CVS Thanksgiving Day Adventure

Friends, I had an adventure this morning! As you know, I recently learned the art of rolling bucks  at drug stores and thought I would put this theory to practice on Thanksgiving morning. With my pockets filled with $7 of extra bucks from a previous purchase and a $10 American Express Gift Card that I had earned (totaling $17.00), I marched into CVS and scored some pretty sweet deals!

CVS Savings Breakdown:

2- Sonicare Essence- On Sale, $44.99 per brush (a $38.00 savings x 2 from Retail Price).
    I applied two coupons (at two different transactions). One coupon $ 25.00 and one coupon $15.00.
    Earned $10.00 per toothbrush in extra bucks. Totaling $20.00 earned.
    Total Cost: $29.98 for two brushes. Retail price $165.98

1- Fiber One, 90 Calorie Brownies- On Sale, $3.99 (a .20 savings from Retail Price).
    I applied one .40 off coupon. Earned $3.99 in extra bucks.
    Total Cost: -.40

1- Colgate Toothpaste- On Sale, $2.87 (a .62 savings from Retail Price).
     I applied one $1.00 off coupon. Earned $2.87 in extra bucks.
     Total Cost: -$1.00

1- Finish Quantum Dish Tabs- On Sale, $2.99 (a $2.30 savings from Retail Price).
    I applied a $1.00 off coupon. Earned $2.99 in extra bucks.
    Total Cost: -$1.00

1- Carmex Lip Balm- On Sale, $1.00 (a .67 savings from Retail Price).
     I applied a  .30 off coupon. Earned $1.00 in extra bucks.
     Total Cost: -.30

1- Irish Spring Deodorant- On Sale, $2.77 (a $2.30 savings from Retail Price).
    Earned $2.77 in extra bucks. I missed out on the coupon there but there was an opportunity to
    make some money!
    Total Cost: Free

I also applied a $4.00 off coupon to the purchase from a CVS via e-mail.
Total Including Extra Bucks earned: $24.28

Did you shop any drugstore deals? If so, tell me about it!

Chicago Travel Tips

Recently, I went to Chicago for business. Chicago is my favorite city! If you have not been there, go!
Whether you are there for a long weekend or a week, it is important to make the most of of your time.
If you have never traveled to the Windy City, it can be overwhelming!

Here are a few tips to help you plan your next trip:

Stay:


1. Palmer House Hilton— I’ve stayed here once and love old Hollywood charm and the grand entrance. Gorgeous! It’s historical but not necessarily upgraded.

2. Silver Smith Hotel— J and I stayed here when we got engaged. But… more than sentimental purposes, this hotel is very old world. It’s located on Jeweler’s Row so the perspective is really neat.

3. Hotel 71— this hotel is sleek! It’s modern and updated.

Good Eats:

1. Meli Cafe— this is my FAVORITE breakfast joint! I love the fresh food and the juice bar.

2. Giordanos— you cannot go to Chicago and not get a deep dish pizza. This is the spot for the best slice!

3. Miller’s Pub— it’s more than Pub Fare. I like to order off of the daily menu because that’s where the yummiest food lives. Grab a greek salad. You won’t regret it!

See Chicago:

1. Grant Park— J proposed in Grant Park in front of Buckingham fountain. LOVE!

2. Shedd Aquarium —  I love sea turtles. The Shedd has the most precious sea turtle. Her name is, Nickel.

3. Navy Pier— There is always something fun to do at the Navy Pier and the best part… it’s by the water!

Shop Chicago:


1. The Magnificent Mile— The buzz of the city takes place here. The shops, the atmosphere, the people.

2. State Street — Great shops and history. Macy’s on State pays homage to the Marshall Field’s Department store from the early 1900’s.

3. Chicago Premium Outlets— My mom and I accidentally stumbled on this beauty. It has everything from Banana to Kate Spade. Wonderful way to shop discount.

