Monthly Archives: February 2011

Hot Pink Gnome Pajamas

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 As I sit on the couch in my hot pink gnome pajamas, I am ready to catch some ZZZZs, but I simply cannot go to sleep without sharing all of the deals that will be available to you tomorrow.  The North Carolina Symphony (http://ncsymphony.org) is offering a BOGO deal on Copland and Rachmaninoff orchestra tickets.  You’ll get a FREE Starbucks coffee at Barnes and Noble (www.barnesandnoble.com) simply for trying out the new Nook Color.  From 9-11am at participating Target stores, kids can enjoy a FREE Dr. Seuss storytime in honor of his birthday.  Home Depot offers a FREE kids’ workshop from 9am-12pm and Lowe’s offers a FREE Build and Grow kids’ workshop at 10am.  Borders is also hosting a FREE birthday party – this one for Elmo at 2pm.  There will be lots of games, stories, and music for the kids.  If you need a snack after all of the fun, stop by Food Lion and pick up some red seedless grapes at 99 cents per pound.  Or if you are looking for more of a meal or relaxing drink, check out Raleigh Specials Tonight (www.raleighspecialstonight.com) for more deals.  While you are online, don’t forget to check out the “Your Ticket to Savings” section in each month’s Time Warner Cable email newsletter.  You are allowed to choose and print 4 discounts per month.  Then, go to Facebook and like Soy Joy to receive a free bar in the mail.  Sure, spring is around the corner, but the nights are still a little nippy.  Snag your little one a Disney fleece throw for $5.99 (regular price $19.50).

On Wednesday, I read that if you have a Borders discount card, Quail Ridge Books (www.quailridgebooks.com) will honor it with a FREE Quail Ridge Readers’ Club discount card good for one year.  Also on Wednesday, I had my yearly eye exam.  I can’t believe how excited I was to pay $50 towards my bill by using a Visa gift card (a Christmas gift).  Of all the trendy things I could have purchased, and I made such an adult-like decision.  Yay me!

On Thursday, I completed an online survey from my eye appointment the previous day and received a $10 gift certificate towards my next purchase.  (Thank goodness for this because I still have to buy contacts!)  I used a coupon at the local Kroger on my lunch break and got 3 Secret deodorants for the price of 2.  I scored another FREE rental at Redbox by liking them on Facebook.  I’ll have to let you know what I think of “Taken”.  After a pizza and martini catch up session with Chavon, I was surprised with a Queen’s Greatest Hits CD.  Thanks Andrew!  It’s the little things…

On Friday, I learned about the Snapfish deal – order at least $5 in photo gifts and receive a $25 gift certificate to Restaurant.com.  This deal ends on Monday (2/28).

And here are some things to look forward to…  On March 2 at GAP, buy any pants and get any top FREE.  March 4 is Free Fryday at Chick-fil-A.  Come in from 2-4pm to get a FREE medium order of waffle fries when you mention that you’d like to try the new Heinz Dip & Squeeze.

I’ll leave you with another subject that is near and dear to me – health.  Recently, I read an article on 15 ways to burn more fat.  Try to add a few of these to your lifestyle and see if you notice any change in your waistline:

1.  Don’t diet – Eat more nutrient-dense food

2.  Go to bed earlier

3.  Eat more protein

4.  Go organic when you can

5.  Get up, stand up – During long period of sitting, take periodic standing breaks

6.  Drink cold water – The body has to work harder to heat the water

7.  Eat the heat (peppers fire up your metabolism)

8.  Eat breakfast

9.  Drink coffee or tea

10.  Eat more fiber (fruits and veggies)

11.  Eat more iron-rich foods (shellfish, lean meats, beans, spinach)

12.  Get more vitamin D (tuna, eggs)

13.  Drink milk

14.  Eat watermelon

15.  Stay hydrated

Curls Just Wanna Have Fu-un

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Hallelujah!  The five loads of laundry are done, with only one basket left to fold and put away.  What’s that?  A new pile?  Oh, the joys of being a responsible adult.  Besides conquering the dirty clothes, I marked something else off of my to-do list – covering up my skunk line.  On Thursday, Tammy at the Ulta Salon converted me to a strawberry blond and Zahra gave me the best eyebrow treatment ever.  Gals, you’re gonna love this – Anastasia tinted brow gel (I tried brunette).  Did you know that everyone’s brow color is always a shade darker than your natural hair color?  Anyway, I have three coupons for $20 off salon services if any of you would like to give it a whirl.  But, the best part of my visit was the chuckle I had when I read one of their many marketing signs… “Curls just wanna have fun.”  Indeed.

