Monday, December 29, 2008

Not me...

So it's Monday (well, for at least another hour or so...) This of course means that I must report in on the things that I didn't do. Actually, that would probably be the truth of it... in the past week especially, there were alot of things that I managed to avoid/forget/skip.

Of course, it wasn't me who didn't blog at all last week. I mean, I wasn't working, so wouldn't that mean I had an extra 40 hours... Surely I did blog, they probably were just in that new invisible computer ink.

I didn't run out of time on Christmas Eve, and resort to simply stashing EVERYTHING in the garage before family arrived. No, that doesn't sound like something I would do, because of course I was off work all week, and would have had more time for things like cleaning & getting things ready. I know it also could not have been me who didn't make a single Christmas cookie until AFTER Christmas, and then just a pack of Toll House... with all the ingredients that I have in my house...

Speaking of after Christmas, it wasn't me who waited until after Christmas to pick up sale items to use as gifts, not for next year, but for people who I knew I wasn't going to get to see until after Christmas anyways...

It was not me who still didn't get to finish Christmas cards... but went ahead and bought cards for next year on clearance. I mean even marked down to $1 a box wouldn't be a good deal for the person who just stores them to look at herself!

It was not me who headed into the kitchen this morning with the thought of making waffles, but decide to have a left over piece of peanut butter fudge instead. That sounds like the kind of person who would petition for peanut butter fudge to be it's own food group...

I'm also not the girl who has been running around with her hair in a ponytail almost 24/7 for the last WEEK to avoid the hassle of fixing it. I also didn't decide to try out my new black nail polish by painting one of my toes, and then never getting around to painting the rest...

Well, since it's getting late, and I'm getting sleepy, I guess that's all I can think of for now that I didn't do. McmMama over at MyCharmingKids has a wee one in the hospital, so there's not a link for posts this week, but I'm sure your prayers would be appreciated!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Natalie over at A little of this, a little of that tagged me. Pretty simple, just have to go to 6th picture folder and find the 6th picture... and hope like heck that it's a pic you remember why you took, so you can tell everyone, lol.

Here goes:

Well, I think that most people should be able to figure out that's Hillary Clinton. This pic was taken over the summer. My roomie, another friend & I went to Frankfort to hear her speak. It was HOT that day, both waiting outside AND inside waiting. But we were right up front, I got her autograph. Though she didn't secure the nomination, I am glad I had the opportunity to meet her.
Feel free to join in & link back

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas according to me

Antique Mommy was sharing some absolutely important and worth memorizing Christmas information over on her blog. I love when reading another person's blog gives me a topic for my own, especially since I seem to be swamped these days!

So here goes:

I grew up with the SAME Christmas tree in my house from my first Christmas all the way up to in my 20's. It was a white tree my mom bought out of the box as a display model right before my first Christmas... for YEARS I thought people who had green trees were just weird! When I moved out on my own, mom even bestowed it on me. Now that the tree has been laid to rest (I still did keep a bough of it that I decorate) I have a new tree. I couldn't find a white one I liked, but this one is a blueish green, which is prolly the next best thing.

My first Christmas season on my own was the Christmas of the dueling Christmas trees. Both myself & my roomie had brought trees and he liked his green one better than my white one... and well... Green trees are weird... They sat in the living room, opposite of each other. His kept falling over! I had nothing to do with this!

I am 30 years old, and I will still wake up by 5 AM on Christmas morning... I think it has been this way since I was born... it is beyond me how people sleep in... It's Christmas people!! When my younger brothers came along, my mom told me I couldn't open presents until they woke up. My brother Ray wanted to sleep till 10 AM!!! I used to still get up early... go dig through my stocking... go dig through everyone else's stocking, trade any candy I wanted :) and then go sit in my brother's room and poke him until he woke up! Yes, I was a loving child.

This year, there is no Christmas tree up in my house. The new little monster would be only too happy to make that her next chew toy. I got this cute little Charlie Brown mini tree - not sure where it's going yet.

Any decorations put up this year will have to be above waist high... see above comment abuot little monster for any explanation you need. That being said, most all of my decor is still boxed up. It will make it's way out... eventually

My favorite Christmas song is The Twelve Days of Christmas. Each year I go with friends & family to Southern Lights and when we get to that light display, I begin seeking, providing entertainment for all (they say they don't like it, but I know they do.) Though sometimes I have to sing it fast to keep up with the light displays.

I make a holiday punch that changes just a bit every year. I don't have a recipe. It's more of a method. I put whatever looks good when I'm shopping in it. It's very sweet usually, which is the PERFECT excuse to mix it with Arbour Mist. My mother likes it as well.

I don't put alot of pressure on myself to find the perfect gift. I also don't want others to stress about what to get me, because if I really want something, I just go buy it myself.

This year, Christmas Eve is at my house... I'm serving Pizza!!! I actually think Christmas dinner would be complete with Pizza & turkey... (turkey... mmmmmm) and cookies... there must be cookies

So that's Christmas according to me.... Feel free to share your own thoughts, ideas, traditions, or whatever else you wanna share!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Great Expectations and Small Jubilations

I read a post from Rachel who blogs at SmallNotebook. She did a guest post on MoneySavingMom which you can read here. She was sharing the more simplistic approach that she takes to Christmas. She doesn't get all caught up in the "keeping up with the Joneses" in order to throw a more lavish spread than those around her. Not saying that there is anything wrong with going all out for Christmas. This year, I'm going for a semi simple approach. Partly because of time constraints, the economy, etc... and partly because of the monster residing in my house!

I still don't really have much in the way of Christmas decor out. I've given up on even putting anything out until this upcoming weekend. I'll be off work for at least 2 weeks after Friday (perhaps even longer) so I will have a bit more time to get everything out. I hope to put up some pics once I have! That being said... Christmas decor will be kept to a minimum this year... because Zali, aka Monster, is a bit chew happy, so my Christmas tree is staying boxed up this year. I've tried experimenting with some decor on the entertainment center, and well... it's not going to well... she's pretty feisty when we're not around. I guess I'll be more creative in decorating from the waist level & up in my house!

I am having my family come to my place for Christmas eve. I'm going to keep it pretty casual, make a homemade pizza, some appetizers, punch & we're going to watch a movie as a family. For Christmas Day, I'll drive to my parents house.

I do plan on doing some baking... still haven't decided what, I guess I'll decide next week when I'm off.

Monday, December 15, 2008

It wasn't me

So it's Monday, the rain is pouring, and I would much rather be snoring! But since I'm up... It's that time.

I certainly did not decide to write up this blog while I'm at work, no if I was at work, I would most certainly be on the phone with someone in England or emailing someone in Australia, not playing with my blog.

I did not run and grab dinner last Friday, only to come back home and sit in front of my house, eating it in my car so as to avoid the begging eyes of my four legged children while I tried to enjoy the food. No, that wouldn't have been me. It also wasn't me who stopped at Walgreens to buy a Christmas present and ended up buying more outdoor Christmas decorations... especially since the inside of my house has not been decorated yet.

I am not the person who routinely leaves the ringer turned off on her cell phone and convienently leaves it in another room so that she doesn't have to actually ignore a call when I would rather veg out or sleep in. No that would be irresponsible, definitely not me.

I most certainly have not postponed many household tasks that need to be done, with the excuse that I will be off for 2 weeks at Christmas and can get everything done then. That would mean that my garage is overflowing and the dining room table is stacked up with stuff for the garage, and is probably why the Christmas decorations haven't made it out yet... Nope not me.

I know it wasn't me who saw the little monster chewing on a box this morning and decided to leave her be, because that meant she was leaving me to get ready in peace this morning. I also was not the one who suggested to roomie that we meet for lunch today because I didn't feel like rummaging through cabinets and really didn't want peanut butter sandwiches for lunch.

I also did not forget to drop my prescription off EVERY single day last week, except for Saturday, only to remember that Kroger's pharmacy closes early on the weekends. I also did not say, well I will get up first thing Sunday morning and drop it off, only to be still sitting here on Monday with my prescription in my hand. Nope, couldn't have been me, because I would know that I only have a certain window of time... and then my face will start flaring up...

And I know that I certainly did not still avoid finishing Christmas cards this weekend... I mean if that were the case, I might as well wait until next year or something like that :)

Be sure and visit Charming Kids if you want to see what other people didn't do!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Be nice

Does anyone remember those old commercials, I believe they were from Pantene, the "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful" ones? I recently had an incident that somehow made me think about that commercial.

On Wednesday, I was skimming through my email, and noticed that JCPenney had emailed me a $15 off $15 coupon! I printed the coupon out, and figured it would come in handy. Later that day, I saw another email from them, about their sale that was going on that day, with "Huge doorbusters all day, etc" so I thought, "what the heck, I'll go out tonight, might be able to stretch that $15 even further!"

