Summer of Pride!

Frizzy Pride! June is the month summer officially begins, and this June was a month of great beginnings! This years’ Pride Parade felt especially festive, maybe we all somehow senced the new legislation granting equal marriage rights to all coming down by month’s end. Maybe everyone just decided to be proud of whoever they are, and whatever they’re doing-regardless of any outside approval. Maybe I’m projecting. Either way there was a carnival atmosphere.

Pride Carnival 3 Pride CarnivalPride CrunchPride Choo Choo But it wasn’t just a party. There was a strong message. Protect Trans Lives.

Pride Trans 2

It’s right to rebel!

Pride Trans Power

Boycott The Beverly Hills Hotel.

Pride Boycott

Love is All You Need.

Pride Love is All You Need

Pride Episcopal Church Pride God Loves Everyone

So Be Healthy because Crunch loves you too!

Pride Crunch

GET TESTED, GET TREATED & TELL YOUR TRUTH!

Pride Treatment

And the Whole Community is here in support.

Pride Native Americans Pride Native Americans 2

Pride Bagpipes Pride Lyft and LYFT is along for the ride.

So it was great that same sex marriage became legal nationwide this month!

But the month has been long, so let’s move on to other fun stuff. I mentioned Chris Berube’s Next Stage Theater in the last edition, and I spent a lot of time there this month as well.

June 23rd is Chris’ birthday, and not only does he work those numbers into his scripts, he also celebrates with the theater. This year I was able to attend his roast. It was very entertaining. One of the hightlights was a duo called Dino-Magic, you guessed it, a couple of dinosaurs performing magic! (Too fast for the camera-I’m still on Metro PCS, this is the Frugal Ho Blog for a reason.)

I caught rare pics of the notoriously camera shy Chris after he’d received the greatest award the African American community can bestow upon a White man, a Nigga Pass! Well deserved, I might add, as he’s teaching our predominantly Black group, helping us put together shows, and films, for free.

RoastRoast Chris PicNigga Pass

The play I mentioned last month, Happily Whatever After, is drawing to a close. Though I’ll be job hunting, and surely getting a plethora of high paying gigs-I’ll miss it dearly. I’ll carry you all with me and hope to work together again soon!

Happily Whatever After 3Happily Whatever After 4Jian

It’s been a great month! Looking forward to what July has in store!

Found Paradise!

LA Paradise  This past few weeks have been good. I’m having a summer of love. I’m getting to do the things I couldn’t before because of rigid work schedules and trying new things and seeing where they take me…and having fun with it. Did I escape to an island paradise?? Hardly. This is me at The Page Museum, which is free the first Tuesday of the month. I’ll get into that more in a bit, but first, let’s get on to what I’ve been doing with the bulk of my time.

Natasha Flower Yes, with free time, creativity can blossom.  And it can take many forms! Most obviously, my new freedom has allowed me to return to the things I love, like improv, writing and acting. Of course the budget of late is nill, but through the generosity of Chris Berube, I’ve still been able to further myself at Next Stage www.berubians.com.

It’s a world unto itself, as Chris provides free Improv workshops on Monday nights at 8pm. He also has some writing group people can attend by invitation. I’ve been blessed to somehow get in on the writing group, as well as getting cast in one of his many plays.

Happily Whatever After I’m currently in Happily Whatever After, and loving every minute of it! I play Ariel, Sleeping Beauty and an Evil Step-Sister in the satirical comedy based on the original Hans Christian Anderson Fairy Tales. This week is the last 9:30 show for me, afterwards, I’ll be in the 8pm show for those who like an early evening.

As I mentioned in the last edition, I’ve wanted to make a go of the Tarot Reading business. To that end, I decided to step up my game. That’s right, I schlepped over to Santa Monica’s Dept of Finance, and got a permit. Well, they consider it to be a performance permit, but you an I know better. So, a-busking we will go!

Santa Monica Busking PermitFirst Day Busking in Santa Monica!Busking! You should learn from my trials, so just as an FYI, no permits are required in parks. And that grassy area in from to Santa Monica Beach is Palisades…PARK. But the 3rd Street Promenade has Embassadors who check on you, and offers more of a safe family feel. So if I can get a spot-and believe me the spots are heavily regulated,  and require a fair amount of jockeying to secure-No FATE TAROT will be there…or Palisades Park…or at home operating via Facetime, phone or No Fate’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/NatashaMystikTarot . The point is, it’s poppin’!

