A Doctor’s Spouse’s Life: Residency Year Two

(Residency Year One post is here: A Doctor’s Spouse’s Life: Residency Year One)

I know my blog is called Relatable Roni and that’s because I enjoy finding common ground with others. At most times, I feel like the average person, but this topic is probably only relatable to a few. 

In most other medical and surgical residencies, intern year (first year) of residency is the most difficult. In neurosurgery, it’s year two and seven (yes, neurosurgery is a 7 year-long residency). During first year, my husband and I went to the movies with two of his co-residents. They said, “He will be the busiest person in the whole hospital next year.” I just smiled. Later, I said to him, “What did they mean?” I didn’t know it could get worse! And I didn’t believe it could get worse until it actually happened *gasp*.

Intern year (first year) I did at least see him because I was unemployed and he was consistently off on Tuesdays. Each of the neurosurgical residents have 4 days off per month compared to the 8 days off “normal” people have. Now that I’m actually employed and his schedule is inconsistent and even worse, I’ve counted the hours we’ve seen each other in a particular week: 14 hours. Spouses tend to see each other for 14 hours in a single day on the weekend. This was our total for a whole week including any days off. It doesn’t help that in my field, I work varying shifts including on the weekends. There are days when I am leaving the house at 7am and he is leaving work to come home at 7am. There are days when he comes home at 12:30 pm and I have to leave for work at 1:30pm. He showers and we eat lunch and that’s it. If he has an extended amount of free time, it is well spent catching up on some much-needed sleep (See examples below).

img_1494
Sleeping in an Uber in Washington, D.C.
img_0798
Sleeping in an Uber in Montreal, Quebec

If we don’t communicate effectively or even have the time to communicate, I’ve neglected to request weekends off so they may coincide with one another. Communication has been so difficult I’ve resorted to emailing my husband to finish conversations we’ve started. And of course, I’m always the one that has to work around his schedule since his is inflexible. But you know what feels great?! Seeing him understand what I’ve been dealing with.

What do I mean by “dealing with?” Well, I spend a lot of time at home by myself waiting for him to come home. I’m essentially waiting for no reason. Eventually and hopefully, I decide to stop waiting, get off the couch, and fill those hours with cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, workouts, gaining a social life and just being productive. So this past weekend, I ended up working and he was off. In other words, the roles were reversed, and he finally experienced being the one home alone for a whole weekend. What did he think about it? He was bummed, just as I can get at times. We want to spend our free time together, not apart. Residency life is hard and it’s no one’s fault. It’s the nature of the field.

img_9137
How we attend weddings together. “Raj on a stick” has been to 5 weddings this year. Real Raj has been to 1.

Because of our lack of time with one another, we are looking forward to a nice and quiet Christmas break at our home in Vermont. No packing. No traveling. No rushing around. Just going to take it all in (TWSS) and try to enjoy each other’s company. Let’s hope we still like each other by the end of it.

^ What I do when he’s asleep by 7pm. I can’t believe that dinosaur walking all over him didn’t wake him up!

San Juan, Puerto Rico: Things to Do

For the most part, hubs and I did a lot of R&R by the pool and on the beach. We didn’t plan a lot of activities but these were a few of the things we did.

And yes, much of Puerto Rico is still recovering from Hurricane Maria. Many of the hotels/resorts remain closed and some may not reopen at all. I had to do a lot of research to make sure places were still open before putting them in our itinerary. On our way from the airport to Condado, you could see many building roofs missing and fallen trees were all over the sides of the roads. I was told Old San Juan did not suffer too much damage as it was built to be sturdy unlike the hotels and homes in different areas.

I think San Juan and its people are definitely ready for tourists. I have never encountered nicer Uber drivers and I feel that is partially because they appreciate the business brought to the island. (FYI PR Uber drivers just got approved for pickup at hotels on May 5th 2018 according to one driver. This was the day we arrived so we didn’t even know it wasn’t allowed before. Now Uber is working towards allowing airport pickup in San Juan. There is a taxi stand at the airport and prices are listed on the paper they give you). Overall, I don’t think I had a single negative experience with any person there (except my husband :p just kidding).

