Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Beauty Obsessions

Today I'm going to highlight some of my current favorite beauty obsessions.  Everyone knows how cheap I am when it comes to beauty products and cosmetics.  My motto is "if it's free or on clearance it's for me, especially if I've got a coupon!".

So with that being said, recently I've been pretty successful scoring some great products at 50% off at Ulta or Bare Escentuals by signing up for their emails and rewards/points programs.  Because of such, I have tried lots of new items I never would have wanted to try before (simply due to cost).   So far I have not been dissappointed and honestly can tell a difference in the quality of the products.  Sometimes there is benefit in splurging (a little) on cosmetics.  But that's a personal decision that only you can make.  

So here is my opinion on the items that I've tried, currently L.O.V.E and plan to continue to keep in my beauty toolbox for the time being.

Physcians Formula Gentle Cover
I used to stick to my ol' faithful Wet n Wild cheapo concealer stick until I scored this at Harris Teeter on clearance during super doubles coupons a couple years ago. I essentially got it for free which is great since I wasn't sure I was going to like it.  Fell in love immediately.  It's now a must-have in my beauty tool box. 

Eye Shadow Primers:
Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion
I love it because it makes the Urban Decay eyeshadow last much longer and not "crease" it also makes the colors look brighter

NYX Eyeshadow Base (white)

Love love love it because it can be paired with any eyeshadow and still works well.  I love the white base version because it makes my colored eyeshadows pop even more (see my Urban Decay Shadow Palette below which is full of color!  Pairs very well together to make those colors POP.
Bare Escentuals Mineral Foundation (Matte & Original)
I've tried both versions and love them both.  The mineral veil that goes with it though is a must because it adds that finishing touch.  They even have tinted mineral veil which serves as bronzer essentially which is pretty great too.  I've not used any Bare Escentuals product to date that I didn't love.


It's hard to impress me with mascara because I have naturally long, curly and somewhat thick eyelashes.  I've tried every brand at your typical drugstore or Target/Wal-Mart as well as most brands you can find in high end department stores and have never found one that was like "oh my goodness, this is IT, this is THE ONE!".

Benefit - They're Real 

I tried this at the store (Ulta) with the assistance of a Benefit Beauty Consultant.  I spoke to her in length regarding what I was looking for and how I'd yet to find it and she forced me to let her put this stuff on me.  I agreed and man am I glad I did because it is really perfect for me.  It thickens them up even more and curls them.  I pair it with one light coat of a lengthening & separating mascara (usually Loreal Telescopic) then apply two coats of this magic and bam.  My eyes are FABULOUS! 

Anything Urban Decay.  There really is value in splurging.  I've tried every Urban Decay wanna-be that they sell and have to say nothing compares to it.  It lasts forever too by the way which makes the purchase over time not so bad...or maybe that's my way justifying the purchase to not feel so guilty?  Who knows?
Urban Decay Naked 2 Pallette - the basic nude colors are perfect for every day.  The dark smokey colors are perfect for a night out on the town and all in all you can't go wrong with the pallette.  Most of the colors have a little shimmer to them as well which is great and it lasts all day with no creasing if you use a primer base (which you definitely should).

Urban Decay Shadow Box - scored this on a super sale Ulta was having at 50% off and am in love with the colors.  The are pigmented well and when I use my NYX eyeshadow base the colors pop even more. A great pallette for spring/summer when you find yourself wearing brighter colors.

Foundation Primer
Bare Escentuals Prime Time
Love it because it's not overly oily or greasy and it doesn't break my skin out like so many of the other brands do.  It's very light and doesn't make your face feel like plaster.

So that's just my two-cents on what I'm using and love right now.  I'd love to hear if you have products that you swear by so I can try them too!  I'm still in the need for a moisturizer/BB cream that is good for every day use and won't clog pores and break my face out.  Any suggestions?  Seems like the ones that are most highly rated are the most expensive ones from what I've found.

Until Next Time...
XOXO Crazy Jess

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Birthday Freebies!