What else does a business need? You guessed it! A website, and business cards. So with the newly created wix.com, and the longstanding Vistaprint, I was able to get both-for free! Wix.com allows you to create your website absolutely free (with opps to upgrade & buy your domaine-of course); and Vistaprint provides free business cards-you just pay the postage (or upgrade if you need a fancier template). So checka checka check it out!  http://nofatetarot.wix.com/no-fate-tarot

lp

But sometimes, as Julia Cameron, creator of The Artists’ Way would tell us, you have to feed your inner artist. That’s where The Page Museum comes in. Loved it! The pics at the beginning of the post, are from the outdoor area.

Inside was surprisingly interesting. It’s hard to believe, but this land has changed so much from what it once was.

Tiger photobomb Just imagine walking around with your friendly Saber Toothed Tiger!

Folks walking with the Elephant These folks probably had an idea of what that was like.

The Page Museum offers pics with the dinosaurs for $25 – $45. Ever the Frugal Ho, I got a pic my own way.

Dinosaur pic on the cheap The most important aspect of the trip was the story of George C. Page. He came to LA with $2.30 in his pocket at the age of 16, because his teacher gave him some fruit from here, and he wanted to live where it grew. (I’ll tell that to folks who fault me for moving to LA to pursue acting!) From there he had a great story, creating a fruit packaging business, after getting complimented on the fruit baskets he mailed home to family and friends. The story really inspired me to move forward with my own tarot business.

George C. Page

 

The Page Museum is right next to LACMA, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and I saw both. I made the mistake of paying full admission once, and I don’t plan on doing that ever again. The museum is actually free after 3pm to residents of LA County every day with liberal proof of residence (like a bill & photo ID).

Then again, Target sponsors free holiday Mondays throughout the year. So next holiday weekend, pick a museum and enjoy.

Free Holiday Museum Mondays

I like renaming art. I call this one, “Busted”.

Busted!

I call this next one: “Bills”

Bills

And the next. “Welcome to the Americas!”

Welcome to the America's!

There’s more sculpture at The B. Gerald Cantor Sculpture Garden.  To think I passed by this several times a week commuting for work without stopping in to appreciate it.

Garden

 

I call this one “Jilted Lover”.

Jilted Lover

There’s so much to do and see. Thanks for checking it out with me! Till next month, stay frugal-never cheap,and keep bangin’!

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Mayday!

Happy Mayday! It’s been a busy month, and still there’s fun in the frolicking!

Last month I mentioned that I was unemployed. I diligently participated in job search activities, among both the usual and unusual suspects.

As many of you know, I read tarot cards. What better time to make a go of the business?

Tarot Biz

So, on a former tarot teacher’s advice, my friend and I tried our hand at picking up clients at local bars. We thought we’d try places where we normally get left alone. Places where you have to light a firecracker to get a server’s attention. So naturally, that lead us to Rosewood Tavern.

Rosewood Tavern We went into Rosewood, and asked if we could read people’s tarot cards at the table, and of course order. The gentleman who’d been showing us to our seat said “Sure, as long as you don’t do anything too crazy.” So we set up shop, which was fun, until the manager came and threw us out on our ears. He actually stood in front of the table until we left, unimpressed with our intention to order.

That didn’t stop us! We went on to Barney’s Beanery, known for their karaoke nights-and for being left to your own devices.

Barney's Beanery When we asked to read tarot there, the General Manager came to tell us what a great idea it was, and that we should do it elsewhere.

I’m on the list at Bar Sinister, somehow I think it’s the long-list, rather than the short-list; and yet somehow, I’m still sure it’ll happen one way or another.

    It occurred to me the next morning that I’d never really seen this going on at bars outside of Halloween, but man do we get an A for effort!

   That’s ok, I enjoy my free time. There’s tons to do here in L.A. when all you have is time. Like going to Runyon Canyon, for example.

