoothie and husband said his platter was excellent as well. The brownie was yummy too. The place itself isn't exactly a sit down restaurant, it's more of a take out place. I'd recommend picking up the foods and heading to Central Park.

Healthalicious' yummy brownie

Dewey's Flatiron was a bar like Copper Door Tavern and we got carded when we went in :) The atmosphere was very pub-like and they had baseball and soccer games on. People were mostly snacking and drinking there, pretty loudly. We sat ourselves in a booth and ordered once again burgers; husband got the bison burger and I ordered veggie burger with cheese and avocado (paid extra). I'm glad I got the extras, since the veggie burger would've been really plain without them. Both burgers were delicious and the service was fast.

Dewey's Flatiron's veggie burger

We chose Rafina for our anniversary dinner, since we went to Greece on our honeymoon and love Greek food. We ordered dolmadakia (stuffed vine leaves) and scordalia (garlic spread) for appetizers and had spanakopita (spinach pie) and beeftekia scharas (beef patties) as the main course. All of them were delicious! Rafina is a real sit down restaurant with a really friendly service.

 Rafina's beef patties

Other than that we mostly ate fast food at McDonalds, Burger King and Dunkin Donuts :) The latter was husband's favorite since he absolutely loves donuts. We also went to the Sushi Shop (536 Madison Avenue) once and had some excellent sushi there. I had the vegetable and pink veggie rolls and I think husband ordered dynamite rolls (salmon). Super-yummy!

Sushi Shop's rolls

Hope everyone is enjoying their Sunday and Happy Father's Day to those who celebrate it today! :)

Friday, June 15, 2012

New York, New York!

We're back from our anniversary trip to NYC with lots of fun memories and plenty of new clothes, shoes and bags ;) I'll post something about our trip and my shoppings later, but I thought I'd first share some random photos. Here are some of the things we did:

Went to the Empire State Building, here's husband holding his ticket. We did this on the first morning of our trip, since we woke up at 6am and couldn't sleep. I've been there a couple of times before, and wasn't too excited to have to wait to get in, but when we got there just before 8am, we were the first ones to arrive. So no waiting and gorgeous views!

Blogger herself admiring the views :)

Went to the American Museum of Natural History. Been there a couple of times as well, but husband loves paleontology and I didn't mind seeing the dinosaur bones again, pretty impressive stuff.

Went to Times Square and bunch of other touristy places...

...including the Central Park. We did a lot of general wondering around and enjoyed our visit quite a bit :)

Hope everyone is having the most wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Random Tuesdays 06/12/2012

It's time celebrate on Random Tuesdays: Happy Anniversary to us! :) The cake topper from our Finnish wedding, loved it!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Random Tuesdays 06/05/2012

Our summer house in Eastern Finland in 2010. What a gorgeous shade of green! The building in the background is an old barn that has partially collapsed, so it's no longer in use. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

11 answers in Finnish

I'm getting ready to head to New York, so I've had less time to blog. My blogging continues in full force when we get back :) In the mean time, I'll answer 11 questions from Jenni of Kettua Kanssa blog. They're in Finnish, so I'll answer them in Finnish as well :)  Pahoittelen skandien puuttumista vastauksistani!

1. Millaiset ovat suosikkikenkäsi?
Mukavat :) Monivuotiset suosikkini ovat Converse Volitant Ox:t eri kuoseissa

Kuvat google.com 

2. Huulipuna vai huulikiilto? Miksi?
Huulirasva. Joskus harvoin tulee kaytettya huulikiiltoa, punat eivat vaan pysy.

3. Paras kesäjuoma?
Mansikkamargarita tai jaakylma vichy vesi

4. Mitä teknologian ihmettä ilman et haluaisi olla?
Varmaan puhelinta, Blackberry kulkee mukana kaikkialla ja luen siita sahkopostit yms.

5. Minne matkustaisit, jos sinun pitäisi lähteä huomenna?
Lahtisin jonnekin rentoutumaan, ehkapa Mauritiukselle.

6. Paras tapa viettää sunnuntaita?
Hyvan kirjan kanssa auringosta nautiskellen :)

7. Rakkain lapsuusmuistosi?
Matkustelimme usein koko perhe matkailuautolla eli matkat.

8. Oletko allerginen millekään? Jos, niin mille?
Olen allerginen kalalle.

9. Millainen oli ensimmäinen poika-/tyttöystäväsi?
Taisi olla vaalea pitkatukka-rokkipoika :-) Seurustelimme muutaman vuoden teineina.

10. Hyvin palkattu työ vai hyvin mukava työ?
Mukava tyo, raha ei ole koskaan ollut itselleni kovin tarkeaa. Kunhan saan riittavasti palkkaa:-)

11. Suosikkikasvisi?

Hope everyone is having the most amazing weekend!