Also, I wanted to note, because you are by the water, it is incredibly windy. The wind and dresses don’t mix. I constantly had to hold down my dress when walking around to make sure there were no incidences. I HIGHLY suggest wearing shorts, rompers or a maxi dress, at least, instead.

If you’re interested in where to eat and drink, take a look at this post: Our Puerto Rican Honeymoon: The Food & Drink Guide.

Old San Juan Walking Tour

IMG_1172
Please note the beautiful traffic cones in the background

A self-guided walking tour of San Juan is completely possible in a day. Old San Juan is quite small and very walkable. I used this article to find a few points of interest. Husband then opened it up on his phone and led the way. Looking at the article now, he kind of skipped some things because he doesn’t like looking at historical buildings…but neither do I for the most part.

3ea8ef53-2f7b-480e-a4fc-4d426ab018b4

We went inside El Morro after paying an entry fee. It was interesting but the man wouldn’t let me even read any signs. He wanted to leave as soon as we got in there.

bb4fd5b5-e5e6-4ea2-b512-5b734d69edf4
I wasn’t happy about being in the kitchen at El Morro. (It was really windy so my hair looks jank).

Also La Casa Blanca was closed that day (my fault for poor planning) but the gate was open so I wandered in anyway while husband told me not to. I definitely wished we saw more of this when open.

Do I recommend it? Definitely walk around Old San Juan as its very vibrant.

Underwater Sea Trek

We did an underwater sea trek. I cannot swim, BUT I can sink. If you don’t know what this is, here’s a description:

Like in SNUBA, Sea Trek participants have the opportunity to explore the underwater universe but by different means. In Sea trek, participants have the chance to become underwater astronauts thru the use of a helmet that allows underwater walking. The Sea Trek helmet safely delivers air to our participants allowing them to walk freely underneath the waves. It’s the closest sensation to walking on the moon. Any one above 8 years old and weighing more than 80 lbs can participate in Sea Trek, regardless of swimming ability in the water.

Although they have age and weight minimums, I still struggled to take steps forward unless I was holding my husband’s hand. And I was under the impression that we would walk into the water with the helmets on but nope. We walked FAR (or so I felt as a non-swimmer and short person) into the water and the helmets were then placed on us.

I believe the tour company had created a little Atlantis underwater, but I accidentally knocked over one of the small pillars. Oh well. The undertow had me stumbling a bit.

Do I recommend it? Yes, but I suggest going in the morning as the undertow isn’t as strong so the dirt is more settled and the water is clearer. We had gone at 4:30pm. Also, I don’t suggest it for kids as they may freak out.

Bacardi Mixology Class

d30d0805-676d-488d-a498-91dad1bf7a18

The tour was kind of short but interesting. At the end of the tour we were led into a room for the mixology class.

73a360e4-1a8e-44fa-b137-487605094e68
Somebody was eager to get started! Just kidding but 1 hour later we were friends 🙂

We were to learn to make 3 cocktails: the Cuba Libre (rum & coke), a mojito and a daiquiri.

9f3ed7ea-5b45-49d8-b2ee-f75d107e9712
The mojito was my favorite

We were told to drink them while mixing the other drinks. I couldn’t keep up so I passed them off to my husband who happily accepted my thoughtful offer.

637d129a-d88a-4f26-9254-af5f78bec562

After the tour, we were led into the gift shop. Hubs bought this special edition rum that isn’t sold anywhere else but this gift shop. He had the option to fill his own bottle or buy it pre-filled. He chose to fill it for the experience.  He then dipped it twice in wax. They then let you label the bottle with your name so that was a nice added touch.

5e2617fa-2fdf-4b70-a359-fd2435289512

During the mixology class, we made some new friends from Montreal and Arkansas. We all met up several times throughout the rest of our trip as we all wanted to explore similar places and restaurants. Plus, the more the merrier!

Do I recommend it? Yes, it was a fun and different activity. BUT! If you can find another mixology class that doesn’t rush you to make 3 drinks and chug them at the same time, that would be better.

