Tag Archives: explore

30 Boredom Busters When You’re Ballin’ on a Budget

boredom busters

Summertime is awesome, but the long days can really start to feel loooong. Especially if you’re on a budget. I get it. You wanna be spending savvy…and vacations, barbecues, weddings, and outdoor activities — basically all the hallmarks of the season — add up fast.

But I’m here to tell you, saving doesn’t have to be a jail sentence. You don’t have to spend your summer cooped up indoors with only a Netflix queue and a never-ending march of PB&J’s to get you through to September.  NO SIR!

Why not…

Take a hike. Hop online and find a trail near you. Tons of parks have lovely, ambling paths if you don’t live near any forests or mountain ranges.

Go to the movies. Theaters often offer more affordable matinee prices. Or you could scope out a summer film series to catch a classic or to watch a family friendly film in the great outdoors.

* Drink at happy hour. Nothing says affordable (responsible) fun like 2-for-1 margaritas and home by 9pm.

Play a game. Invite friends over and play your favorites. I love rummikub and the card game 13. Scattergories and Balderdash are always a good time…but I’ve found trivia games sometimes end in fights, lol.

Hit up a museum. Scope your area for museums and then check out whether they offer free/reduced admission on certain days.

free admission at FIU Frost Art Museum

Pamper your pet. Devote an afternoon to your fur baby! Take your dogs to a local dog park or give them a luxurious grooming session. Brush your kitty’s fur or take them on a leash to explore the yard.

Host a potluck dinner. Everyone brings a dish to enjoy. Set a theme or let everyone go rogue and see what happens!

Practice yoga. Head to YouTube for a ton of free classes or just unroll your mat and salute the sun.

Watch TV the old fashioned way. That is, avoid the binge. Pick a show you want to watch (like this one or this one) and resolve to watch one episode a week on a set day and time.

Read at a coffee shop. Leave your phone and laptop at home!

reading The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth at 3rd Street Stuff

Host a tea party. Invite a friend to swing by your place for a cup of tea and and a gossip-y chat. (Spill the tea!)

Support local arts. Tickets to a live performance (think: local theater, picnic with the pops, dance recital) won’t break the piggy bank. However, if you’re really counting coin, you can usually watch dress rehearsals for free if you know the right people.

Shop the thrift stores. Wandering around a thrift store without buying anything at all can kill an afternoon of boredom. But if you wanna spend, set a limit (and only bring that much cash along) or keep a list of items you’re on the hunt for and what you’d be willing to spend on each item.

Donate your time. Volunteer for a cause or organization that speaks to your heart.

Make DIY home decor. Spruce up your surroundings with homemade craft projects. Bonus points if you use materials you already have on hand!

hot glue gun DIY

Take a sunset walk. Or a sunrise walk if you’re an early-bird.

Try out gyms. Shop the work-out spots in your area by enrolling for free trials wherever strikes your fancy. Make sure there are no strings attached! Go as often as possible during the trial period (and then cancel if it’s not to your liking or in your budget).

Hunt for treasures. Keep your eye on the side of the road for trash-to-treasure possibilities. Pulling over now could turn into a weekend up-cycle project later.

Stop and enjoy outdoor art. Statues, fountains, landscaping, and murals exist for the enjoyment of ALL!

Learn the constellations. Study up and then head out to observe the night sky (or a planetarium if you’re stuck somewhere with lots of light pollution).

* Pack a picnic. Dining al fresco is always fun! Here are a few food ideas and you can never go wrong with a bottle of rosé.

Play video games. Purchase a new-to-you game (there are lots of places to buy second-hand and many libraries even have game lending!) or opt for a forgotten favorite classic. Don’t have a gaming system? The arcade is a budget-friendly outing!

Resurrect a childhood past-time. Were you a pro at skipping rope? Puzzle queen? Soccer all-star? Did you build legos with the best of ’em? See if your forgotten hobby still tickles your fancy.

Clear out your closet. Nothing is more satisfying than bringing a big ol’ garbage bag of clothes to the Goodwill. Even better? Bringing a big ol’ garbage bag of clothes to a clothing swap with your pals and getting to go home with trades.

Go to the beach. Bring a towel, a good book, and some snacks and spend the day lounging and splashing in the sun. (Keep a beach kit in your car for impromptu stops!)

Bayfront Beach in Homestead, Florida

Take pictures. Explore a new neighborhood, park, or town with your camera in tow.

Perfect a copycat recipe. Do you have a favorite restaurant dish or coffee shop beverage? Do a little internet sleuthing, buy the ingredients, and practice hacking it!

House swap. Coordinate with friends or family member to facilitate super affordable (read: free) housing for a weekend get-away or vacay.

Go on a bike ride. Blasting the Now and Then soundtrack while riding is optional but recommended.

Make dessert and eat it first. Because, why not?

Over to you! How do you bust boredom when you’re on a budget? 

For more ballin’ on a budget tips and tricks, CLICK HERE!