I got to the mall, and went to the store, I didn't need anything in particular, and I'm pretty much settled on Christmas gifts, so my roomie & I decided to head up to housewares. This was where most of the deals were to be found, so I figured I could find something useful. I browsed through the entire section, finally deciding on this roasting pan set. (It's a really nice set, btw!) It was a great deal. It was originally $39.99, on sale for $19.99 and had a $10 mail in rebate. With my coupon, I'd only pay $5 for it, and either get that $5 back, or depending on how the manufacturer does their rebates, actually make an extra $5!

So we go up to the register. The lady working seems pleasant enough... She rings up the item and gives me the total. I hand her the coupon. She looks at me and says, I don't think that it will let me take the coupon for that. I politely stand there and wait for her to give it a shot. In the meanwhile, another lady was approaching, and I guess she saw/overheard the conversation, she had a similiar coupon ($10/$10) - she politely pipes in that the gentleman downstairs explained to her that it would be good off of anything. The cashier then looks at her and tells her that it will not work on everything, and that for example it won't work on the appliance she's holding. She tells her that if she wants to tell her what department this guy was in, she'll call down there and tell him he's handing out wrong information.

Now the whole time, this lady's (cashier) voice is pleasant enough, she has a friendly voice, but the tone she's using and the statements she's making, combined with the facial expressions, body language, are giving off a quite different impression. The other customer leaves the area and the cashier proceeds to begin keying in the coupon. And she's visibly annoyed, she had to key the coupon in twice because she miskeyed it the first time. I continue to stand politely, not speaking, waiting for her to finish. When she gets finished, suprisingly enough, the coupon worked. I scan my card, and pay for the item. That's when it gets really fun.

When the receipt prints out, it also prints out the rebate form. The cashier looks at it, and is standing there holding all of it. She looks up at me and says "Hmmph, looks like this has a $10 rebate, but I don't see how you're going to get a rebate, since you only paid $5 for it to start with!" Then she hesistates, as if she's waiting for me to tell her to just toss it or something. Instead I just smile and wait while she finally hands me my receipt. Out the store I go!

So, why did that remind me of the "Don't hate me..." commercial... Simply because that's not the first time I've been shopping and scored a great deal, only for the employee to think I'm somehow cheating the system. And that's not the only place it happens. To be fair, we've all been guilty of it I'm sure... You go to the store and notice the person checking out in front of you got a great clearance deal on a jacket you bought for full price last month, or even just has a better set of coupons than you do.

The way I see it, we are currently living in some very troubling times. Let's face it, our economy sucks! People are losing their jobs, their homes, everything... every day. We're all feeling the strains of the world right now. Let's not begrudge each other when one of us figures out how to actually make it work. Let's celebrate each other's successes just as much as our own. The world is bad enough without us having to tear each other down!

The ten spot

So, what exactly can $10 get you these days. You definitely can't get pizza delivered for that, and most drive thru value meals for 2 will run you more than that. That's not to say that you can't stretch that $10. I did just that yesterday... with change to spare!

I stopped in at Kroger last night. The above pic is a shot of my purchases. The grand total: $8.96

My total before savings would have been $57 - so that's about 85% savings

I bought:

2 Boxes General Mills Cereal (Cinnamon Toast Crunch & Trix) @ $3 each

2 Boxes Chex Mix Bars (Turtle) @ $2.50 each

3 Boxes Strawberry Poptarts @ $1.78 each

3 Bottles of Hairspray @ $1.11 each

3 Bags Lifesavers Candy @ $1 each

1 Can of Hairspray @ $2.18

4 Trial Size FiberChoice Tablets @ $2.19 each

1 Almay Makeup Remover Towlettes @ 2.99

1 Maybelline Mineral Makeup @ $1.69 (clearanced)

I used

$1/2 Cereal Coupon (Internet Printable)

$1.25 off Chex mix bars (x 2) (I.P.)

$1 peelie off poptarts (x3)

$.50 off any Suave (doubled) that was a peelie on the products (x4)

$1 off Lifesavers MFN (x 3)

$2 off FiberChoice (hang tag on some of the other products) x 4

$2 off Almay Product (From the Kmart Beauty Book)

$2 off Maybelline Mineral Foundation MFN

I also got the $4 off your order for buying 4 select General Mills products.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A great way to get Entertainment Book for Free!

I was reading through some different blogs, it seems everyone has Entertainment books on sale right now, and there are lots of ways to get them pretty cheap. I finally ran across one that will make it FREE! If you don't know what the "Entertainment" book is, you can click on the link, basically it's a coupon book for your local area that gives you a ton of discounts, etc.

If you want to pick one up for free - here's how:

Start by going to Cashbaq and joining if you have not joined already. They are actually giving $5 just for signing up, so you'll actually make an extra $5!

From the main page at Cashbaq, you'll see the link to the Entertainment book, which if you follow their link, is on sale for $25, and is being discounted $10 when you buy through that link. This brings the cost down to $15. (WITH FREE SHIPPING)

When you are order the book, you'll be given the option of signing up for "auto-renewal" for future editions you'll get $5 off your order, bringing the cost of the book to just $10. You'll get an email notice when the next edition comes out next year, and you can cancel it if you're like me and will be looking for another great deal :) I always mark these down in my calendar so I don't forget!

You'll check out and pay the $10, but Cashbaq will be refunding you the $10 through their site! And if you were new to Cashbaq, you'll actually be getting $5 more, so you'll get paid to get the book.

Not a bad deal if I do say so myself. I was originally planning on picking up the book for cheap at Walgreens, but Free is better :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Going to extremes?

I was reading an interesting blog by Mary over at Owlhaven. She posed the question of is there a point in which frugal becomes TOO frugal? So, I started thinking, exactly how "frugal" am I?

Being a young 30-Something, I've often found that some of my friends think my ability to stretch a dollar or acquire things cheaply is pretty cool. Others probably not so much. And even amongst the ones who are amazed at my spending, some don't often think it's something that they would do themselves, sometimes citing lack of time, lack of knowledge, lack of patience, or unwillingness to stoop to using coupons, etc. I get it, to an extent. So before I get into figuring out how frugal I am, I could probably start with why I am in the first place.

I will say, right off the bat, that the word "Frugal" probably leaves a bad taste in people's mouths. To some, it implies a mental image of a person separating their 2 ply toilet paper and washing out their butter containers. ( I do NOT separate my TP, but I do keep some of those containers, hey... storage containers have a way of disappearing in my house, I need every advantage I can get). I often use terms like "practical, economical, or "good steward" of my money" to describe myself. So why am I, you ask?

If you think I have problems spending money, you would be incorrect. I personally LOVE spending money, I like buying things, all sorts of things. So much in fact, that I discovered a long time ago that the better the deal, the more things I could buy! Think about it. Let's say you have $100 to spend on groceries,personal items, and entertainment. If you go into the grocery store and spend $75 on food, that leaves just $25 to spend on personal & entertainment. But what if you were able to get that $75 worth of groceries for just $30... well, that leaves you some more wiggle room.

Now don't get me wrong, yes I could stop buying toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, air freshner, and household cleaning products today, and would seriously not need to sweat replacements for a year. However, I am not by any stretch of the imagination leading a miserly life. There are parts of my life that I choose to budget, which gives me that much more money for the other parts. I share a very large 3 bedroom 2.5 bath townhouse with only 1 other human being (granted the pets help occupy this space). Between dear roomie & I, we have acquired a $400 vacuum, a very nice, larger than necessary flat screen television, a Wii & it's accessories, and many more things. My bathroom overflows with health & beauty products, and I do my fair share of eating in restaurants. For me it's about balance. I am able to make my money go farther. This does not mean I have a never ending bank account. I do make hard decisions when it comes to finances, and sometimes opt to do without things.

So, for me, how frugal is too frugal? Well, I'm really open to trying most anything once. If it's a money saving option, I'm all for giving it a go, provided it's doable for me. An idea that's had some success for me, cooking from scratch. I'm still expanding on this, but I now make things at home that I used to buy prepared. I've discovered that I prefer a completely homemade pizza and that with the right prep work, it's not an inconvience. Not saying that all my frugal endeavors have met with the same success. I got the notion that I could save a ton of money if I stopped eating out at restaurants entirely. Well, for some that may not seem like a hard task, but in my crazy hectic life, it's sometimes the only thing that can keep my schedule sane... needless to say, this idea did not last long. Now I'm not out eating $30 dinners every night, but I don't beat myself up terribly if I decide that the lunch I packed is just not appealing and can wait until tomorrow. And then their are the ideas that I don't even attempt. Lately I've been reading online from many different sources about making your own laundry detergent... and I have to admit... it kinda appealed to me... but then I gave it some more thought. I do manage to keep a good supply of laundry detergent on hand at a very reasonable price, and I have a high efficiency washer, which means I do have to pay particular attention to what goes in it. Of course at the end of the day, for now it's a matter of time management for me. I decided that it's just easier for me to use my good ol' Tide and call it a day. My schedule is hectic and I'm saving enough in other areas, that this isn't a battle I need to win.