Everyone that follows me on IG, FB, Twitter or knows me IRL knows I'm obsessed with saving money and love a good deal!  One of my favorite times of the year is the month of January.  Reason number one, the amazing sales!  Everyone is having sales to get rid of holiday items, or last season/year apparel, products etc.  I always score amazing deals with pairing these clearance deals with my coupons.  Reason number two, it's my birthday month.  Most people think women don't want to celebrate getting older.  And yes, you are right.  We don't.  I'm one of those women as well.

Case in point, just today I about had a meltdown when the lady at the ABC Store didn't card me.  So I may have demanded she look at it.  I mean she carded the Duke kids in front of me (they did look 12 though).  But seriously, I'm only 32 lady!  You should beg me to see my ID because in my head I feel like I still look 18!

See what I mean?  Women don't like to talk about getting older and we try to pass of being the same age for about 10 years before we up it by a couple years.  So with that being said and yet again on an unrelated note, I think I'll be 32 for a few more years.  I can probably pull it off.

Anyway, going back to my point.  January is my birthday month.  And because it is my birthday month I get lots of freebies and great deals.  Not only because I'm an avid couponer and sales hunter, but simply just because I was born.  Apparently I'm really important and even major retailers and brands want to celebrate my day of birth.  I don't blame them, I am pretty awesome.  Everyone knows that.

If you are still reading this and I haven't lost you in my narcissism, I really do have a secret to share with you that you should try.  Even if you hate shopping and aren't a couponer nor do you care about sales and getting a good bargain, you should at least think about the perks I'm about to share with you.

So, you know how every time you go shopping or buy something online they always want your phone number or email address to sign you up for their rewards or loyalty program?  Yeah, I know it's annoying.  Sometimes it still annoys me, however the benefits no one ever tells you about make it worth it.

(Note: I'd like to mention that I created a "junk" email account to use for such royalty/rewards programs.  Any time I am asked for my email address I use that one so all my coupons/sales/rewards go to one inbox.  It makes life super easy and you don't have to worry about all that junk being in your regular day-to-day email account inbox).

Back to the point...below I'm going to highlight my birthday freebies that I received during the month of January this know, just for being born and stuff.

Ok so this year:

  • STARBUCKS:  $5.00 automatically gets loaded to my registered Starbucks gift card for me to get a free handcrafted beverage of my choice.  Naturally that ends up being the venti Skinny Vanilla Latte.  I'm so basic and boring it's ridiculous.  
  • KRISPY KREME: 1 free doughnut of my choice.  And yes, I got only ONE!  I was a good girl.  (Every southerner knows Krispy Kreme is the only good doughnut (with the exception of Britt's in Carolina Beach of course).
  • BARE ESCENTUALS: 1 free Bare Minerals Marvelous Moxie Lip Gloss ($10.00 value)
  • ULTA: 1 free Ulta Ultimate Eyeshadow Palette ($12.00 value)
  • BEST BUY: (Almost free) 2 DVDs.   I used a $5.00 Best Buy Rewards Certificate to purchase two of my favorite movies on DVD that were $2.99 each.  Meaning I spent $1.05 and got two DVDs.
  • VICTORIA'S SECRET: Free Bombshell In Bloom Body Lotion. I used my $10 Birthday Reward with a $10 Angel's Reward I had and got that item for FREE! I did happen to have two Rewards to redeem at once, but even if I didn't have the Angel Reward I could have gotten a $10 item for free just with the Birthday Reward.  
Below is a photo of the freebies....I wasn't that annoying person that took a picture of my food or coffee cup though. Please excuse the bowl of fruit in the background.  Sadly that was not a birthday freebie ha ha!

This is just a small glimpse at the free stuff you can score on your birthday....there are lots more.  Like apparently I can get a free burrito or something at Moe's if I sign up with them.  I haven't done that yet.  Maybe next year.

There are always more that I never take advantage of too.  I guess these were just the ones that got me the most excited because the cosmetic brands especially are kind of pricey so I thought it was super cool and I should share this information with you all.  

If you are still reading at this point then you must be super excited about getting free stuff too!  Or you are now at least!  So I'm sure there are countless other birthday freebies I don't even know about yet.  So if you have any that you think I should check out let me know!  Do you take advantage of birthday freebies or just delete the emails as another piece of "junk" from retailers?  I'd love to hear from you so I can score even more freebies next year, you know, when I turn 32 again.  