On Thursday, I filed my taxes for FREE through a tax adviser at work and heard about Zenni Optical (www.zennioptical.com).  Search for trendy prescription frames by type, style, shape, color, etc.  I also received an emailed BOGO coupon from Smoothie King and took advantage of a $12 Living Social deal for $25 worth of food at Cafe Asia.  Bogart’s (www.bogartsamericangrill.com) also emailed their latest deal.  To celebrate 10 years of service, on Wednesday 2/23 through Sunday 2/27 all entrees are $10 and 10% of all sales will be donated to the Foundation of Hope.

On Friday, I got crazy and started my evoo regimen and so far, so good – no residue or pungent odor or expensive price.  That $7 bottle will definitely last for months.  I apply in the mornings, but my co-worker, Janice, suggested applying on the heels and sleeping in socks for pedicure-like results.  In another attempt at moisturizing, I purchased a 6 cup Brita water pitcher for $14.88 to use at work.  I changed from carrying bottled water to a reusable thermos, but still felt like I wasn’t quenching my thirst.  There is no way I am going to get my lips near a water fountain, so I needed a way to have a never-ending supply of H2O.  Also on Friday, I purchased an $8 Twongo deal to Napper Tandy’s for $15 worth of food (www.nappertandysirishpub.com).  That night, Andrew and I took Andrea and Miles to Blue Note in Durham to hear Andy Coats and the Bank Walkers play (NO cover).  Andrea shared with me http://www.restaurant.com, which offers discounted gift certificates.  Their motto “Eat. Drink. Save Money.” is perfect.

Saturday was perfect weather for lounging outdoors on the patio of Armadillo Grill (www.armadillogrill.com) and strolling around NCSU’s campus.  It was also part of the Wake County Public Libraries Booksale and Festival (http://www.wakegov.com/libraries/events/booksale/default.htm) at the fairgrounds, but the line to even get in the door was massive, so I was unable to search for any good deals.  However, my sweetie pie of a friend Andrea snagged “Oprah: A Biography” at the Cary Border’s store closing for me for $7.  When I got home that evening, Annick (my Scentsy consultant) dropped off the 4 plug-ins and 4 bars that I ordered at a 10% discounted price several weeks ago.  I can’t wait to give these out as birthday gifts.

On Sunday, we were able to spend time with Andrew’s brother (Brian), sister-in-law (Sarah), nephew (Bryce, whom I affectionately call Brycie Poo), and his mother (Peggy).  There’s nothing like a lazy Sunday afternoon of yummy snacks and playing outside.  Andrew must be becoming brainwashed reading my blog posts; he made me proud by using a gift card AND a coupon to purchase new kicks at Dick’s Sporting Goods later that day.

On Monday, I was excited to receive an emailed BOGO coupon up to $9 off to Mimi’s Cafe (www.mimiscafe.com) for breakfast entrees.  But, I was saddened to hear of the closing of the Border’s store at the corner of Six Forks and Wake Forest roads.  Border’s sends out 33% off coupons weekly, making it the perfect store for birthday and Christmas gifts, and is practically walking distance from my office.  R.I.P.  Also on Monday, I researched a site that Andrea shared with me, Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database (www.cosmeticsdatabase.com).  This is a wake-up call that makes you think twice before applying certain make-up, nail, and hair products.  Find out if the products you are using are safe.

Today, I signed up for Qdoba Rewards (www.qdoba.com) and received an automatic 100 points (1,000 points gets you a free entree).  I checked out Border’s on my lunch break and scored three birthday gifts for children – “The Great Big Book of Bedtime Stories and Rhyme” (15 stories), “Toolbox Trouble” (a Busy Bugz pop-up book), and a clothespin doll book and craft kit, all for a grand total of $18 and change.  Just remember, the Border’s stores that are closing won’t accept coupons.  My co-worker, Melissa, shared with me The Krazy Coupon Lady site (http://thekrazycouponlady.com).  This site is like the island of misfit toys, but for coupons.  Every coupon has a home here.  You can even search by store (Target, Wal-Mart, Walgreens, etc).  I wrapped up the day with a three-mile walk with Grace Ann at the ROC and grabbed dinner at Shish Kabob.  Should I have been surprised when one of the employees thanked me for all of the business Andrew and I have given them?

I want to take this time to say thanks to those of you who continue to feed my hunger by subscribing to this blog, posting comments, or just checking in every once in a while.  My latest update is to connect to Facebook, which will allow me to automatically share new posts with friends.  By the way, check out what Heather has to say about Moving Mantra Yoga Studio.  Thanks Heather!