So, if you're still with me (I know, I've rambled) that would be my answer... for me, how frugal is too frugal? To put it simply (well, as simple as I can) if the act of being frugal outweighs the benefits of the frugality (either in savings, time, or fun) then I pass. I don't however wrinkle my nose up at the brave souls that give it a go. If you're committed to it, and it's not inflicting harm, I say go for it... it's all about personal choices.

Monday, December 8, 2008

It wasn't me...

It wasn't me stopping in to see what my favorite Newlyweds were up to when I should have been working. It wasn't me either that read this post and was inpired to share one too!

It wasn't me who just had to go to the post office Friday to get the cute "Holiday" stamps so that Christmas cards could get done over the weekend and then forgot to actually fill them out. And it wasn't me who decided that Christmas decor would go up over the weekend, even buying some new items, only to have everything still sitting in boxes come Monday morning.

It couldn't have been me who went to the grocery store on Sunday, only to come home and look around at a fully stocked kitchen and pick up the phone to order pizza. I also was not the one who started cleaning the kitchen only to resort to stacking extra things on the deep freeze and high tail it back to the living room to catch up on some tv.

I know that I wasn't the one who somehow gathered a large group of friend's and acquaintances to go out bowling over the weekend, only to depart from said gathering hours earlier than the rest because I was sleepy. And it just couldn't have been me, who made these plans to offset the original plan of a Christmas gathering at my house that was cancelled because I found reading the Twilight series to be much easier to do than the rearranging and organizing that was required in order to entertain at home.

And speaking of Twilight, it's not possible that I have become quite smitten with this fictious character, Edward Cullen!

You can of course find even more of this type of blog over at Charming Kids

Great trip to Kroger

Well, I was going to post the picture of my Kroger trip, but unfortunately I didn't realize until just now when I went to upload, that the picture was nothing but a blur (guess I was moving to quickly to put up everything) I spent $42, my pre-coupon price was almost $80, and that was taking off sales prices and a couple of deals that took $$$ of the total as the items were being scanned (like the cereal deal). Pretty good deals. Since I don't have my pic, I'm not going to detail out everything I bought, but just bullet out some of the great deals I picked up.

Celestial brand tea, FREE (on sale for $1, still had 1 of my $1 coupons lingering)
Daisy Sour Cream, FREE (on sale for $1, used recent $.50 MFN's - doubled)
Sargento Potato Finisher $1.50 (on sale for $2.50, used recent $.50 MFN - doubled)

Cereal Deal - Cinnamon Toast Crunch/Honey Nut Cheerios/Cheerios are on sale 4 for $12. If you buy 4 boxes, you get $4 off that order, making them $2 a box. I then went online and got Cinnamon Crunch & Honey Nut Cheerio coupons for $.55 off a box. That made 4 boxes = $5.80 or $1.45 a box

Fleischman's Yeast Strips, on sale $1, used $.45 recent MFN, made them $.10 for each strip of 3. Also, look out for some bonus packages that have an extra packet... I wasn't paying attention, just grabbed some, and got home and realized I got 1 of the bonus packs, wish I would have caught that at the store!

I picked up a steak for $2 (thanks to $2 peelie off the Natural brand of Kroger Meats)

Shredded lettuce is $1 a bag. This is a handy product. Used some last night to make tacos (already had shells on hand from Meijer's deal on those awhile back)

Happy Shopping!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Cool Giveaway

Over at Moms by Heart you can enter to win a $20 coupon for one of the Jennie O Oven Ready Turkeys! Now this is a giveaway I can get into... hello... TURKEY!!!!!! Yummy. I've used one of these before and loved it. Click here to get the scoop.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

One of my new favorite things

Just thought I would share! I recently picked up a moppine and I love it! Are you wondering what exactly a "moppine" is? Well, have you ever watched the Rachael Ray talk show? It's from her line, it combines 2 kitchen essentials into 1 handy item. #1 Oven Mitts and #2 a Dish Towel. Basically it's a big dish towel, but in 2 of the corners (opposite of each other) Oven Mitts are sewn in. It's pretty handy. I first heard about them last year on her show, and thought they sounded pretty neat, but never got around to purchasing. A couple weeks ago, while shopping in Wal-Mart I stumbled across them. I picked one up, and both myself and the roomie just love it. If you want to pick one up for yourself (or as a great christmas gift for your favorite cook!) you can check your local Wal-Mart, they run about $8. Or you can find them online. I think one of the shopping channels (can't remember which) sells a set of 3 for $18. You can also go through to link to places to buy them. I got the cute orange striped one!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Any takers?

I'm looking for a couple of guinea pigs :) You may or may not know that I sell Avon. I don't do much promoting of it on this website (don't want to run off any readers with pushy sales tactics). I am going to be testing out some new skin care products that will be out in about another month, I want to get user opinions... in order to share with future customers. While I simply love trying out new stuff, I can't effectively try all the products at the same time. So here's what I'm looking for. First, I should point out, that I'm a small, home based business and can't afford to giveaway the products for this test. These aren't samples, they are full sized products. What I will be offering is this, if you are willing to give the products a shot and give me your opinion about them, I will sell them to you at my cost. Because of the nature of this, this one is only for Lexington metro area residents... but if this goes well, I might have other opportunities open up for any readers outside of that area at a later date.

So what would you be testing? One of two skin care bundles. These are MARK products. I personally use some Mark products myself and LOVE them. They are pretty neat skin care products.

One person will be trying:

Calm Yourself Bundle. The cost of the bundle is $13.30 (plus tax) - when it hits the books, it will be $22, so that's a pretty decent savings. You will get:

*Calming Effect Comfort Milk Cleanser - This soap-free cleanser that treats delicate skin with skin-nourishing milk complex also relies on banana and oat milk protein to help calm and comfort.

*Calm Yourself Hydrating Mask - This gel mask immediately increases skin's moisture by 168%, plus packs the power of five super soothers - sea moss, wheat germ, cucumber extracts, aloe vera and green tea. Antioxidant-rich lemon and orange extracts also help improve skin tone

*Go With the Grain Light Exfoliating Beads - Vitamin-rich adzuki beans and rice bran - two traditional Japanese exfoliators - blend with corn cob to lightly polish skin

The other bundle I need a tester for is the "That's Deep" bundle"

*That's Deep Purifying Gel Cleanser - A super-fresh, soap-free cleanser with sugar maple and black willow bark that goes right to work against dirt, oil and other skin cloggers

*Shine Fighter Oil Control Mask - An intense purifying mask featuring kaolin, a natural, oil-absorbing clay. Exfoliating sugarcane and antioxidant-rich pomegranate extract also work to rid skin of dirt and oil, and promote a clear and radiant complexion

*Berry Grand Super Exfoliating Beads -Antioxidant-rich cranberry and pomegranate seeds combine with apricot seed powder to polish away skin impurities

If you're interested in trying either of these bundles, let me know. I'll have a special gift for each user as a way of saying Thank You. Also, if you notice, there isn't a moisturizer in this bundle, if you want to add on one of Mark's moisturizers while you're trying, I will order you one (again at my cost for this testing) - You can ask me for details :)

Candy Corn Mystery and other ramblings

So, last week was a bit hectic at times, and at other times, I used the opportunity to just get away from my computer and enjoy some R&R. Wednesday night, I came home and was able to solve the Candy Corn Mystery...

What exactly is the Candy Corn Mystery? Well, have you ever wondered what would happen if your dog ate an entire bag of candy corn??? I'm sure it's been at the top of your list of unsolved mysteries... It's no longer at the top of mine. After walking through the door Wednesday evening, I was caught off guard by some suspicous stains and blobs in my house. With a new little terror on the loose, it's not unusual to come home to find something has been gotten into, but this was a new one for me... For you see, these blobs/stains were Hot Pink... So I am instantly concerned wondering what Zali has gotten into that would cause her to have this abnormally colored vomit (sorry there just isn't a nice way to phrase it). I start worrying thinking she has gotten into some cabinet and ate through a stockpile of air freshner or detergent... but she seems fine. Finally, as I start picking up everything, I catch a glimpse of an empty bag of candy corn... and having been the only one in the house for the last few days, I know that this wasn't there before. I quickly deduce that the brightly colored orange/yellow/white candies are what has created this unusually colored suprise and also can probably explain the little monster's very round, very tight belly... I pick up a few straggler pieces that she somehow missed... I'm contemplating whether or not she should see a vet. I decide to just monitor the situation... as she is acting pretty normal... not as active, but fine. She did survive, and in another hour, had one heck of a sugar buzz!

