Welcome to BusyGalTips! With a background in social work, I thrive on helping others improve their lives! This is a creative way for me to live out my passion and share ways to make your busy life a little bit more manageable. ••••••••••••• Additional bonus tips can be found on Twitter and Facebook (click the links on the left). Enjoy!


Low-Fat Lunch on the Go for Busygals

When I'm working (hopefully that will be very soon again, since I've been rocking my power suit at my recent interviews), I don't want to go out to lunch every day. It's expensive and I tend to eat less healthy, but as a Busygal, many days I don't have time to make a lunch to bring with me. Have no fear, Busygals, Trader Joe's has your back!

Image courtesy of chefmarkgarcia.com
Next time you're in your local Trader Joe's, check out the frozen section and keep an eye out for their Reduced Guilt items. They have a delicious pasta marinara dish and a couscous dish with vegetables. I have eaten both multiple times, and they are satisfying, filling, healthy, and a reasonable price. Healthy, filling, fast, and budget-friendly...what more could a Busygal want?! Except...maybe some low-fat brownies?

Fear not, Trader Joe's has got you covered there, too! If you crave chocolate like I do after a meal, try out Trader Joe's Reduced Guilt brownies! You can make a whole pan in the oven, or individual servings in the microwave. All you need is a box of the mix, and non-fat vanilla yogurt...that's it! Simple, delicious, and low-fat!

Bon Appétit, Busygals!


BusyGal's Halloween Party on a Budget

Want to throw a little Halloween shindig, but don't want to break the bank decorating your place? Then we speak the same language, Busygals!

We're having a pumpkin carving party at our place, and I wanted to get some pumpkin carving kits for everyone to use. I had also seen a couple of blog posts from CiaoBella in her "Glam Decor" section for fun Halloween decor ideas, and I was inspired!

Image courtesy of superdealbox.com

I walked into my local 99¢ Only store, hoping I would find just pumpkin carving kits. Not only did I find the kits, but I was absolutely blown away by the an ENTIRE aisle of an amazing selection of Halloween decor and costumes! I got a TON of items, including 7 pumpkin carving kits, party plates, napkins, 2 tablecloths, plastic forks and knives, 3 fake black glittery roses, glittery spiders, tealight holders with glitter skulls on them, 2 packages of spider webs, and a sparkly Halloween sign...all for...GET THIS...$25!!!! I would have easily spent at least $50-$75 if I would have bought the same items at a party store.

The next time you have any party, I would definitely suggest heading to your 99¢ Only store, you'll be amazed at the selection and quality of items they offer...and all for 99¢ each!!

Busygals don't have to spend a fortune to party in style!


Quick and Simple Earring Fix for the BusyGal

When I wear hoop earrings with a hook, they often have a tendency to throw themselves out of my ears. Why? It's a mystery...
I also often lose the backings to my earring studs.
Do any of you Busygals have the same problems?

Here are a couple of easy ideas that might help, shared from friends:

Image courtesy of houseoftitus.wordpress.com
1) Cut a little square from a rubber band and slide it onto the earring after you have put it on so that it is held in place. Thanks Sandy, for pointing this tip out from Real Simple Magazine to me!

2) Use a little dental wax (the kind you would put on your braces to prevent them from poking your gums or cheeks when you were a young Busygal), which you can buy at a drug store in the dental section, and...voilà! Problem solved! 

I've tried the rubber band trick, and I can vouch for it, it works, and it's so simple!

Thanks to Amanda and Sandy for the advice!


Lifesaver from Blisters for Busygals

Image courtesy of thebudgetfashionista.com
I carry a Band-Aid Blister Block stick in my purse with me EVERYWHERE. Why's that, you ask? Well...do you ever have a pair of flats or heels that maybe you've even had for awhile and never had a problem with, and all of a sudden one day, out of the blue, they give you crazy blisters? I can't imagine I'm alone on this one...I have! Or have you ever purchased a new pair of shoes, without time to break them in, only to have them torture your feet for the day? Now Busygals don't have to endure the pain! 

I discovered this AMAZING blister preventer at CVS Pharmacy. This blister block is simple to use, it's invisible, and it has saved my feet from blisters numerous times!! It is well-worth the price (about $7), trust me...your feet will thank you!

Look cute in those heels and save yourself from blisters, Busygals!

