How to Live Like a Princess…Even if you Don’t Have a Trust Fund!

Hello!  This is Princess Sans Trustfund here to lead you on a journey of unlimited possibilities for a fun and exciting life even if you were born poor.  You see, I was born dirt poor and have learned how to thrive in the city using my god-given talents and money management savvy.  Please read on for how you too can live a luxurious lifestyle even if you do not have a trust fund!

Every girl deserves the sweet life.

How to See Broadway Shows without Spending a Whole Paycheck: including Broadway Week Hacks

There is nothing more New York than seeing a Broadway show.  However, a regular priced ticket can cost a lot and if your goal is to see as many shows as possible, then you need to have a plan.

    Here are somethings that I have learned after a whole summer of seeing Broadway shows.

    1. TKTS Booth

    If you arrive at the TKTS booth half an hour before the show starts (say 1:30 for a 2 pm matinee), you will often encounter no lines and get the best tickets.  We got front row orchestra seats to Matilda for about $75 a ticket.  It was so close you could see the hairs sticking out of Miss Agatha Trunch’s legs.

    2. Theater seat filling services

    You can join Theaterclub and Theater Extras.  Often, you will be able to find Broadway and off- Broadway shows for around $4.50.  The key is to check these websites ten times a day.  Members are forbidden from discussing the deals they obtained using these sites, but they are worth it if you check the sites at least ten times a day.

    3.  Broadway Week

    I just spent a few hours trying to figure out how to purchase tickets during Broadway Week, and I think I have found a good way to buy tickets to the most coveted Broadway shows during Broadway Week.  In my opinion, The Lion King and Aladdin are two shows that you should buy during Broadway Week because I have never seen tickets for these two shows being sold by TKTS.  Therefore, if you can get decent tickets for The Lion King and Aladdin for half price, grab them!  As for Chicago, Phantom of the Opera, Kinky Boots, School of Rock, Cats, and other shows, buy them during regular weeks (versus Broadway Week) because you can go to the TKTS booth without having to commit your time and money a few weeks ahead of time.

    How can you buy half price tickets for The Lion King and Aladdin?  I used the code BWAYWK and the system told me not available for the days I searched.  I can only do Friday evenings, and the weekend, so my choices are limited.  I tried BWAYUP and there were more days available, and at relatively reasonable prices (half price + $20).  I wound up paying  $82.50 for center mezzanine tickets for Alladin and $102 for front center mezzanine tickets for The Lion King.  Another thing to keep in mind is not to search for two tickets and use the choose your own seat function on the computer instead of your cell phone.  You will have more success finding seats if you are flexible where you sit and don’t require two seats together (analogous to the single rider at Universal having a shorter wait time).  I wound up buying two aisle seats in different rows for Aladdin but they are close to each other so my kid and I will be able to see each other.

    Another thing you should do is to buy the tickets as soon as Broadway Week starts.  By the time I tried to buy tickets, Dear Evan Hansen was already sold out.

    The Princess Bed: How to Create a Canopy Bed

    No blog about how to live like a princess would be complete without a post about the ultimate symbol of princessness: the canopy bed.  A canopy bed is essential for the girl who wants to live like a princess.  A canopy bed creates an ethereal romantic retreat for lounging and sleeping.  

    Most furniture stores carry the canopy bed.  However, what if you want to create a canopy bed using the bed that you already own?  

    Amazon sells a canopy kit with poles that you place on the edges of the bed.  I personally have no experience with the canopy kit, but some reviews called it a piece of junk, so beware that it might not be very sturdy.

    Another thing you can do is to drill holes on your ceiling to hang a canopy.   This requires some work, but it is possible.  However, if you live in a rental, you might not want to drill holes anywhere.