It's shopping season

So, last week kicked off the official start to the Christmas holiday shopping. I'm always interested in how each year more and more stores start their sales earlier and earlier. I can remember when no store was open on Thanksgiving day, then K-Mart started, now many more followed suit. And this year, JC Penny actually opened at 4AM! Unbelievable. So - my blogging was pretty slim lately, thought I jump in and share my shopping stories.

I did start by taking advantage of some great grocery deals at Meijer last week, I meant to post them earlier in the week, but since those sales are now over, figured I wouldn't detail them out. My "official" shopping started on Wednesday night. You have to love shopping online... there are just far fewer headaches! I got my email from Lane Bryant announcing their sale earlier in the day, and was excited, this is the sale that I wait for every year, it's "Merry Christmas to me!" seeing as how Cacique bras have to be quite simply the world's greatest, even with the $38 price tag on most, they are one of my essential items. Which is why I love their Thanksgiving sale... B1G1 Free!!! I combined that promotion, with a $50 off $150 gift cheque AND Free shipping, and got $300 worth of bra's for $100 - That's 66% savings, it's hard to get a better deal. No pic posted for this one :)

Next up, Meijer, on Thanksgiving morning. I was an efficient shopper, was in and out of the store in about 15 minutes. I picked up a few rolls of Christmas wrapping paper for $.59 each, a pumpkin pie for dinner ($2.99) and the item I had went in to get, a 9 piece casserole set for $9.99!

Next I went on to CVS (though was irritated once I got their to discover they had actually let people start at midnight... HELLO... I live right down the street, I would have so been there) But I digress, picked up a quick selection of items that were completely free, combined w/ coupons which made them money makers. I spent ECB's and Gift Card, so nothing out of pocket here:

That was it for Thursday. Now on Friday, I had considered getting up early to hit a few deals, but talked myself into staying in bed instead. Later in the evening, Kev & I did stop by a few stores and snagged a couple things we were wanting to pick up that were on sale. It was great, because we got good deals and ALOT fewer people!

Target: Juno DVD $6 (This is a GREAT movie if you've never seen it) and Gremlins DVD $3.99

Walmart: Still had some $2 DVD's so I picked up a few to use as Christmas gifts.

Also browsed Half Price Bookstore and got a couple books for myself.

No other shopping, until Sunday, when I hit up K-Mart's Double coupon days (up to $2 coupons!)

Not everything was completely Free, however some things were items that I already had on my list to pick up regardless, so they were cheaper by buying there. Some of the best bargains:

Gillette Body Wash $3.99 - used $2 coupon from Sunday's insert making them Free. I bought 7!

Vaseline Moisturizer $2.99 - used $1.50 coupon making them Free. I bought 2

Reynold's Oven Bags $2.29 - used $1 coupon making them $.29 each

Glade Air Freshner $.99 - used $1/2 coupon making them Free, I think I got about 8

Febreeze Air Effects $2.99 - used $1 coupon making them $.99 I bought 4

Purina Beneful Dog Treats $4.99 - used $ 2 coupon making them $.99 I bought 3 bags

Pledge Dusters/Refills $2.50 - used $1.50 coupon making them Free, I bought 7

I won't take the time to detail out all the bargains, because there are a ton of sites that already have. I suggest if you haven't stopped by, grab your coupons and go!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Paying the price

Sometimes I have to remind myself that what sounds like a great idea should perhaps require a bit extra thought. Not to say that it still shouldn't be done, but maybe lay some more prep work down before hand... such is the case with last night's movie adventure.

So, yesterday, on a whim, I registered online to win tickets to the first showing of Twilight and was suprised to get a call shortly later telling me that I had won! My friends and I had been discussing wanting to go see the movie, but were having problems coordinating schedules to find a suitable time over the weekend. I should point out that AT NO POINT during the discussions was the thought of going to the midnight screening even suggested. In fact, we were grumbling that the Friday night showing would probably be waaay to crowded for our tastes.

So fast forward to that call, "woohoo, I won!" I hang up with the DJ, give my roomie a call and open the conversation with "How would you like to postpone your sleep schedule tonight?" Now the funny thing is, he actually responded with inquiring if I was referring to going to see the movie tonight... That's what happens when you are roomies for as long as we have been... you're in each other's heads... it's scary!

He's in... so I hang up and give my good friend Mish a call at work, and give the same opening line, she is afterall the one who is really, really wanting to see it right away. After some convincing (I'll split the cost of the 3rd ticket, you can take a nap beforehand, you can skip the gym tonight, yes you can have popcorn) she's in too.

Now, what I do wish I had done... was take a nap myself... I have to remember that I no longer find it as easy to function with little sleep... not that I get a ton of sleep... but I had actually gotten up early yesterday morning...

I did however opt to go to the movie in comfy clothes that could easily go from the movies to the bed. The difference between going to see a midnight showing when you're a twenty something and when you're a thirty something is all in the look. It was comfort over style for all of us... not saying I went in looking like a troll, but I had my makeup off, my hair up in a ponytail... you get the picture.

As we waited for the movie to start, the three of us laughed that we were the chaperones for the movie, as most of our fellow moviegoers were obviously younger. Finally at around 2:15 we were headed home. Luckily, it was a short drive and I was in my bed by about 2:45. I was however T-I-R-E-D this morning. I skipped my Enbrel shot last night, I'll do it tonight, as it happens to make me incredibly sleepy in the morning and I definitely didn't need that working against me this morning.

I almost made it to work with no mishaps... Just one small fender bender about 2 minutes from work. Luckily, no damage, no injuries, just the embarrassment of having to stand outside my car in the midst of morning traffic surveying the damage with a fellow commuter!

So, do you want to know about the movie? I loved it... It made me want to read the books that much more, because I can see where there is alot more to the story. This is not your typical vampire movie. When we left last night, we were discussing it, and I compared it to Interview with a Vampire, in the sense that it's not a movie that's about blood, guts, and violence (not that there isn't blood, or violence) but that there's an actual story...

So, would I do it again... probably, just might try to squeeze in a nap first!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Just because I like to share

I think I've mentioned this before, and I know I tell people in real life this all the time. If you are looking at free/cheap entertainment, try entering local contests. Chances are the odds will be more in your favor. I routinely enter radio station contests on their website. Just this afternoon, I saw that Hot102 was giving away tickets to tonight's midnight showing of "Twilight" so I registered real quick. And sure enough, not 5 minutes ago, they called me and I won a pair of tickets!!!

Over the years I have won (locally):
$500 Macy's Shopping Spree
Kings Island VIP 4th of July Passes for 4
Countless CD's
Restaurant Gift Certificates
Movie Passes
Concert Tickets a handful of times
Diamond Journey Necklace
Free Trip to L.A.

and my hands down favorite...
10 Tickets PLUS 10 Backstage Meet & Greet Passes to see P!NK (She's my favorite)

so how do I do it, some of the time, I'm lucky and I'm Caller # whatever... but more often than not, I've registered via the radio station's website. If you're reading this in the Lexington Metro area, here are the ones I recommend:

104.5 The Cat
98.1 The Bull
94.5 Mix

(Those, and a handful of other sister stations that you will find links to on their site, sometimes run the same contest on each station, and you can sometimes register multiple times by registering on EACH station)

Hot 102

So what are you waiting for, get registered... or just leave them all for me to win! :)

Looking for a good book?

The cold weather is upon us, for me that means curling up with a good book (usually in a hot bath). There are plenty of ways to pick up books. I frequent halfprice bookstore here in Lexington for some great prices on books I want to dive into. I also head over to the library and check 'em out there (this is especially useful for cookbooks or reference type books, gives you a trial run to see if you'll benefit from what's in it)

And then there is always winning FREE books. I love when bloggers give away a book. Maybe I'll do that sometime soon, for now though, head over to see what Mary @ Owlhaven is offering up. There's actually a choice of 2 books from her list. i personally am leaning towards "The De-Stress Diva's Guide to Life" and then maybe a 2nd one from the list as a Christmas Gift. What are you waiting for... go check it out!

A pretty good deal on some pizza!

I used this last night so I know it works! Papa Johns Pizza has started marketing through Facebook. If you "add them as a friend/fan" on Facebook, THIS WEEK, they will give you a code for a free medium cheese pizza with an online order! (You have to buy something else online, but it's not one of those "regular menu price" things where you still spend $15.