Runyon Canyon with my Gyrl MichelleRunyon Canyon Mountain ViewRunyon City View I’d suggest going on a cool day, or very early as possible. I hear that seniors do the hike at 6am, v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y. I’ll probably never be able to confirm that myself, but it was food for thought as I huffed and puffed and begged my friend to wait so I could catch my breath. Admission is free, and they keep it that way by skipping those tedious and unsightly fences that might prevent a faint hiker from falling off the mountain. Don’t worry if you do though, a helicopter can come and get you, as I hear has happened in the past.

    I’m a city gal at heart though, so I recouped at the movies. Yes, it is possible to get a deal on movies – even in Hollywood.

Sunset 5 For a touch of class, I checked out Sundance Cinemas at Sunset & Crescent Heights.  Go on a Tuesday, the shows are $6. I saw the Last Knights with Morgan Freeman, LOVED IT! Deep down I’m still waiting for my knight in shining armour to arrive, and there were plenty of them in that film.

Sunset 5 in Style Sunset Cinemas is classy, they offer wine and dinner, along with the regular popcorn and snack items. I did the movie Frugal Ho style, so I bought my own…. like you’ve never done that!

They are so classy, they offer free maxi pads, so don’t bleed on their seats B!tches!!!

Sunset 5 Free Pads I was about to stock up despite the sign, but it wasn’t my brand.

  I’ve heard tell of a $6.50 matinee in Silverlake, and I’ll chase this urban legend down and report back on it soon.

  Meanwhile, stay frugal, and keep bangin’!

A Whole New World!

Me @ BD priemierWhen I checked in last month I was working three jobs. It was a tough juggling act, the difficulty of which inspired me to create this blog about what to do for fun on a budget in the first place. I was constantly hustling, and I was proud of it.

Well, that’s all changed now. I’m no longer doing that particular hustle. Without pointing fingers, or getting into blame games…

RAGE2…or speculating as to how exactly I’m making my money now…

Barker Daniels set

Let’s just say that I’ve got a lot more free time now.  And what’s so  tragic about that???

The End is Just a New Beginning

It’s been agreat month! Ok yes, I took care of business, job hunting, making sure the benefits were in place – fyi there’s still time to get Obamacare, especially if you never realized you could get a fine.,,But in my case, I got Medi-Cal and met my local friendly Deputy Director at the Wilshire Center, Mr. Tab. He came out at the end of the day to tell folks they’d been waiting on the wrong lines all day.

Mr Tabb Hey, he posed for it….

After the dust settled, I was on to having fun again.

What’s more fun than a $5 show at Bar Sinister?

Me @ SinisterTurns out, if you print out the flyer for the Bar-you get $5 admission to the club. I also had the pleasure of seeing Nick Mason perform with Picture Me Broken Ft. Orianthi and they were great!

Nick Mason on Drums As you can tell, she really gets down! Orianthi It was hard to get pics of everybody. I thought fake fog was an 80’s thing, but apparently it’s making a come-back.

I checked out The California Science Center, which always offers free admission, though they have exhibits that charge modest fees as well.

Me @ The Science Center

I’ve always been a Barbie Gal, and Latina Space Barbie doesn’t disappoint.

Latina Space Barbie

I woke up early on morning, and discovered that the LA Marathon runs by my apt. (The NY Marathon ran by my Mom’s old spot. Coincidence? I think not!)

I saw the Native American Runner. This is the best shot I got after running ahead several times to try to capture his image.

IMG_20150315_095149 (1) An action photographer posted this one online.

Native American runner

ZORa was there in full effect too…

Zora Running It was over 90 degrees that MORNING, so these folks were very dedicated to the game to run dressed up.

OMG! I almost forgot, the premiere for Barker Daniels, the project that gave me my first lead in a feature film-was this month!

Aaaand, I didn’t have to pay for anything-bus there and back-nabbed a free drink & apps, and it was great catching up with my ex-coworkers/good friends.

Ernie, Ben, Elizabeth & Me @ BD PriemierFreddie Lara & I at BD Premier

Patrick, Matt Langman & I @ BD PremierJoseff Serato & Me @ BD Premier

That was awesome, but there’s more.