Salsa Class

We went to a salsa class with our new friends from Montreal. It was fun and our instructor was great. The instructor’s husband was late picking up their baby so we got to look at this cute little baby girl on her mom’s hip while she taught us some steps. We had a good time. The only thing that was odd was that the class was in a public park although it was nice being outdoors. (Side note: the site does say the class is in a restaurant but to meet in the park. I don’t know what that’s about.)

Do I recommend it? Yes! I love dancing and this was one way to immerse ourselves into Puerto Rican culture.

La Placita

La Placita is poppin’ Thursday through Saturday (don’t quote me on those days of the week). It’s basically a big block party. This is where open container laws are amazing. We grabbed a mojito and enjoyed some people watching and dancing on the street.

Do I recommend it? Yes, I highly recommend this! Everyone dances so well! Watching people was mesmerizing.

La Fortaleza Street & the Surrounding Area

aaa7aafb-4c49-4025-b05d-7a9fba2265a7

We ended up on La Fortaleza street even when we weren’t even trying.

9ecd2fe6-21c4-4fbb-b2a9-2bb8acebc277

Several great restaurants are located on it along with many gift shops. We came back here about 3-4 times just to walk around and take a few pics.

31e03195-d7b9-455b-9614-6478515c32b3

Do I recommend it? Yes, you can’t really not end up here somehow.

Zen Spa

I would say I enjoyed our couples massage in Barcelona (around the same price) more but this was still good. We got a package deal for $200 that included manicures. It was affordable, had good reviews and was right across the street from our hotel.

Do I recommend it? Not this spa specifically, but massages as a vacation activity is baller.

Condado Beach

We spent our beach time on Condado beach. The beach area we were on was shared by our hotel, Condado Vanderbilt and La Concha. I didn’t expect any service on the beach but the hotel employees set up lounge chairs for us and supplied us with towels and water!

Do I recommend it? Go to whichever beach area your hotel owns so you can get the special treatment.

I hope you enjoyed reading more about our trip to Puerto Rico! It is definitely a place I’d like to go back to one day once the rainforest recovers further.

My Travel Essentials Packing List

This post contains affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Thank you for supporting Relatable Roni! I’ve literally made 7 cents so far though.

Summer is arriving and everyone has begun their travels. I just came back from Puerto Rico and I’m definitely ready to see more of the world. But until then, here are a few essential items that I think everyone will need at one point or another while traveling! They were all helpful or could’ve been helpful during my last two major trips.

Backpack

These backpacks are carry-on size. They come in multiple prints/solids. I have the one above because I was amused by paper airplanes on my backpack while traveling on an airplane. They’re ideal if you’re walking around busy cities and need both your hands free. Carry-on bags with wheels just get in the way. They were perfect for our 17 day Euro-trip. These are also more portable than wheelie bags when it comes to stairs (think London train stations with limited elevators/escalators). A few flights restricted us to one carry-on bag and sometimes that one carry-on bag had to be 10 lbs or less. How do you fit 17 days worth of clothes in one carry-on bag? Continue reading!

Compression bags

Everyone needs these in his/her life. These compression bags are a lifesaver. You can pack a lot more outfits so you can still look cute while traveling. And if you’re traveling during winter, you can pack more layers and sweaters compactly. These bags don’t require a vacuum. You just zip it and then compress the bags to remove the excess air.

Travel steamer

If you’re using compression bags, your clothes may become wrinkled. I just purchased this portable handheld fabric steamer for our recent trip to Puerto Rico. It’s compact, easy to use, and works well. There is a new version but the original is smaller. I plan to use this plenty for the upcoming wedding season instead of traveling with my full size steamer in my car. Indian clothes are such a pain to iron so a steamer is much more ideal.

Snacks

I’m always hangry so snacks are needed to fend off the beast in me. Breakfast wasn’t included at our hotel in Puerto Rico and was $30/person. We preferred to wait and splurge on lunch instead. We brought granola bars & cereal. We made a stop at CVS once we reached our destination. We picked up some milk and asked our hotel kitchen for bowls and spoons. Voila! Breakfast is set for the next few days. By the way, milk at CVS was $3 while the convenience store across from our hotel was charging $7! So check out a chain store instead as they’re more likely to regulate prices more fairly.