Go to Facebook (Register if you have never used facebook

Search Papa Johns (you'll know you're on the right one, the promo is on the page)

Add yourself as a fan

Check your inbox for a notification or message from Papa Johns shortly after, they will send you a message, it contains a place for you to enter your email address.

Then just check your email, you'll get your one time code.

Visit Papa John's online (Register if you have never used before)

Enter the code, and add something else.

You can actually order a "Create your own" 6 inch pan pizza for $3.49, and you'll get the free pizza. I opted to get some of their yummy parmesean breadsticks for $4.99. I also opted to pick it up, so I didn't have to worry about a minimum delivery charge. Keep in mind, if you're planning on getting pizza, it appears you can combine it with the other specials on their website, but if you just want to get a quick meal, pick something small and you'll score the free pizza!
(Note, on Facebook, it says "w/ online pizza purchase" but when you enter the code on the website, it just says online purchase, so you could order breadsticks, cheesesticks, dessert, etc!

Friday, November 14, 2008

The "eww" factor

Why does it seem that if something is going to go wrong, it is going to go wrong on the heel of some other catastrophe... in the middle of the night, when you have to work in the morning... This is my life.
So, everyone remembers, Zali, the little brindled hellion that was just sooooooo cute she had to come home with us, right? She definitely is adding some spice to the house. I'm just hoping we survive "puppy teeth 08" but I digress...
Since Zali is so little, she can't quite make it through the whole night without needing a "potty break." In an effort to maintain some of our sanity, Kev & I rotate nights, trading back and forth who gets her for the night and in turn has their sleep interrupted... (let me just say I LOVE when it's not my night!) Last night, however, was my night... Zali comes off to bed with me around 11:30, and she's looking a bit tired. I must say, when she wants to be, she can be soooooooooo sweet. She cuddles up beside me, tucks her head on my shoulder and actually goes to sleep in about 5 minutes. SCORE 1 for me!
Around 2:45 Zali rustles, and I oblige by scooping her up, carrying her down the stairs, and out the back door we go, me half asleep. She does her business, and wants back in... because, well, the grass is wet... that's no fun for her. I promptly stumble back in the house, hand her a treat, then decide to make a quick bathroom trip myself - so I step into the half bath downstairs. Now mind you, all of this is done with no lights being turned on in the house... My goal is to stay in a semi slumber myself and not wake her up too much either. I step out of the bathroom and Zali is sitting at the bottom of the stairs, she yawns... this makes me happy, because I should be able to get her to go back to sleep. I scoop her back up, and we head back upstairs... I crawl into the bed and Zali quickly settles back to sleep.
Fast forward a few hours, it's almost 6... I don't know if Zali wakes me up, or if I instintively wake up because something isn't quite right, but I turn over and something seems different. I scoop up Zali, but my nose has detected an odor. I am curious, perhaps she had an accident... (she is after all only about 12 weeks old) I step into my bathroom and flip that light, so as to be able to see, but not completely flood my room with light. Sure enough I see that Zali has an upset tummy. She has pooped... in my bed... before dawn... I grab some tissue to pick up the offending mess (at least I have a big bed, and it's not where I should be sleeping) then put a towel down, to pick up anything excessive (luckily it wasn't a really messy episode... I have pets, so I guess I'm used to these things happening, while not fond of them, I've seen worse, and this is why I own a carpet/upholstery shampooer). Zali is still squirming a bit, so I decide to take her downstairs and let her back out. I head down the stairs (again no lights, as I'm hoping to get about another hour of sleep) and as I reach the bottom of the stairs and head towards the back door, eyes half closed, dog in one hand, I feel a squish... under my foot! It seems that when I scooped up Zali earlier in the dark, I didn't notice that she had a little accident, but I FOUND IT THIS TIME... so I am now, half asleep, grossed out, dog in one arm, hopping on one foot into the half bath... Oh and should I mention that while I am cleaning up her accident, she decides she can't hold it any longer, so she squats and pees! After cleaning my foot, and the floor, I grab her food, set out breakfast, set her in front of her bowl (lights back off now) and head back to find a clean corner of my bed for another hour's sleep.
So, how'd you sleep last night?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Give your opinion and help a local charity has a great program going through the end of November. For each review you write of a local business, they will donate $1 to a local charity of your choice. Click Here for full details of how it works. There is a max of $25 per person that can be donated. This is a really cool way to add an extra donation to your favorite charity. Also be sure and check out for reviews on local places in your area. It's a great way to find the best and worst your town has to offer!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Free Burnless Bakeware for only $1 Shipped

Please make sure you read all the details of the offer. It's a pretty good deal, but you have to pay attention. I picked up this FREE Burnless Bakeware Loaf Pan from All I had to pay was $1 Shipping. There are several items you can choose from. If you click on the link, you can select any of the items under Freebies. That's it, pretty simple. Now as for shipping. You have a few options for shipping. Standard shipping is $7.95. HOWEVER, you can get it shipped for just $1 if you agree to take a Free 7 Day Trial to a rewards program. Here's the part you want to pay attention to. I take advantage of these occasionally. When you read the offer details, it will provide you the member services # that you can call and cancel your trial. I write down the #, the date I am starting this, and how many days I have free. Then I just call and cancel this service. I make a note on my calendar. In fact, for this one, I'll actually just call tomorrow and cancel that rewards program. I've done this in the past, with much success, you just have to remember to call and cancel. If you're not sure you'll keep up with that, you may want to pass on the deal, otherwise in 7 days, you'll be charged $14.95 as a monthly fee for that program. An additional step that I use, I pay for these items with prepaid Credit Cards. I'm always getting these as rewards for different things... you know the kind that are $5 Visa cards, etc... by using this card, I am completely secure in knowing that my personal checking account, credit card, etc will never be charged for anything. Pretty neat pan for a buck!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Did you?

Well, I'm not going to make this a political blog. This is definitely a historic election for many reasons. I'm not going to share my personal decisions on here, and I'll ask everyone else to do the same. I do want to encourage you to get out and vote if you haven't though. I got up a bit early this morning, and headed to the polls. I was there around 8 AM, walked out at 8:50 AM. Yeah, it was a long line, but it was actually pretty neat. You'd have to have lived under a rock to not have been bombarded with campaigning in recent months (and I think even the underside of rocks were plastered actually, lol) But today, standing in line to participate in this moment in history, I took the time to take in the scene laid out in front of me. There were gray haired women in their Sunday best standing alongside young college guys still wearing their sleeping clothes. Women in business suits standing beside of moms with kids in tow. Movers n Shakers rubbing elbows with retirees. People of all colors and nationalities. Blue Collar, white collar, and no collar. The mood was good. People talked, no one seemed to complain about the line. Most thought it was pretty cool. People talked about staying up late to watch the results, parents were explaining why so many people were there to their children. At the end of the day, regardless of who wins any of the elections that we had today, this will be a moment to remember. I was there, were you?

Let's Try home made pizza

Ok, so for this "try it Tuesday" I am going to share with you my latest culinary adventure, a pizza made with home made pizza dough. My original plan was to do the sauce from scratch too, but there were forces conspiring against me, so I decided to just stick with the dough for this attempt. I've been wanting to try this dough for awhile now. It's a recipe I've read that several other bloggers tried and loved. I also had finally acquired my bread machine... and decided to give it a whirl (no pun intended!).

But first I had to run to the store, 2 stores in fact. I had to run to CVS because I had some ECB's that were expiring AND they had Coke products on sale. My original plan would have netted me 4 - 12 packs of Coke for about $5, but as I tried to print out some Coke Reward coupons, my ink cartridge completely gave out on me. I searched in vain for the refill I bought a few weeks ago, and COULD NOT FIND IT. Finally, frustrated, I just headed to CVS and bought the soda anyways, better luck next time I guess. Then on to Kroger to pick up flour. Flour would be a crucial ingredient in making pizza. I suppose you think it's odd that I don't already have flour in my house, considering if you know me, or have been reading my blog, you know I have stockpiles of practically everything. Everything except flour. I knew that I did have some flour, but I knew at least part of it was self rising (bad for bread machine) and the other, well I honestly couldn't remember when I bought it (I never really use it much) so I decided it would be best to start from scratch.

Now, next time I decide to be adventurous in the kitchen, I will probably exercise a little pre-cooking planning, but I was hell-bent on making this pizza. And while I do know how to cook, have a pretty decent stocked kitchen in terms of equipment, etc... lately cooking has been more of a quick process. Quite frankly, I'm a bit out of practice to actually preparing a real meal, from raw ingredients. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, it's more of a sign of the times...

The following are actual phrases heard from my mouth last night, that could probably give you an indication that I probably should have just had a bowl of cereal and tried again another night:

"Kev, I can't get the bread machine out of the box!"

"Kev, do we have any measuring cups that we're not using for dog food?"