You know I LUV improv. LA has UCB too, actually both coasts have two sites now, and I had the pleasure of seeing Asssscat -which is free here too-this Sunday. I saw it at the new Sunset location-which is a lot more spacious, so I think everyone got in. The question is just where they got placed once they got in, because along with having more seating, they also utilized the additional floor and stair space for those got there late…like an hour before showtime late. Low and behold, the improv is just as funny in a plush new theater, and twice as comfy, especially if you’re an improv early bird like me!

ucb_sunset

 

The last frugal thing I did in LA this month, March, was head to the beach… because in LA March =90 degree days.

Beach Scene So all in all, I have a lot to be grateful for. I’m enjoying this new adventure I’m on. I appreciate all of the well wishes and help I’ve received along the way from friends. So this ho is still frugal, and still bangin’!

On V’Day…Who Pays?

Dating Life I actually wonder about who will pay every time I go out with a guy. When I go out with friends, it’s different. I expect to pay my own share, or I decline the invite-unless they’ve said they’re treating for some reason.

Yet when you begin to date someone, the hope is that you’ll eventually see each other more often-so the budgeting becomes more of an issue than the occasional get together. Then again, if you’ve just met someone, and they ask you out-it’s harder to say yeah, in like two weeks because I just paid rent, and I’m waiting for my next check. Your friends will still be around, your prospective date may not be. Besides, for romance’s sake-you’re supposed to be so taken with the date you throw caution to the wind…right? Except that you have to rely on catching yourself after the whirlwind, which means paying attention to the budget.

I was raised to always bring enough to cover myself-just in case. Yet I’ve been taken out places where my portion would have been that week’s paycheck. So grabbing for the check-just as a gesture of goodwill, could’ve been very dicey if he decided not to play nice. Granted, I wasn’t getting paid that much-especially in comparison to him-which brings me to one of my points.

I believe that the person who earns more should pay. Why? because I’ve been on both sides of that coin, and when I was the person who was working, who was comfortable, watching the other struggle, I had way too much compassion for the dude to ask for the few dollars he had. So if there’s a vast gap in earnings, I believe the guy should have the same compassion for me. (I date men-but I think the same rule applies for same-sex couples.)

I have had the experience of living with a guy who insisted on splitting everything down the middle, even though he made twice as much as I did, and it was awful. We lived two different lifestyles within the same household-which was priced above my means-because he wouldn’t have been comfortable living in the hood. He ended up paying less for his rent and bills than before we got together, and the reverse was true for me. So I lived in poverty, while he accrued additional savings because his costs were lowered due to the split, as mine increased due to the higher price point for everything. 

His reason was that he believed in feminism. He was fond of saying that “…women like everything to be equal until the check comes…” I also believe in feminism, which is why I now realize that he we were both wrong.

Unfortunately, despite many advances, women still earn less than men. According to Catalyst.org, in the USA, women make 76% of men’s earnings. catalyst.org/knowledge/womens-earnings-and-income Women are also more likely to care for sick children decreasing our earnings, while men’s earnings increase during marriage-with or without children in the home. (www.stlouisfed.org/publications/regional-economist/april-2003/marriage-motherhood-and-money-how-do-womens-life-decisions-influence-their-wages)

Women are also more likely to care for elderly parents, which also decreases our earnings in a lifetime. (caregiver.org/women-and-caregiving-facts-and-figures)

Due to the ways that society glorifies youth, and beauty, women are more likely to spend on beauty products, fashion, and cosmetic procedures. (equities.com/editors-desk/personal-finance/savings-budgeting/the-undeniable-difference-between-spending-habits-of-men-and-women) (huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/23/beauty-products_n_3975209.)

While retailers often charge women more for similar products. (jezebel.com/get-pissed-youre-still-paying-more-than-men-do-for-deo-1619607624)

So while Terrance Howard and Three 6 Mafia sang “It’s Hard Out There For A Pimp”, but I say it’s even harder on ho’s. Therefore it’s unduely burdensome to pay half, when you’re working with less in the present-and over the course of a lifetime.  It becomes unfair. So I say play your position, if you earn less, let him pay. If he invited you, let him pay. I’ve been invited out, up-sold on menu items, and expected to split the bill, by another “feminist” guy…who happened to earn more.