Until next time....



Sunday, March 16, 2014

Couponing For Beginners

I frequently get asked how I get such great deals and how did I get started Couponing, etc.  I also have received a lot of requests to write a blog post about this as well so here we go. I apologize if this is hard to follow along with or if I ramble on too much. I tend to be wordy, especially when I'm very excited or passionate about what I'm writing about so with that being said...

The following steps should assist you on your Couponing journey. These steps are what I did when I started out.

I'm going to have to make this post a series because this would just be way too long if I do it all at once. So make sure you come back for part 2 and 3 as well.

Step one:  Find coupons

I started receiving my coupons in the mail sometimes twice a week. Then when we bought our current house and moved to a new zip code they quit coming in the mail. To say I was devastated was an understatement. I then began begging anyone I knew that had a newspaper subscription for their coupons if they weren't going to use them. Finally about three months later Love Muffin got me a weekly subscription to the Sunday paper so I could get my own coupons in the mail without having to beg everyone for theirs.  

At first I only used to cut coupons for items I already used. I wasn't sure how invested I wanted to get in to Couponing so I started out slowly. The items that I found myself cutting coupons for the most were toiletry items, my one brand of clothes detergent and dishwasher detergent I liked to use at the time, and paper towels and toilet paper.  Then over time I began feeling comfortable trying new products because I had coupons to pair to sales items in the store.

Then I also began searching the internet for coupons for products I wanted to try or that I already was using but wanted to save money on. By doing this I found some awesome coupon websites that I began downloading and printing coupons from. (this will require an entire blog post all on its own) .

Once you have begun collecting coupons then next step is very crucial to your saving success.

 Step 2: Understand Your Favorite Store(s) Coupon Policy

Everyone has their favorite or usual grocery store(s) that they frequent. This could be out of lack of variety if you live in rural areas, or due to being a creature of habit and the need to stick to what you know, etc.  Before you begin coupon shopping at your local stores you need to make sure you fully understand their coupon policies. All national retailers have published coupon policies. The easiest way to find this information is to visit their website. Their website should have a link to their coupon policy somewhere. Sometimes it is in the really small text at the bottom of their homepage. If you can't find it easily by visiting their website, then they usually will have a search option at the top of the page. In the search box type "coupon policy" and without fail that usually always works. Once you have found this, read it very carefully and save it as a favorite or bookmark in your internet browser in case you need to refer back to it later.

The reason this step is so important is because each retailer has policies on the number of coupons they accept or some may double coupons up to a certain dollar amount and some may not. Some may accept paper coupons as well as let you use their online coupons together. This is called "stacking" Coupon stacking is the ability to use more than one coupon on one item in a transaction. Since all retailers have different rules you have to do your research ahead of time to avoid a confrontation in the store. If I had a $1 for every time I had a sales associate check me out at the store  that didn't even know or understand the current coupon policy for the store in which they work I could retire. Be educated and informed of the policies so you can be sure you are maximizing your savings and paying close attention as the items are ringing up and that your coupons come off correctly is critical so you don't  end up with surprises once they hit "total" to complete your order.

Step three:  Loyalty Cards.

Every store has them and they all call them something different. Food Lion calls them MVP cards, Harris Teeter calls them VIC cards, Kroger calls them Kroger cards, etc.  These are those plastic store issued savings cards that you can sign up to receive in the store. They give you three copies of them usually.  Two that are credit card size and one that you put on your key ring. Its very important to make sure when you sign up for the cards that you provide a valid email address when you sign up for them as well because they will in some cases email you weekly specials just for you or weekly savings for you that you can take advantage of simply by swiping your loyalty card at checkout.  Usually you will be able to pair paper manufacture coupons with these custom savings so this is key to maximizing savings. Another reason providing valid email address and phone number information is because in some cases your loyalty card offers you discounts on other products or services as you accrue points. For example, at Kroger the more you spend the more fuel points you accrue meaning that you save money at the gas pump at certain fuel branded stations by saving a certain amount off per gallon. Both Lowes Foods and Kroger have fuel point saving programs that you can take advantage of while at the same time you are saving money on your groceries with your paper manufactures coupons, loyalty cards with your store, etc.

