shit you don’t know about food stamps: a guest post!

21 08 2011

when i was little, we were on food stamps, and i they looked like this. now you get a fancy plastic card!

i fell in love with amanda pleau and her totally sweet blog, misadventures in portland, about a year ago when she wrote a post about her spanx addiction.  it made me laugh so hard that i was extremely disruptive to others in my workplace. apparently, tax spreadsheets should not be quite so hilarious. also, i was wearing spanx at the time, so it really struck a chord with me.

point being, misadventures has had a place in my “best maine blogs” sidebar (and my heart) for a long time. a few months ago, she wrote this really amazing post about being a recipient of food stamps, and i knew i wanted her to write a companion piece for broke207, because i think there are a lot of young people out there who could benefit from the program, but either don’t know about it, or don’t think they qualify. shockingly, she accepted my request for an unpaid guest post (in between writing her own blog, working, and being a full time student), and here it is. please enjoy it for both its educational and entertainment value, and you should probably add her to your google reader and twitter feed, and head on over to her blog and devour the whole thing, leaving copious comments all the way.

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You know that feeling when you log into your Internet banking; your breath is caught in your chest, you start panicking? “Where the did all the money go? Oh my god, how am I going to pay my rent/phone/student loan/insurance? How exactly does one start turning tricks and how long does it take to get the money?” I’ve had that feeling intermittently throughout my twenties, from when I moved out at 21, to when I had a real job with the proper salary, and especially now that I’m a student again.

Two years ago, I wrote this article or my friend Mary. It was my first year back in school at the University of Southern Maine, and I was working twenty hours a week at a coffee shop. I felt great about my financial situation, hopeful for the future. I had goals! A budget! It’s laughable how much things have changed since then: I caused a car accident while driving without insurance, I’m looking at almost $30k in student loans after I graduate this year, and I lost my lucrative waitressing job for doing something really dumb. Once the shock of being fired wore off, that panicky feeling slowly crept up, and I fell into a bottomless pit of despair. “What am I going to doooooooo?”

I figured out my income/expense ratio. It wasn’t good. It only took a few days for me to decide to go to the Department of Health and Human Services and apply for food stamps, officially known as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program. Once upon a time, there were actual stamp-like bills, but now it’s like a credit card.  I’m sure social service workers are probably super annoyed by the difference between the actual name of the program and the common vernacular. My case worker was pretty short with me. He said I needed a letter from my former employer confirming my termination (that was an awkward email), signatures from my roommates saying they were not feeding my sorry, lazy ass, proof that I was a full-time student working at least 20 hours a week, and pay stubs from my jobs. My jobs at that time consisted of a monthly column in the Portland Phoenix (for which I earned one whole Jackson), and my work-study job at the student newspaper. Very shortly after submitting all of my paperwork, I was admitted! There was no phone call, no confirmation, just a shiny new EBT (Electric Benefit Transfer) card with my name on it. Read the rest of this entry »





in the test kitchen: foolproof granola bars.

2 03 2011

good granola bars are expensive. you know, the kind that actually fill you up for more than a nanosecond, and that contain ingredients not synthesized in a laboratory? i will pay upwards of $2 for a really good granola bar, and i’m not ashamed to admit it. although i probably should be…

a while back, chris over at part time vagabond gave me an assignment to make my own granola bars. i’m not much of a baker, and assumed that the experience would be terrifying and catastrophic. but as it turned out, it was actually  pretty easy and very delicious, with minimal emotional (or physical) scarring.

now, i’m OBSESSED with home made granola bars (sorry nature valley, we’re breaking up).  the recipe i used was obscenely easy, and pretty much impossible to fuck up (even if you cook them too long, they just become crunchy granola bars instead of chewy), but i finally feel ready to make something a little more complicated- does anyone have a granola bar recipe that they love?

i am also searching for interesting flavor combinations.  i’m looking for great innovation in the world of flavor combinations. can i put cheese popcorn in granola bars? skittles? nori?





unflattering garments for science.

16 02 2011


i have a new post up at the goodwill of northern new england blog today! in this issue, i try out an exceptionally questionable (and puffy) skirt that only looks cute from one angle (and not really even that cute- more like passable). what i learned from my experience is that the mirror LIES. i really thought it wasn’t that bad… but the photos were crushing. no wonder cher horowitz always relied on polaroids. i posted the only semi-cute (save for the bad angle potato-head factor) photo on the goodwill blog, but you can see the grisly mess that is the rest of the shots over at my flickr. i especially like the ones where i look both pregnant, and like my legs are on backwards.





the jumpsuit chronicles.

