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Monday, November 16, 2009

Saving Big $$ - Here's How!

Many of my friends have asked me "HOW" in the world I am saving so much $$ on my groceries, toiletries, cleaning products, etc. I am going to attempt to give you ALL some $$ saving tips that will work regardless of what grocery store is in your area. This is a BRIEF overview on GROCERY and I am happy to answer any specific questions - just be sure to comment below. In a few days, I will blog about the drug stores and how you can work those deals!

GROCERY STORE - Here are my rules:

1 - Shop by a LIST and only buy what's on SALE. Smart shoppers know that sales "cycle" - meaning if something is on sale this week, it will go on sale again. Most sales cycle between 4-8 weeks, so for instance if I need taco kits and they're on sale this week, I will buy enough to hold me the 4-8 weeks until they go on sale again.

2 - SALE ITEMS - Concentrate on the Buy One/Get One Frees. This is a smart strategy. Depending on your grocery store policy, the item will either ring up at half price (meaning you only have to buy one to get the sale price) OR full price (and you must buy two items to take advantage of the sale). Be sure you have a COUPON for EACH buy one/get one free item you're buying. 2 taco kits on BOGO = you need coupons for 2 kits.

3 - COUPONS - SAVE all your coupons. Get them from your Sunday paper. Get them from your uncle who doesn't save his coupons. Have friends that don't coupon save them for you (although I don't understand why someone wouldn't coupon in these tough economic times!). Save the ones you think you won't use, because sometimes a deal comes up that you'll need that coupon! Try to get at least 2 copies of the coupons in every Sunday's paper, then you'll have multiples to take advantage of the buy one/get one free sales that will happen!

4 - BRAND LOYALTY - Forget about it! Don't worry about being loyal to your same brand of peanut butter - buy what is on sale and what you have a coupon for! There are very few exceptions to this rule in my house - COKE products only! Heinz Ketchup only!

5 - COUPON STACKING - Occasionally a store will put out a "store" coupon for a particular product. You can then "stack" that coupon with a "manufacturer" coupon and use 2 coupons per item you purchase. EX: There's a Publix store coupon for Scrubbing Bubbles for $1.00 and you also have a MANUFACTURER coupon for $1.00 on Scrubbing Bubbles. You can use these 2 coupons together to save twice the $$ on your item. This strategy also works at drug stores like CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid. Target also stacks coupons. How do you know whether it's a store or manu. coupon? Look at the top of the coupon and it will state "manufacturers coupon" or "Target coupon/store coupon". See, that was easy!

6 - COMPETITOR COUPONS - Learn whether your local grocery store accepts competitor coupons. These days, many of them do. Find out which ones they accept and concentrate on those. Many stores will accept the store coupons for an individual item and then you can stack them with a manufacturer coupon. For instance, at my Publix, they will accept a Target coupon for ex: $1.00 off a particular item. Again combine that with a manufacturer coupon to save lots of $$$ . Additionally, my store will honor the drugstore coupons that state "$5 off your total purchase". CVS/Rite Aid, etc puts out coupons all the time for $5 off $25 purchase, etc. Become familiar with these policies and learn how to use them to your advantage.

7 - LITTLE SPECIAL THINGS - My Publix store will accept a "Register Reward" from Walgreens as a manufacturer coupon. PLEASE NOTE - this is NOT the norm or standard. Most stores do NOT accept these, we're just very fortunate that our Publix does. I generally have about $8-10 a week in these Register Rewards, which deducts from my overall grocery bill and adds to my savings. Next you'll ask "But HOW do I get these register rewards"? Each week in the Walgreens sale flyer, you'll notice items that will state "Earn $$ Register Rewards with purchase". I get the RR's by purchasing those items. The RR's can be used at either my Publix, OR at Walgreen's on your next purchase. This is a simple way to save $$. Of course anything I purchase to get those RR's, I make certain it's either already FREE (after the RR of course) or I have a high dollar coupon to make it worth my while.

8 - PRICE MATCHING - Note that some stores (Wal Mart, Walgreens, Target for sure) WILL price match an identical item in a competitors ads. They generally will not match the BOGO free items or % off items, but if say milk is $2.99 in another store they will generally match the price.

9 - Last but not least - ORGANIZATION - this one is HUGE. In order to coupon effectively, you have to be organized. You need to know what you have and what you need at all times. Different people use different organization systems that work for them. Me, I haven't found the perfect one yet. I'm still learning. I still make a mess of it, but I'm trying. The biggest thing is going into that grocery store with a PURPOSE and a PLAN. I cannot stress this enough!

