Category Archives: Shopping

Tracy Helps You Saves You Time

The Most Wonderful (aka Busiest) Time of the Year

The Holiday season is upon us, and it’s the most wonderful time of the year. There are so many fun things to do, like spending time with family & friends … traveling … going to parties … shopping … wrapping … not to mention, celebrating the actual Holiday.

All these things are wonderful, but can also be stressful. Adding these fun activities to our already busy schedules can sometimes feel overwhelming. You are only one person, and you only have so much time. It’s the perfect time to have a Personal Assistant !! Continue reading

An assistant can be a real lifesaver.

Having an Assistant Can Be a Real Lifesaver

An assistant can seem like a lifesaver because they can save you valuable time. Everyone is busy, their calendars and schedules are full of appointments, events and occasions.

We all get 24 hours in a day. It’s a challenge deciding which activities take priority over the others. You may sometimes wonder “how in the world will I get everything accomplished”? Continue reading

Party Season Collage

Summer is Party Season

Summer is almost here … It’s Memorial Day Weekend – the unofficial start of summer. Summer has the reputation of being unscheduled and carefree, but it’s not – well, not really.

During the month of May, you start getting invitations to many parties and celebrations. Between graduation parties, bridal or baby showers and weddings, the calendar fills up quickly.

All this celebrating is fun, but it can be a lot of work too.

Having a party sounds like fun, right? It can be, but it all starts with the planning. Personally, I love planning, but not everyone does. We can help you plan your event or plan it for you (with your guidance in decision making, of course). Everything from choosing the date and theme, to cleaning up afterward … you can just let us know what you want help with.

  • Invitations
  • Make Party Favors
  • Shopping
  • Decorating
  • Work as Your Assistant Host during the event
  • Clean Up

Maybe you aren’t hosting an event, but you’ve been invited to numerous parties. We can go shopping for the gifts you want to give and wrap them for you.

Or you were the honored guest at the party, and you received many wonderful gifts. We all know the old saying “it’s the thought that counts”. Perhaps some weren’t so wonderful … they were the wrong size or color … not your style … you just plain didn’t like them. We’ll return or exchange them for you.

Tracy Helps You “Your Personal Assistant” can help you handle all the details, whether you are having the party / event or you are a guest. We can take the “work” out of parties so you can have the “fun”. What are you waiting for ??  Call us 🙂

Black Friday Tags

Black Friday Shopping ~ Yay or Nay ??

Black Friday isn’t what it used to be. When my kids were young … you know, back in the day, I used to shop on Black Friday. That was when the coolest toys were on sale, and if you didn’t want disappointed kiddos on Christmas morning, you braved the crack of dawn time, the weather & the crowds. Back in the 90’s, before everyone was online, stores ordered a certain number of the item and when they were sold out, that was pretty much it … waiting to see if another shipment came in before Christmas was a big gamble. So, I went … Continue reading

Handmade Gift Ideas for the Holidays

Handmade Gifts for the Holidays ~ Update

So, it is getting toward the end of November, on the very cusp of the Holidays. Back in the end of September (while it was warm & sunny ~ unlike now, when we have measurable snow in the weekend forecast), I wrote a blog post talking about making handmade holiday gifts. You can read that post here.

In that post, I laid out some goals for myself. So, I wanted to give you an update on accomplishing them. Sadly, I haven’t met all of them … yet. There, of course, is still plenty of time ~ it’s not even Thanksgiving yet. The perfectionist in me wanted everything to be done super early, but that perfectionist won’t be getting her way this year 🙁
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Errands to the DMV

Time Consuming Errands ~ Tracy Helps You Will “help” You

Recently, I heard that the State of Illinois will no longer mail out license plate renewal reminders to the thousands, upon thousands, of vehicle owners. This decision is said to save the state hundreds of thousands of dollars each year ~ and hopefully be helpful in balancing the budget.

They suggest registering on their website to receive an email reminder. That will be fine for the majority of people … but then again, not everyone owns a computer and/or smartphone or has reliable internet access. Some people don’t have an email address (or if they do, feel comfortable using / relying on it).

Personally, I’m fine with remembering when my sticker expires and replacing it before they do. That being said, I do like having the post card in hand when I go to the DMV … it has all the info the clerk needs in one handy location. We all know what a joy it is to have to get in a different line / wait again because we didn’t have all the right info 🙁

Government agencies are usually great places to people watch … you’re probably going to be there awhile, and you’ve already taken time off work (thanks to their “convenient” business hours). It’s not how I envision using my vacation time 🙂

As a personal assistant, I run errands for people all the time. I’ll pick up your keys and cash from you at work, take your car for its emission test and get your new license plate sticker the same day … I can even return your library books & pick up the dry cleaning, then return your car.

Think of all the things on your To-Do List that can be accomplished … even while you are at work. Call Tracy Helps You … today 🙂

Stuffed Shells Freezer Meal

Freezer Meal Ideas

I mentioned in last week’s blog, that I would share my ideas for having some meals in the freezer for those times when your schedule is super busy. You know, those crazy weeks when everything hits the fan all at once. If you try any of my ideas, the hardest thing you have to do is to remember to take it out of the freezer the day before 🙂

When my kids were young, I did a huge freezer cooking day with a friend of mine. It was the kind where you have a month’s worth of meals for your freezer when you are done. We did it over a weekend. Thankfully our husbands helped keep the kids entertained & occupied. We shopped on the first day. It was the one and only time I used a credit card for groceries. It costs a lot to buy ingredients for a months worth of meals, and I usually budget for 2 weeks at a time. We prepped and cooked everything on the second day. It was exhausting, expensive and my family ended up not liking at least half of the meals. I don’t have fond memories of that weekend …

Fast forward … that was then ~ this is now 🙂

With Pinterest becoming so popular in the last few years, I’ve read many (and I mean many) articles and blogs about freezer cooking. There are many different techniques out there, and I’m sure they are great. However, with my not-so-great experience back in the day, I have come up with my own plan that works best for me.

