A couple of late gifts..

After a couple of months for no personal purchases, because of the holidays, I decided to put some money towards me!

The great thing is, I got each of these for quite a steal. I saved about $100 alone on these two items!

First gift to me were new shoes for work. I’m a flat shoes gal, thus the reason I chose the moniker of Mrs. Ballet Flat on Weddingbee. My current flats had the sole separating from the shoe, so some new ones were needed!

These retail on Nordstrom for $95, but RueLaLa had them for $45. I would never spend $45 on work shoes, ever. (Yeah, I’m cheap…) However, I had a $30 credit, essentially paying $15 for these! (plus shipping and handling)

For this next gift to me, I love to bake. I get even more excited with pretty kitchen stuff. I’ve been lusting over some Emile Henry bakeware, but again, I just couldn’t justify the $$ to spend on it. These retail for $45 each, but this pie dish was $25 on One Kings Lane. I had a $10 credit for this site, so the pie dish became $15 (plus shipping and handling).

I am so excited about the gifts to myself, but more importantly, I love a good deal, which makes it even more exciting!

I’m sure most of you are members of either sites, but if you are interested, here’s a brief description of each, with a link to an invite since these sites are invite only. :)

RueLaLa (invite) sells mostly clothes, but they sometimes sell home decor, kitchen stuff, accessories and makeup for up to 70% off.

One Kings Lane (www.onekingslane.com/invite/joinokl) sells mainly home decor items, but they also offer accessories, and kitchen stuff for huge discounts!

Have you gotten any good deals since the holidays?

Oops!

Seems like I nearly forgot about today! I’m at a wedding, eating muffulettas and watching people jam to “We are family” which must be the longest song ever..

Oh yeah and people are randomly yelling “Who Dat!”…..seems like you can’t forget an NFL team in Louisiana no matter the occasion….sigh.

Anyway, I won’t be able to write a real post today but I’ll bring pictures here soon!

Oh El Nino!

I appreciate you for killing the hurricane season of 2009. However, I have a bone to pick with you now.

Winter season…El Nino, you are seriously geographically confused. See, this is Louisiana. Louisiana doesn’t see weather in the 20s, much less hear/see snow almost 3 times in one season.

I don’t want to wait until Tuesday to see lows in the 40s, so if you’d like to send Louisiana a nice surprise of sunshine, that would be most excellent.

Signed,

Lady who only has sleeveless dresses and has to attend a wedding tomorrow

Protect your blog!

Ever since I’ve gotten into blogging, I’ve always wondered about people who would want to take my blog content. I mean, I just have a measly WordPress, but you never know if someone is out there to steal your great ideas and get the credit that is due to you!

Luckily, from what I’ve seen, no one has stolen images and credit has been linked back to my blog when fellow bloggers use my ideas. However, just to prepare myself, I got my two blogs copyrighted.


Image source

MyFreeCopyright is a website that allows you to copyright your blogs or other creations for free. If it did come down to it, this would serve as proof that your entries were originally from your blog. In my opinion, it’s better than nothing, and heck, what does it hurt?

So, what are you waiting for? Copyright your blog!

What Can I Buy for $1?

Today, I found myself at the mall waiting in line for 45 minutes. What was I waiting for? A $10 gift card. It might not be worth it to some, but for a penny pincher like me, completely worth it.

I find myself shopping for some basics at Dollar Tree repeatedly, because they are great deals that I want to share. I totally remind myself of that McDonald’s commercial, challenging myself to find great deals for a dollar!

Be aware though, there are some things in Dollar stores that really aren’t good deals as well, however, in my experience, these things are great deals!

  • Greeting cards: at 2/$1, it completely beats the pants off of cards that are $2-$5 each!
  • Gift Bags: $1 each for all sizes vs. $3 and up for bags at other retailers and they are just as cute/nice!
  • Tissue Paper: it can be about $3 for a package of tissue paper, vs. $1 for a pack of 30 sheets in either white or different colors. A deal indeed!
  • Mylar Balloons: they come inflated for every occasion and are $1 vs. $3 plus!
  • Posterboard: you can buy 3 sheets for a dollar. We bought a bunch of this for the garage sale. They also have foamboard for $1. This is a great deal, since it’s a little less than $1 for one sheet of posterboard and $3 for foamboard.
  • Scrapbooking supplies: $1 each for cute stickers, rub-on transfers, markers, etc.? Deal!
  • Pregnancy/Ovulation tests: when the time comes for us to TTC, you better believe that I’ll be raiding the store for these!
  • Photo Frames: they have a great selection available in many sizes!
  • Disposable pans/containers for food: I like to buy some of these for occasions when I know I’m going to share cooked food with family. I hate nagging people for my Rubbermaid containers back, so this makes it a no-brainer.

