Is it worth it to DIY?

DIY has become probably the “it” word since last year. It’s the latest movement that has taken our society by storm and especially thanks to Pinterest. I’ve become a big fan of DIY and for me I’ve found the beauty products and the recipes to be my favorites. However, I’m sure that some people wonder whether it is worth it to invest the time and try to do it yourself, and I’ll share the top three reasons why I think everyone should at least consider DIY:
– It IS cost efficient: obviously, that is usually one of the first reasons that most people will think but they usually assume so under the wrong idea. It is cost efficient because you can purchase the ingredients in bulk and thus make quite a few containers, not because you don’t have to pay for the name brand. However, that is also a very big factor in the low cost.
– You are able to customize your product: have you ever found a product that you loved but only wished it came in a different scent? By learning to make the same product, you are able to reproduce it in the particular scent that you are fond of.
– It is the most natural: this is my number one reason for DIY! You know exactly what goes into your product and this helps avoid allergies.

Here are a couple of DIY recipes that I use and hope you will find useful:

Homemade seasoning:
– 3 shoots of scallions
– 3 cloves of garlic
– ¼ of a green pepper
– ¼ of a red pepper
– Small handful of fresh parsley
– 1 tablespoon of yellow mustard
– ¼ cup of olive oil
Mix all of the ingredients in a food processor until smooth and store in a covered container in your refrigerator. This seasoning is very popular in my culture and is also the base for many Haitian dishes. It is very time saving when cooking as you can use it to season any meat and also when cooking rice and beans; for meats, just be sure to thaw the meat ahead of time and once it is ready to cook, simply coat the meat with the mixture and let it marinate for about half an hour. The best advantage of this seasoning is that it does not go bad and thus you can enjoy it until it finishes.

Avocado/Coconut hair mask:
– 1 small avocado hass
– 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
– 2 tablespoons of olive oil
Mix all ingredients in a food processor until it is smooth. Apply generously in hair and cover with a plastic cap for 30 minutes. This is a good mask especially for natural hair as the avocado helps keep the shine in your hair; the coconut oil helps retain moisture and prevent dandruff and the olive oil aids with hair loss and overall scalp health.

I hope you will find these two DIY recipes helpful and maybe it will help start your DIY adventure. Feel free to visit my Pinterest page for some more DIY recipes saved on my DIY Board: https://www.pinterest.com/GlamGirlOTG/diy-ideas/

Enjoy!

Reese

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Using Third Party Services

We live in the age of third party sites who offer deals and services for less. While they offer a great way to save, there is also some risk that come with dealing with some of these sites. Certainly, the risks vary from low to high depending on what deal you are looking for. I want to share with you some of my tips on how to get the best experience when using a third party service.
Shop around and compare – Whether you faithfully use Groupon, LivingSocial, or TravelZoo to name a few, you must always be aware of the competition. Some deals are sometimes offered through more than one of these sites and a lot of times, the prices vary. My suggestion: do not be faithful to just one of these sites! Sign up for all of those that appeal to your needs most and compare them. Hey, the sign up is free, and if you are worried about your email inbox being flooded with daily emails, have one email address dedicated for your deals emails! The best part about this? These sites always have days of the week (or time of the month) where they will have an extra discount off of any deal purchased during a specific time frame!
Always do your research – No matter what deal you are looking to purchase, always research the product, the company, or the individual with whom you will be doing business with. Be aware of the fine print included in the deal such as “valid only on these days”, expiration dates, company or individual’s reviews. And lastly, trust your instinct! If you don’t feel comfortable with a company or with an individual, do NOT go into business with them! This is especially true if you are spending a high amount of money on the deal.
One of my favorite third party sites is AirBnB! However, if you follow the news, you have probably heard of some stories that may make you weary of using their services. This is probably one of the areas where research is crucial! Do not ever book a place without the following:
Having verified basic information for the host/owner of the place – name, phone number, and email contact. Prior to booking, you should be at least able to see whether or not the host is a verified user, a picture of them and a link to contact them. Once the place is booked, you will definitely be provided with a private email address and a telephone number from AirBnB.
Seeing verified pictures of the place – AirBnB sends employees that will take pictures of the place that is listed and is very good with taking all important rooms (bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom) along with a street view or neighborhood picture.
Having the complete address of the place – This will be helpful for you to then search it on google map. Don’t feel like you are being paranoid! I’d rather be viewed as “paranoid” than be viewed on a billboard with the words “have you seen me” above my picture! Be sure that your rental is located and ensure that it is safe and also near major hotels or major tourist attractions which means that there will be higher police and/or security presence. You should even be able to pull a neighborhood report on crime in the area.
Reading every single review of the owner – most AirBnB users are very good at leaving a review for their hosts and the company usually will send you reminders after your stay as it also helps them rate their hosts. These are very important! I normally would not suggest staying in any place that do not have at least 5 reviews with a paragraph or so detailing their stay.
Overall, as I mentioned before, always go with your instinct when in doubt. Also, I would not suggest to use this site for a stay if you will be alone in the apartment or home. In that case, bite the bullet and spend a little more for a hotel and look through third party sites such as Expedia or CheapTickets first so you can find better pricing. Lastly, always share your travel information with a friend or family member with whom you are in regular contact. You can never be too careful. However, once you have done your homework and it all checks out, be sure to enjoy your deal to the fullest!

Feel free to share some of your tips in the comment below!

Have fun saving!
Reese