Pointy Toe Boots

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 Ugh.  So, I have a good excuse this time for not writing in so long.  Did you ever read the “Bubble Gum Monster” as a child?  In this book, Sam saves pieces of old, chewed bubble gum and, before long, the pile has turned into a monster that is sticking to everything.  Well, my adult version of this is the “Laundry Monster”.  I am totally serious when I tell you that I procrastinated until I had five… yes, five… loads of laundry to do at once.  It is a miracle that I wasn’t going to work wearing only my pointy toe boots!

Well, the desserts for the luncheon on Thursday were a hit.  (Thank goodness for Costco!)  If the old saying is true – “The way to man’s heart is through his stomach.” – then, I’m in big trouble.  Maybe I can overcome this flaw by charmingly and gracefully finding restaurant deals.  That same day, I signed up to receive The Flying Biscuit newsletter via email.  Imagine how thrilled I was to be rewarded with a BOGO coupon just for signing up.  I subscribed to Redbox and got a code for a free DVD rental, as a result. I also joined Living Social (www.livingsocial.com) and Twongo (www.twongo.com).  Both function like Groupon, in that you are emailed daily deals in your area.

On Friday, I celebrated the end of the work week with a BOGO coupon to Bruegger’s (tuna salad… mmmm) and by using yesterday’s code for a free DVD rental through Redbox.  If you have not seen it, “Salt” is a roller coaster ride from start to finish.

Saturday was a day of fun from dress shopping and lunch with Chavon and her girls to game night with Andrea and Rob.  It is so refreshing to know that spending time with friends doesn’t always have to cost an arm and a leg to be enjoyable.  I was super excited to learn that the sash I will wear at the wedding is only $15 at David’s Bridal.  So, that plus a solid black cocktail dress (hello Steinmart!) is well within reach.  Only 6 months until the big day…  The game night menu consisted of another giant pizza from Costco (this time, the tomato basil mozzarella), Trader Joe’s white cheddar popcorn, and Trader Joe’s maple cream cookies – a yummy, healthy, and affordable meal.  Note to self – less wine equals more wins.

On Sunday, Andrew and I enjoyed a nice visit with his grandmother and father.  I love going to her house on Sundays because I don’t have a subscription to the N&O and she always saves the boatload of coupons that comes in the Sunday paper.  Oh, how I loved hearing her say to take any coupons I wanted.  I clipped everything from Sherwin Williams to Suave to Tide.  Later that night, we were able to use a BOGO coupon at The Diner (tuna salad again!) and even received a free triple berry milkshake because the wait was a little longer than usual.  Score!

So, here’s the big question of the week – How was your Valentine’s Day?  Did you take advantage of the free raspberry cheesecake cookie at Subway or the dozen roses for $9.99 at Trader Joe’s or the free Redbox rental (the Valentine’s Day code was listed on their website) or the BOGO half off Massage Envy gift cards?  Whatever you did, I hope it was lovely.  I was lucky enough to receive a treat at work – roses, chocolates, and a card.  I was very surprised.  To avoid long lines and crowded restaurants, Andrew and I decided to celebrate the holiday later.  I attended my yoga class that night and scored on a BOGO deal at Cafe Carolina.  (Their Cafe Carolina Signature salad is a must – complete with strawberries and mandarin oranges.)

On Tuesday, I made my first ever appointment at an Ulta Salon.  I am super excited about becoming strawberry blond tomorrow.  The prices are affordable and the salon service counts towards the points system, so cross your fingers that I’ll be pleased with the results.  I also did my weekly three mile trek with Grace Ann.  The gossip and the exercise does a body good.  After walking, I grabbed a sandwich from Panera Bread (If you guessed tuna salad, you are right!) and was given a loyalty card to receive deals via email.  Also, I learned that day from my friend Bluefish that from 5-7pm on Tuesdays, Chick-fil-a offers a FREE 4 count kid’s meal with the purchase of any combo.