Busygal Money Saver at Target

Image courtesy of electrictheatre.org
If you Busygals are anything like me, then you LOVE Target! I mean, you can get pretty much EVERYTHING there...a Busygal's dream! 

Recently a friend of mine shared this link - 4 Things You Should and Shouldn't Buy at Target. Number 2 on the list of things TO buy at Target includes green cleaning products. Check out my previous post here for my experience with a green laundry detergent.

Overall, I thought the article was helpful and I know I'll definitely use this in my Target runs, I hope you Busygals find it helpful as well!


Safety Tip for the Busygal

This one's a kind of random tip, but I think it's very helpful!

I go to a lot of live concerts at small venues, and there's often a purse check involved. Now it's not that I want to be a rule-breaker, rebel, or trouble-causer, but one thing that's a "no-no" in many clubs is pepper spray. This kind of baffles me, because I'm expected to leave the very thing in my car that is supposed to keep me safe walking to and from the club and my car late at night! I want to feel safe, as some of these clubs can be in not-so-nice areas. I've found a pepper spray that is discreet
and enables me to leave it in my purse for the walks before and after.
Image courtesy of yourgreatestprotection.com
This little heart-shaped tube contains pepper spray, but looks like perfume. It's made by Streetwise. You can purchase it at a gun store, or online on Amazon. Either option is cheaper than what is listed on Streetwise's site.

Luckily I've never had to use it, and hopefully I never will...but just in case, it's there for me.

Busygals should also be street-smart!

Busygal Laundry Tips

After a recent trip to the laundromat resulted in various pairs of jeans and towels smelling like mildew (still a mystery to me how it happened, I did nothing different from the usual), I was beside myself. Busygals don't have time or money for this nonsense! I didn't want to replace nice pairs of jeans and nice towels!
Image courtesy of vinegars.info

After a quick search on Google, I found that white distilled vinegar can do just about everything! After adding about a cup of vinegar to my load of laundry and re-washing my clothes, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my towels smelled fresh and clean. The jeans, not so much. I have no idea what happened, and only after I dried the heck out of them with many fabric softener sheets did they smell fresh again (if anybody has any tips regarding this issue, I'd love to hear them! Please leave a comment below).

Anyway, back to the towels...another discovery through a Google search (the link is escaping me right now, my apologies!): Not only is it helpful to wash them with some vinegar, but a double-dry does wonders. I've found that if you really squeeze towels after one dry cycle, you'll find that they are still a bit damp. Towels just take longer to dry. When you fold slightly damp towels and put them on a shelf, you're asking for mildew smell trouble. Make sure when you pull the towels out of the laundry to give them a good squeeze and make sure they're really dry.

Another link is escaping me, but I also found various blogs that stated that many detergents and softeners have animal fats and products in them. Some bloggers have said that this can also add to the smell. I found a product I am in love with - both for the size, convenience, and the plant-based ingredients.

Image courtesy of fastcompany.com
It's made by Method and I bought it at Target. It's highly-concentrated, and it comes in a cool, small pump bottle. Its size makes it easy to carry, and it's not messy because there's no pouring involved. I love it, and I've noticed it's made my laundry smell and feel fresher.

Give it a try! I'd love to hear what you Busygals think, leave a comment below!

Words of Wisdom for the Busygal

This quote is just too good not to share. No matter how busy you Busygals get, never forget that networking is key in the working world, and never get too busy to be concerned about others:

"The successful networkers I know, the ones receiving tons of referrals and feeling truly happy about themselves, continually put the other person's needs ahead of their own." -Bob Burg


Hope this lifts your spirits and gives you the encouragement you need for the day, Busygals!

Kitchen Gadgets for the Busygal

Who has extra time (or wants to spend more time than needed) in the kitchen? Not this Busygal! Here are a couple of kitchen gadgets I've come across that make prep work and cleaning a little bit easier and more fun:
Image courtesy of cgi.ebay.ch
1) Scrape-Ease Cleaning Scraper
I purchased this little guy at Bed, Bath and Beyond. First of all, it's adorable. But more importantly, it works! This gadget is great for scraping egg or any other stubborn food off of pans. I use both sides - the "feet" do the majority of the work of scraping, and the "head" works good on curved edges of the pan. I don't hav
e to scrub as hard, and it saves my 
sponges from getting gross stuff all over them that won't come off. A money and time-saver!