    I created my canopy looking bed with a medium freestanding room divider with white curtains from roomdividers.com.  Although it does not come cheap at around $400, it also serves as a room divider and can be relocated easily to another apartment when you move.  The room divider stand provided three poles for the canopy.  I happened to have another pole from a green screen stand I bought a few years ago.  Then I purchased a mesh canopy from Macy’s for around $30, which adds to the romantic feel.  I placed everything around my tufted Lorraine bed from Pottery Barn and the result is amazing.  The curtains can be drawn on two sides of the bed to create a separate private area in a studio apartment.  Take a look at the photos below and see if you agree that this is a very pretty look:

    PB Comfort couch, Pottery Barn pillows, PBTeen Lilac bedside table

    Freestanding room divider by Roomdividers.com in Pearl White, Majesty Canopy from Macys.com

    Pottery Barn Lorraine upholstered bed, PBTEEN Dottie pillowcases and lamp, PBTEEN Rufflelicious quilt

    Mall Haul: Victoria’s Secret Pink and Bath and Body Works

    We shopped the Victoria’s Secret Pink and Bath and Body Works semi-annual sale today and here is what we purchased:

    Kitchen Lemon & Mint Gentle Foaming and Deep Cleansing Hand Soap $3.00 each.  This fragrance smells exactly like Asprey Purple Water, the toiletries provided at the Ritz Carlton.  So anyone looking for Asprey Purple Water dupes, check out Kitchen Lemon & Mint at Bath & Body Works.

    Get Happy White Peach Sangria Shower Gel and Body Cream $3 each

    Poolside Coconut Colada Body Cream $3



    Victoria’s Secret Pink sweatpants $24.99 each, V-neck T’s $9.99 each.


    How to Save Money: (Mostly) Painless Ways to Afford Chanel, Hermes, Louis Vuitton

    1. Ask for ice water at Starbucks instead of buying bottled water.  Tastes better and costs nothing.  (Note: this is true in most Starbucks except for the one in Great Wolf Lodge in Pennsylvania.  The pimply teenager said they charged for cups, unlike every other Starbucks in the world.  I complained to Starbucks customer service and they credited my app $5.00.)


    2. Shop after Christmas for the best prices on Pink, Victoria’s Secret, Bath and Body Works, etc.

    3. Take extra plastic bags and wipes at the gym for future use.  I save money by not buying plastic bags or wipes for cleaning.

    4.  Take more than one olive oil in those little containers from Pret a Manger when you buy your lunch.  Olive oil is expensive and the ones for free at Pret are extra virgin and in those cute  keep fresh containers.

    5.  Take extra condiments and stop buying ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, salt, sugar, creamer, etc.

    6. Take extra napkins.  You never know when you will need to blow your nose, wipe away makeup, or go into a restroom stall without toilet paper.

    7. Trick yourself into saving by automatic deposits into separate bank accounts.  Name each account so you know what you are saving for. For example, Chanel Fund, Hermes Fund, Bahamas Fund, College Fund, etc.  Also max out your 401k and IRAs.  If you don’t see it, you won’t spend it on stuff you will forget in 10 years anyway.  Did you really need that polyester dress from a sample sale that you never wore that someone said would look so good at the opera?

    8. Starbucks straws are better-made than any straw you can buy.  Take a few extra for when you need a straw.

    9. Credit cards are a good way to earn points for free hotel stays, air fare, gift cards, etc.  Be careful to pay off the credit cards in full every month to avoid late fees, finance charges and debt, which will negate the value of the points.  Airline points are most valuable during busy seasons such as spring break and holidays.

    10. Avoid paying rent for as long as you can.  There is no shame in long commutes, couch surfing, living in Queens, or all of the above.  Money talks, bullshit walks.  Sock that money away.

    11. Tinder is a good way to get free drinks and dinners.  I’ve never done this myself (I swear), but my friend has met many guys on Tinder who will take girls out for dinner.  However, they disappeared quickly after they got what they wanted, so if you want to keep on getting those dinners for free, don’t sleep with him, girl!  And that is the best advice I can give you today.

    12.  In addition to your regular job, work on your side hustle.  This can be selling on EBay, tutoring, selling tickets on StubHub, etc.  A friend of mine sold her tickets to the Meadows last year for $200 profit.  She missed seeing Kanye West walk out during a performance after receiving word that Kim Kardashian was robbed, but made $200.  Another person sells the toiletries she collects at high-end hotels such as Park Hyatt and the Ritz-Carlton.  Teachers can make more money tutoring on the side than at their actual jobs.  

