Sunday, August 5, 2018

Life, guys. Just life.

It's August. The year is more than half way over and I have what, maybe 3 or 4 posts this year? (I just looked, and seriously one post?!) I couldn't tell you. All I know is, life is busy. Life goes by fast and it doesn't always go how you plan it. I have struggled so hard with keeping up with this blog this year. Like, struggled. Hard. I don't know what it is! I guess between working, kids, moving and just dealing with the day to day, this gets tossed by the wayside. And I hate that. I want to be able to keep up with this, but most days even the clean laundry gets neglected and doesn't get put away until about a week later.

Take time to enjoy the small things. We have about a week and a half left of summer before school starts for Laci and Easton (Pre-K!) so we are soaking up as much time together as we can. We haven't done everything I had planned for this summer, but that's ok. The important thing is that we have spent quality time together as a family. These last few days that we have before sending them back to their mom will hopefully consist of swimming, fishing and making cinnamon roll cake (and a trip to Starbucks per Laci's request). Take the downtime to enjoy the little things, though. Seriously, it will make a difference!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Guys. It's 2018

August you guys. August was my last post. Is it safe to say yet that I stink at keeping up with this blog? I don't get how people do it every single day! It's just too much work! Props to the ones who stick with it no matter what.

The past year has been a learning process for me. By learning process I mean one thing. Makeup. December 2016 brought with it being introduced to the beauty community on YouTube. Specifically makeup tutorials/HG products, etc. And then I bought my first high end palette. And the rest (yes I'll say it), is history.

Over the past, we'll say year, my collection has accumulated. To something I never thought I would have any interest in whatsoever. I've learned a lot about makeup and skin care within the past year and my passion is only going to continue to grow. My Instagram account isn't solely dedicated to makeup posts (and it never will be) but I am trying to use that platform to help grow and expand my love and interest in the beauty community.  

I want to add to this blog those products that I love and maybe do reviews on here. I am also researching and looking into maybe starting a YouTube channel in the future once we get a house. It's so overwhelming between lighting, cameras, video editing software and other equipment. It's nothing that I want to do right at this moment, I definitely want to take my time and research as much as I can. If you have any advice, please share!

I'm going to end this post with a short review of the first high end eye shadow palette I purchased. Cheers everyone!

Too Faced Sweet Peach Palette

I can't remember what made me decide to purchase this palette. I guess I had seen it across YouTube and saw that everyone loved it. Plus it smelled good! I wish I had gone with a more neutral palette as my first purchase (like the UD Naked Palette) because I didn't use this too much. Even to this day I don't reach for it a whole lot. Yes, it smells good and the colors are pretty but I find them hard to work with. I usually have to bring in another palette (or at least a single or two to blend and transition) and it's just not my favorite. I need to work with it more and try some of the colors I haven't yet. But all in all, it's a palette I don't reach for often.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Easy Ways to Save

Long post ahead; I apologize now!

Who here doesn’t like to save money?

*crickets chirping*

If you know me at all you know I love saving money. Sales, deals, coupons; you name it, I probably use it/have heard of it. I am in no way an expert on it nor am I an extreme coupon person. That would just take too much time! But when it comes to everyday, money saving tips I got the scoop! I’m sure most of you have heard of the following things I am going to tell you about but you might be skeptical. On some I have inserted an image of my total savings just to give you an idea of how much money you could be saving! Most of these are through specific apps on your phone (which should be available across all devices). So keep on reading to find out how to save some mullah!

1. Ibotta: This is by far my favorite app out there for in store shopping. Ibotta is a cash back app in which you unlock rebates, buy those products and scan your products/receipt when you get home and viola! You get money back. I love using this app and I have gotten into the habit of looking at available rebates before I go shopping. Wal-Mart has the largest amount of rebates (go figure) so that’s where I do most of my shopping. They also have Target, CVS, Walgreen's, local grocery and specialty stores and they even have some places like Best Buy and Joann Craft stores (those are different, you have to have the checkout person scan the barcode within the app to use it at these stores). Just make sure you look through the requirements for cash back before going to these specific stores. My lifetime cashback as you can see below is over $300 and it’s totally worth it! I have my cashback go straight into my PayPal account which I can then transfer to my bank account. You can “cash out” once you hit $20 and you get a $10 welcome bonus just for signing up and submitting a rebate! You can also cash out your earnings by getting a gift card as well. Some that are available are Target, Wal-Mart, Amazon, Best Buy and more! Use my code utqfawt to get started! 
*Tip for Wal-Mart pay users: If you use Wal-Mart pay like I do sometimes, you know that you don’t get a physical receipt that it’s on the Wal-Mart app. All you have to do is e-mail it to yourself and you can scan the QR code from there to still get your money back.