"Kev, can you Google how many teaspoons make up a tablespoon?"

"Kev, can you do something with this dough ball?"

Don't you feel bad for poor Kev, who I had convinced to postpone having dinner, because I was going to make us a pizza? See, the bread machine had just been bought this weekend, and it didn't want to come out of the box. I don't do alot of baking from scratch, so when I cook, I'm good at eyeballing, I rarely need to measure a dry ingredient, other than Zali's puppy food, so it seems that the measuring cups have disappeared except for hers. And I believe that the tablespoon measuring spoon has wandered upstairs with the humidifier for cold season.

I do recommend pre-assembling all of your ingredients. I did this, it helps... I also recommend reading through your recipe before you start, I did this, it helps... I also recommend not being scatterbrained while you're doing it, I didn't do this, but I think it would help. The first mistake I made was as I started dumping my flour into the mixing chamber... BEFORE any of the the liquids (in case you don't use a bread machine, this is a No-No) so I had to dump that out, wipe the residue out and start over. Now the unfortunate thing, I didn't really take timing into consideration. So when I finally started the dough in the bread machine and did the math, imagine my mood when I realized the dough was going to take an hour and a half... and it was almost quarter after 8!!! (Que poor Kevin as I explain "well it will only have to bake for about 15 minutes once it's done!"

An hour and a half later, my machine beeped, and I headed back in to check out my doughy goodness. After removing said dough, I realized that this dough made a bit more than I would want to use, so this is where "can you do something with this dough ball" came in, as I divided the dough in half (the other half is now resting in the freezer). As I formed my pizza, I got ready to start preparing it. I ALMOST forgot that you're supposed to sprinkle the dough with salt before putting on the sauce... and when I say almost, I mean, I had placed a blob of sauce in the middle of the pizza when it occurred to me. Though I didn't notice a big difference in tast between that spot and the rest of the pizza when all was said and done.

Finally, at 10:15, we were chowing down on the home made pizza. It was good. I will definitely use this recipe again. I've normally used one of those mixes in a pouch, but not always been satisfied with the results. Maybe next time though, I'll actually have my act together!

And if you're wanting to see a picture of my creation... well... if you hadn't been able to gather by reading this, that was another FORGOTTEN step... maybe next time!

Monday, November 3, 2008

This week's Meijer trip

So I jumped up early on Sunday and ran to Meijer to pick up a couple items. Ended up w/ a bit more than I planned, but the deals were great. Total out of pocket expense was about $27. Total before coupons was in the $60 range. What did I buy:
Meijer Doubles coupons up to $.50
Glade Air Freshers - Sale Price $.50 each, used $1/2 coupons = FREE
Glade Glass Scents - Sale Price $1.59 each, used B1G1 & a $1 coupon = $.59 for 2
Ziplock Pump Vacuum - Sale Price $3.19, used $2 MFN = $1.19
Ziplock Freezer Bags for Vaccum Sealer - Sale Price $2.28 each, used $1 MFN = $1.28 each
Glade Fabric & Air Refresher - Sale Price $1.99, used $1.50 MFN = $.49 each
Glade Carpet Deoderizer - Sale Price $.99, used $1 MFN = FREE
Betty Crocker Potato Dishes - Sale Price $1 each, used $.35 MFN = $.30 each
Think Thin Protein Bar - Sale Price $1.75, used $.50 MFN = $.75
Eggo Strawberry Pastry Swirls - Sale Price $2.50, used $.55 MFN = $1.95
Jello - Regular Price $.74 each, used Meijer Mealbox $1.50/2 = FREE
Taco Bell 12ct Shells - $1.30, used Meijer Mealbox $1.50 = FREE plus small overage
Bagel Bites - sale price $5/3, used $1/3 = $1.33 each x 3
Sargento Artisan Blend Cheese, sale price $2.01 x 2, no coupons
Kellogg's Pop Tarts - sale price $1.33, no coupons
Zesta Saltine Crackers - sale price $1.28, no coupons
Doritos - sale price $1.99, no coupons
De Fratelli Pizza Sauce - sale price $.99, no coupons
Pepperidge Farm Frozen Coconut Cake - sale price $2, no coupons
also I had a $.50 OYNO (off your next order) and 2 $2 OYNO coupons I used.
Not a bad trip.

Friday, October 31, 2008

The flaw in the invisible car

So, do you like the invisible car... only problem is they forgot to make the bumper invisible. Ok, not really. This is what's sitting in the garage today as a result of my roomie's minor traffic mishap yesterday. We decided that it could sit amidst the Avon & surplus of my stockpiling efforts rather than the backseat of his car for all the neighbors to gawk at... Like I said... it's been one of those weeks!

Some good deals

So I managed to score a few good deals this week. I've unfortunatley been fighting off the plague, so I didn't get pictures of all of them. Here's a snapshot of what I picked up at Meijer this week for just under $9:Taco Bell 18 Count Shells, on sale this week for $1.04 each, used $1.50 mealbox coupon (from Meijer website) for each one, making them FREE plus overage

4 Boxes of Jello, on sale this week for $.50, used $1.50/2 mealbox coupon for each set of 2, making them FREE plus overage

Covergirl Foundation & Pressed Powder, on sale this week, B1G1 - combined with P&G coupon (B1G1 )from "October Savings" at beginning of month, making them both FREE

Kleenex w/ Lotion, regular price $1.59, used $.40 (doubled) MFN coupon, making them $.79

Fancy Feast cat food, 2.15 lb bags, reg price $2.14, used $1 MFN coupon each, making them $1.14 each

Duncan Hines Orange Cake Mix $1 - No coupon, just picking this up because we use this particular kind of cake mix alot and they are hard to find

Liquid Skin $4.19 - No coupon, roomie needed

Peroxide $1.39 - No coupon, just needed

Taco Bell Dinner Bowl, on sale $1.90, used $1 peelie on box, making it $.90

Some other great deals I picked up this week:

I had a few Febreeze Noticeable $5 off coupons that expire today, used them at Wal-Mart, where they were just $5.97 - making them $.97 each, picked up 4, in their new limited addition scents for the holidays!

Zone Perfect Bars, there are some MFN's floating out there for $1 off 1. They are $.97 each @ Wal-Mart, picked them up for Free

Well-Patch Singles, at Wal-Mart, just $.98, used the $1 coupons that expire today, FREE.

If you haven't managed to pick up a bunch of Free Excederin during the last CVS sale, check out Kroger, they have a blinkie machine that has $2 off the 20ct express gels, and they have them for just $2.99 - so you'd pay $.99 each. Not bad deal if you need some.

I'm sure there are other deals I should mention that I bought, it's just been one of those weeks!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Life is really just a big game of tetris

I'm not trying to sound all philosophical, but life is really just a big game of Tetris. Now, if you're one of the, oh handful of people on earth who does not know what tetris is, I suggest you go here, and become properly initiated!

In Tetris, you have all these blocks, assorted shapes and sizes, coming at you, to be put somewhere. In life, we have responsibilities, wants, needs, desires, bills, in assorted importance that come flying at us, to be accomplished. Your goal in tetris, is to stack these blocks in the best way possible, so that you can fill lines completely and make these blocks go away. Your goal in life, is to balance all of those wants, needs, etc so that they are completed. In tetris, advanced players try to stack blocks for big combination, clearing multiple rows at a time, for more points. In life, advanced players try to multitask everything coming at them to get the most accomplished in the least amount of time, to have more time for more. In Tetris, you only get a small glimpse of what piece is next to come. In life, you only get to plan for part of what life is going to throw at you. In Tetris, the better you get, the more pieces come. In life, the farther along you get, the more there is to do. In Tetris, sometimes you have to make a sacrifice and not line up the pieces exactly where you want them to. In life, sometimes things pop up that mean that a need has to come before a want. In Tetris, if you're not paying attention, it's easy for it to get out of hand. In life, if you're not participating, it's easy to get out of hand.

Do you see where I'm headed? I could go on and on, but the truth is, life just like Tetris, is about learning from your mistakes, balancing between thinking on your feet and planning for the future. And life, just like Tetris ultimately be about enjoying the process, not the end result. The big difference... when your Tetris game is over, you can play again. Life on the other hand... is a one shot opportunity. So make it count! And, maybe go play a game of Tetris while you're at it!

Leashes aren't just for pets

Alright, so this particular blog may not be the most popular for any of the parents out there reading this. So let me first preface this by saying that I do in fact LOVE children, and while my own children are of the 4 legged variety, my youngest brother is 16 years younger than me. I know that people always say your opinion on kids changes once you have them, well, that may be, however due to some family health crises, I did get a very huge part of the responsibility for his upbringing while I was at home, so I do have a bit of perspective on the trials and hard work that goes into it.