Water bottle

This Contigo water bottle from Walmart was $20. It’s a little cheaper on Amazon right now. It keeps water cool for 18 hours. I kept forgetting to utilize it on our trip but when I did, it kept our water cool on the hot sunny beach. It’s helpful carrying reusable water bottles at airports because you can refill them after going through security. Then you don’t have to pay for overpriced water.

Comfy Shoes

Leave the heels at home. If you’re doing lots of walking, be sure to pack comfortable walking shoes. And if you must pack heels, pack block heels!

Perfume Samplers

We all get those really small sample size perfumes from Sephora or wherever that just sit in our drawer forever. A great time to utilize them is when you’re traveling. This way, you don’t have to worry about packing your large bottle of perfume and it possibly breaking.

Travel bottle sets

These are only $1 at Dollar Tree or $1.50 at Primark. I prefer the Primark set as it has a variety of containers. When I needed them last minute, they were $8 at CVS which is pretty ridiculous.

Portable Charger

I use my phone lots out of boredom at the airport or on my flight. This is a necessary backup.

Extra baggage

It’s smart to carry a smaller suitcase/backpack/bag inside your main luggage. If you plan on doing some serious shopping on your trip, you don’t need to go buying more luggage too. Just throw your new goodies into your extra bag!

Scissors

I had bought a few new clothes and didn’t rip the tags off yet. One was impossible to get off so I had to call guest services to use their scissors and use them on the spot. It’d be better if we had carried our own instead. From the TSA website, they state “if packed in carry-on, they must be less than 4 inches from the pivot point.”

 

Happy travels, everyone!

Please like, share and comment if you found this helpful! Thanks for reading!

The Two Most Important Words in a Marriage

RR_Wedding_Portraits-128
Thuy Pham Photography

Housewives often go unappreciated. It’s just a fact. And come to think of it, even when I’ve seen a husband step in to take care of something, the wife may barely take notice of it as well. Watching other couples, I’ve seen something my husband does differently.

He always says “Thank you” AND means it. 

When my husband and I were engaged, I took a week off of work and decided to visit him. He would come home late after a 16-18 hour shift and literally inhale the plate of food I had prepared. It made me glad he was getting his fill but also terrible because he was actually THAT hungry.

But what he did next blew me away. He thanked me for the meal, picked up my plate and his, and proceeded to do the dishes. I asked him what he was doing. He told me “You cooked, so I’ll clean up.” Oh, my heart! I got a good one. There’s nothing like SHOWING your appreciation like this.

My husband is a very enthusiastic and positive person. I, on the other hand, am not easily moved. I am naturally always happy but not easily excitable (chill your dirty minds, guys). But because of his nature, he often will come home and be like “Wow! You did the laundry! Wow, the house looks amazing! Wow, you got chicken! Wow, I love this piece of decor you got! I love our home! Thank you for making our house into a home!” It’s his compliments and appreciation that keep me motivated to do these majorly mundane tasks. And when I don’t do them, he doesn’t say anything.

And I hope I say my fair share of “thank you’s” in return. It may be easy to say this all now as newlyweds and I know there’s no possible way I’m a marriage expert at this point, but I hope this becomes ingrained in us. And I hope this is not my infatuation with him taking over *insert crying laughing emoji*.

 

What I Eat In A Day

Sugar is definitely an addiction. I love dessert but I was getting into the habit of eating it daily, and that at 10pm at night. Now, I’m trying to limit my carbs as much as I can. If my meals earlier in the day were heavier in carbs, I’ll make sure I won’t consume many carbs during dinner. But I think once you start kicking those carby items to the curb, it gets easier.

I am a big fan of the myfitnesspal app. It allows you to track your calorie intake, exercise and water intake. It really keeps me in line. I definitely like that you can plug in Indian foods and get an idea of how many calories are in that. Also, you can go out to eat, search the chain restaurant and food in the app and input your calories. It’s basically an eye-opening app to help build better eating habits. After awhile, you’ll learn to make better food choices and will no longer need to track calories.

