DIY Tank Top: Fashion on a Budget

Like the rest of the female college world, I have been swept up in the Pinterest craze. The information sharing site allows users to “pin” things they enjoy to categorized boards for users who follow to see. The other day, a friend pinned a link to instructions to make these tanks from t-shirts. Being in a sorority, I have an inordinate amount of t-shirts that could use some remodeling, so I decided to give it a try. Now I have turned two t-shirts that I never wear into cute new tank tops.

Although there is already a set of instructions, I  came up with my own to help you avoid a few of the problems that I ran into along the way. Transform your old T’s into tanks by following the instructions below.

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Orange Leaf: Froyo on a Budget

The frozen yogurt (also called froyo or frogurt) phenomenon is sweeping the nation. Offering froyo as a low-fat alternative to ice cream, froyo shops are becoming popular hangout spots in Des Moines and in major cities nationwide. But who doesn’t like frozen yogurt when there is an accompanying topping bar?

West Des Moines, home to Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt and Orange Leaf, has jumped on the froyo bandwagon. You can also find frozen yogurt nearby at TCBY Yogurt in Clive, Lemon Tree Frozen Yogurt in Ankeny and Yo2Go in Urbandale. But with so many options, I never quite knew where to go. So with the help of my roommate (a self-proclaimed froyo expert), I set out to find my favorite frozen yogurt spot.

After visiting Menchie’s (4825 EP True Pkwy) and Orange Leaf (6630 Mills Civic Parkway), I decided that I much prefer Orange Leaf.

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Paper Bows: Gift-Giving on a Budget

Birthdays are tricky holidays for gift-giving. A gift depends on how close you are to the gift-receiver, how long you’ve been close, how close they think you are, how much money you have, how much they expect, etc. Bad gifts can have awkward consequences. But bad gift-giving can be avoided with a little bit of paper, glue and crafty love.

I added a hand-made neon bow to an old salsa jar full of wint-o-green mints to make a cute study gift for any friend, roommate or significant other. Dress up your gifts without having to use another store-bought bow. Make your own by following the instructions below.

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Half Price Books: Books on a Budget

It doesn’t seem too original to hunt for deals on books in a store called Half Price Books (10201 University Ave.), but I had been by a hundred times and never seemed to make the stop. So, I finally took an hour to drop in and check it out.

The store is bigger than it looks from the outside. Long wooden shelves of books extend way back into the store, organized in the typical genres: horror, science fiction, humor, art, etc. Because it was organized well, much like a full-priced bookstore, it was easy to find the books that I was looking for. Often in discounted stores the organization is terrible and it is difficult to find anything specific, although I do love the hunt.

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Varsity Theatre: Movie on a Budget

Going to see a movie is no longer a cheap endeavor. Ticket prices always seem to be on the rise and concessions are ungodly expensive. Of course, your $5 to $10 popcorn is often over-buttered, under-salted and generally cold. So, in order to preserve the honor of the movie theatre industry and bring you the best and cheapest movie-going experience in Des Moines, this week I visited Varsity Theatre (1207 25th St.), a local, single-screen theatre.

Varsity Theatre’s low-priced, high quality, independent films and self-proclaimed “Best Concession Prices in Town” have become a tradition since the theater opened its doors in 1939. So naturally, being the bargain-hunter that I am, I decided to partake and went to check out the Academy-Award-nominated, Golden-Globe-winning, Critics’-Choice-Award-winning, BAFTA-award-winning, overwhelmingly fabulous film, The Artist.

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Origami Flowers: Decor on a Budget

Money is tight these days, so shopping for pretty-but-unnecessary things like decorations tends to get put on hold. However, decor does not have to be expensive. A few hours with scissors and glue can be all it takes to liven up a dull corner. I added a little bit of unconventional floral design to my dorm room with this origami flower ornament made from the Sunday ad section.

To make your own origami flower ornament, follow the instructions below or for more help watch josthebomb‘s video. Steps 1-10 describe how to make an individual origami flower, and step 11 details the ornament assembly process. Follow alternate step 6 to make a variation of the flowers that I made.

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Waveland Cafe: Breakfast on a Budget

Dining out on a budget has a tendency to be hit-or-miss. And when it comes to food, a

bad miss can have gastric consequences. However, I am willing to put my digestive tract on the line to bring you the best and cheapest of Des Moines eateries. This week I visited the breakfast staple of Des Moines, Waveland Café (4708 University Ave).

After accidentally driving by once, we turned around and parked in the lot in front of the restaurant. I am going to admit that I was a little thrown off by the anthropomorphic eggs and coffee cups that were painted on the front windows. However, I was charmed inside by the neon OPEN sign and the waft of bacon grease.

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