By mastering the first three steps you are on your way to a new addiction. The addiction of saving money. Once you get started you can't stop and you'll never be able to pay full price for anything again!

Stay tuned for part two which I will post in a few days. Until then this should keep you busy on the beginning of your Couponing journey.

Until next time....

Crazy Jess

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Super Doubles 2/23/14

So today I finally made it to HT for Super Double Coupons.  I hate that I waited until the end to go, and I ended up going to another location that I usually don't go to and they were out of many of the best deals, and pretty much all of the free deals.  But below is what I scored this week though.  It was a pretty successful trip and I got dog food and fresh meats so I spent more than I wanted but oh well.

  • Hefty Zipper Bags - $2.99 on sale BOGO, - $1.00 off 2 coupon x 2 = .99 cents for two
  • Beneful Playful Life Dog Food (7lb bag) - $12.49 on clearance for $8.99 - $2.00 of 1 coupon x 2 - $2.00 off 1 ZVR coupon = $2.99 total price
  • Purina Dog Chow Light & Fit (4lb bag) - $6.59 each - $2.00 off 1 coupon x 2 - $1.00 off 1 coupon = $1.59
  • Newmans Own Spaghetti Sauce - $3.15 on sale 2/$4 - 3 $.50 cents off 1 coupon x 2 = $3.00 ($1.00 each)
  • Newmans Own Salad Dressing - $3.99 on sale, my weekly eVic price = $2.37 each - 2 .50 cents off 1 coupons x 2 = $1.37 each
  • Cheeze Its Crackers - $4.49 on sale 2/$5 - 2 $1.00 off 2 coupons x 2 = $6.00 for 4 boxes ($1.50 each)
  • Gain Flingz Detergent Packs - $2.99 - $1.50 off 2 coupon x 2 - $1.00 ZVR = .99 cents each
  • Franks Sweet Pepper Chilli Sauce - 3.29  on sale 2/$4 - .65 cents off 1 coupon x 2 - .55 cents off 1 coupon x 2 = .80 cents each
  • Ritz Crackerfuls - $3.99 on sale $2/6 - $1.00 Checkout51 Rebate = $2.00
  • Honeymaid Grahamfuls - 4.25 on sale 2/$7 - .75 cents off 2 coupon x 2 - $1.00 Checkout51 Rebate = $2.25 each
  • Belvita Breakfast Biscuits - $3.89 on sale BOGO - $1.00 off Checkout51 Rebate = .95 cents
  • McCormick Hot Taco Seasoning - $1.70 each on sale BOGO = .85 cents for two - .50 cents off 2 coupon x 2 = FREE
  • Buy 1 Lee Kum Hoisin Sauce ($3.99) get $2.00 off one Soy Sauce ($2.99) x 2 = $1.49 each
  • Secret Outlast Deodorant - $4.99 - $2.00 off 1 coupon x 2 = .99 cents
  • Loreal Advanced Hair Care Shampoo - $4.99 - $2.00 off 1 coupon x 2 = .99 cents
  • Loreal Advanced Hair Care Styler - $4.99 - $2.00 off 1 coupon x 2 = .99 cents
  • Loreal Preference Hair Color - $9.99 on sale for $7.99 - $2.00 off 1 coupon x 2 = $3.99 
  • Suave Professionals Hair Color - $2.59 - $1.00 off 1 coupon x 2 = .59 cents
  • Dove Deodorant - $4.99 on sale 2/$7 - $1.00 off 1 coupon x 2 = 1.50 cents
  • Ground Bison (1 lb) = $8.99
  • Smart Chicken Leg Qrtrs (3 lbs) = $6.25
  • Boneless Pork Chops (1 lb) = $4.94
  • Sliced Mushrooms - $1.99 each
  • Special K Flatbread Breakfast Sandwiches - $4.99
  • Various Frozen Veggies = $1.19 each

Total Spent: $89.15 Total Saved: $89.95

So basically everything I purchased was 50% off.  That's super exciting.

