Wednesday, June 30 coupon code

As you have heard from my in the past, is a great place to buy discounted coupons to local area restaurants. They sell $25 off coupons for $10, but with discount codes you can get these for only $2. There are usually rules like you must spend $35 to use your $25 coupon but even then with 18 percent tip and tax the bill comes to $17 so you get a $42 meal for $19 (including the $2 coupon fee).

To get 80% off your order type in the coupon code SUMMER. This ends tonight!

Don't forget you can get an additional 15% off your purchase by using your ebates account (you should use your free ebates account for EVERY online purchase you make). To join ebates, click here.

When you purchase your coupons, they are valid for one year. A sad thing happened last night when we got to a Crystal City Thai restaurant- Neramitro- with a coupon we bought back in September, they had a sign up near the front door that they were no longer accepting coupons as of June 1.

I was really bummed but when I spoke with the manager they said I could have $10 off my tab. So of course we ordered one $10.95 dish. They ended up telling us not to pay anything, though we did leave a tip of course.

Anyway I'm not as angry since I only paid $2 for the coupon, but that still shouldn't happen since the coupon is really a contract once you pay for it.

Tuesday, June 29

The new DC Taxi system

So as you all know, several months ago DC taxis switched from a zone system to a metered system. One would think this new system is better for the consumer because you don't have to trust the driver to tell you how many zones you crossed or attempt to read a color coded map that fails to list street names.

HOWEVER, I have realized that taxi drivers will now go out of their way to take longer routes so that they can charge more on the meter. Sure this was bound to happen but taxi riders should be aware of the best path to their destination and should feel to tell the driver which way to go.

I live in Rosslyn and I've taken two taxis from Rosslyn to Union Station under the new system. Both times the driver took 110 to 395 instead of going straight down constitution. This longer, highway route ended up costing $17. The next time I did this ride and told them to take constitution it was only $12.

I realize that in rush hour constitution is really slow but when I was going it was during the early and late hours or the weekend when there was no traffic.

Saturday, June 26

A personal update

As you may know, I've been working full time while attending graduate school in the evenings for the past 2 1/2 years. Well this past May I finally graduated from Johns Hopkins with a Masters in Government!

During my last year I applied for the Presidential Management Fellowship and was named a finalist back in February. In April I attended the PMF finalist job fair and interviewed with 12 government agencies in 2 days. It was one of the most intense experiences I've had but a lot of fun too.

I accepted a position with USAID's Office of Development Credit where I will get to tell the success stories of people who benefit from loan guarantees around the world. Basically the US government guarantees 50 percent of loans banks in developing countries make to poorer sectors. This makes the loans less risky to the banks. Plus it turns out the poor often pay back loans at a much higher rate than other sectors! So in the past 10 years the US government has only spent $62 million and has leveraged $1.9 billion worth of credit. I'm pretty excited to help work towards international development in a way that empowers people by changing structures that are currently unfavorable to the poor.

Also I will get to work for two months (Aug and September) with the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility. I'm going to be helping them come up with a plan to get the deficit back down to 3 percent of our annual GDP.

I'm so excited to use my frugal skills and passions to help our country.

PS The federal government pays a lot more than the nonprofit sector! But I will continue to be careful about how I spend money, though perhaps not AS careful.

Friday, June 25

Founding Farmers

My husband and I went out to Founding Farmers for the first time a few weeks ago. While they have some pretty expensive menu items, they also had some great food at great prices. Plus I was impressed by the value of the food as the plate size was very generous.

I thought the best thing on the menu was the Creamy Brie, Onion Jam, and Sliced Organic Apples Flat Bread for $8. This was really delicious and I would go back and just order that. The corn bread appetizer for $5 was also incredible and I don't usually like any of the aforementioned things- brie, apple sauce, or corn bread!

Founding farmers is also great because the chefs use locally grown foods.

Thursday, June 24

Sweet Charity Gala

I lucked out this past Monday when my friend Chelsea told me she had an extra ticket to the Heart of America's Sweet Charity gala and invited me to go with her.

The event was at the Mandarin Oriental (home of CityZen restaurant which I'm too cheap to try despite it's rave reviews), a beautiful hotel near the waterfront.

This gala was the best DC gala I've been to. It features over 60 of DC's top chefs who serve you savory and/or sweet treats from their restaurants. Once you're in all of the alcohol and food is completely free. I'm not a huge fan of alcohol but the food was incredible!

Jose Andre's people were there from the Mini Bar and I got to try his liquid nitrogen popcorn with curry powder. You put the popcorn cube in your month and chew it with your mouth closed as watch smoke out out of your nose as the liquid nitrogen reacts to your body temperature.