5 01 2011

so it looks like i’ll be contributing more regularly to the goodwill of northern new england blog with my second hand fashion exploits, and i’m SUPER EXCITED about it. not only is it a chance to write for another cool local blog (especially one attached to such a super worthy cause as goodwill), but it’s also a really fantastic excuse for me to expand my ailing wardrobe.  in case you haven’t already heard the story a thousand times, i gained 30 lbs. 2 years ago, and have been exceptionally reluctant to buy bigger clothes. even when faced with the persistent reality that this is just the size that i am now,  i still  just can’t bring myself to invest in a wardrobe in a size that feels like it belongs to someone else. this is very stupid.

anyway, this new goodwill gig is a great way for me to ditch the unhealthy body image game, support a great cause, and remember why i love clothes shopping in the first place (and still maintain my budgetary goals). basically, it’s a win, win, win (with a side of win) situation (FTW).  i have a new post up today about an legendary sweater shopping weekend (OMG CASHMERE), but instead of just straight up posting links to my goodwill stuff, I thought it would be fun to give you guys some super secret outtakes from my horribly awkward and poorly lit fashion shoots (anyone out there want to take pictures of me- the boyfriend is a willing but unable photographer!).

so this week at goodwill, i  wrote about 3 awesome j crew sweaters that i bought, but what i didn’t mention is that i also found this most amazing 80s jumpsuit for $2.50 (way to go red barb!)! it’s totally ridiculous, and kind of makes me look preggo (or that my just be some post-xmas salt bloat), but i love it anyway. thinking about wearing it this summer with really tall platforms and some sort of giant gold belt. please note the button detailing on the sleeves and pants cuffs.  if only i had an animated gif of me operating the full frontal zipper.





i’m fashion blogger famous!

21 12 2010

i promised a long long time ago, that i was going to add a budget fashion feature to the ole broke207. well, i lied! totally! i’ve been trying all year to figure out how to get it going, and i just couldn’t figure it out. i would start and stop and reconfigure, but the post just never… posted. well, a few weeks ago, i had an actual revelation! perusing a guest post on the goodwill of northern new england blog, i realized that maybe the fashion post didn’t belong on broke207, and that’s why i was having such a hard time writing it.

well, i decided to nut up and contact goodwill, and see if they were interested in a potential weekly fashion feature. you never know unless you ask, right? well, they received my idea very very kindly (thanks for being awesome michelle!), and my very first post is up today! if they like it, it will be a continuing thing. if they don’t, at least i got a totally sweet outfit for $10.49. it’s a win win!

so anyway, go and check me out, and maybe even leave a little comment love so they let me do it again. and if you’re really lucky, i can talk some of my favorite local fashion bloggers into doing it with me.





i’m coupon goddess famous!

9 10 2010

there are a lot of crazy coupon lady websites out there (and i do me A LOT). there’s actually even one called the krazy coupon lady, that is pretty rad. but if you’ve hung around these parts long enough, you’ll realize that in my book (and coincidentally also the highlander’s book), there can be only one.  and that one, is the coupon goddess. i love her because alongside her supernatural powers with coupons, she is a margarita swilling high-heel junky with a mouth for sass. she is also constantly blowing me away with her generosity. speaking of which, she was the one who gave me my blog start way back when in 2009, when she wrote a post about me and my irreverent (and profanity filled) coupon antics. since then, she has continued to pimp my site, and just be generally all around awesome to me. i really could not ask for more… but she gave more anyway. when melanie decided to take a 10 day blog break and jaunt off to greece (lucky bitch), she asked me if i would be one of 5 lucky bloggers to fill in while she was gone. i actually got to talk to her on the phone, and did a lot of yelling SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEE! afterward. i should probably apologize to my dog, he really DID NOT appreciate that.

but i digress. i wrote two posts- with proper capitalization and absolutely no swearing even (though several unfortunate typos that i am unable to correct)! one about me and how i suck at couponing (and that’s ok), and another one about a very weird experience i had with some himalayan pink salt. anyway, humongous thank you to melanie for the opportunity, and if you’re bored and want some good clean family friendly reading, you can check them out. or, if you’re really really bored, you can print them out and try to figure out where the swearing would have been had i written the posts for this site. either way, good times!





double vision.

14 07 2010

yeah, i get around. it started with a guest post, but i’ve somehow managed to parlay my one night blogging stand with part time vagabond into a full fledged contributing gig. kick ass.  i’ll be writing about once a week on various aspects of travel, adventure, and the great outdoors (and probably at times the not so great outdoors). so if you’re tired of the money thing and want something new, or are possibly craving more of my special brand of snark and insanity, or maybe you’re just looking to trade up to a cooler, better blog… you should head on over. i even bust out the proper capitalization. you’ll be AMAZED. (i promise)