Free tea tastings and education

Posted on September 11, 2008. Filed under: Cooking and Eating, Entertainment, Health & Beauty, Travel & Leisure | Tags: , , , , |

Yesterday, I wrote about going to the de Young museum in San Francisco with a friend of mine  last Sunday and how I received free general admission with my Bank of America card.  Kathryn and I were at the museum from about 1:00 pm – 3:30 pm. We weren’t ready to end our visit, so we decided to go get coffee. Kathryn suggested checking out Clement street which isn’t far from the museum or her apartment in the Inner Richmond district of San Francisco.

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Free Museum Weekends for Bank of America card customers

Posted on September 10, 2008. Filed under: Entertainment, Travel & Leisure | Tags: , , , , , |

I just went with a friend to the de Young museum in San Francisco last Sunday to see the amazing Chihuly art glass exhibit.  The Chihuly exhibit at the deYoung will only be there through September 28th.  Because I have a Bank of America card, I only had to pay the $5.00 special exhibit admission.  I was able to tour the rest of this fantastic museum for free instead of paying an additional $10.00 which is the regular general museum admission fee.  To get the free admission, I had to purchase my Chihuly ticket on site at the museum and show a photo I.D. and my BofA card.  I was not required to make the purchase with the BofA card.  At the de Young, only my general admission was free. I could not extend my benefit to the friend who came with me, who unfortunately did not have a BofA card.

Bank of America is currently offering this benefit to customers  – free general admission to over 70 museums across 18 states in the U.S. for the first weekend of every month if you have any kind of Bank of America card – check, ATM, or credit.  There are still months left to take advantage of this offer – click here to find out more!

More tips specific to a visit to the de Young so you can plan accordingly:

– The food at the museum cafe is overpriced and only fair.  $9.00 for a so-so ham or turkey and cheese sandwich and $6.00 for a pint of watermelon chunks is too much to pay.

– Weekday parking is $2.50 an hour at the deYoung and $3.00 an hour on the weekend, so you will save money if you are willing to park for free further away and walk a little.

– The museum also boarders the gorgeous, walkable Golden Gate Park which is closed to motor traffic on Sundays. It is very close to the section of the park where you can find the Japanese Tea Garden.  Some scenes from the film Memoirs of a Geisha were filmed here.  Admission to the tea garden is $2.00 for adults, $1.00 for children.

– General admission to the de Young also gets you in free to the Legion of Honor, the fine arts museum in San Francisco if you show your ticket and go the same day, also worth a visit. This is not part of the Bank of America promo, so this can be taken advantage of anytime you go.

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Free or low cost hair and beauty treatments

Posted on August 15, 2008. Filed under: Health & Beauty, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Frugal does not mean frumpy. One way to get free or discounted hair, spa and beauty treatments is at a local beauty school. I just discovered that the south San Francisco Bay area has a new high-end school that recently opened February, 2008 in Santa Clara called the Academy for Salon Professionals. The salon facility is beautiful including 50 stations with state of the art equipment. The instructors are excellent and you can get spa services (nails, hair, and skin) at a discount. For example, a haircut for $10.00, if you are willing to allow a student in training work on you. The price list and more info is on the web site.

I was just able to get my hair cut and colored for FREE by a supervised student in training. My student, Louise, who is fabulous, needed to complete an assignment with an actual live client (i.e., me). The school uses Redken products and she did a great job. Because Louise has only been in the program 8 weeks, her instructors worked with her every step of the way. After we agreed on a color, Louise consulted with two of her instructors. Each gave her slightly different direction regarding what would work best on my hair, and she went with one of the recommendations. However, the first semi-permanent color mix she used didn’t take and she had to re-do it, following the advice of the other instructor, which worked very well. Sometimes you learn from what goes wrong as well as what goes right. Because it was a low peroxide, no ammonia color product, there was no damage to my hair, it looks and feels great.

It had been about 2 1/2 months since my last haircut which had been a good cut. As Louise said, one of her favorite instructors, Lonny, tells the students, “the difference between a good cut and a bad cut is 4 weeks.” In other words, if you get a hair cut, and it doesn’t look good as it’s growing out after 4 weeks, it probably wasn’t a very good cut to begin with. Nor was it a good value for the money you spent on that haircut if you have to go back and get it cut again so soon. So Supercuts may not always be your best bet.

I looked through the hairstyle books Louise gave me. During my consultation for the cut, we talked about my hair type (thick head of naturally wavy but fine hair) and what I was looking for – relatively low maintenance, to have it look good wash and wear or styled smooth with some volume via a round brush and a blow dryer or hot rollers. I also wanted to be able to keep the layers long enough to be able to wear it up. So ultimately, I chose not to do anything drastically different, just a health trim with rounded long layers. After she cut it, which she said she loves to do and it shows, Louise styled my hair with a blow dryer. Louise did a very nice job, and I am quite happy. The color and products she used made my hair super shiny and the good cut brought the bounce back. We went outside and she took a photo with her iPhone, for her portfolio and for my blog.