Do you like shopping at Dollar stores? What are your favorite finds there?

Here’s the Bzz…

I absolutely love freebies and great deals, as you probably can already tell!

A great way to try out new things for free is to become a BzzAgent. BzzAgent is a website that works with companies who are trying to market new products. These companies send products to selected BzzAgents to sample, review and spread the word about. It’s a great thing to be a member of, and most of all, it’s FREE to join!

All you have to do is beef up your profile by taking a few surveys ever so often, and then randomly, you’ll get invites to join campaigns. You can accept or decline them. Most of them are free campaigns, meaning they send you the product absolutely free with coupons to share with others. Some of them cost money, though, and I just reject those. No big deal.

I have sampled things from Max Factor Make-Up to Bic Soleil Razors, and now, I’m trying out Softsoap’s Nutri Serum body wash.

BzzAgent usually sends full sized products, but this time, I got 6 little sample bottles (3 0f each type – infused with Omega 3&6, the other infused with Vitamin E) for free with some $1 off coupons to share. I’d love to share these on the blog, but I’ve given them away to family members.

The claim on these is that they are infused with these nutrient-rich, softening serum pearls, which help to moisturize your skin and feel refreshed. After trying both, I think I can write a pretty good review on these.

This is a fairly priced body wash at about $3.50/bottle, but after using this for a few weeks, I can say that it doesn’t really stand out to me as an outstanding body wash. I usually use Bath & Body Works shower gel, which I stock up on when they are $4/bottle on sale, and this was really no different for me. Just being completely honest here. Unless you find the beads pretty cool looking, this isn’t anything to run to the store for.

This is the first product that was sent to me that I didn’t go nuts over, so I’m not being totally weird here. Like I said, I’m being honest.

I have to thank BzzAgent for allowing me to try the product, and I can’t wait for more campaigns in the near future.

$367.86…lesson learned

That number shows how much of a wedding junkie I was. This number is how much money I’ve made (so far) from selling things that I originally bought for the wedding that ended up ultimately being useless for our wedding. Included in that number is the Gocco, which I sold for $185 after using it MANY TIMES though.

I know I spent more than what I sold the items for, but this serves as a great reminder to brides. Please don’t make the ring kill your wallet. Just because something says “wedding” or is in your colors, does not mean you will use it. Chances are, if you are like me, you will put things in a basket and forget they existed until 5 months post-wedding.

However, if you were like me and you have things to sell, here’s some of the services I used to help get rid of the items!

First of all, I gathered everything and put it in a basket in our craft room. That way, when I sold something, I knew it would be right there, in the basket, with no need to worry about where I put it last.

Then, I made a Google site. Very simple to use and format. It doesn’t need to be pretty…it just needs to show pictures and descriptions!

I posted the link on my signatures for websites that I post on, including  the Nest. Make sure your community allows you to post a link for classifieds before doing so.

Then, I used classified boards specifically for leftover wedding items to make people aware of what was available.

The Knot/Nest’s “Trash to Treasure” Board
Weddingbee’s Classifieds

I reposted/bumped my posts in hopes of selling things and that helped a lot.

After a week or so of posting, I would reduce prices, sometimes by $1 or by $3. I did this continuously with reposting until the item sold. Also, you can write things like “Willing to take offers on multiple items”, and that can help multiple things sell quickly!

Now, I will say that I still have some things left, so I’m not an expert, but I think these will help a fellow past bride get rid of that junk with a nice chunk of change in your wallet! :)

A day late, but hey, I need a challenge

After reading so much about NaBloPoMo on Twitter lately, I decided to join it today. Technically, I needed a post yesterday, but the prizes don’t appeal to me anyway. This is more of a challenge for me to see if I can indeed do 30 29 blog updates this month! Now, to ponder some things to blog about. I wonder if I’m that interesting or if you will get bored of me by November 30th!