Practice gratitude, there are a million ways to express that without paying-or providing sexual favors you aren’t ready for.  Down the road, if the tables turn-you’ll be the one holding everybody down. (I’ve been in the care-taking position as well-without the benefit of marriage, but that’s another blog post.) Every now and again, if you come across tickets to an event you can afford, by all means-pay forward. Birthdays, holidays, and V’Day are all great opportunities to give back materially.

If you find yourself in the position of blissfully having more, be smooth. I like to go to the restroom, and hand over my payment without discussing the bill with him, or waiting for awkward bill grabs. It’s just already done-no issue, you get it next time. 

Most importantly, invest in you-what gets you ahead in your career, your spirituality (because retreats cost), and fun time with friends-because that’s important. Invest in you, and everybody wins. And, keep bangin’ Happy Valentine’s Day!

New Year, New Ho!

 Natasha at L'Ermitage

Like many people do during the New Year, I made a resolution. Mine was to have fun! Why? Because like many artists in L.A., I have more than one job, I actually have three. I usually work every day, and have a double thrown in at least one day each week. Up until last week, if you asked what my hobby was, I would have said work. I usually only take off to audition, or gig-and I hope I get 8 hours in to sleep. But not any more….

Since resolving to have more fun, I’ve been accepting more invites and clearing my schedule for me time, because Johnny from The Shining was right, all work and no play, makes….Natasha a dull gyrl. The Drums are right, I do need Fun in my life!

So, instead of skipping the holiday party at one of my three jobs, I went. This brought me to L’Ermitage. The roof is gorgeous. Trust me, the only other way to be frugal here, is to get coffee in the morning -only-while meeting-before having breakfast somewhere cheaper. (As the waiters tell me many “important” people do.) But that’s not exactly fun is it? I wanted to keep that good feeling going, so I accepted an invitation to an after party at Good Times at Davey Wayne’s in Hollywood.

Good Times  I thought I was in heaven! No velvet rope, no cover, cheap drinks, hip 70’s music and dancing??? I turned up!

Then last week, I overheard someone talking about The free L.A. Book Art Fair, and upon further investigation, I discovered that it was L.A. Museums’ free day so I did both!

It was a full-service day. I use public transportation (unless someone generously gives me a ride) and getting off at The Civic Center stop on the way to MOCA, means there will be a hike. Believe me-you’ll feel the burn as you ascend the hill towards MOCA.

MOCA line

Along the way, as I asked for directions, I was told to look for the mile long line. They weren’t kidding! But I took this as an opportunity to start the picnic portion of the day. (Yeah, I stopped at Trader Joe’s and got a sandwhich and snacks in preparation for the day to avoid the costs of the food there. I stop at the 99 cent store, or CVS before going to movies too, but I digress.)

Once inside, I saw the Warhol Shadows. I found it to be an excercize in subtlety.

Warhol Shadows Me & My Shadow

I like to rename art. So I’ll give you the official titles and mine.

Social Landscape

Me in 20 Years.

Me in 20 years

Get It Gyrl!!!

Get it Gyrl!!!

Below is a shot I like to call, “STANK!”

Stank!

RHMotivation to excercize  I call it, “Motivation to Excercize”

Spiral Dance

My “Spiral Dance”

Spiral Photo

Shattered Explained

Breaking through the Glass Ceiling!

Breaking through the glass Ceiling!

Talls explaination

Tall Gyrlz have hips too!

Me & My Tall Gyrlz

After checking out MOCA, I moved on to the L.A. Art Book Fair, and I discovered that this was where the real action was!

Art Book Fair

It was jam packed!

People aboveA Real CrowdL.A. Art Book Fair Maze

I found it to be full of folks who dressed well, artisty.

artsy

Aaaand, there was color, where the current exhibits at MOCA were all muted (putting the finger on why I had left feeling dissatisfied.) Though here it was harder to document who the displayed art belonged to.

I was shocked to discover the photo of an ex of mine!

I.ve dated this guy!

And lots of other fun stuff.

CryingColor!GoalMust Have!

At home, I tuned into Netflix and watched The Interview…sober…and found it to be hilariously rascist. (My kind of humor.)

For fitness, I resumed my jogging, which feels fun after the first five minutes. I even ran in the rain recently. I usually think people running in bad weather are straight-up idiots, but I found it to be refreshing-also to be clear, it was a light rain. And now I have room for that much more chocolate!