It was exhausting!  It took me two hours because they were so busy today too.  Maybe next time I won't wait until the very last minute to go so I'll get some more of the freebie items.  Either way it was a successful trip and I love savin' money honey!

Until next time....

XOXO - Crazy Jess

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Deal Shopping 1/19/14

Well, another weekend has come to an end.  My weekend was really awesome and busy.  One of the most exciting things about my weekend would have to be the great deals I got today while shopping.  I had a "me" day where I spent most of the day by myself.  I went shopping because I had so many gift cards for various places so I thought today was as good as any to see what I could find.

I started off my trip at Macy's as I received a coupon in the mail this morning for $10 off a $25 purchase, or 15% off any purchase.  I somehow ended up in the shoe department and found the most beautiful pair of Sperry's ever made.  Look how pretty they are.  I should put them in a case and look at them from time to time but never wear them. Haha, right, like that would happen.

The photo isn't even doing them justice.  They are metallic silver with glittery details on the sides.  So.In.Love.  I heard birds chirping and angels singing when I saw them.  They called to me from afar.  Something pulled me to the clearance shoe rack today, and I just know it was "them".   That sounds weird because when you think about it, is there really a clearance rack in Durham that I don't check out a least once a week?  But really, I never look for shoes at Macy's because I'm so cheap.  There I said it.

Anyway, since they were calling to me so loudly, I went ahead and tried them on.  Oh man.  It was like butter.  They felt like home.  They were shiny and glittery and on clearance, so obviously I was smitten.  What made it even better was I realized they were marked down to $47 which for Sperry's isn't too bad.  Then I remembered I had a $30 giftcard and a $10 off $25 purchase coupon so after paying tax essentially I became the proud new owner of these Sperry's for only $10.

All of this was going on in my head while I was standing by the rack and I can't lie, I did get a little too excited about it and had to share the news with the lady beside me.  She was not amused.  She was also not in to saving money or coupons either apparently.  Not sure why she was even at the clearance shoe rack in the first place.  She should have taken her snotty rear end to Nordstrom with the rest of them.  She was dead inside I tell you!  Wait, where was I with this ridiculous story?  Oh yeah, so I'm spreading the news about these Sperry's being such a good deal and I was so excited.  Then entered the random lady, but I didn't let her snotty attitude get me down.  I marched my big butt up to the register and proudly paid for my new glittery yet affordable Sperry's like a boss.  Here they are....

They are so pretty I might name them.

I've got it, I shall call them, Roxy and Foxy.  Great names for diva-licious glittery Sperry's if you ask me.

Moving on....

So, just when I thought my day couldn't get any better I managed to find my way in to Victoria's Secret to stumble upon one very lonely $1.99 table in which EVERYTHING was $1.99.  It wasn't like that mind trick where the sign says $1.99 really big and then in hieroglyphics underneath it actually reads "and up" only you can't read "hieroglyphics" so when you get to the register you're so frustrated you pay the actual sales price anyway.  No this little table was for real $1.99 - everything on it.  At first I thought only I could see the table and it was a figment of my imagination because no one was standing around the table, only the one sales associate who was stocking it with product.  I got closer and closer thinking I needed to get my eyes checked, as I was sure the sign probably said $11.99 instead but no.  It was real.

Lotions, body scrubs, perfumes, body sprays, shower gels!.  Oh my!.  It was like entering the gates of heaven.  Well, if heaven were filled with half naked skinny women that always smelled good and that wore angel wings with their underwear like that was a normal outfit.  I'm pretty sure that's not the case.  But only time will tell ha ha.

I guess after I saw it every other woman in their magially saw the table at the exact same time and they all began sworming right after I got to the table.  The women in their today were not very angelic for the record.  That $1.99 sign makes the freaks come out, and it got pretty brutal, but I managed to come away with quite a few goodies...some for myself and some for gifts of course, no cops were called and I didn't have to take my earrings out.  So all in all pretty successful.

Then I left there and headed down to Belks to see what I could find there.  It was a pretty good trip because I found a pair of gray pants for work (thank sweet baby Jesus because every pair of work pants in my closest are black).  They were only $19 on clearance so that was a win for the day.  I also found these two wall art picture frames for $7 each so naturally had to get those too.