Image courtesy of remodelingmyspace.com
2) Garlic Zoom
I actually won this little gadget at a friend's bridal shower (thanks, Erin!). I couldn't wait to get home and use it! It's another tool that just makes cooking that much more fun, I feel like I'm playing with a toy! You can find this item at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, or Target. You simply put in a clove of garlic, roll it around, and voilà! Chopped garlic! Minimal mess, and no garlic smell on your hands! And don't just limit yourself to garlic when you're using the Garlic Zoom...I've used this amazing kitchen-tool-on-wheels to chop cliantro, parsley, ginger...you name it! It really does the trick! The link above (Garlic Zoom) is a video of how it works. 


Busygal Fitness

We all know that exercise is important for our physical, mental, and emotional health. But almost every Busygal I know has the same dilemma: A desire to exercise, but not enough time or lack of
energy/discipline to do so. This Busygal is no exception to the rule. However, I've found a few tricks that seem to work for me (hopefully they help you too!):
Image courtesy of hotelsinharvardsquare.com
1) Join a fitness class at your gym
Most gym memberships include attendance to group fitness classes at no additional cost. I have found that this is the only way I get in a decent workout. If I attempt to exercise on my own on a treadmill or elliptical machine, I'll quit in about 10 minutes. I get bored, I feel unmotivated, I get tired. However, in a group exercise class, I feel energized, there's an instructor encouraging and directing, and...time for the real truth...I'm competitive. I don't want people to see me giving up, so being in a class pushes me to give it my all. Some of my favorites at my YMCA include Kickboxing, Kick-Step-Funk, Cardio Smashup, and my new favorite...Swimming (more on this later).

2) Stay ahead of the pack
Once you get comfortable with the routines in the group class, get there a few minutes early and make sure you get a spot toward the front. Why? Because when you know that there's a room full of people behind you, you definitely will feel pushed more to keep going when you feel like giving up. This has also worked wonders for me. When you're in the back row, you're more apt to go easy on yourself and take more breaks. If you're anything like me, being toward the front will push you.

3) Swimming
At my gym, they offer a Swim Fitness class. When I went to join, nobody was attending. For the last few weeks, I have had a private, one-hour Swim Fitness class with an instructor. It's been fantastic! Tip/Lesson Learned: Look for possibly obscure classes offered at your gym that you might be interested in, and you might be treated to individual instruction, or very small classes. This will push you to work harder, as there's nobody to hide behind. Regardless of the class offering, another wonderful exercise is swimming. It works your entire body, it's low-impact, and it's refreshing. Before I found my Swim Fitness class, swimplan.com was a huge help to keeping me on track.

4) Join a Boot Camp Class
Boot camp can be really expensive through private organizations. Try checking out a gym, however, and you might be surprised. My gym offers boot camp classes either 3 days per week in the early mornings, or 2 days per week in the evenings. This is an additional charge to my membership, but at $55 for 10 weeks, 2 times per week, it's worth the extra cost to me! I would by lying if I said it wasn't difficult, but it's an hour, and us Busygals can survive an hour of really hard work, right? Right! That's what I tell myself anyway, and it's been working so far. You work out hard, and you see results!

4) Subscribe to Exercise Magazines
Women's Health Magazine has some great tips for exercise, eating healthy, and staying in shape. I always feel motivated and learn something new when I read it.

5) Eat Healthy

We all know that, right? But as life as a Busygal goes, sometimes healthy eating goes out the window when we're running from one obligation or social activity to the next. This is one of the hugest struggles for me. I've found that pre-portioning out healthy snacks can be helpful. When I get home from the grocery store, I immediately put out zip locs or tupperware and divide snacks into healthy portions. This helps, because when I get home from a long day and I'm starving, I'm reaching for what's convenient, not healthy. But...if my healthy snacks are right there, I'm more apt to grab for those. Also, Trader Joe's has some great snack-sized portions of almonds, called "Just A Handful." A healthy and filling snack. And, as Dave Zinczenko (the guy who authors "Eat This, Not That") recently tweeted, "DIET VS EXERCISE? Workouts help the heart but barely dent our avg 3500 cals/day, says UK study. Focus on eating right." So...when exercise just isn't in the schedule for the day, maintain your health with better eating.

Bottom line: 

Push yourself, get competitive, join some classes, and eat healthy. You'll be glad you did, I know I have been (and I'm excited about the pounds that have been shed as a result!).

Happy fitness, Busygals!