WANT TO GET STARTED???? I have links to several of the blogs I follow their advice - see the sidebar to the right. If none of these stores are in your area, google search the store name and savings, coupons, blog, etc. Believe me, regardless of which grocery store you frequent, someone in the blogsphere has figured out how to work their sales, deals and coupons. In these tough economic times, paying full price is unheard of! This is one bandwagon you need to jump on - and quick! :-)

Can't wait to hear from everyone!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Day #9 and I'm a BELIEVER

OK let's be honest. We all have to believe in something, right? For so many years, I have absolutely REFUSED to believe that eating right and exercising was the only thing that would get the weight off and keep it off. I thought there was some "trick", some SECRET that I wasn't privy to. Well.....honestly! I was wrong. DEAD WRONG.

This is DAY #9 OF NO EXERCISE. Laying around the house. Eating junk, especially junk that is EASY. Well guess what! I feel awful. I'm bloated. I've had too many Diet Cokes. Not enough water. Chocolate chip cookies. Pasta. A few salads thrown in for good measure. A few Activia yogurts. But mainly bad stuff and no movement. Hopefully in a few days I will be well enough to get back on the program.

The hardest part is always picking yourself up and starting over again!!! Bad habits are so easy to form, and so hard to break! When you feel discouraged, how do you pick it up again? Is it the motivation of a new piece of clothing? The admiration of a loved one when they compliment your weight loss? Talk to me, I now know for 100% SURE that the diet and exercise work, and they make you feel good about yourself.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Lilly Pulitzer Resort Must Haves !

Editor - Polyvore

WOW I discovered this website called Polyvore - been playing with it for the last hour and ♥♥♥ it! What an EASY way to show you everything I'm dying for from the recent Lilly Pulitzer Resort collection. These are all MUST HAVES. Note the color schemes - I tend to stick to what works best for me. The entire resort collection is absolutely TDF!!!! Lilly has knocked one out of the park this season!

The obsession continues. I don't think you can go to the doctor and get a pill to cure this one! :-)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Kate Spade Sample Sale!

kate spade

Let me tell you guys - being sick, having a powerful pink laptop with a wireless connection, and a working debit card in your possession can be a huge pile of trouble! The fun kind........that is! :-)

This week KATE SPADE had their sample sale. It only happens a few times each year. Love me some KS. Over the past few years I have moved away from the Juicy Couture and Coach and now favor the Kate Spade. Perhaps it's my age, I AM getting older after all! I find their styles a little more classic, overall less trendy and absolutely LOVE the colors. Their pinks and greens go with ALL my Lilly Pulitzer....which everyone knows if I leave the house, I have on some Lilly!

OK to the fun stuff. I got this fabulous WESTBURY drawstring opus bag in the Berry color, and the matching WESTBURY Maria wallet/checkbook in the Berry. I can't wait to rock these all fall and winter. Happy Early Holidays to me!

What designers are calling your name these days? Talk to me!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fatty Tumor AND Shopping, all in the same week!

OH well, sometimes good intentions go by the wayside. I think I told you guys I wasn't feeling too well, right? It turned into full blown something or the other. The good news is I went to the dr. today, and I don't have mono or mumps which was what Mother had me convinced I had. THANK GOODNESS. The "possible" bad news is that it could all be related to this "fatty tumor" I have on the back of my neck. OK now.......don't judge. I realize I'm using the word "FAT" which I really, really hate but that's what the doctor is calling the thing. It's been there for 10+ yrs, but has become larger over the past few. The dr. is concerned this is causing the headaches and some of my other problems. I have been referred to a neurologist for further evaluation and testing. I go visit this dr. next week on Tuesday. UGH. TOTALLY DREADING IT. "IF" - big IF - this fatty tumor is pinching a nerve and causing these problems, it will have to be surgically removed. My first thought was "that's not so bad, it's just a small tumor" but then again, how can you move your body without moving your neck? It's almost impossible! Good grief let's hope and pray I don't have to do this. Dr. already told me, no gym or working out until we get this resolved. I had a VERY difficult time convincing him that I did not injure my neck, etc working out. Surely all that pain I felt at kickboxing wouldn't have done this??? SURELY????