I also got some GREATTTTT deals at Macy's on work clothes as well.  I still can't believe it.

I got a royal blue Calvin Klein skirt for $20, a black/white Calvin Klein sleeveless top for $9 and a brown sweater for $24, all at Macy's.  I was able to use my coupons so I spent a total of $50 but saved $167.  

At Belks I got this tan/cream leopard print sleeveless top as well as a black/white damask top that you can't really see in the picture.  Might be a good thing because it's for a special occasion so I don't want anyone to see how smokin' hot it is.  So, long story short I spent about $40 at Belks but saved $120.  That was even without a coupon if you can believe it.  Belk has great clearance sales if you didn't know.  

So then after all that excitement at the mall I decided it was time for my weekly HT grocery store trip to coupon shop on my way home.  Today's trip was very successful.  I didn't take a photo of everything I got, just the items that were the "best deals" but basically I spent $40, and saved $67.  So I got $107 worth of groceries for $40.  This week I didn't need to spend much because we have a lot of meat stocked up so there wasn't much to get this week regarding perishable food.  I can menu plan for the next 2.5 weeks with everything we have stocked up so today really was just meant to be a trip for me to get produce for my meal prep my breakfasts and snacks for work.  

See details below pic for regular v sale v coupon v final price paid if you're interested.  If not continue to the next section.

Best Deals This Week:

Apple Cheerios: $4.26, on sale 2/$4, on eVic for $1.77 - .75 cents off 1 x 2 = .27 cents
Total Cereal: $3.69, on sale 2/$4, - .75 cents off 1 x 2 = .50 cents
Quaker Oats Medleys Bars: $3.99, on sale 2/$6, - $1.00 off 1 coupon = $2.00 (great deal because these are NEVER on sale)
Gain Detergent-50oz: $7.49, on sale $5.99, on eVic for $3.77 - .50 cents off 1 x 2 = $2.77 
Ortega Reduced Sodium Taco Seasoning: $1.19 each, on sale 4/$3 - .50 cents off 2 x 2 = .30 cents each
Marzettis Simply Dressed Salad Dressing: $3.79, on sale $2.99 - .75 cents off 1 x 2 = $1.49 each
John Freida Shampoo & Conditioner: $6.99, on clearance for $2.38 - $3.00 off two coupon = .88 cents each
Loreal EverCurl Shampoos: $6.99, on clearance for $2.38 - $2.00 off 1 coupons = .28 cents each
Campbell's Slow Cooker Sauce: $3.49, on sale 2/$4 - $1.00 off 1 = $1.00 

While I was shopping at HT today I even shared some coupons some other shoppers.  There was one couple in particular that I could tell money was an issue for them based on the conversations I couldn't help but overhear as we made our way from aisle to aisle so I offered them some coupons on items they were getting that I didn't need.  You could tell it made their day so I felt good to be able to help.  Maybe it will inspire them to start couponing themselves.  Every penny saved counts.

So all in all it was a pretty successful shopping day for me.  I managed to get great deals and completed almost everything on my to-do list.  I never made it to Target, but maybe tomorrow during my lunch hour I can fit that in after I make my way to Dollar Tree to pick up some wedding related items.

So, that's all for today.  I will leave you with some humor to lighten your evening.  I apologize in advance for the naughty language on one of them but it's rather hilarious.  Honestly.  If you don't laugh at that one then we can't be friends anymore.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

2014 - The Year of Being Awesome

So, it is three days in to the beginning of 2014 so everyone and their cousin's neighbor's grandma's stepson's daughter is making resolutions that they intend to give up on in two weeks.  Not to be a "Negative Nancy" but you get what I'm saying.  It's the same thing each year.  I get it.  However not I!

I first of all, don't make resolutions ANY time, let alone at New Years. I do however set goals for myself. Sometimes these goals are daily, weekly, monthly, for the entire year etc.  Usually I manage my goals like a "to-do" list and mark things off as I accomplish them.  Sometimes when I have time I might blog about them but this year has been hella busy so my blog was kind of left behind.