    Wait, you have to work, you say?  Thought this was a site on how to live like a princess, you exclaim?  Of course you have to work, unless you have a trust fund.  But you will be better off than most people because you will have a great life without accumulating lots of debt.

    13.  If you subscribe to the New York Times or cable, call them up and ask for a lower rate. In my experience, The NY Times will offer a lower rate for a limited time.  Barron’s charged me $170 for renewal of my subscription but offered to take $70 off just for calling and threatening to cancel.  As for the cable company, I was given free HBO and Showtime as well as $20 off per month just for calling.

    14. If you must eat instant ramen, try the Asian brands such as Shin cup or anything you can get in Chinatown.  You will feel like you are eating something exotic versus just cheap supermarket instant noodles.

    15. Shop at Trader Joe’s.  A bag of Bob’s almond flour is $15.99, whereas the same thing (same size) can be found at Trader Joe’s for $5.99.  

    16. Pack a lunch.  Much healthier for you anyway.  Tofu is very filling and costs about $2.00 a package.  

    17. Look for the best deal on everything you buy.  Even people who make a lot of money do this.  I know a guy who works in technology who makes half a million dollars a year and brags so much about the deals he got that they nicknamed him Value-Pak Vito.  

    18. If you feel that you did not receive what you paid for, complain.  Companies don’t want bad publicity and will try to make it right for you.  If the person you complained to refuses to do anything, write a truthful review on Yelp, TripAdvisor or other website.  Often, another person representing the company will contact you and try to compensate you for your inconvenience.

    19. If it’s free, it’s for me!  During the summer, Lululemon was handing out free  shirts and shorts to people who showed up at the Sweatbox, a truck with a treadmill in it.  If you put on the item of clothing, and then run on the treadmill for a minute and fill out a feedback card, you were allowed to keep the item free of charge.  As you know, Lululemon items are around $89 each.  So my friend, Ming, who is quite the character, decided to follow this truck all over the city to get free stuff.  Unfortunately for Ming, they recognized her after the third time, but not before she got two Swiftly shirts and a pair of running crops for free.  Now that is a lady who knows how to live like a princess!

    Luxury Slide Shoes

    Rihanna launched a line of $80 furry slide shoes called Fenty Leadcat that immediately sold out  and are going for $150+ on EBay.  This makes investing in Fenty slides more profitable than the stock market.  I bought the pink Fenty slides over the summer from Puma.com before they sold out.  They are as comfortable as sneakers and oh so glamorous.  A must for any princess!

    Rihanna Fenty Leadcat furry slides

    Rihanna Fenty slides in four colors

    Chanel carries a line of slides with their signature chain link straps.  They are oh so chic and oh sooooo expensive at $700. They would go very well with my Chanel Classic Flap with gold chains though.  I would definitely wear them all the time, unlike the extremely uncomfortable Louboutin heels that I spent thousands on.  What do you think, should I go for it?

    Chanel slides in black would match my Chanel Classic Flap bag

    Chanel slides in red


    The Chanel slides are a bargain compared to the $1800 Gucci Hair slides, aka the Donald Trump Hair Shoes.

    The Fur Pillow

    The fur pillow adds a touch of glam to your decor.   The home furnishings stores that I visit are all featuring fur pillows as a cool accent to cozy up your home.  

    Fur pillow at Crate & Barrel

    Small tricks for better food photos

    This is very clever!

    Cooking without Limits

    In food photography we use lots of tricks to make our life easier and also amazing photos. As a food blogger you need to show your food as good as you can. Sometimes all falls apart: the dressing doesn’t stay long on the salad, pasta is sticking together, the dessert looks like you just throw it on the plate, etc.

    Our traditional Romanian “Ciorba de perisoare” (Sour soup with meatballs) was difficult for me to shoot until I found a trick to keep my meatballs on top. I used the lids from cough syrup. They are made from plastic and you can find them in different shapes. So keep them for your future projects.

    sour soup with meatballs

    As you can see in the final shots you can’t even tell I have them in the soup.