Chicago is beautiful any time of the year and always jam packed with fun events. I love the busy city and all that it entails. It is very hard to narrow each area down to three favorites. So…if you use any of these tips while planning your next trip, please stop by and let me know.

Enjoy!

A Smart Shopper: Coupon Class

I’ve been couponing for almost a year. During that year, I have scoured websites and learned through trial and error. However, one night while cyber stalking, I stumbled upon an opportunity to learn more about couponing by hosting a class in my area.

I partnered with Andrea from A Smart Shopper and she came to work and taught a few of my friends and co-workers some valuable information and has ultimately helped improve my shopping experience. It was awesome to hear from an expert and bounce ideas off of friends.

I learned how to:

1- Print two coupons per computer on coupons.com. This really helps when you are trying to print multiple coupons to work on your stockpile (which I do not have… but will be working on!)

2- Roll monies at drug stores like CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid. For example, last week I shopped at CVS and earned $7 of extra bucks. I did not realize that during the next trip, successful coupons, roll that money by purchasing other items that earn more bucks. Duh! Before, I would just blow those bucks on non-sale items, etc. which resulted in smaller savings.

3- Change the way you shop. This was possibly the most valuable lesson I learned during the class. Presently, I shop to save money based on what I need. I buy toilet paper when I am out, etc. However, I learned that I can save more money if I purchase using sales trending, coupons and other retail or manufacture perks. For example, if I know toilet paper will be on sale every six weeks, why don’t I buy six weeks worth of toilet paper when it’s at its lowest price?!? I think I always thought that made me a crazy hoarder— but in fact in simply means I am a smart shopper!

I’ve mentioned before that I spend an hour on coupons each week and I do not intend on changing that habit. However, I have learned through reading and listening to the experts like Andrea, that I can save even more if I tweak my method. By focusing my efforts on what works instead of re-inventing the wheel, I can be successful!



Lord’s Legacy Life Ministries

My mother answered God’s call in her life a few years ago and started a ministry to help individuals with disabilities. Our family struggled a great deal finding services for my sister Dawn (read more about Dawn here) and we wanted other families to have more resources than we had.
The ministry has grown into something glorious and really serves the Lexington community. I am proud to be a part of something as powerful as this. My cup runneth over!
Watch the video and see a glimpse inside my world.
Enjoy!

Camry Lessons.

We recently paid off my car and are now one step closer to financial freedom. We were diligent and able to pay off the car in eighteen months. Cue the cheerleaders! 
However, eighteen months ago, this car was a major source of stress for us. We were two months away from our wedding and my car broke down. Out of anger and fear of losing control, I went to the car dealership and bought a car. Major lapse in judgement! 

Although this circumstance was not ideal, Jason and I learned a few valuable lessons from this experience. 
Lesson 1: Heather, is NEVER to step on a car lot alone again! Financial decisions should be made jointly and after much consideration. Historically, I leap towards shiny new things and as a result I made a mistake that cost our family thousands of dollars. 
Lesson 2: We needed help! We enrolled in Financial Peace University to help teach us how to deal with our money. Were able to gain knowledge and establish a plan for our financial future. We learned how to talk about money and make compromises to keep us both happy (nerd + free spirit… guess which one I am?!?).

Lesson 3: Communication is key. I was scared about losing my “freedom” and not being able to make decisions solo… I made a decision because I could and it created a lot of stress in both of our lives. I think it was at that point I realized the “I’s” and “me’s” no longer had a place in my life. J and I made a decision to do life together and even though it’s sometimes scary, we can get through anything as long as we take the time to talk it out. In hindsight, if I would have talked about my fears, I may not have had a new car OR we could have saved and purchased a nicer one.

Through the purchase of this car, we were able to change the way we live and for that I am thankful. We cannot wait to continue working on our debt snowball and start throwing money at our next goal.