I might go crazy before I can use those pink gloves. I feel so bloated and absolutely MISERABLE. Trying not to eat everything in sight out of sheer boredom if nothing else. I already shopped myself into a frenzy between Kate Spade's sample sale and Lilly Pulitzer's Jubilee sale this week. OOPS. That probably warrants another post to tell you all about it, but it's late and I'm tired. And I think the L-Tab is starting to well my friends!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cool Picture

I went over to the beach this evening right before sunset. Wanted to have an idea of how it was looking since the tropical storm has moved through. Was still VERY rough. Managed to get a super cool photo of the sun setting against the water. There's also a "splash" you can see under the sunset, that's the waves rolling. Unlike the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans, the Gulf of Mexico is generally not very rough. This picture captures it all! I also posted a cool picture of a broken seashell that washed up. That's how I've felt the past few days - broken! I'm sick and I haven't worked out in days! I realize my 40th birthday is coming soon enough and I need to exercise, but until I feel better it's not going to happen.

Enjoy the beach shots and hope you're all doing great!

I-DECLARE, We're Just Fine

We made it through Tropical Storm Ida just fine. This photo was taken yesterday at 3pm, before we started to feel any effects of the storm. Winds got high, we had a lot of rain, but overall things are great. We never lost our power or cable, so I am happy. I was so worried about losing the contents of the freezer and refrigerator. The pool came within 2-3 inches of overflowing though! Thank goodness that didn't happen!

Now I'm sick. I have a doctors appointment on Thursday to see what's going on. Problems with my throat and neck. Initially I thought it was just a stupid CRICK, I figured I slept on it wrong. This started on Sunday. Now my glands in the left side of the throat, under my jaw, are swollen. I have a big lump on the back of my neck, it's been there for years. When I had my tonsils removed, the dr. suggested we leave the lump alone unless it started to bother me. For a few weeks, I've been having bad headaches and now this. I'm wondering if it's all related to the lump, maybe it pressing a nerve or something. I don't know but hopefully the doctor can help! I just know this, I feel like crap and am probably going back to bed. The wind is still high and I can't do anything today anyway so what the heck!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Good News -- And BAD News!

There is some good news to report! My Alabama boys won their game yesterday. It was sooo much fun being there - very exciting! Now are all set to meet the Florida Gators for the SEC Championship in December. Yeah! Onward and upward! :-)

The bad news.........ugh........we are preparing for a hurricane to hit our area. YES, you read that right. It's November, most people are thinking of their Thanksgiving day menus and a little holiday shopping. Sometimes life on the coast is just a little bit different than normal. This is one of those times! We are expecting to see some of the effects on Monday, with the worst of it late Monday night and early Tuesday morning. These things can change, and while I hate to see anyone get it, I wish this would change direction and go somewhere else. We'd been extremely lucky for the 2009 hurricane season with no storms. Our area really, really needed a "Break" from hurricanes. The 2004-2008 seasons were pretty brutal around here. The beaches are finally starting to recover - hopefully this won't be too bad and create much damage other than a little heavy rain and wind.

When I get a chance, I have a fun picture from Saturday's game to post. Hopefully by Tuesday night I can focus on fun stuff again rather than storms! Till then, everyone take care and if you're on the coast, take the proper precautions!

Friday, November 6, 2009


I used to always say "TGIF", now I really don't anymore. Funny when you don't get up and go to a job every day, the impact of those letters isn't quite the same. I often don't realize the date either. Now before you go thinking "yep she's 39 and the memory is the first thing to go!" - stop! I have a great memory. It's selective. Ask my DH - he will certainly confirm!

Seriously, this is going to be a great weekend! The weather is gorgeous, highs in the low to mid 70's, lows in the 50's and a slight breeze. Tomorrow we're going to the Alabama - LSU game in Tuscaloosa. This game is HUGE.......for those who don't know, I'm a season ticket holder and MAJOR Alabama fan! I attend every home game in Tuscaloosa during the season. (For those not crazy about sports, FYI, I'm talking about college football). OK here is why the game is huge. We are ranked #3 in the country. If we win tomorrow, we will most certainly go to the SEC Championship in Dec. to play Florida. If we win that game, we'll play for a NATIONAL Championship. If we don't win tomorrow...... well I'm like Scarlett O'Hara and I don't want to think about that right now!!!! I'm not 100% certain about this game, it has me a little nervous. We could win - we could lose. I wouldn't bet my lunch money either way! Alabama and LSU - we don't exactly get along - and that's putting it mildly. Huge rivalry game. They hate our coach, Nick Saban. Nick used to be their coach, then he went to the Miami Dolphins to coach professional football. He decided he much preferred college and wanted to coach it again. After all coaching a bunch of overpaid babies in the NFL has to be a difficult job, right? Of course by this time they had a new coach, they profess to ♥♥♥ said coach (Les Miles). HOWEVER they can't get over the fact that Saban is at Alabama. Go figure. If I were their coach, I'd have a slight complex over how they OBSESS about ours. If I weren't a southern belle and a classy Nick Chick, I would tell you all about the shirts they wear to the games. Ummmmm NOT NICE. Lots of children are there - must they be so vulgar? Tasteless. Let's hope they all use their manners tomorrow. Again, no faith about that either. This should be fun, LOL. Roll Tide!

