Favorite Free Thing: Outdoor Trek 2014

Spock & Peg, Summer 2013If you read my post last summer on Outdoor Trek, then you know how much I love their free, live Star Trek TV show reenactments in the park!

If you live in or near Seattle, you’re in luck. They’re doing it again.

In 2014, the Star Trek episode performed will be Mirror, Mirror. Performances are July 19, 20, 26 & 27; as well as August 2 and 3.

I’m not sure which show I’ll be at but I’ll definitely be at one of them. Come early and bring a picnic dinner or snacks. Also, bring some bucks to donate at the end of the show. (Technically, this is one of my “favorite free things,” but I do believe in rewarding artists for their performances.)

For more info about Outdoor Trek and their performances, read my post from last summer and follow their production company Hello Earth on Twitter @hello_earth.

If you go, please stop by my row and say, “Hi.” I’d love to see you!

Photo of me and Spock by Marcus Donner.

How to read magazines for free

Samsung TabletThis is our Samsung Galaxy Note Tablet. Marcus got it for free last year as part of a freelance photo gig for Samsung.

I haven’t been that interested in using the tablet until recently.

You see, I love magazines.

You’re probably thinking, and how is that related to the tablet, Peg? Keep reading…we’re gettin’ there.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been devouring magazines. I love reading articles, looking at pretty pictures, and learning new ways for doing things.

But even though I love them so, when I was in my 20s, I swore off subscribing to magazines because I was sick of all the advertising (ugh) and all the paper (such a waste of trees). And the fact is, even though I love them, I found that I could live pretty happily without them.

Now I know you can read magazines for free at the library but you can’t check them out. You have to read them there. And most of the time, II don’t want to read magazines in the library. I want to read them at the dentist’s waiting room, at home or on a plane.

Speaking of which, when I fly, I usually treat myself and buy one magazine at the airport. It’s my guilty pleasure. But this week, as I was getting ready for my trip to Philadelphia, I was browsing online at the Seattle Public Library and discovered that I could “check out” magazines for free.

That’s right, folks, you can read magazines for free!

If you live in Seattle, go to this library page and click on Zinio magazines at the bottom.

Once you create your login, you can then choose from 150 magazines to check out. If you don’t live in Seattle, check out your local library’s web site. I am sure you will find a link that takes you a database of magazines that you can check out for free.

150 free magazines?

Music to a former magazine maven’s ears!

Zinio allows you to read these magazines on your computer, tablet or smart phone.

So, here’s why I now love our tablet. Look how awesome this Saveur magazine looks on it!

Saveur on tabletCheck out the crystal clear photos and easy-to-read text.

Saveur page on tabletLooks just like a magazine, doesn’t it?

Tablet in handWell, close enough.

Now I can read magazines without spending a dime or wasting a single tree. I am one happy Super Frug reader.

Make Your Own Toys on Black Friday

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJust say NO to shopping on Black Friday!

Instead, spend the day relaxing (for God’s sake, don’t you deserve a day off every once in a while?), enjoying time with your friends and family, and/or making your own toys!

That’s what Marcus and I did with our 7-year-old nephew Logan. We did not buy a single thing at a single store. We spent the day after Thanksgiving making toys out of supplies we already had in the house: toilet paper rolls, old business cards, paper, tape, markers, crayons and straws.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere is a game that Logan came up with on his own. It is an obstacle course made out of construction paper, straws, tape and markers. The wheel is made out of the sawed off end of a paper towel roll. According to Logan, you start at either “X” on the right side and you flick the wheel with your finger. The goal is to have the wheel roll through without touching the straws and have it land on the star on the far left end. It’s harder than it looks, but with practice, you can do it!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMarcus and Logan came up with these two sleds to slide down our stairway bannister. The one on top is what they came up with yesterday. It slid down the full length of the bannister only three times out of many tries. Turned out it was too heavy. We recommended that Logan sleep on it. He did and this morning, he woke up and came up with another idea. The model on the bottom is the new aerodynamic design.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs you can see, it really goes!

These are just a few of the things you can come up with using your imagination and some everyday supplies.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThink you can’t come up with any homemade toys on your own? Just ask your favorite 7-year-old to help you out!

It’s so much more fun and way more frugal than shopping amongst the hordes on Black Friday.

Favorite Free Thing: Trick-or-Treating on Halloween

Haloween-candy-webI love Halloween. It’s one of my favorite holidays of the year!

I also love our townhouse but the one thing I don’t love about it is that kids never come to our door on Halloween. I mean, our townhouse is located at the end of a dark alley but what’s a little spookiness on Halloween?

Anyway, they never come, so every year for the past six years, Marcus and I have gone over to our friends Mike and Caroline’s house for their Halloween party and potluck.

It’s fun and festive–with a huge bat hanging from the trees in the front yard, glowing jack o’lanterns, fake spiders, and all kinds of spooktacular stuff–and always filled with good people and good food.

But really, in the end, we go for the trick-or-treaters.

We love seeing all the kids (and adults and dogs!) in costume out trick-or-treating. And technically, I count it as a Favorite Free Thing even though we contribute about $20 of candy every year. $20 is a small price to pay for a night’s worth of entertainment.

Caroline, a die-hard list lover, loves to count the number of kids and adults in costume that come to the door. We also count the number of dogs that come up (costume optional). Caroline gives out the candy (and biscuits to the dogs) and I keep count on a notepad.

This year we broke all records with 152 kids! 18 adults! And 13 dogs! Oh my!

Here are some of my favorite tricksters from last night.

Halloween-day-of-the-dead-webLoved the cute and spooky Dia de los Muertos Family. Adore the mom’s face makeup! Thinking about R&Ding (rob & duplicating) that next year.

Halloween-Mr-Paddington-webThis kid told us he/she was “Mr. Paddington” from some video game. He/she said no one knows who she is. Still, the kid gets points for making the costume from scratch. DIY!

Halloweeen-hot-dogs-webMy favorite of the night–the Hot Dog Family. Look at their cute costumes! Look at their cute smiles! It just warmed my heart…and I couldn’t stop laughing. They even inspired me to create a new Twitter hashtag: #SoCuteItKillsMe.

Halloween is over but I’m still craving chocolate and more costumes. Can’t wait for next  year!

Photos by Marcus Donner.

Favorite Free Thing: 10 Mindful Minutes

When was the last time you took time to do absolutely nothing?

I just watched this TED talk by Andy Puddicombe and it reminded me that one of the most refreshing, healthy things I can do is to just sit and be present for 10 minutes.

Just 10 minutes a day.

It will help me to calm my mind, to relax and to destress. And it’s totally free.

But how many of us actually take the time to do this?

Watch the video–it will take less than 10 minutes–and think about it. Is this something that you can do for yourself?

I’m going to do it. 10 minutes a day. It’s a gift that I can give myself every day–for free.

ps. Thanks to my friend Alisa who treated me to a fab lunch at Revel and the conversation we had there that helped me think again about the value of being in the present.