I’m only on Day 1 million of my diet and I’m down 0 pounds. I’m teetering a lot. I do utilize my elliptical almost daily but without adjusting my diet more, my weight will just stay the same. I may have to resort to eating a plate of veggies for a meal or juicing again.

On a good day, I will try my best to stick to eating/drinking these items but I’ll also limit portions:

Drinks:

  • Water
  • Tea (1-2 cups)
  • Coconut water
  • Wine (but I consider it a dessert because it’s a treat essentially)

Breakfast:

  • English muffin with butter or peanut butter & fruit
  • Veggie omelette (2 eggs)
  • Acai bowl (but they can be high in sugar from fruits so I haven’t been having these lately)
  • Avocado toast
  • Kodiak protein packed dark chocolate pancakes (nutrition facts below)

Lunch: I like to keep it simple because I don’t want to spend half my day cooking.

  • Tofu & veggies with a pre-made sauce
  • Salad consisted of spinach leaves, Trader Joe’s chicken strips, goat cheese, nuts, carrots, cherry tomatoes and dressing
  • Bean salad: olives, cucumber, chickpeas, black beans, cheese, salt, pepper & lime juice
  • Soup
  • Usually anything leftover from the previous night’s dinner

Snacks:

  • Almonds or peanuts
  • Carrots & Dip
  • Honey wheat pretzels
  • Bean salad
  • Carrot juice
  • Cabot unflavored whey protein with cold coconut water (this is delicious)

Dinner: Dinner tends to be heavier because I have it with my husband. It’s often his first meal of the day after a busy day at work so I reserve most of my calories for this meal. I admit it’s not the best for dinner to be our heaviest meal of the day. Portion control here would be key.

  • entrée:
    • Paneer in a gravy
    • Fried tofu with veggies
    • Salmon
    • Turkey meatballs
    • Chicken wrap
    • Chicken or turkey tacos
    • Zucchini noodles (Zoodles)
    • Bean, veggie & cheese quesadilla
  • Sides:
    • Steamed or stir-fried vegetables
    • White rice or farro
    • Raita (yogurt-based)
    • Salad
    • Jalapeno poppers (these aren’t too healthy)

No, I don’t use the eyes. I do tweak this recipe and add spices and less cheese.

Dessert:

  • Fruit
  • Popsicle
  • 1-2 Girlscout cookies
  • A serving of chocolate
  • Wine & cheese!

By the end of a good day, I would’ve consumed a net of 1200-1400 calories. Obviously, not every day is a good day -.-

I know I sometimes have trouble coming up with new meals to add to my rotation so I hope this at least helps.

– Relatable Roni

My Top 10 Kitchen Tools & Gadgets

I don’t think I ever wanted many kitchen gadgets. I thought they might be a pain to clean or they’d take up too much space in our home. But slowly, we’ve accumulated what I think are the essentials for us. My husband loves his technology so he initiated all this I would say. My mom-in-law provided some of the items to us like the rice cooker and electric kettle so thank you to her for introducing these items into my life. Of course I knew they existed, but I didn’t believe I needed them. Now I need them.

Most of the links are for the actual models we own. They may not be the latest models but they’re what we have and we’re happy with them.

10. Juicer

So I was a juicing fiend in 2014 after I watched the documentary “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead.” I’m actually considering rewatching it as I type this. If you haven’t seen it, I definitely recommend it. I wanted to juice to help me lose weight back then. I lost 10 lbs in about 2 months just by juicing once a day and eating healthy. I really got into a good momentum but then I broke my foot doing the running man at a bar (I then continued dancing the night away because I thought there was no way I just broke my foot wearing flats. I only rolled my foot but that was enough). Resting my foot, I slowly went back to my old eating habits.