Today, I was checking out Ornamentea’s website (www.ornamentea.com) for classes and saw that the project offered from 6-9pm on the first Friday of each month is FREE.  This coordinates with Raleighwood’s First Friday event in which many downtown businesses offer specials and extended hours to encourage art, music, and dining appreciation.  Also, head over on any Tuesday for Try-It Tuesdays.  You’ll leave with a cute project, having learned a simple technique and all for about $2.  I registered my Panera card from last night and… drum roll… was rewarded with a FREE coffee, hot tea, or soda automatically loaded to my card.  Call me crazy, but I think I’ve found an inexpensive and natural moisturizer – EVOO.  A co-worker told me about her neighbor, who uses extra virgin olive oil externally in the morning and at night and has beautiful skin (http://www.naturalskincaresecrets.com/olive-oil-skin-care.html).  My Aunt Caroline suggested that I wear a rosemary sprig behind my ear and a garlic necklace.  C-dub sounds skeptical of my idea…  I just hope I don’t leave a trail of grease behind me.  Tonight, Andrew and I cashed in on the BOGO deal (from signing up to receive the newsletter) at The Flying Biscuit Cafe.  The smoked salmon scramble was scrumptious.

I’ve recently added a new email subscription feature that allows you to subscribe to the blog.  If subscribed, each time a new post is added or the blog is updated in some way, you will receive an email notification.  While I am adding items for you to do, here are two items to put on your calendar:  now – half price Valentine’s candy; and on 3/1 – FREE pancakes at IHOP.  For National Pancake Day, IHOP is serving up one complimentary short stack per person in hopes for a donation to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

The timer on the dryer just buzzed and I’m up to my ears in hangers, baskets, and lone socks.  Sounds like that Tide coupon is going to come in handy….

They Can’t All Top Janet Jackson

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I survived the Superbowl, but the halftime show is another story.  Did anyone else have a flashback to the Oompa Loompas in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”?  Add robot/astronaut suits and a cheesy light show and voila!  Anyway, they can’t all top Janet Jackson, can they?

Groupon offered yet another awesome deal on Sunday that I had to take advantage of – $10 for $20 worth of food at The Flying Biscuit Cafe (www.flyingbiscuit.com).  This cafe, located in adorable Cameron Village, has delicious and unique food combinations.  While at Smoothie King Sunday afternoon, I noticed a new promotion.  Every Friday is Freeloader Friday, where you and a friend can take advantage of a BOGO deal.  That’s a healthy way to wrap up the work week.  Try the Grape Expectations.

On Monday, I spotted Subway’s new ad – Februany.  Any footlong is $5 during the month of February.  Normally, the $5 footlong deal applies only to particular subs, but in February you can choose from the entire menu.  On Monday night, I attended my beloved yoga class.  Oh, how I have missed it!  I began practicing yoga last summer.  In November, my yoga instructor had to take a leave of absence due to pregnancy.  No replacement was found until now.  Not only do I feel energized, relaxed, and toned after each yoga class, the class is FREE!  Christ Episcopal Church (www.christ-church-raleigh.org) provides the class for members and non-members, alike.  The class is made up of 15-20 women (every now and then a gentleman stops in to see what all the fuss is about) ranging from about 30 to about 70 years in age.  Who knew how good it could feel to do The Pigeon?  I believe it was John Cougar Mellencamp who said, “Come on baby, make it hurt so good.”  After yoga class, I used a BOGO coupon at Cafe Carolina & Bakery (www.cafecarolina.com). My total bill was just over $8!  I recommend the Cafe Tuna Salad Plate, complete with a hard boiled egg.

On Tuesday morning, I awoke 30 minutes late.  Eeeeek!  The strangest thing happened – the alarm was set properly and even went off, only the sound was missing!  Grrrrrrr  Later that day, I received an email coupon from Sherwin Williams for 25% off!  During the fall of last year, I purchased the painting paraphernalia needed and have since completed three bathrooms in St. Barts, Lemon Verbena, and Plantation Brown.  Next, is either the kitchen or one of the bedrooms.  (I am thinking Show Stopper for the master bedroom.)  So much to do, so little time!  On Tuesday night, I walked my usual three miles with Grace Ann at the ROC, the free gym at Trinity Baptist Church.  With all the talk of exercising and eating healthy, it dawned on me that I have not shared my favorite app, Calorie Counter.  With this app, you can search restaurants, popular brands, and supermarket brands for nutrition content, record your food and exercise diaries, and track your weight – all for FREE!

Have you ever seen the movie “Groundhog Day”?  Well, this morning’s alarm didn’t go off, either!  In the mornings, every second counts, so the 30 minutes of extra napping totally threw me off schedule.  What good is a Crackberry if it doesn’t work?!  At least the Facebook application works like a charm.  How else could I entertain myself?  Tomorrow at work, we are having a farewell lunch for a department that will be transferring to another building.  I am responsible for a dessert.  A dessert for about thirty people.  A dessert that I don’t have to cook or fuss over.  A dessert that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.  Wait a tic…  Is that a mirage in the distance?  No, it is Costco!  I ran right over on my lunch break and got 30 mini Belgian cakes with white chocolate shavings for $7.44!  I’ll just arrange them on a cute serving plate and tell my co-workers that I slaved over them all night.  Tonight for dinner, Andrew and I cashed in on the Flying Biscuit Cafe Groupon coupon.  We had an appetizer and two meals for $5.39, before tip ($15.39 counting the Groupon purchase)!  I would definitely get the black bean burger with guacamole, again.