I have a flexible schedule at the moment, and the whole process for the free color and cut took longer (like 10:30 am – 2:30 pm including a lunch break). As I knew this upfront when I scheduled my appointment with Louise, I was fine with that.

If you don’t have the extra time or very flexible schedule, try the discounted services.

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Sign up for GoldStar Events – get discount and free tickets to games, theater, concerts, comedy clubs, and more

Posted on July 17, 2008. Filed under: Entertainment, Low Money Fun, No Money Fun, San Francisco Bay Area, Travel & Leisure, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

It’s free to sign up for Goldstar to get email updates and access to first-rate live entertainment tickets at half-price or better in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Washington DC, Boston, Chicago, San Diego, Orange County, San Jose and more!

How does the Goldstar service work?
When you sign up and become a member of Goldstar, you will tell Goldstar what kinds of live entertainment you like and the areas where you live, work and play, or are traveling to, and they’ll deliver dozens (or even hundreds) of half-price offers to comedy, music, theatre, sports, spas and more.

Goldstar will then tell you about event offers that match your preferences. Members get a weekly email summary of events with Goldstar’s special pricing, and if you also sign up for email alerts, you get late-breaking event offers tailored to you.

It doesn’t cost anything to join, and you can do it in just a few seconds. You’ll be getting out to great live entertainment and having a good time with friends and family right away.

To give you an even better idea of how you can save money and do fun things by joining Goldstar, here are some examples of discount events that were included in my most recent email alert for where I live in the San Francisco Bay area:
– Oakland A’s baseball game tickets Full Price: $30.00 Goldstar Price: $16.00
– Giants baseball game tickets Full Price: $26.00 – $27.00 Goldstar Price: $10.00
FREE admission to acts at local comedy clubs instead of full price $12.00 – $17.00
– a local talk by a professor at NASA about Black Holes for $7.50 not $15.00
half price tickets to various plays and concerts at multiple local and regional theater companies and venues.

If you like live entertainment but settle for a movie or DVD more often than you’d like, you might be interested in joining Goldstar Events. Join now for free today by clicking here and you’ll never say you’re bored and there is nothing to do again.

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San Jose Jazz Festival in August – Volunteer and get in FREE

Posted on July 11, 2008. Filed under: Entertainment, Travel & Leisure, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

How would you like to hear David Sanborn, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, The Manhattan Transfer or any number of amazing musicians perform live in concert for FREE? Volunteering is a great way to have fun, attend an event you are interested in and get free admission. Some events have formal volunteer programs, some you just need to call and ask. Here is one amazing and very well organized volunteer opportunity coming up in San Jose worth checking out.

19th Comcast San Jose Jazz Festival, presented by Southwest Airlines
8-10 August 2008 Downtown San Jose

“One of the top jazz festival’s in the nation…”-San Jose Mercury News

“Jazz Fest blows away other events…”-Silicon Valley Business Journal

“World class-event”–Oakland Tribune

The Comcast San Jose Jazz Festival represents a unique opportunity to volunteer. Over 88,000 music lovers will converge on the heart of Silicon Valley to enjoy over 1000 musicians on 10 stages performing three days of jazz, blues, salsa, Latin and many other forms of contemporary music.

All volunteers receive a San Jose Jazz T-shirt, drink tickets good for a soda or water, and a wristband that allows free access to the festival on the day of work. There are many great opportunities to volunteer at the festival: at the stages, admission booths, volunteer booths, transportation, membership, recycling program, and others. The shifts are 4 hours, so there is still plenty of time to enjoy the surround sound.

For more information and to download the volunteer application click here

Or contact Theresa Kiernan, Volunteer Coordinator, 408-288-7557 ext. 2322, theresak@sanjosejazz.org.
fax: 408-288-7598

Visitors who need accomodations for the Jazz Festival can enjoy hotel discounts.

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Frugal Foodies: a cool idea started in the Bay area that could spread

Posted on July 10, 2008. Filed under: Cooking and Eating, Entertainment, San Francisco Bay Area, Travel & Leisure | Tags: , , , , |

I am not a vegetarian and I probably never will be. However, I do have my vegetarian “days” at least a few times a week. Frugal Foodies is a great way to try new cuisines, learn new recipes, meet new and interesting people, and have a four course vegetarian, mostly organic meal for only $8.00! Sort of like a healthy, cheap, epicurean group blind date!

How Frugal Foodies Works:
Each and every week, on several nights and in several locations, about 10-20 people will get together to cook a mostly organic and entirely vegetarian meal, eat, clean-up, and connect with one another. This is not an exclusive club so there will never be the same group of people on any given Tuesday or Wednesday, and that’s a good thing.

Each week, the Frugal Foodies host will buy fresh ingredients for the meal that will be ready for your arrival. The meal that we prepare will always feature four or more dishes but what those dishes are will depend on the particular event’s theme. This is not about gourmet so much as it is learning about good new meals and cooking as a group.