But, the juicing made my skin look amazing, I was told. I couldn’t see it but people told me my skin was glowing. I would juice carrots, apples and spinach together. It’s really delicious. Try to keep the fruits to a minimum or you’re just going to end up making yourself a sugary drink. The main problem with juicing is the prep work with fruits & veggies and the cleaning of the machine and any splatter. But if you’re committed, you can do it. Also, juicing makes you go #2 more often.

9. Slow Cooker


I haven’t used our slow cooker much yet but I imagine I’ll be using it more once I start working (*crosses fingers* by the way, my older brother cracked a joke about me being unemployed the other day. He’s like “you’re unemployed when the unemployment rate is at the lowest it’s been in 17 years.” Thanks, bro, I love you too). I’ve always been hesitant to use a slow cooker because it’s on for hours while you’re (usually) not home. And after the Crock Pot This is Us episode, I’m even more hesitant. But hubs made some delicious jerk chicken in it the other day so I’m a fan.

8. Hand Blender Set

This is something every kitchen probably needs. I know my mom and MIL (mother-in-law) both have one and it seems pretty essential in Indian cooking where you cook tomatoes and onions and then you need to blend it. It’s better than throwing the mixture in a blender which leads to a larger cleanup process. This comes with a whisk attachment as well which is good for whisking egg whites into foam, among other things.

7. Dash Deluxe Egg Cooker

This is great for poached and boiled eggs. More on that here: Restaurant Quality Food Made Right At Home

6. Pizza Stone

If you like making pizza at home with a great crust, this is a must (ha, that rhymed!). More on that here: Restaurant Quality Food Made Right At Home

5. Spiralizer

I make zoodles (zucchini noodles) about every 2 weeks so this is a handy tool. This specific one is a slight pain to clean and takes up a lot room but I imagine it’s better than the handheld spiralizers which you have to twist and grind yourself. The handheld ones probably take longer to spiralize as well.

4. Toaster Oven

I don’t know why some people don’t own one. I feel a toaster is useless. You need a TOASTER OVEN. It’s perfect for all those naan pizzas. I absolutely hate using a huge oven for something I can cook just the same in a toaster oven. This is essentially a mini oven.

3. Electric Water Kettle

I’m a tea junkie so I use this on the daily. This is a lot faster than making tea on the stove. Stovetop tea is a 10 out of 10 in my books for taste. The kettle version is a 7/10 but it gets the job done.

2. Rice Cooker

I cannot for the life of me make a pot of rice on the stove. I always overcook it. I’d rather make farro than white rice on the stove. For white rice, I use my rice cooker although I’m sure it can cook other grains too. Before this rice cooker, I would buy microwavable rice – but I didn’t like to because I knew it contains tons of preservatives.

1. Vitamix


My husband purchased this for us and I didn’t understand the hype at all until I started using it. This is the number one item that has enabled me to eat healthier. I use it to make my smoothies and acai bowls. It can of course be expensive but the warranty on them is good. I also probably use it a ton to help justify the cost in my head.

What are your favorite kitchen “gadgets and gizmos?” Leave a comment below!

– Relatable Roni

This post does contain affiliate links. All opinions are honest & my own.

9 Things You Really Should be Buying at the Dollar Store

I originally forgot this point on my post about Building Better Money Habits but I thought I’d write a separate post on it to explain things in more detail. You probably won’t be ordering any of this online because you have to order in bulk and I don’t see many people doing that unless they’re wedding planning but this post does contain affiliate links and I may be compensated. BUT all opinions are my own. FYI, a nice option Dollar Tree does have so they don’t run out when you need a lot of one thing when you get there, is free pickup at your local store. 

Hello again!

In adulthood, you realize you need a lot of shit. Shit costs money. Sometimes you don’t want to spend money, but you still need that shit. What do you do? You go to a dollar store!

It’s great for getting those minor things like gift packaging. Above, I have a picture of my “Will you be my bridesmaid” gifts. The items I used to make these that are from dollar stores are: the container, the letter stickers, and the decorative shred inside. I also bought little sachets that I filled with personalized M&M’s. If I went to Michael’s, I would’ve paid at least double for all of that.