With that being said....

My to-do list for 2013:

  • Coupon Seriously - meaning save money and never buy anything full price if I can help it.  (The fuel to this fire might have been prompted even more by my five seconds of local fame on the WRAL SmartShopper blog which was written right when I first go in to couponing)
    Coupons Coupons Coupons
    One of many good deal "hauls" from HT
  • Organize my closets and stick to the organizational plan - done, although still have more improvements I want to make.  So that one is still on the list for 2014.  Thus no picture.  Sorry!
  • Redo the desk in the living room to make it prettier - done, like a boss might I add.  I rock!
    Desk - BEFORE
    Desk - AFTER
  • Get my eye surgery - Booooooom.  Done.  Damn I look good too.  Worth every penny I had to pay out of pocket.
    First pic I took after eye surgery
  • Meal plan each week - yep, did that too, even got a dry erase board for the refrigerator to write it down on.
    My cute weekly menu board
  • Eat healthier - somewhat successful at that.  I attempted this year to recreate recipes I like to make them a little healthier, made sure I ate breakfast every day, became more mindful of the ingredients in some of the items I was buying, etc.  I also quit drinking cows milk and stick to only Almond or Coconut Milk which helped my digestion issues some.
  • Create a budget and stick to it - I need a freakin' gold star ya'll.  I not only stuck to our weekly grocery budget by week but I also saved us a lot of money on groceries by sale shopping and couponing.  We were also able to pay off some credit cards last year as well.  (Patting myself on the back right now.).  I'm such a dork I kept track of what I spent at each store I typically go to (Harris Teeter, Kroger, Target) and the amount I saved per trip to make sure my yearly spend is what I had budgeted.  So for this year I was at my budget per week of $50.00.....oh yeah!
  • Be Awesome - that comes so naturally that I had NO problem marking that one off the list for the year.
So basically I'm stating for the record that I accomplished ALL of those goals aka my "to do's" last year 100% or darn near close. The only thing that could still use improvement would be the healthy eating because I did have quite a few cheat days, but doesn't everyone?  Meaning that I'm still leaving that one on the list for 2014 because I'm currently researching the Paleo diet now and honestly there is always room for improvement in healthy eating anyway.

So my to-do list for 2014 looks a little something like this:

  • Plan a budget friendly but beautiful wedding - already successfully working on that one - blog post in the making on that note
  • Continue Couponing only this year with a $40.00 per week budget - might be hard but I'm up for the challenge
  • Continue being awesome - hellooooo I do that EVERY year.
  • Try to continue to eat better but not beat myself up if I have one cheat day 
  • Organize the cabinets in the kitchen more efficiently
  • Install shelves in the hallway closet
  • Create a plan for the laundry closet and draw up plans for the "pantry" I want built in the kitchen.
  • Repaint the foyer and hallway and decorate the wall at the end of the hallway accordingly
  • Fancy up my "getting ready" station in our bedroom to make it cuter and more girly (I'm sure Love Muffin will be THRILLED about that! :-)
  • Have a yard sale and get rid of some stuff, while making $ in the process
  • More dilligently track our spending in areas we didn't track last year to better manage our funds in those areas
  • Buy a new laptop.  For real.  This one has seen better days and is circa 2008 which is ancient in computer years.

So....basically we have established that I am amazeballs and rocked 2013 and made it my you know what. So I'm sure 2014 will be equally as amazeballs. (I think I'm too old to say amazeballs.  It's almost as bad as me saying "totes" or another one of those shortened words all the "kids" are saying nowdays.)

Anyway, do you make resolutions?  Do you ever find that you actually stick to them?  Or do you find that you are more of a goal setter and are pretty successful at marking the goals off your list?

Until next time...

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 In Review

It's the end of a really awesome year.  Below is a recap of my year based on the photos in my phone and my status message updates on Facebook.  It truly has been a great year and it was over very quickly!  Seems like it was just New Years Eve last week....

I turned 30!  Matt threw me a party and we went out on a night on the town.  But since I’m old that means we had a few drinks and were home by 11:30.  We closed on our first home.  I don't have hardly any photos or status updates in January so here's a special collage of me, Gracie Boo and Love Muffin.