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Five free things to do in Coral Gables.

arch of banyan trees biltmore hotelIMG_1235 IMG_1227IMG_1230 IMG_1236

In an effort to get to know our new surroundings in South Florida, Chet and I have been setting off on a new adventure each weekend. Exploring Coral Gables was near the top of our list for a couple reasons. 1. Bourdain recommends doing so in the Miami episode of The Layover. 2. We live super close to this little hamlet! We spent the afternoon driving and walking around and taking in all the sites “the city beautiful” had to offer us. And we ended up not spending a dime! A welcome situation because SPOILER ALERT: moving and setting up a new home is expensive! It struck me that others may want to check out Coral Gables (or “the gables” as the locals refer to it) on a similar budget. So, here are a few ways you could spend your afternoon…

1. Take a drive under the canopied arches of the Banyan trees. This is the activity recommended by Bourdain and I’ll echo his suggestion. You’ll feel like you’re on a magical amusement park ride underneath the shade of these natural tree tunnels. The way the knobby trunks grow all twisted together is a site to behold. You may even want to climb out of your car at one of the center medians and get a closer look (or have a photo shoot…perfect Insta-worthy moment). But the real reason you’re going to love driving these scenic roads is the HOUSES! There are tons of stunning Mediterranean Revival homes with grand entryways, palatial courtyards, and spectacular fountains.

2. Pretend you belong at the Biltmore. Coral Gables has been home to this luxury hotel since 1926. It’s had a pretty notable history since then, including being used as a hospital during World War II. The Wikipedia page is worth a read as you wander around the circumference of the vast grounds. Perhaps pretending along the way that you’re staying in one of their suites for the weekend and only popped out to get a bit of fresh air. Maybe if you’re feeling bold you can zip on into the lobby and have a poke around there, too!

3. Walk the Miracle Mile. The Miracle Mile is a stretch of road that bifurcates the city center. It was designed in order to make all the businesses in the downtown commercial district no more than a two-block walk from each other. The result? An extremely pedestrian friendly city! You can amble up and down the stretch, popping in and out of quaint boutiques along the way, and check out the cool architectural details on some of the more historic buildings.

4. Enjoy a free film at the Miracle Theater. Along the Miracle Mile you’ll find the Miracle Theater which comes complete with an old school marquis and a vintage vibe. Amazingly, the Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theater sponsors a free film series! Check the calendar and plan your trip accordingly. They do a showing about once a month usually with a Saturday evening time and a Sunday matinee.

5. Do a little wedding window shopping. Not sure why but there are a TON of bridal and wedding shops in Coral Gables. As someone who is newly engaged, I didn’t mind at all! You could definitely find a few dream dresses while taking in all the different window displays. You can also find some ensembles you wouldn’t be caught dead in…and a particularly horrid few shops that feature crazy looking bridesmaid gowns and Mother of the Bride atrocities. And if weddings aren’t your thing…try home decor or records or art prints. There’s something for everyone!

Bonus: Sick of walking? The Gables also provides a FREE trolley service, with a trolley running a continuous circuit up and down Ponce de Leon Boulevard throughout the day.

 

 

Hobbies on the cheap: Urban Exploration

As I’ve gotten older, I have found, I’m always on the hunt for cheap hobbies. I think it has something to do with committing so much of my free time to extracurriculars from about age 3 to 23. And now that I’m a (boring) old adult who works 40 hours a week, I don’t want to spend the other 128 hours watching TV, hitting up the occasional happy hour and cleaning my apartment. I want to find new and exciting things to do without draining my bank account of the money I earned during the 40 workin’ hours. It’s a delicate balance.

So, let’s start with something that can range from thrilling to educational at a cost of ZERO dollars. Urban exploration is all about exploring your city and surroundings, seeking out it’s oddities and unique infrastructure. While I can’t condone any law breaking for the sake of a new hobby, any sort of exploration–even legal exploration–can be exhilarating. I’ve always loved going places that feel off limits or hidden to see things I wouldn’t have otherwise seen. I climbed up the belltower of a church the hour before my confirmation. I’ve been in all sorts of nooks and crannies on my college’s campus (and a lot of other college campuses too). I love checking to see if doors are locked and if they’re not, curiosity just gets the better of me! Perhaps I read too much as a child? jk no such thing. Perhaps, at nearly 30, my imagination is still too active? also no such thing.

Now that the weather has warmed up, I have my eye on a few places I’d like to explore! Setting out on an evening walk can take on a whole new level of excitement if you commit to making it an urban exploration adventure–veer off the path, stop for things that strike your eye, look for clues, read signs and historical markers, do research, Nancy Drew the shit out of your town! Take pictures or don’t. Bring a friend or don’t. Just keep your eyes open to the wonders around you.

For some added inspiration, check out the video below! If you don’t have half an hour to commit to watching something right now I HIGHLY recommend you come back to this page when you do…I promise this short docu, called “UNDERCITY”, is worth it. It follows Steve Duncan on a few urban exploration missions in New York City. All his emotions; fear, exhilaration, nerves, EVERYTHING–are just so palpable. You just have to watch it for yourself! What a rush!

Where would you love to explore this Spring? For the next month, I’m gonna make it my mission to hunt down some cool stuff that has otherwise been tucked away. And to hold myself accountable with this new hobby (I told you I spent a lot of time in extracurriculars…I need structure! lol) I’m going to document some of my findings on Instagram with the hashtag #urbanexploration. If you’d like to play along, let us know how to follow YOU on Instagram in the comments below. Happy hunting!