The dollar store I frequent here in Vermont is Dollar Tree. It’s concept is that everything is $1 of course. I’m not keen on buying a lot of things there but some things that make sense buying are:

1. Hangers

IMG_7011

A pack of 10 hangers on Amazon is $4. It’s $1 for 8 hangers at Dollar Tree. So to compare for you math whizzes out there, at Amazon you might get 80 hangers for $32 but at Dollar Tree you’d get 80 hangers for $10. I bought a ton of these yesterday so I can finally put away my laundry.

2. Spray Bottles

IMG_7013

This spray bottle would be ideal for diluting bleach and using to clean. It would also be great for spritzing water in your dog’s face.

3. Plastic Bins for Organizing

IMG_7021

I’ve been using these bins to organize our bathroom and kitchen. They’re really low quality but they get the job done. The smaller ones come in sets of 2-3 for $1.

4. Toilet Brushes

img_7023-e1516932248233.jpg

Nobody needs to brush their toilet and then keep it just chilling next to the toilet. I like to buy them from the dollar store and then toss them out after one use. Nastiness…If you’re going to get anything from the dollar store, just get this. I’m all for saving the earth and creating less garbage but I just can’t with this.

5. Greeting Cards

IMG_7019

Most people don’t care about getting fancy cards. They just want the money inside. Just get a cheap card. Dollar Tree‘s cards are 50 cents to 1 dollar. Other stores often have cards that are 99 cents or up.

6. Gift Bags

img_7017-e1516932316864.jpg

I feel most stores completely overcharge for gift bags. The bags here are $1 and sometimes they come in sets of 2-5 bags for $1 if they’re smaller.

7. Decorative Shred and Tissue Paper

IMG_0191

It’s shredded paper and tissue paper for goodness’ sake so it shouldn’t cost a lot and it’s going to end up in the recycling anyway. Michael’s charges $3.99/bag of shredded paper. I use paper confetti or tissue paper often when I’m putting together a gift bag. I mixed white and pink decorative shred in this picture for my “Mean Girls” themed bridesmaid’s gifts.

8. Vase Fillers

The glass gems and seashells are nice for filling vases. I think the seashells would be great if you were having a beach-themed wedding.These are half the price than what I see on other websites.

9. Foil Balloons

IMG_5075
Balloon, Paper Shreds and Base all from Dollar Tree

I put this together for my husband’s 30th birthday. The balloon overall is sort of small but it lasted a veryyyyy long time. How do I know? Well, I like to see how long balloons take to die. It died after a month or so. This actually really pissed me off because I had bought other balloons from iParty as well for his 30th….

img_5077.jpg
iParty Balloons – Before

Above are the balloons I bought from iParty . And I attached them to our porch the night before my husband’s birthday since he was working overnight and would be back in the morning. Well…I woke up in the middle of the night and heard the whistling wind and realized putting out the balloons the night before may have been a bad idea. And FYI the big balloon cost me about $12 and the smaller ones at least $1 and iParty charges you extra if you want the balloons to last past the 12 hr mark which is, I think, absolutely ridiculous.

So when I got out of bed the next morning, I immediately checked on the balloons.

img_5088.jpg
iParty Balloons – After

^^^^^^ This is what I saw. MANNNNN, WAS I PISSED! The giant balloon was GONEEEEE!!! Never have I ever been so disappointed in life. And I could only think about how the neighbors were like “No shit Sherlock, of course that’s going to happen.” I was especially concerned because my brain surgeon of a husband’s boss lives across the street. He must’ve thought my husband married a dumb girl. Obviously, I was also upset my husband wasn’t coming home after a 28-hour shift to a nice surprise while driving up.

Anyway, I tried undoing the strings that I so uselessly securely affixed to our porch, but they were there to stay so I had to cut them off.

So the lesson here is: USE THE DOLLAR STORE BALLOONS OUTSIDE AND THE EXPENSIVE BALLOONS INSIDE or just put them out later. By the way, about a week later is when that windstorm happened that knocked down tons of trees and power lines in the Northeast…so ya…

I’m clearly still upset about this balloon fiasco.

Do you shop at the dollar store? What do you buy? Leave a comment below!