2. Ebates: This is another great app that you can use if you do a lot of online shopping. I know in today’s world it can be easier to buy things online and I know a good amount of people now do their Christmas shopping online as well. Why not earn money while spending it?! With Ebates you just download the app (or go through their website) search for the online store you are going to purchase from, and click on the link to get to the website. That’s it! Once you make your purchase Ebates will credit you with however much percentage was listed and viola! It’s that simple. There are a TON of stores that participate. Throughout the year Ebates has random days or weeks where you can earn double cash back and sometimes they have promotions where you can earn up to 10% cash back! It doesn’t matter how you pay for what you’re buying so you can use PayPal, gift cards or certificates and you can still use promo codes as well. Ebates is also great because they also list sales that are happening on websites and sometimes have money saving codes as well. Unlike Ibotta, Ebates will send you a “big fat check” every quarter and it can be directly sent to your PayPal or they will mail you a check, whichever you choose. My next payout is next month and I'm getting $24 back! It sounds like a gimmick but my total back is over $140. Click the link to get started!  
 * Reminder: You must go through their website or app in order to receive money back. 

3. Wal-Mart: If you do your grocery shopping at Wal-Mart, they have an app you can download and you can use their feature called Savings Catcher. Once you checkout, you open the app, find the little piggy bank symbol for the Savings Catcher and scan your QR code. Wal-Mart automatically compares prices to similar stores (Target, Dollar General, other grocery stores) and if a store advertises a lower price, Wal-Mart gives you the difference! You can set it to where it automatically loads an e-gift card that you can use in store or you can add it all later at your convenience. I have mine set to where it reloads automatically. You can then either set it to where your Wal-Mart Pay uses it when you check out or you can use it later as a gift card. If you use Wal-Mart pay all you have to do is click “Submit Receipt” after you pay and that’s it!

4. Target Cartwheel: I feel like everyone knows about this one! The Cartwheel app is an app for Target shoppers and it kinda works like Ibotta. You create an account (you can sign in with your Facebook like Ibotta which I forgot to tell you!) and you can go through all the available offers. Some offers are $$ off but most are % off like 5% or something of the like. The Up & Up brands are almost always on there. What’s nice is that as you’re shopping you can scan the item you’re about to put in your cart to see if there is an active offer for that item, instead of having to scroll through all of them before you shop. It will let you know if there is an active offer for that item and if there’s not, it will let you know of a similar item that is available. For instance, if you scan Tide detergent and there isn’t an active offer it will show you one for the Target brand of detergent. At checkout all you do is show the checkout person your barcode associated with your Cartwheel (found within the app) and voila! The offers are applied. Most associates will ask if you have a Cartwheel app. I know Target also offers 5% off always for using your Target credit card so if you combine that with your Cartwheel you’ll save even more.

5. Printable Coupons: I love actual coupons. Having the physical piece of paper in my hand that says I can save $1.00 makes me happy and helps me feel good about saving. There are always coupons in the paper on Sunday but I found recently that they kinda suck (You’ve seen those. “This is not an actual coupon, go online to print”). You can create an online account with the P&G brand saver and you can print coupons from there. Another site I love using is I have gotten a good amount every week from this website.
*Tips with coupons: One of the great things I love about couponing is combining them with Ibotta. For instance: I have a coupon right now for $4.00 off a Neutrogena makeup product. Ibotta has an active rebate right now for $4.00 back on any Neutrogena makeup product. Combine the coupon with your Ibotta offer and bam! A $7.00 makeup product has made you a $1.00 profit. I know it doesn’t sound like much but if you think about you’d essentially be getting that product for free. This happens quite often (not so drastic savings all the time) but it’s pretty neat to have a paper coupon and an electronic offer at the same time.

6. Survey Mini: A lot of people don’t know about this app. I didn’t know about it until my good friend Anna told me about it. Survey Mini is an app you download. You keep your location settings on for it and when you visit stores, you receive a short survey about your visit (which is why it needs the location turned on even if you’re not using the app). The questions are generally “why did you choose this store, how was your food and beverage (if purchased) how friendly was the staff” etc. The surveys are generally short and usually take less than a minute to answer. Once completed you typically receive points (100-500 but 100 to 200 is the norm) and once you reach a certain number of points you can redeem them for gift cards. Sometimes though you can receive offers for $$ off or a free item. For example, I’ve had multiple “Get a Route 44 free with the purchase of a regular drink” from Sonic. You show them the code on your phone and you’re good to go. I have redeemed two gift cards so far, one for a $25 one for Michael’s and I can’t remember the other one. It takes a while to earn enough points to redeem but it’s free and doesn’t take much time!

7. Retail Me Not: This is a simple one. It's an app you download and you keep your location on to use it. While you're out shopping, it uses your location to see where you are and it will load offers for stores that you are close to. For instance, if you are in a shopping area with a Kohl's near by it will automatically load all the available offers for Kohl's for you. It won't have the specific ones like you would get in the mail tailored to you but it does have general coupons. All you do is show the barcode or savings code to the cashier and that's it! Savings applied. 