8/29/05

This date is forever embedded in my mind. It’s the day that Mother Nature tried to take away my hometown, New Orleans.

new orleans1

Mother Nature came in the form of a major hurricane.

It was devastating to the area, but thankfully, not to the point to where the city couldn’t come back.

I think Katrina proved to New Orleans that the city is not ready to take on a full-on category 5 storm. Because of that, the Corps of Engineers is working day in and day out to protect the city from what is called “100 year storm”. Many people are against the Corps of Engineers, but from working with these dedicated people for almost a year and a half, I can attest that the people who work there are amazing, intelligent and determined to reach this goal!

It’s relieving to see all of the efforts out in the New Orleans area, because the damage that occurred 4 short years ago was really scary. I remember not being able to talk to my own family for days after the storm, because the cell phone towers were absolutely flooded with calls. Eventually, cell phones were only able to get through to 911 since things were pretty crazy.

I remember religiously watching CNN from my dorm room in awe, because so many places like the mall I went to as a teen was flooded with alligators swimming around it. I remember trying to find out what happened at home. I was so scared because my parents live right off the Mississippi River levee. Thankfully, my parents’ home was fine, but as for my grandmother and aunts? It was absolutely terrible. Their homes were flooded almost halfway up the first floor. They have since recovered, but it was a horribly painful process to get their houses back to normal and many priceless items were destroyed in the flood.

When the storm was over, while school was still closed, our basketball arena became a limbo place for New Orleans refugees. They couldn’t keep so many people there, so it became a rest place for a few hours before you were sent to either Shreveport or Houston, TX. So, my friends and I spent our afternoons volunteering there, making sure people received MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat) and understood where the buses would be taking them. I met so many hopeful people there, but it was, at the same time, very upsetting, since these were people I probably passed everyday when I would be home.

6 months later, I decided to finally go home and face it in person. My mother drove me to the Lakeview area, which was right next to a levee breach. I took some pictures of what I saw.

neworleans2This home was right across the street from the levee breach. You can see the water line on this home very clearly. (Just look at the brick that has an orangey hue.)

neworleans6

You can see the water line very distinctly here, as well as if you look very closely, you can see a white “X” painted on the house to the right of the door. That meant the house was searched for bodies or animals. It listed the date above it when the search occurred, which looks like 9/21. If anything was found, that would be posted on the house as well.

To this day, you can drive by parts of New Orleans where homeowners opted to keep these marks on their homes, in memory of what happened 4 years ago.

neworleans4
The area of Lakeview had many expensive homes around there. Many of the homeowners simply abandoned their homes, deciding not to return to the city. It was overwhelming to return to what was left. So, insurance companies offered very small amounts of money to buy the land back. This house was easily over $200K pre-Katrina.

It’s really crazy what happened 4 years ago, but every time I drive back home from Baton Rouge, I see more and more places still coming back. It’s great to see the spirit of New Orleans at its highest ever, and I hope it stays that way for a long time. There is no place like home. :)

Dear MyCokeRewards…

I used to be a devout coke drinker and points collector. I would save every 20 oz. cap, every 12 pk. box piece and even embarrassingly raid the recycle bin at work when I saw a bunch of 12 pk. boxes in there for codes. I was dedicated and determined to get a huge load of points!

Then it happened. A visit to the dentist explained it all…I had 8 cavities, 3 of which were so deep, they had to do a root canal and crown. Dang soda, you cost me over $3000 in dental services because I loved you so.

So, we broke up. Cold turkey. I forgot about all 1700 of my points (yes 1700) and decided to go to water and juices. In the past few months, all I had my mind on was the wedding and cleaning the house. I forgot about my reward points….until last night.

I thought about my 1700 points and thought, oh nice! I should redeem these for a killer prize (or two).

I could have won free movie tickets for a date night, free flowers from 1-800-FLOWERS, a Nike gift card, or even a really nice OXO garden tools kit.

However, I forgot about a 90 day inactive account clause. I logged in only to find that my balance was 0 points. I’m heartbroken. Sure, these items were worth about $25, but I was counting on you, MyCokeRewards.

I hope someone at Coke will see this blog and give me my 1700 points back. It’s so doubtful, but it’s a stretch. I’m tempted to call or email but there is no contact information. I’m sure my busy soda boycotting booty is no exception to the clause, but I should be rewarded for the root canals and recycle bin digging in SOME way. :(

Sincerely,
The (now) water chugger