So, yeah overall I’m having a good time-and doing it frugally. You can get in on the fun too!

L.A.Museums with Free Days: golosangeles.about.com/od/losangelesmuseums/a/MuseumFreeDays.htm

For NYC Free Museum Days, check out this site: freemuseumday.org/nyc.html

Keep yourself posted on the NYC Art Book Fair here: http://nyartbookfair.com

The Frugal Ho’s Guide to the Holiday Party: What to Bring.

Taking photos sitting on Santa's Lap, $25 minimum. Pix with the Elves...FREE!

Taking photos sitting on Santa’s Lap, $25 minimum. Pix with the Elves…FREE!

Happy Holidays! If you’re like me, the holidays present special challenges, since there are more gathering to attend, and to hold. I was raised to always have something to offer guests, and to never show up empty handed. So the social life can get pretty expensive fast-even if you’re just hanging out watching a tv.  I decided to take this opportunity to jot down a few ideas on what to bring-especially if you’re a non-chef…u-hem, expert micro-waver like me.

Let’s start with wine. It’s easy, just grab and go. Everybody knows about Trader Joe’s $2 Chuck, but they also have other options that don’t scream TJ’s on the label, just in case there’s a snob in the room.

Reisling

Blu Fin Riesling is all you could want in a Riesling. Sweet, light and smooth-and $3.99.

The Black Mountain Chardonnay is Oaky, buttery and perfect! It’s a little more at $5.99, but well worth it.

Oaky Chardonnay

Say it’s midnight and you just got an invite-no judgements hoes. You’d be surprized what you can get at Rite Aid, Yes, Rite Aid.

Five Oaks makes Merlot that’s light and sweet with a cherry tartness, and a Pinot Noir that

Twin Redstastes pretty much the same only lighter. To be more specific the Merlot tauts plum, cherry and vanilla; while the Pinot Noir boasts of Cherry, plum and brown spice. Pretty sneaky huh? We all have friends who are partial to one or the other-and probably wouldn’t know the difference if you switched on them mid-glass, so here’s the fugal answer. These run about $2.99 on sale, and $3.49 at full price.

Turning Leaf Chardonnay

For a light option, try thier Turning Leaf Chardonnay at about the same price. It’s sweet and light.

Out here in L.A. the $.99 cent Stores sell wine. I’m sure these wines have to be distributed elsewhere as well. They run about $2.99, (contradictory to the sign on the store as I overheard a customer loudly arguing at the cash register.) I think they’re worth it.

The Rock Rabbit, for example lives up to it’s description. It’s a sweet red. Zero on the headache meter as well-for all of the wines I’m mentioning (unless you have a specific allergy). Except,??????????????? that is, for my next suggestion.

Hands

The Hand, white, doesn’t have a description of the wine itself, just a story about the hardworking crew that creates the wine. You see the imprints of thier hands on the bottle. I suggest putting thier creation to work while seducing that barely legal hook-up you’re chilling with. It tastes like straight-up apple juice. No non-headache guarantees here.

But wine isn’t the only option. I turn to Trader Joes for a variety of quick food options,

IMG_20141221_161059 (1)

My favorite being the Chocolate Ganache cake. It’s actually become my trademark bring along, and most people look forward to it. It’s $7.99, and feeds a party. If they have it once-they’ll want it again.

You can also snag a fully cooked whole chicken, or cut up chicken at Ralph’s if you’re on the west coast, and Key Food on the east coast for about  the same price. And if you go to a Cuchifrito on in Spanish Harlem, the Bronx or the L.E.S., you’ll get a whole damn meal for the price. No pics here, just memory-so I digress.

WrapsBack to TJ’s lots of fun items, you can mix and match with. Sopresseti

Try cutting up a wrap into bite sized pieces if you’re tight on cash, and you just want something available for people to snack on.

Lots of places sell trays of Sopressetti and cheese, so does TJ’s. If this tray looks too small, go to the grocery store, and buy half-pounds, or pounds. Spread them out on a plate and voila!

TaquitosSalsaTapas SamplerSharp Cheddar

Aaaaand, everybody knows what to do with cheese!

Hope you liked these ideas. Write back and tell me about more bargains, and as always, keep bangin’!