I hope this was informative and helpful to someone. I’m sorry the post is soooo long but I love saving money and any tips I have I love sharing with other people. Any money saving tips/apps you use that weren’t mentioned?? Happy saving friends!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Ratty, Tatty and Torn

I've always been the type of person that whenever I buy something new, it sometimes takes me a while to use it. Makeup and makeup brushes, candles, craft supplies, new sneakers and boots and countless other things because I'm just that strange. Why you might ask? The answer, my dear fellow (and hopefully slightly weird like me) friends, is that I don't want to ruin it. I like to have that "new" look to it and I like to keep it that way. I don't want to use it over and over again and then it end up looking all raggedy and messed up. I want it to stay pretty! I don't want that "worn" look to my things. 

What I really have never given thought to is what the worn look implicates or implies. It means that something is so loved, used so often and that it is probably a favorite item in the house. It makes perfect sense. You don't buy something you've wanted for a while only to leave it in a corner collecting dust. I can't remember who exactly but when I was at Liberty one of our convocation speakers told us a story about a pair of inline skates he had wanted. He saved and saved his money until he had enough money to buy them. He bought them and what happened? He didn't want to ruin them so they sat in the box they came in and eventually they were too small for him (there was a religious message in there somewhere, but I can't remember what it was). Point is, use whatever it is. I'm like Phoebe from friends in some ways. If you have something and never use it, I end up thinking "It's not doing what it was made for! Its sad that it can't fulfill its potential!" Like her being disappointed in the Christmas trees. They get cut and not all of them get to go to someone's home and have lights and decorations placed upon it and presents laid underneath. I feel like I am getting off topic somewhat. 

Case in point: I have a pair of oven mitts I bought at Wal-Mart for traveling. Its a cheap pair of oven mitts. Obviously I am not concerned about them getting dirty or torn (unless it's a cute Pioneer Woman pair!). Anyway, I was looking at them the other day and thought to myself "Man, those are looking kinda dingy." They have stains on them and one mitt even got too close to a stove eye and got a wee bit singed. But then I got to thinking. These oven mitts have seen a lot of meals passed through them. They've seen one of the ways I like to show my love to my main squeeze. I love to cook. I use them often. And they have the 'scars' to show it. 

One of my most treasured things I have kitchen related is my grandmother's cookbook. This thing boys and girls. It has seen an infinite amount of meals passed over it as my grandmother cooked for my grandfather. It has seen muffins and cookies and casseroles that she and I have made together. It holds a lot of memories. Sure, a lot of pages are stained, some torn and a lot of pages written on, but it just means it was used to its full potential. 

"A Bible that is falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn't" 
Charles Spurgeon

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Sauce Heaven

Apparently my New Year's Resolution to keep up this blog is failing miserably. I haven't even posted our wedding pictures on Facebook yet! To say I have an issue with remembering this thing is an understatement. But enough about my scattered brain.

You guys. This sauce. Rachel Schultz has a recipe for a sauce very similar and her blog was one of the first places I saw this delicious and delectable recipe. Mine is a little different, having taken it from Alyssa over at the Recipe Critic. The sauce with her recipe is from the parmesan chicken one. I made this a few weeks ago when my main squeeze had the flu and he just wanted a simple pasta with some sort of tomato sauce. I used her recipe, but omitted the chicken because he wasn't super hungry. Thus, the sauce has been used multiple times and with countless varieties of pasta. Our favorite is bow tie, but you can certainly use fettuccine or maybe even spaghetti! I want to experiment with this sauce like I did with the Alfredo sauce, so hopefully that will happen soon!
But anyways. This sauce you guys. It's a tomato cream sauce and it has such good flavor! The good thing is that it doesn't take much nor does it take very long to make (bonus!). It's so delicious that I could just top some garlic bread with it and be a happy camper. I don't stray from Alyssa's recipe much. I add a pinch of crushed red pepper for a tiny bit of heat and I add a little more cheese (we're cheese lovers around here). Oh. And I omit the onions, because duh. Onions. A little time on the stove and you have a great tomato cream sauce! Enjoy my friends.

I know it's not the best picture, but trust me. It's delicious!

Tomato Cream Sauce

1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped (I omitted)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese (the canned stuff)
1 teaspoon McCormick Italian Seasoning Herb Grinder (I could not find this, so I just use regular Italian seasoning)
salt and pepper to taste
½ cup shredded parmesan cheese

How to make said perfect sauce:

-Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a saucepan and add the onion and garlic. Sauté for a couple of minutes until tender. Add the tomato sauce, heavy cream, parmesan cheese, and Italian seasoning. Salt and pepper to taste.
-Bring to a simmer until thickened. Serve over pasta of choice.

Note: The shredded parmesan cheese is meant to top the chicken with in Alyssa's recipe. If I am not cooking chicken with this, I just add it in with the sauce. I use fresh parmesan cheese, not the pre-shredded stuff. It melts easier!