    Another trick is to pick the fresh vegetables you can find. They look better on the camera.

    Take…

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    Deal Alert: $10 off Sur La Table if you use your American Express Card

    I am obsessed with Sur La Table cooking classes.  I took a cooking class a few weeks ago and learned how to make a delicious paella, arugula salad and the most awesome almond tart that I have ever tasted.  I love the almond tart so much that I have made it twice already, impressing family and friends.  I looked all over but cannot find any coupon codes for more Sur La Table cooking classes.  I want to take a French cooking class that comes with two free Le Creuset Heritage Bowls for $99 (good value because the bowls are worth $40).   I would also love to take the Winter Soups class.  (If you know of a coupon for Sur La Table classes, please comment below).

    If you register for American Express offers (go into your account online and go on offers), you can get $10 off your purchase at Sur La Table.  I think it works for the classes at the stores, just not the online classes.  I try to use a coupon for everything– that’s how I live like a princess.

    Almond Tart

    Check out the creamy middle of the almond tart

    arugula salad with sherry vinegar and oranges

    Sur La Table cleans and sets the table for you

    Sur La Table Cooking Class

    Paella with chicken and chorizo at Sur La Table cooking class

    Dinner for 3 with Lobster, Steak, Fish and Wine at Legal Seafoods for (almost) Free

    Here is what we had at Legal Seafoods today:

    lobster and filet mignon


    Bang Bang Cauliflower


    Crispy Risotto Cake

    Kids Grilled Salmon with Mashed Potatoes

    Rainbow Trout with Mashed potatoes and Seaweed Salad


    Here is what we ordered:

    Bang Bang Cauliflower

    Lobster with Filet Mignon 

    Special sides:

    Sautéed mushrooms 

    Crispy risotto cake

    Grilled Rainbow Trout with two sides 

    Kids salmon with mashed potatoes 

    The check totaled $103.  We used an Open Table Dining Check worth $20 that we earned for making reservations at Open Table.  Then we used a $100 gift certificate from American Express which was earned after a few years of accumulating points from Amex (charging only a hundred or so dollars a month).  Since it was the holidays, the waitress was tipped the rest of the gift card ($16+) and $10 in cash.  Therefore, the meal at Legal Seafood was almost free.

    How to Stay for Free at the Park Hyatt New York

    The Park Hyatt New York on 57th Street in Manhattan is very pricey at around $1000+ per night, which makes it one of best hotels for redeeming your Hyatt reward nights.  I had two nights at any Hyatt hotel that were due to expire and I decided on a staycation in the city.  A wise choice, it turned out, as it was one of the most luxurious and relaxing weekends I’ve had in a long time.

    The best thing about the Park Hyatt is undoubtedly the pool and whirlpool, in my opinion.  So relaxing, with a skyroof overlooking the city.

    As for the toiletries, the Park Hyatt provides Le Labo Tuberuse 40, an exclusive fragrance created especially for the hotel.  You can order more toiletries by a few clicks of a button on the tablet provided in your room.  How high-tech is that?!

    The bathroom floor is heated, which is a nice luxurious touch, but slippers are also provided.  There is even a TV built into the mirror in the bathroom.

    There is a Nespresso coffee machine provided, with Nespresso espresso and coffee pods, as well as artesianal tea bags.  Bottles of water are available in the room as well as at the gym.

    The location of the Park Hyatt New York cannot be beat.  Across the street from Carnegie Hall, and a few blocks away from Central Park, Columbus Circle and Times Square, there will be lots to do.

    Here are some photos from my staycation, which I got for free, valued at $2500 for two nights, courtesy of the Chase Hyatt credit card.  You too can enjoy staying at the Park Hyatt New York for free.

    Refresh with some mint water at the Park Hyatt New York’s pool

    Whirlpool at Park Hyatt New York

    Pool at Park Hyatt New York

    Gym

    Complimentary chilled water at Park Hyatt New York gym

    View of Central Park in between the two buildings

    Nespresso machine in the room

    TV and Toiletries in the Bathroom

    Toiletries at Park Hyatt New York