Then on Sunday I'm having brunch at my friend Mary's house. I can't wait to see her and her family. Added bonus, another friend of ours will be there. This friend I haven't seen in at least 15 years. WOW! Can you believe it? It should be lots of fun!

Of course I have cute outfits picked for my activities. Natch. And I'm on exercise break until Sunday, maybe Monday depending on when I get home. I need it. By then, I'll be ready to make good use of those new pink gloves!

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! Get out and enjoy life, it was made for living! XX

Cross Them Off the Missing List!

Found those PINK boxing gloves at Academy in Mobile. Now I'm ready for the Wed. night kickboxing class, with my own gloves. No H1N1 scary thoughts in my head anymore! YEAH! :-)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I just THOUGHT last night was I know what 20/20/20 means!

When I woke up this morning, my body was TIRED. For a minute I thought "WHAT is wrong with me today?". Then I remembered, oh yeah, kickboxing last night! So I slept a few extra minutes and allowed my body to rest a bit.

Not being a quitter (at least not anymore, I used to be!), I went back to my favorite instructor Renee's class at 5:30 this evening. On Thursday instead of kickboxing, the class is called "20/20/20". I had no idea what this would be like, but thought what the heck, I'll try anything once.

OMG. I am home and listing on Ebay tonight, and thank goodness all I have to do is type. Turns out 20/20/20 means 20 minutes of three different activities. Tonight it was 20 minutes of aerobics with the big exercise ball, 20 minutes of hand weights for upper body/back and 20 minutes with the stretchy band. The muscles that didn't scream this morning will be screaming tomorrow!

I have a feeling if I drag myself to her classes 3 nights a week religiously, and then walk/run 2-3 days, I will drop this weight quicker. That's my new goal - the 5:30 class on Tues/Wed/Thurs. If you're in the local area, you seriously need to try it out! And besides, I could always use an exercise partner. :-)

Talk to me!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Kickboxing is KILLER

Whoa, this afternoon I went to the 5:30 kickboxing class! Seriously, I think it's the BEST workout I get. At my local YMCA have tried aerobics, yoga, trekking (treadmill class), and Zumba. Of course you all know I like to walk/run 4 miles here at the beach too. They're all a great workout, in their own way of course, but this kickboxing ROCKS. The music is current - think Hip Hop and Britney Spears combined. The best part is I get to beat that bag for about 10 minutes!!! YEAH! Gets rid of the toxins and any pent up anger, LOL.

Now I'm on the hunt for my own personal boxing gloves. I'm thinking I need PINK. I checked Target on the way home, none there. Any suggestions???? I almost barfed thinking about using those gloves at the Y (which I had to do tonight since I don't have any of my own). Concerns about H1N1 germs have me a tad freaked out these days!

If you've ever thought about trying Kickboxing, go for it! If you take and love it already, I'd love to hear about your experiences. If you have another favorite type of exercise, fill me in. I'm always looking for a way to mix things up!!! :-)

Holiday Cards - AHEAD of the Game

Even I can't believe it! For once, I'm ahead of the game! This morning I ordered our holiday cards from Vista Print (see link on right side of blog). They have GREAT PRICES and some beautiful cards, envelopes, etc that you can pick from. I was able to find a design that was "us" - palm trees, etc. The cards should arrive in about 2 weeks and I can't wait to see them!!

For the past few years, I kept saying I was going to design a holiday card with a picture of me and the DH but never did it. Every year, we receive all these great cards from family and friends with their children or family photo. DH and I are also a "family" even though we don't have children, so I decided to join the fun with a photo card for us!

If you need cards, labels, etc. be sure to check out the website! Believe me, if I can do it, you can too! I'm not the most talented when it comes to photos, editing and the like.....Have fun!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Beach House, by ANY Name!

This afternoon I finally made it outdoors for my 4 MILES. Note - about 80% of this today was walking and the other 20% was running. It took about an hour, I'm really bad about timing, but hey it was 14 songs on my iPod!