Zumba Fitness 2 House Party

I hosted a Zumba Fitness 2 House Party this weekend. My girlfriends and I were able to shake our booties and get some swag! We LOVED it! 
House Party sent me a party pack last week. It included the following: Wii belts, Zumba bracelets, coupons for accessories and apparel, one week pass to 24-hour Fitness for the ladies and a copy of the newest wii game and Z Life magazine for me! 
We had such a good time learning how to booty pop and salsa that we almost forgot we were actually working out! Zumba really introduces fun into your work outs and helps you shed calories quickly. We read an article in the Z Life magazine about Mandisa and her weight loss journey and were able to use that as a platform to encourage one another to stay active and eat better. 
I love having the opportunity to fellowship with friends and am glad we were able to come together in a healthy way. Thanks, House Party for making my weekend so special! 




Good Read– Life, In Spite of Me

(Source: Amazon)

Like most teenagers, Kristen made poor choices. Her choices led to feelings of despair and failure that ultimately led to her attempting suicide and failing. Life, In Spite of Me by Kristen Anderson is a story about second chances. God gave Kristen a second chance and restored her ability to live fully. Despite her struggles, God guided her to not only overcome her medical diagnoses but physical and mental shortcomings. Kristen’s life now centered around Christ has allowed her to achieve goals and be a symbol of hope for teens in similar circumstances.

Kristen’s story brought me back to my teenage life and the hardship that I personally endured. As a teenager, I struggled with depression and feelings of inadequacy. I tried to fill the void with a variety of different things and always felt let down. It was not until I fully surrendered my life to Christ that I was able to change. 

Similarly, Kristen had to change her way of living in order to lead the life God called for her. Throughout the book, she talks openly about not only her struggles but the positive forces in her life that helped lead her to an intimate relationship with Christ. Her family and friends helped guide her towards a life that was “clean, forgiven, new.” A life that was dedicated to following God and helping others.

One of the most powerful ways she connected with her reader was by inserting encouraging scriptures and little notes throughout the book. The notes showed the pureness of her heart. She presented the reader with the opportunity to dig a little deeper and reflect on their own circumstance.

This story is precious in every way and would be excellent for any teenager or young adult struggling to find their way. There is hope in the Lord and Kristen’s inspiring story leaves you feeling refreshed and reminded of the miracle of life. 



**WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group provided this book to me for free in exchange for this honest review as part of their Blogging for Books program. **

Love, Loss, and What I Wore

I was in Chicago last week for business and my mom and I went to see Love, Loss, and What I Wore an Off-Broadway production that has captured women all over the nation. I LOVED it!

As women, we really do go through life and connect with our clothes… or at least I DO! I remember vividly my first bra, my mom dressing my sister and I in matching sailor outfits for Easter, my prom dress, the suit I wore to my great grandmother’s funeral, my wedding dress, etc. Don’t you?!?

This collection of stories that tackles the life of women and how it relates to our clothes and accessories. It was tear jerking and hilarious at the same time! If you have a chance, you should grab your mom or a girlfriend and go see Love, Loss, and What I Wore. You won’t regret it!

Painting with a Twist

Earlier this week, my life group and I had the coolest experience. We went to Painting with a Twist and made this cross:

PWAT is awesome because it truly does not matter what your artistic skill is; the goal is to learn to paint with instruction in a fun environment with friends. The instructors are fun loving and skilled and they teach you little tricks to ensure that your painting efforts are successful! We had PB&J sandwiches, cookies and soda and laughed our way through the class.

Another cool thing about PWAT is the way everyone’s personalities shine through their painting. Despite the fact that we all had the same subject (Cross), we all ended up with very different pieces.

I’m grateful for the ladies in my life group and the gals that I met during our class. It was truly a fresh spin on our traditional ladies night! 


Acorn Snacks

If you’ve been reading this blog for any time at all, it’s clear to see that I’m a lover of all things autumn. I made these little treats for Jason’s soccer team this weekend. 
Aren’t they cute? Cute enough to eat 100! 
Here’s the recipe: 
– Nutter Butter Minis
– Chocolate Kisses
– Chocolate Icing 
Enjoy!