I though Blue Duck Tavern's orange chocolate cake was to die for. As was the passion fruit cheesecake on a stick dunked in chocolate with fried pieces of crepe dough around the edges (sorry I forget where this was from). I also loved the strawberry cloud on seared tuna with a balsalmic glaze. Some of the best truffles were chocolate caramel truffles with rock salt on top (what a great mix). Oh and BlackSalt restaurant has an amazing chocolate bark with pretzels mixed in and pistachios and salt on the top. There was so much food that someone mistakenly thought I was pregnant by the end of the night! Since I'm so thin I wasn't really offended, just shocked.

Anyway, after you eat the food and go to some of the culinary demonstrations they have a fashion show with models dressed in sweets and chocolate. The winner was Cruella de Vil, whose hair was sprayed in white and milk chocolate.

Wednesday, June 23

Folklife Festival- This weekend!

This weekend, and July 1-5 is the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival. I've gone in the past and thought it was okay. It wasn't the most fun I've ever had, but if you haven't gone before it's worth stopping by.

They have food you can buy from different cultures and various performances and demonstrations going on. It's cool to go if you have young kids I think.

Here is a link to the calendar.

Sunday, June 20

Buying a bike in DC

A year ago my husband and I got new bikes. We had older bikes from growing up that we were using, but found that we were at quite the disadvantage when we went biking with friends who had much newer, lighter bikes.

Usually I like to scope out the most affordable product but in this case we wanted to get something that was very good quality.

We decided on Treks as they have a great reputation to be great bikes. We did, however, buy the cheapest bikes that Treks carry, which ended up costing about $365 each.

We were able to sell our old bikes (I had a Mongoose from 1996) for $100 each. I felt bad about spending that much money on a bike but a year later I can say it was a great investment and I am so glad that we did.

We go biking every weekend over the summer months, often 25 miles at a time. We bike to the zoo, to Bethesda, to Old Town, Shirlington, and even to Target and Shoppers. We love biking to the national mall and the Eastern Market. There are so many amazing bike trails in the area (Mt Vernon and Cap Crescent being our favorites).

We did not pay more for suspension, which I'm still fine with. We did get hybrids which is great since some trails like C and O are not paved. Our bikes are the Trek 7000. I got the female version, and my husband the male version. We did pay extra for kick stands and we also bought U locks for them.

To us the point of biking is to get off the bike at fun destinations so you have something to look forward to!

Friday, June 11

Free Malagueta Show on Sat, July 17th! 6 PM-12 AM

The Solo Show of Tatiana Suarez

Malagueta is a fusion of culture, folkloric tales and legends colorfully rendered and set in voluptuous, airy atmospheres inspired primarily by the artists Brazilian heritage.

Sketching Session with live model 7-9pm
Latin Fusion Band performance starts at 9pm

Location: Art Whino Gallery
173 Waterfront St.
National Harbor, MD 20745

Show end date: August 15th

Continuing with the amazing night of sketching of the last show we are pleased to announce we will be having sketching sessions for all our shows! The sketching session begins at 7pm and ends at 9pm and is free. We will have 15 special edition blank sketchbooks for sale at the show as well but you are welcome to bring your own sketchbook.

The event is FREE and open to the public.


Tatiana Suarez (b. 1983) is a Brooklyn-based Miami native. This emerging artist is an alumni of the University of Miami's Graphic Design program, and also works as a freelance illustrator. Her charming style is distinctive -- first, the trademark eyes that draw the viewer into a beautiful and surreal world. Suarez takes full advantage of the oil paint's ability to create creamy, soft images on canvas. Rich with symbols that stem from her Brazilian and El Salvadorian heritage, subjects appear as if they are under water, frozen in lovely stillness. The doe-eyed figures look childlike, but also exude sexual overtones, ornamented with plants, insects and other unsettling accompaniments. Beauty is presented concurrently with exotic -- even creepy -- creatures to create enchanted narratives.

Thursday, June 10

How to get three seats for the price of two on a plane

My husband's travel agent had this amazing idea that worked the last time we flew. Maybe everyone else already figured this out but it was a new idea to me, and a very brilliant idea at that!

So normally when I book seats on a flight for me and a friend/husband, I'll book them next to each other. Of course that leaves open the window or aisle, which will be snatched up first by other flyers.

Instead, when you book a flight you should book seats A and C for you and your travel companion, leaving the middle seat open. If someone does book this seat you can surprise them and tell them you'll give up the aisle so you can sit with your companion.

But no one will book the middle seats until all the aisles and window seats are taken so you are greatly increasing your chance of getting a free seat between you and your companion to spread out a bit more and be more comfortable on your flight.