Now, back to my story. So last night, after a pretty long mind numbing day of work, I headed to a local grocery store to pick up a couple of last minute things. While there, I decided to suprise my roomie, who had also had quite a day to a yummy dessert. And by yummy dessert, I don't mean a betty crocker cake mix. Nope, I'm talking about those fancy schmancy desserts behind the glass case. You know the kind that look like they should be in a magazine. The kind that any sane person, who works a 40 hour week, would not even attempt to make & decorate... heck I wouldn't even know where to begin to dig out all the kitchen gadgets & attachments necessary for one of those.

So, just as I am approaching said fancy schmancy counter, my cart is almost hurtled right into the case! You might be thinking that a giant wheel of cheese had fell off the display and was now rolling through the store wreaking havoc... but then you would be wrong (but I like how you think) Nope, to my left, I suddenly see two young children, a boy and a girl. I'm guessing in the 4-6 year old range. It seems that these children are on a mission to score that free cookie that they get when they come to the store.

*editor's note, I like a good bargain myself, and if the store would give me a free cookie when I shopped, I'd probably be snagging one too, so I'm not hatin' on them for this*

Well, these children are quickly destracted by the brightly colored frostings of the sheet cakes and proceed to ooh and ahh over them while their mother makes her way back to the bakery. In the meantime, the lady behind the counter takes my request for a couple slices of heaven :)

Now, as I wait for her to remove the cakes from the glass cage they are in, I am entertained by these children, who are fascinated by the cakes. All the way up to the point when they bore from looking at the real cakes and decide instead to look at the cakes in the book. Unfortunate for me, this book happens to be located directly on the other side of my shopping cart. What happens next, is this long drawn out battle, because child A is mad that child B is now flipping the pages in the book, because she was there first. Now, having spent many a year in noisy call centers, listening to people yap on about all sorts of things, i can tune this out. What I cannot tune out, is the constant shoving of my buggy as these children pout and fight. I glance over at the mother, who is watching on, but not saying anything. I can't move, because there isn't anywhere else for me to stand...

Finally after a few minutes (in my mind I'm wondering how much longer can it take to slice cake) the mother pulls the instigator of this fight aside and tells her to calm down, and not to bother the lady (me) beside of her. I just happened to turn back in their direction about this time, to check that my purse, etc hadn't wandered off, and so I notice as this lady is saying this, she's looking at me as if I'm the one doing something wrong, I can only assume, by not being more accommodating to her kids. Unfortunately, this does not deter said child. Fortunately, it's only a few more seconds before my cake arrives to me, and I can get out of this war zone.

I should say, I totally understand that children will be children. I also understand that my mama would have hauled me back out of the store with no cookie and probably not much of anything else had I decided to terrorize the very tired, overworked customer, really just wanting her over priced dessert and a drink.

Now, I'll probably take a pretty unpopular stance here... I'm sure there are people out there who are probably thinking that I am the crazy lady who keeps the kids baseball when it lands in her yard, and shouts at the children riding by on their bikes... which is totally not the case. But people CHOOSE to have kids, and in that, comes a responsibility that you must bring these children up with manners & courtesy. And just as you've CHOSEN to have kids, I currently am CHOOSING to NOT have them for the time being, because that's not a responsibility I want to add just yet. While I think your kids are cute, after a long day, the last thing that I want is to be part of their real life pinball machine as they bounce through the store. Now while I'm not saying you have to tie your child up, perhaps you can rein them in a bit :)

Sweet Reason to Vote

I just got an email from Krispy Kreme. If you wear your "I Voted" Sticker, you'll score a FREE Doughnut. Details of the offer:

On Election Day, Nov. 4, 2008, participating Krispy Kreme stores will be offering a free star-shaped doughnut, with white icing and red, white and blue sprinkles, to each customer wearing an "I Voted" sticker. While voters may not always agree on the best candidate to win, each voter can agree on one thing: Celebrating one of America’s most coveted constitutional rights can be oh-so sweet.
The star-shaped treats are made from Krispy Kreme’s signature, yeast-raised dough, and will be available only on Nov. 4th. This promotion is good for one doughnut per customer. Select stores may offer yeast-raised doughnuts in the standard circle shape, but still decorated with white icing and red, white and blue sprinkles.
Please call your local Krispy Kreme store now to find out if they are participating.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It's Tuesday... let's try Haagen Dazs

Well, my posts have been few lately, I apologize, but life has been hectic and Zali has been keeping my hands full. Then I unfortunately caught the plague... ok... not the plague... but I'm not 100% yet either... But still I trudge on!

This week, let's talk ICE CREAM, which in case you didn't know, is in my opinion, it's own food group. I make no bones about it, I believe in daily frozen confection consumption. Which is why I'm sharing with you my most recent flavor adventure... Fleur de Sel Caramel Haagen-Dazs. It sounds fancy, huh? It shoud... The pint I picked up, at Wal-Mart none the less, set me back $4.04!!! Normally, I can manage to get a couple half gallons for that. I have, however been eyeballing this flavor for MONTHS... It's one of their "Reserve" flavors, which means, the ingredients are harder to come by and the production is limited... and as a result... the price goes up, more than your regular Haagen-Dazs. Ever since I first spotted that little pint a few months ago, I have been scanning the frozen food cases, watching for a sale, a price drop, a coupon... ANYTHING... but alas, no such luck. Finally, I bit the bullet. I have been doing a great job with budgeting lately, and have cut my household budget, easily 50% or more each month... so by George, I was having the Haagen-Dazs.

Now some background info, Fleur de Sel or "Flower of the Salt" is supposed to be one of the rarest and most delicate salts in the world. It is harvested by hand on the French Coast of Brittany. The ice cream contains Fleur de Sel caramels, covered in chocolate, and then mixed into a caramel ice cream with swirls of caramel and French sea salt accents. I almost felt that I should put on my black dress to enjoy this... instead I opted for my comfy pj's.

Now, I should say, I'm not a huge "salt" person. I really don't use alot of extra salt, etc... but this flavor intrigued me. And, after sampling it, I can say that for me, it was worth the $4 price tag. It had the most interesting flavor, slightly sweet, slightly salty, pefectly creamy. This is what ice cream is supposed to taste like. Now granted, I won't be dishing this up at my next party, and this isn't the ice cream you make a milk shake with.... no this ice cream is best enjoyed by itself, it doesn't need anything extra to make it special.

There are some other "Reserve" flavors, I'm going on a search for 'em.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Newest Addition

There has been a new addition to our house. Meet ZaliShe's about 10 weeks old

She was a resuce from the Lexington Humane Society. She is a hound mix, completely spoiled already... now only if Mollie will decide she likes her!

Brows: The good, the bad, and the ugly

I'll admit it, I have a thing about eyebrows. It's probably one of the first things I notice about a person. Over the years, I've used a variety of ways to keep my own in (the) perfect shape. I now have a brow lady. Her name is Nini. I have went to her for several years now. Many of my friends have been drug into her little room in the back of Glamour Nails only to immerge slight pink and totally hooked. Why, you ask?

Well, for starters, Nini charges $8 for eyebrows. The going rate in most salons around these parts, $12... so right there you get a 33% discount. But price isn't the only factor. The reason that I go, and the reason so many of my friends have followed suit, is exactly what you get for that $8. Now I have on occasion, been in a brow emergency (yes... they exist) and was unable to make it to Nini's... and quietly slipped into the chair of another... and $12 later, I would emerge, moderately pleased with my results. In most cases, the person would have me lay back, slap on a little wax, pull it away, rub on a little oil and send me on my way... occasionally I might get a stray tweezed... more often than not, they matched...sorta

When I walk in to see Nini, I am summoned back to this little room in the back of the nail salon, and recline comfortably on her chair. Now, there's no mood lighting or aromatherapy here, but what you will find is a clean workplace, a knowledgeable person and all the tools needed. She starts with the wax... and maybe I'm just a glutton for punishment, but I enjoy my eyebrows being waxed. It's not that I am particularly fond of my hairs being ripped out by the roots, but there is a sort of zen sensation about the whole thing. Once Nini removes the wax strips, she will then grab a piece of guaze or cotton and use a remover to get rid of any excess wax. This is where most people think they are finished... but this journey is not quite over. The next step for Nini, is to break out the tweezers and carefully examine your brows... providing you with the precision that can only come from removing the pesky little hairs one by one. Once she's done.... she then reaches for her little brow brush and scissors. She then proceeds to trim any long hairs, ensuring that your brow line is perfect. The result, a perfect brow... She's really great about getting just what you want, whether you like a high arch or something a bit more relaxed, whether you lean more towards the Brooke Shields 80's brows or something a bit thinner.