I will be signing up for one of the weekly Wednesday night events in San Jose this month. It’s just going to be hard to decide which one… Thai food, Soul food, breakfast for dinner, red wine tour night, or magical mystery night?

When I asked Frugal Foodies founder Moses Ceaser, about his plans for events beyond the two San Jose and Berkeley locations, he said,
“We’re hoping to grow Frugal Foodies all over, but aren’t quite set up for total global expansion yet. But it’s exciting to now have two locations, and folks are having a good time with it, so I expect lots of further growth.”

Occasionally, Frugal Foodies will also give back with a benefit night for a local non-profit, such as the Greatest Hits themed dinner coming up in Berkeley on Tuesday, July 29th.

I first heard about Frugal Foodies in this recent San Jose Mercury News article:

A la carte: Roommates invite strangers into their home to cook dinner
By Aleta Watson
Mercury News
Article Launched: 06/25/2008 01:31:33 AM PDT

Every Tuesday night for three years, Moses Ceaser has invited a dozen strangers to help cook an inexpensive vegetarian meal in his Berkeley home. He calls the ever-changing group Frugal Foodies.

This month, the concept expanded to downtown San Jose, where a group of housemates has designated Wednesday as Frugal Foodie night. The first event was a pineapple-themed dinner last week that started with a rice casserole and ended with a cake.

“I know no one who arrived at our house to cook,” says Daniel Rodriguez, who shares the bungalow and its big organic garden with Jaclyn Carillo and Melissa Ramirez. “It was great.”

The organizers pick theme, select the recipes and buy the ingredients. The guests divide into teams and share the cooking. The cost is $8.

This week the theme is breakfast foods – fritattas, crepes, French toast, coffee and smoothies. Future themes are still in the works.

Information about the cooking group and how to preregister for dinners can be found at http://www.frugalfoodies.com/SJO1.html.

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ElephantPharm.com: free classes for a healthy mind and body

Posted on July 6, 2008. Filed under: Health & Beauty | Tags: , , , , , |

This is not the drugstore you grew up with. ElephantPharm.com opened it’s first store in Berkeley in 2002 and offers a variety of holistic, organic, and environmentally friendly items. ElephantPharm is an herbal and a prescription pharmacy and they also offer a green dry cleaning service. While you sometimes pay a little more to go green, they sell green cleaning products, natural and specialty foods (like gluten free), natural cosmetics and body care products, vitamins and supplements, and lots of cool gift items. I received a great yoga mat and CD as a gift and I also purchased a re-usable stainless steel water bottle. I have been known to go in there just to browse and get a little chair massage.

The chain is currently only in the San Francisco Bay area with locations in Berkeley, Los Altos, Walnut Creek, and San Rafael.

Each store has over 80 free classes a month, and their friendly advice practitioners are there to answer all your questions. Free classes this month range from various Yoga styles (including family classes for children), meditation, tea tasting, Tai Chi, homeopathic remedies for First Aid, hand & feet reflexology, Quiqong, 8 steps to a pain free back, various healthy pregnancy classes, acupressure, etc. It’s definitely worth checking out.

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Happy 4th of July – Fireworks Free Family Fun

Posted on July 4, 2008. Filed under: Entertainment | Tags: , , , , , |

The town in which I live has a large outdoor concert venue. Every year, they have Independence Day fireworks. This year, James Gaffigan conducts as Radio Disney presents the 22nd Annual 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular featuring the San Francisco Symphony. Song selections will be from Apollo 13, Rocky, Superman, James Bond, Lincoln Portrait, and many more!

I haven’t been to the fireworks in a long time, but I am excited about going tonight. I went to see the ones on the pier in San Francisco with my sister about 8 years ago when she came out to visit. The fog over the Bay was so bad, the fireworks got lost in it. Fireworks and a SF symphony concert remind me of when I used to live in Boston and would go to the free fireworks at the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade along the Charles River synchronized with the Boston Pops.

I plan to park far enough away so that I don’t have to pay for the $10 for parking. The friend I am taking and I will get in a nice walk (which I will give myself credit for on FitDay.com, the free online Diet and Weight Loss traking system I blogged about yesterday).

By reading the free weekly town paper that gets delivered to my doorstep, I found a coupon for 2 free lawn tickets to the event for town residents. They haven’t offered that freebie in a few years. All I had to do was be one of the first 1000 people to clip the coupon and bring it to the ampitheater box office and show my drivers license and one additional proof of residency (a utilitiy bill, etc.). Additional tickets were available for purchase.

Many cities offer a free fireworks show to celebrate the 4th of July. Take advantage of the festivities. You’ll save money and be entertained on a grand scale.

Make it even more enjoyable by packing snacks and drinks to enjoy during the show while sitting on a picnic blanket. Happy 4th of July everyone!

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