Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Summer Savings

I hope your week as started out wonderfully!

This past weekend I had my first couponing success. I've never actually watched that Extreme Couponing show that comes on TLC (...I think that's the right channel) but I fully support the idea. I like saving money and I am excellent at hoarding things. And best of all,   I love cutting out coupons. I find it relaxing; it's the best part of getting the Sunday newspaper (I am being an awful journalism major right now).

Back to the shopping trip. I have been coveting this customizable planner from Staples for several months now, hoping it would go on sale. (I hate paying full price for things, call me cheap if you'd like and prepare to be amazed). I also recently became a Staples Rewards member.

Did you know that if you turn in your old ink cartridges to Staples you get $2 back for each of them (not on the spot)?  You can turn in up to 10 a month. So one day after work last month, I turned in 6 ink cartridges. I've been patiently awaiting my $12 back in rewards that finally arrived last week.

I also get emails from Staples and they went me a 20% of any one item coupon. With both of these awesome discounts I decided that it was time.

The planner in the center is the one that I have been conveting. It was $14.99. However, there was a buy any customizable notebook and getting a polycover customizable notebook (valued at $7.99) free, which is how I ended up with the green notebook! I needed a water because I have no AC in my car and I was super dehydrated; it was $1.69.

Blue leather notebook                    14.99
Green polycover notebook               7.99
Buy one, get one deal                     -7.99
Subtotal                                        14.99 
20% off                                          -3.00  
Subtotal                                        11.99
Water                                            1.69
Subtotal                                        13.68
Staples Rewards                            -12.00
Subtotal                                          1.68
Tax                                                 0.07
Grand Total                                               1.75 

Yeah, I totally paid $1.75 for all three of those items. Essentially that's as if I bought the water by itself and got a .01 cent discount on it.

Needless to say, I felt pretty accomplished. So I celebrated my spending way too much money at Target. Ugh, maybe I don't understand this saving money thing after all!

What are your thoughts on couponing? Have you ever attempted it? What's your greatest couponing success?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Winding Down and Gearing Up

Another weekend has come and gone. Every Sunday I spend some time winding down from my busy weekend and gearing up for the work week ahead. 

This Sunday I had a lot to wind down from. This weekend included attending a baby shower for one of my best friends from high school, eating dinner with my family, and hanging out in Richmond with one of my newest friends!

One of my first Sunday activities was one that I normally do every Sunday - paint my toe nails! I always wear closed toe shoes to work, but I can't stand not having my toes painted. So I opted to partake in this activity while finishing watching "21 Jump Street," featuring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum.

Today I also took the time to straighten my hair while watching some HIMYM (That's "How I Met Your Mother" for you all not familiar with the acronym) on Netflix. That took a couple of episodes. :)

More relaxing despues the hair straightening
After I made myself presentable, I headed out to do some shopping for some staples I am going to need for the week -- mostly food! I did need to pick up some school supplies for the fill-a-backpack-for-a-needy-kid thing we are doing for work. 

Shopping purchases
Going to the grocery store hungry is never good and I was craving all sorts of crazy things! For instance, I really wanted some salad! With little tomatoes!

Now I really should be asleep but I can't stop watching the Closing Ceremony of the Olympics. I plan to watch this for a little and then paint my nails quickly before bed!

What do you do to wind down from your weekend and gear up for the work week?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Weekend in the Outer Banks

The weekend before last I spent some time down in the Outer Banks with my family. They has been there all week; however, due to my big girl job I had to settle for a shorter stay.

I've been going to the Outer Banks since I was one year old and have vacationed down there on nine separate occasions, if my counting is correct.

Though I've been there so frequently, this past weekend I had some new Outer Banks experiences. My family rented a place in Corolla, which is on the north end of the OBX. I'm used to staying much further south around Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, Nags Heas, etc.

Our house was a mile from the Currituck Lighthouse which was one of the lighthouses in the OBX that I'd never had the opportunity to visit. So they saved their visit to the lighthouse until Saturday so I could go too! In my reading about the tourist attraction , I learned we could climb the lighthouse for $7 each.

Guess who convinced her whole family that this was a good idea. Hint: It was the same girl who is afraid of heights, gets dizzy easily, and has a slight fear of stairs. Note to self, if you go 214 stairs up, you have to go down 214 stairs. It was an amazing, heart-racing experience.

Corolla is also home to a long stretch of beaches only accessible by 4x4 vehicles. Also, I found out that just over 100 wild horses live on these beaches.

Anyway, on our way down to where you can actually sit on the beach, guess what we saw on the beach! A DEAD SHARK! Terrifying, right?

On another note we did see some of the wild horses. It was amazing! You have to stay at least 50 feet from them but I got some nice photos!

On Sunday we did some souvenir shopping. JMU was well represented at the Outer Banks and I bought it all up! I also got my annual Brew Thru T-shirt which is a must-have every time I go to the Outer Banks!

All in all, it was an awesome weekend and a good break from my big girl life.

What's your favorite beach to go to? What are your favorite things to do at the beach?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

An Obsession of Olympic Proportions...

I am obsessed with the Olympics! There's nothing better than having something to watch on tv every night and cheering on your country to win the gold.  
I still remember the first Olympics I watched as a child. I was eight years old and the Summer Olympics were being held in Atlanta, Georgia. 

I have vague memories of heading out to route 1 in Dinwiddie to watch the Olympic torch make its way to Atlanta. 

My first Olympic love was gymnastics. I remember watching the "Magnificent 7" win the team gold in womens' gymnastics. I decided at that moment I was going to be a gymnast. I even had a folder with USA's gymnastics team on it. For the next two years, my parents paid for me and my sisters to take gymnastics. As most of you know, I'm athletically challenged. It did not work out well. I was not fearless enough for gymnastics. 

Be glad I used this photo instead of my old gymnastics recital photos.
Next came the Winter Olympics of 1998. I decided that figure skating was going to be my thing and I watched Tara Lipinski win the gold. That school year, I attended every skate night my elementary school sponsored at the roller skating rink in efforts to eventually become a figure skater. I never could master that whole not-falling-down thing.

I've followed those two events in all the Olympics since then along with many others. I watched Michael Phelps win his numerous gold medals in Beijing. I watched the USA ice hockey team attempt to overtake Canada in the Winter Olympics. Last night I watched the USA women's gymnastics take the gold for the first time since 1996 when I first fell in love with the Olympics. 

The Olympics make me want to accomplish something (mostly on the athletic front). I always get so emotional listening to the athletes' back stories and watching their hard work result in medals.

What are your favorite Olympic sports? What are your thoughts on the Olympics?