My last time venturing outside of her world, provided to be disasterous. I vowed, if I made it out of the salon alive and with eyebrows that still grew, I would never again step out on her. See, I was in a hurry one day, and had accompianed my friend to get his hair cut at Ziyan, a local hair salon. Since I was already going to be there, I figured I would multi task and get a brow touch up... This was a big mistake. The same gentleman that was cutting my friend's hair, stepped in to do my brows (This was my first red flag... Just because you can cut and style the hair on top of my head doesn't mean you can work magic with the ones that sprout above my eyes). He first took me over to another corner of the salon and slapped on some wax. When he went to remove the wax, his "well, huh" was my second red flag... none of my hair came out! He proceeds to do this a second time, only to get the same results... asking me, if I have ever had problems before. Nope... this has never happened. After the second strip is yanked off... again my little eyebrows hanging on for dear life, he then advises me that we're going to go back to the esthetician's room and use something different. Now, I should have just cut my losses, but perhaps my mind was a little numb from the fight between my brows and this man's wax, because I followed him. He proceeded to use a different wax, which was a hotter wax (normally, the heat from a wax doesn't bother me, however, after having this warm goo placed in the same spot 3 times only to be ripped back off, I was feeling something alright!) Thankfully, this wax worked and he proceeded to then wax the other brow. When he finished, I sat up and he handed me a mirror. I admit, the only thing I was concerned about was that I still had skin above the nose. I barely glanced in the mirror and high tailed it out of there. It was only after I was safely in the car that I bothered to actually inspect my eyebrows. And of course, I wasn't pleased with the results... I did however surmise that I could manage to camouflage the flaws with some brow powder while my poor little brows healed. I went home and iced them and was happy to wake up the next morning to find no permanent damage. Since then, I have not strayed... there are just some things that you shouldn't chance.

So what are my tips for great brows.
#1 - If you want to do them yourself, start small, suck it up and have them done once, and then perform the maintenance

#2 - If you don't like the eyebrows of the person doing the job, chances are you won't like their results

#3 - If you are going to do them at home, using some ice or anbesol can help minimize the discomfort

#4 - If you aren't sure where to get yours done, ask someone who's brows you like where they go

#5 - Don't overdo it! You can always remove more, but it's hard to glue 'em back on

#6 - If you have sensitive skin, mention that to the esthetician, there are waxes that are better for sensitive skin

#7 - If you are getting them waxed, do yourself a favor and skip the makeup. It will make it easier for the wax to work and you won't get weird makeup lines

That's it, happy grooming!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The 6's

I picked this up from Owlhaven - Feel free to join in. If you post, just leave me a link to your post in comment :) - You can check out her list here

Since it's early, and I'm in a cantankerous mood, I'm taking a pretty light hearted approach.

6 Things I Value:
#1 The extra leg room in my queen sized bed when I wake up and realize that the furbabies have migrated to the roomie's bed!

#2 The view from my home office when the next door neighbor is outside working out

#3 Sunday mornings when I wake up super early and have the whole place to myself for hours before anyone/anything else stirs
#4 The fact that my morning commute is interstate driving, people zoom by too fast to really notice me rocking out!

#5 Not having a boss in the same country, let alone the same building as me. Makes micromanagement a much more difficult task

#6 Time spent with good friends that makes the most mundane of tasks seem like a party

And now 6 things I don't support:

#1 The idea that because I am a grown up that I can't watch Disney Channel Movies

#2 The notion that I can't have my cake & eat it too... Why the heck did I bake it?

#3 The opinion that my four legged children mean less to me than your two legged variety

#4 The concept that dessert should come at the end of the meal, personally I believe all meals should start with ice cream

#5 The mindset that because I'm single means that I should be looking

#6 The voice of the complainer, if you don't like it, what are you doing to change it?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Try it Tuesday strikes again

It's another Tuesday, so I'm back to share more. So many new things recently, I just got a new furbaby, I just started a new medicine, but, as promised from last week's installment, I have decided to share from my finds at Lush. First, a little back story...

I discovered Lush a few years ago. I was in Orlando on a business trip in July, and well, unless you're originally from Mercury or something, you won't find Orlando that pleasant in July... It's HOT! My trip had me staying at the Marriott located at the Orlando International Airport, and we didn't venture out much, since our conference was there as well. Lucky for me, they have a great little mall, so with my free time, I was able to persuse and check out some new stores. That was when I first discovered Lush... If you've never been to a Lush store, think of a Bath & Bodyworks, only more hands on. All through the store, there are giant slabs of pretty soaps, and bath bombs, and lotions, and potions... Being the product junkie that I am, I was in heaven. I snapped up a few different things to try, and loved everything. Unfortunately, I haven't had the opportunity to travel near one again... so imagine my excitement when our Macy's opened a counter just a couple weeks ago!

Now, I know I could shop online, but if you want to touch, feel, smell... you don't get the same effect... and depending on how many things you want to try, buying online can get pretty pricey, because they sell in specific sizes... in the stores, you can have them slice off as little or as much as you want! So... I headed to the little shop in my Macy's.... which isn't as grand as the real stores, but works quite nice. I picked up a few treats, and today I'm sharing one of my favorites.

The Aqua Marina Cleanser: Now I warn you, this doesn't look like your typical cleanser... in fact, you kinda think sushi when you see it. Heck, it's even wrapped in seaweed! Now some of you know, that I am an Avon rep, which means I have at my disposal a wide variety of products. This should say something that I'm out touting a product that isn't one I sell :) Why did I pick this? Well I actually got a choice of a free cleanser with my purchases, and this was the one I decided to try. I couldn't be happier. I have skin that is a bit sensitive. I also have rosacea and a couple other skin calamities. This was why I liked this one... It contains aloe vera, chamomille, patchouli... these are very soothing ingredients. And I have found that this stuff feels ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL on my skin. Now the first thing to consider, if you decide to go out and buy this... it's sold in bulk, you can get as little or as much as you want. I would recommend starting out on the small side, because of the ingredients and the fact that it has no preservatives... the shelf life is only 3 months. At first glance, you may look at this and wonder exactly how do you use it... it's not a soap that you lather up. It's not a liquid that you can keep in a pump. It's actually a semisolid blob (ok, I know... not the prettiest word, work with me). When you want to use it, you just pinch off some (say oh somewhere between pea & marble size) and put it in the palm of your hand. With your other hand, wet your fingertips and add some water. This melts it into a really loose paste, fairly liquid. Then just use this liquid on your face. Smooth over skin, adding more water as needed to cleanse. Then just rinse like normal. I immediately noticed how calm my skin felt. I've been using for about a week and my skin has stayed clear, smooth and calm. This is definitely a product I will buy again.

That's all for this week!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Stop Hiding

Click here to check out LeAnn Rimes new PSA

LeAnn Rimes has partnered with the American Academy of Dermatology & the National Psoriasis foundation in their Stop Hiding Campaign. The purpose of the campaign is to:

*Educate the general public on how this chronic immune disorder affects nearly 7 million Americans

*Motivate patients suffering from Psoriasis to Stop Hiding and Start Living

*Encourage patients to see a dermatologist and discuss appropriate ways to manage their disease

The spotlight has followed singer LeAnn Rimes for most of her life. Unfortunately, so has the embarrassment of her psoriasis. But not anymore. LeAnn is taking a stand to Stop Hiding from her psoriasis and wants you to Stop Hiding and Start Living too. Join the Stop Hiding campaign and receive updates from LeAnn and the campaign.

A coupon in my bread & a GIVEAWAY

This morning, in my usual frantic dash around the house to secure the items I would need for my day at work, I reached in my bread box and grabbed the loaf of bread. I proceeded to pluck 2 slices from the bag and just as I was dropping them down in a ziploc bag, something catches my eye. A coupon... for sandwich meat...between my slices of bread. Now, I'm quite familiar with promotional packaging, and as a coupon user, I always check the boxes of products, to see if a coupon was printed inside. This was however new to me. The coupon wasn't just tucked into the packaging, it was "smack dab" in the middle of my loaf of bread. So if any of you have recently picked up some of Sara Lee's Soft & Smooth Whole Grain White bread... don't be suprised if the next time you grab a slice you get a little something extra!

Now onto the part you're here for... the GIVEAWAY... I am going to be giving away a 2 Week Free Pass to Curves for you & a friend. Pretty nifty huh? I'm not sure how it relates to coupons & bread, but it's my world, you're just visiting :)

To enter the giveaway:

#1 Leave me a comment w/the oddest place you've found a coupon

#2 Get a bonus entry if you post my contest on your blog or elsewhere (Just leave me a comment with the link)

#3 Get another bonus entry if you subscribe to my blog

I'll be running this contest until 24th (A week from today!)

Good Luck!