As I mentioned last week, I pretty much only cook for my husband and myself these days. Since we have no need for a whole 9×13 casserole, when I make the recipe, I divide it in half and use two 8×8 pans instead. I use aluminum pans from the dollar store … I cover it with foil and them put the pan in a ziplock freezer bag. I also put the cooking directions in the bag ( paper seems to freeze well 🙂 ) I then have a meal for dinner that night and one to put in the freezer for future use. Sometimes, I’ll double the recipe and have one 8×8 for dinner and the freeze the other 3 🙂

Disclaimer ~ I only make recipes we have tried and liked. I’ve learned that not everything turns out like the picture they show 🙂 I’ve also learned that not all recipes taste good after being frozen … it’s trial and error for me. It’s also easier on the budget doing it this way.

I have also recently starting using my crockpot more often. I confess, my crockpot used to only come out when I hosted a party and wanted to keep something warm on my buffet table. This past year, I have been trying various soup recipes I’ve found online. One of my favorite things to make in my crockpot is homemade chicken stock. I think it tastes so much better than the kind you get at the store. I try to always have a few quarts (mason jars) in my freezer.

I have tried several freezer recipes for the crockpot that I have found on Pinterest. You can check out some of the recipes (not all for the crockpot) I’ve pinned to try. We have liked all the ones I’ve made so far. They have been pretty similar in preparation. You chop everything and measure out all the ingredients, then store them in freezer ziplock storage bags. Write the cooking directions on the bag with a sharpie pen. They suggest laying them flat to freeze to allow for better storage space. Again, you take it out of the freezer the day before to thaw. Then you dump it all into the crockpot and go about your day. Dinner is ready when you are 🙂

I also make a double batches when I make cookies or quick breads. I bake them first. I use the same 8×8 pans or foil loaf pans … wrap them in foil, then store in a ziplock bag. Dessert when you want it or a last minute dish to bring to a potluck type gathering … arrange it on a pretty plate and you are good to go 🙂

So these are a few ideas that work for me … what ideas work for you?
If you want to save some time, Tracy Helps You can do the shopping for you … then you’ll have everything you need on hand for you freezer cooking day. Remember, we are only a phone call or email away 🙂

Thankful to be a part of the Fall Shopping Jamboree

Tracy Helps You’s Thankful Thoughts for Today ~ 11/6/14

November 6, 2014 ~ Today I am thankful my local small business community. I’ve only been a small business owner for about 1 ½ years now, but I have come to appreciate the relationships I’ve gained through learning and working with other local businesses.

By joining the Carol Stream Chamber of Commerce, I’ve been able to take part in many networking events as well as attend educational seminars geared toward running & marketing my business.

At one of these networking / seminars, I sat next to a woman and we started chatting about our businesses (networking). This woman then hired me as her personal assistant to help her with an event. We became friends and now help promote each other’s businesses whenever we can.

Her organization, The Carol Stream Woman’s Club, is hosting a vendor fair ~ FALL SHOPPING JAMBOREE ~ this evening at Joe Cotton Ford in Carol Stream (on North Ave., just west of Gary). Tracy Helps You, as well as nearly 30 other local vendors, will be there. There will be shopping, food, music & raffles! Come on out tonight to support your local small businesses while you get an early start your Holiday shopping 

♥ Today I am thankful for my local small business community ♥

Mothers Day Special

Give a Tracy Helps You Gift Certificate to Your Mom This Mother’s Day

It’s May in Chicagoland ~ we are slowly but surely starting to get a taste of spring time warmth 🙂 May also means Mother’s Day to us Americans.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the observance of Mother’s Day. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a measure officially establishing the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

We honor our mothers with gifts and cards. Flowers seem to be a particularly popular gift. Many families treat Mom like a queen on Mother’s Day … treating her to breakfast in bed and a day of relaxation by taking over her usual household duties for the day. Many families go out to share a meal together.

Speaking as a mother, and I’m pretty sure I speak for most (if not all) mothers, I think one of the most wonderful gifts to receive is the gift of time spent with my family. Just spending time together, reminiscing and making new memories together is the best way to spend the day <3

This week, while you are making your Mother’s Day plans and choosing the perfect gift ~ remember that your Mom deserves to be pampered and treated more often than just on the holidays. While you are with her this weekend, maybe helping her out with some chores around her house, give her a Tracy Helps You gift certificate. It’s like giving her the gift of free time. Everyone needs some free time / me time, especially Mothers. Sometimes, Moms can sometimes feel a little guilty about taking some time for themselves in their busy life. There is always so much to get done. While I am taking care of stuff on her To-Do List, she can be relaxing without worrying about things not getting done … she will love it 🙂

This week, in honor of Mother’s Day, I’m offering a special rate for Gift Certificates ~ 3 hour for $50 … contact me 🙂