For the Busygal Bride

I can speak from first-hand experience as a bride: White House Black Market has some fantastic options for bridesmaids dresses. Obviously, your color options are a bit limited, but if you're in the market for black dresses (and lately they've had some blues and reds sneak in there, too), you're in luck!
Another fantastic option: JCrew. Every friend I have that has worn a JCrew bridesmaid dress has raved about her dress and has exclaimed that she can actually wear it again (every bride's dream come true!). I know for a fact that WHBM dresses will also be worn again...my bridesmaids did!
Both WHBM and JCrew also offer wedding gowns.

Busygal Pet Lover

Love your kitty or pup, but hate the hair she leaves everywhere? I know you Busygals out there love a quick fix...Real Simple Magazine has an easy trick - put on a damp rubber glove, and rub over the hair on your furniture, it'll come right up! My friend Sandy also shared that she read in a Real Simple Magazine that a damp sponge will do the trick as well.

Also, for the kitty owner, one of the best clumping and least messy kitty litters I've found it Jonny Cat. It's sold in select stores, so check out their web site for stores where it's sold near you. Also, you must be aware if your kitty has sensitivities to dust (like I found out mine does - who knew cats could get asthma?!). If so, this won't be the best fit for your home. 

A Feminine Power Suit For the Professional Busygal

I recently graduated with my Master of Social Work...yay! Now I'm on the job hunt. Luckily White House Black Market makes it a little bit more fun, and fashionable, to go to interviews.

As I mentioned in a previous blog entry, WHBM has a special place in my heart, as it is where my bridesmaid dresses were purchased. I realized I've never really searched the rest of the store, as I always go straight to the dresses (which are adorable!).

I recently discovered that WHBM not only has great dresses perfect for any occasion, but they also offer fantastic professional wear! Case in point: this adorable Autumn Pin-Dot Jacket and skirt combo. When I went to WHBM, they actually didn't have the skirt in stock yet, so I paired the jacket with the Elyseé Pencil Skirt. I honestly can't say enough about this skirt! It is a tad bit stretchy, so it's incredibly comfy, but it looks astonishingly classy, perfect for the interviewing or professional Busygal!

One drawback: WHBM is definitely on the pricey side. However, because their clothes are black, white, and cream, they'll easily become staples in your professional wear closet which you can mix and match with many other items for endless outfit options. They also seem to be of a high quality. Once I get a job and a steady pay check (soon, I hope), I'll definitely be back for the Pin-Dot Skirt!

An Easy Way to Carry Laundry for the Busygal

59¢ for a bag that will hold an entire load of laundry...need I say more?
I don't know about you, but I have to lug my laundry to a laundromat in my condominium complex. This involves going down 4 flights of stairs - not fun. But these Frakta bags from IKEA have truly made life doing laundry a bit more convenient.
And seriously...who has time to make multiple trips to the laundromat? Not this Busygal! Grab a few of these, and you'll have all of your laundry to the laundromat in one trip, all for under $2! This bag is a fantastic steal, and it's also incredibly sturdy. In addition, it folds into almost nothing, and if you live with limited storage space like I do, this is just the icing on the cake! Of course, this bag doesn't just have to be utilized to get the laundry done...the uses and possibilities for this bag are endless!
Here's to making the unpleasant chore of laundry or any other duty in which you must haul a lot of stuff around a little bit more tolerable, Busygals!

Multi-Tasking Lip Gloss for the Busygal

Image courtesy of sephora.com
I purchased this lip gloss (Fusion Beauty LipFusion Conditioning Stick SPF 15) on a whim, at the advice of one of the friendly salesgals at Sephora. I told her I didn't like wearing lipstick, but wanted something similar to chapstick - moisturizing, but with a hint of color.
She suggested LipFusion in Berry, and I love it! Not only is it incredibly moisturizing, but it's SPF 15, so you look fabulous and protect your lips from the sun all at once - perfect for every multi-tasking Busygal!
It also has a slightly minty flavor, which is refreshing.

Added bonus: the top to the gloss screws on, so there's no need to worry about reaching in your purse only to find that the top has come off and your purse is now home to smashed lip gloss.

One word of advice, the web site claims it's also a plumping gloss, which I was unaware of until sharing this link with you lovely busygals on Twitter. The salesgal did not inform me about this, but I haven't noticed it creating any kind of lip plumping whatsoever (sidenote: lesson learned: read labels, don't just listen to salesgals!).

Enjoy Busygals!