The advantage to walking where I live is seeing the outdoors, specifically the beach and the water. I don't walk DIRECTLY on the beach, but on the bike path on the road that runs along the beach. Of course it's flat land so I can see everything, and I have to cross a small bridge. Every day I do this, I'm so thankful that I live in a place where I can walk and observe such gorgeous scenery.

Having a beach house is a life-long dream of mine, don't get excited it will NEVER happen! Unless I'm related to a celebrity and they leave me their fortune, that is! Sadly, nope, not going to happen. So I love to look at beach houses that don't belong to me while exercising. Today I was really noticing the names on the homes (some are NOT named, don't understand that, I'd have to name mine!). I'm going to list some of my favorites below, can't wait to hear what you guys think of them!

"Chivas By The Sea" (don't you know, there could be some parties at that house!)
"Seacure" (probably owned by a dr.?)
"West Palm Peach" (yep, the house was peach colored and who doesn't ♥♥ West Palm Beach, plus our area is considered "west beach")
"Shaken' Not Stirred" (lots of martinis served? Yum!)
"Pass Time" (passing time at the beach, or past time to have a beach house??)

WHAT WOULD YOU NAME YOUR BEACH HOUSE???? I'll have to think about it - just in case that celebrity relative comes through for me! Would love to hear any names you think are cool!

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Savings Train

I'm proud of my "rebating" for the month of October. Here are my totals:

Rebates Submitted $76.97
Rebates Received $20.48 (checks), $20.00 Rite Aid gift card

Amazing.......when you start paying attention, rebates are everywhere.

Those checks will pay for a week's trip to Publix. :-)

What Motivates You? What Works?

Don't we wish there was a "magic" pill for's taken me 39 YEARS to figure it out. There are NO order to lose weight and keep it off, I have to eat right and exercise. In my 20's, I could just do one or the other and take off a few pounds! At 39, not so much! Here's what makes me mad - my Dad has been telling me this my entire life! "It's just like your checkbook - you have to deposit more than you spend". With diet and exercise, it's the same philosophy!

What are you doing to lose weight? What has worked in the past? What doesn't???

I have to exercise, CARDIO, 4-5 times a week. I have to cut out the junk food. (Adios, McDonalds!) I have to drink lots of water. I have to drastically cut down on the Diet Coke (this is probably the hardest thing for me - I'm 150% addicted to the stuff). I have to eat like a truck driver on a budget, instead of like a truck driver. That's my way of saying, I have to seriously cut down on my portion sizes.

Oh and on those cardio days, at least 50 sit ups with the medicine ball. Working my way towards being able to do 100. I can't say yet that I "love" to exercise. If you love it, please tell me how and why!!! :-)

Can't wait to hear what you guys think of my comments. I need some motivation!!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

New Month, New Time, New Resolve and a November Boatride

Can anyone else believe it's already NOVEMBER????? I surely can't, where do the months go? What happened to our "fall"? People are about to start talking about Thanksgiving and I'm NOT ready for the holidays......

Started the day making a nice breakfast for the hubby and my parents down here at the island. Made a breakfast casserole that my BFF Amy introduced to me. It has crescent rolls, sausage, cream cheese and cheddar cheese. What's there NOT to ♥, huh? (Well I guess if you're vegan it may not be appealing!). One day I will share the recipe here, it always seems to be a hit. I like to make it when my Mom is around because she doesn't like eggs, and it's one of the few breakfast casseroles you can make that do NOT have eggs in the ingredient list! NICE!

After filling up the big boys, we took a BOAT RIDE. YES! You heard me right!!! A BOAT RIDE on NOVEMBER 1. I thank my lucky stars every single day that I live in a climate like ours. Now it was a tad cool, but fully dressed not that bad. We were only gone about an hour.

DH talked Mom into "exercising" with me today. Let me say this, Mom had knee surgery about 4-5 years ago and already needs it again. Her knee is whacked. She couldn't make those 4 miles, started really hurting. We made it maybe 1.5 miles and came back. I felt bad for her, she really enjoys walking and clearly can't do it often and for very long now. I keep telling her to go back to the ortho. dr. She is putting it off, because really who WANTS to have surgery????? No one that I know!

I know one thing - I did NOT do very well this weekend with my exercising and eating! I started out decent enough on Friday, but Saturday and Sunday not sooo much!

Need to get motivated again. It's a new month. A new time. Ten and a half months until my 40th birthday. I better get crackin - and soon!