We moved in to our first home, bought some new furniture, unpacked and settled in and I began decorating one room at a time.

I continued by couponing and deal searching on the weekends.  I'm not sure what I did this month as my Facebook status updates for March were minimal.  I know I have quite a few random pictures taken on my lunch hour at work on my iphones.  They make me laugh.  I'm a dork.

My awesome sister Ericka, our Mom, and Matt’s mom threw us a Housewarming Party, Matt turned 30 and I planned him a surprise party – he really had no clue!  We also got our Kitchenaid Mixer!  This was also the month I was featured on the WRAL Smartshopper Blog aka my 5 seconds of local fame.

This was the month I went on my business trip only accidentally left my suitcase in my driveway….aka the epic traveling failure of 2013!  My little cousin Kala graduated from high school, and Mom, Ericka and I had a girls weekend and went to see Chonda Pierce.

My awesome little brother Tyler graduated from middle school, I ate at Cosmic Cantina for the first time, I wrote inappropriate sayings on Matt’s Mom’s birthday cup from Starbucks, but it’s dry erase so no worries ha ha, we had that one random night of a power outage.

Went on a week long vacation to the beach for the first time I can ever remember.  It was a great time with a few temper tantrums, a couple of games of monopoly in which I can not confirm nor deny that I was taking money from the “banker” when she wasn’t looking.  This trip also resulted in a few late night trips to Krispy Kreme and allowed me to spend some quality time with my BFFL Megan.

Katie left for college, I had a four week long obsession with the “humpday” commercial phenomena, and we celebrated Gracie’s first birthday by having a watermelon theme party at the park with water ballons, tie dye t-shirt making, bubbles, and watermelon pops!  What watermelon theme birthday weekend would be complete, without a trip to the Watermelon Festival Parade!

We celebrated our two year anniversary by having dinner at The Little Dipper Durham and followed that with a short but awesome 2 day beach trip in which we took a historic horse drawn carriage ride tour.  We went to Southern Lee for my little brother’s first high school marching band performance, and I had eye surgery to have my lazy eye straightened.  The is also the month my Dexter addiction started and I watched the entire first season in a 48 hour time period.  I also refurbished a desk we had although I've yet to finish the blog post I started about it.  A friend sent me a beautiful plant while I was recovering from my surgery although I still have no clue what type of plant this was.  I don't do plants.  I can't seem to keep them alive.  In an effort to keep it alive I finally watered it and when I did, it died.  It's so pretty it deserves a spot on the year end highlight blog.

We went to the state fair, ate some cheese, got a bootleg Curious George monkey for playing the balloon popping games and had some deep fried oreos.  I continued my couponing/deal searching and posted pictures along the way on Facebook and sometimes blogged about it.  Me, Sam & Tim had our annual pumpkin carving contest, unfortunately I lost.  We also celebrated Boo Bear's aka Gabe's third birthday with a wheels theme at a bike park and he got his first bike!

Matt got me a subscription to the paper so I would get coupons delivered to me every Sunday.  Oh, wait, something else also awesome happened this month...what was it?  Oh, yeah, Love Muffin also proposed to me on 11/5/13! This was also the month that my beloved crock pot with the fancy digital timer died so I bought a new less technologically advanced one at a great discounted price of course, I got my hair cut in a new “style” which resulted in my wearing my hair straight 5 out of 7 days a week which made Love Muffin very happy, and I counted down the days until Thanksgiving so I could get out my tree and decorate for Christmas.  I also began wedding planning hardcore and even created a wedding planning notebook to assist me.

We celebrated our first Christmas in our new house, I became addicted to glittery Christmas items, Matt got his backpack blower that he has been drooling over for months, I continued couponing and wedding planning and went crazy over day after Christmas sales and bought even more ornaments...and my Starbucks addiction was in full overload with all the giftcards I received for being a good girl this year.

Well, that pretty much sums up 2013.  It was full of laughter, tears, tantrums, stress, happiness, family, friends and blessings.  I can't wait for 2014.  It's got a lot to live up to after this last year!