In this Battle of the Blues, Andrew is unusually quiet.  No yelling at the referee or making fun of the announcer.  “It’s like having to choose between Satan and a terrorist,” he says.  “Can’t they both lose?”  Duke is puke, Wake is fake, the team I love is NC State!

Here’s to One Wabbit That Isn’t Pesky

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Thursday marked the start of the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Rabbit.  This year symbolizes sensitivity and wealth earned with hard work.  This is our year, baby!  It is written in the stars that through hard work, our debts will be paid down and our wealth will increase.  Here’s to one wabbit that isn’t pesky.

My Chinese New Year began with interesting news.  Driving to work that morning, I heard a commercial for NCSU’s new online MBA program (www.mgt.ncsu.edu/mba).  The program, which launches this fall, offers students the opportunity to earn an MBA via online methods.  In the past, NCSU offered an MBA offered via online and in person methods on a full or part-time basis.  The program that begins this fall will allow students to participate fully online with the exception of one three day residency in Raleigh and one overseas trip.  This is a wonderful opportunity for those who can’t commit to a traditional schedule.  Thanks to my alma mater for providing such a convenient program.

On Thursday night, I visited my cousin Thomas (aka Sweet T, aka T Rex, aka LL Cool T).  His mother was kind enough to buy him a new leather recliner.  Every bachelor knows that his palace isn’t complete without a throne.  And his takes the cake – black, leather, and as soft as a cloud.  Being the avid recycler that I am, I asked if I could rescue his old green hand-me-down to have rebuilt and recovered.  This chair is the Chair and a Half style and proved to be just that in weight.  My cousin and Andrew had no problems moving it from Thomas’s townhouse to Andrew’s car, but getting it from Andrew’s car into my townhouse was another story.  We ended up ‘rolling’ it up the stairs, with him on the verge of a breakdown and me laughing hysterically (an involuntary reflex during times of stress).  I thought he was going to lose it when it first appeared that the chair wouldn’t fit through the guest bedroom doorway.  I thought suggesting to him to “lift with his knees” was considerate.  Apparently not…

Eeeek!  Friday brought a headache, sniffles, and sneezing.  Note to self:  eat more super foods.  Those of you who know me well, know that I refuse to take medicine.  So, I am treating my symptoms with hot tea and rest.  To my relief, I have recovered tremendously since last night at this time.  With no groceries in the house (ever), I bundled up and enjoyed a BOGO dinner at A Slice of NY Pizza.  Our total bill was just over $8!  Afterwards, we rented “Date Night” through Redbox for $1.  Steve Carell and Tina Fey do not disappoint.

As part of the healing ritual, I slept until noon on Saturday.  Andrew and I enjoyed another BOGO meal, this time at Sunflower’s (www.sunflowersraleigh.com).  Healthy and fresh sandwiches of every combination…  need I say more?  In preparation for the Superbowl (let’s go…. commercials!), I braved Costco for some supplies.  For you last minute shoppers, Costco is offering a HUGE pepperoni pizza at the automatic $3 discounted price (no coupon needed) of $6.99.  Other honorable mentions are Little Sweets mini cinnamon rolls (32 for $5.99), Silk vanilla soy milk (3 half gallons for $6.99), and Kirkland’s organic creamy peanut butter ($7.79 for 2 28 ounce jars).  Tonight’s meal was a BOGO Mexican dinner at La Rancherita, totaling just over $13 for two even after tip.

As I watch Food Network at 2am (a bad idea), it dawns on me that it is now officially Superbowl Sunday.  May your chili be hearty and your wings kickin’.  And, ladies, his testosterone level will return to a semi-normal state in just a few hours…

Hello Spring!

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It felt so strange to leave for work this morning with no coat and no gloves!  While temperatures soared to near 70 degrees, I read stories about massive blizzards and bone-chilling conditions in the Midwest.  Thank goodness the warm weather lured Punxsutawney Phil from his cozy burrow.  Hello Spring!

Yesterday, in preparation for the Superbowl, I was researching pizza options and stumbled upon Papa’s Points – Papa John’s rewards program.  One point is earned for every $5 spent online and 25 points gets you a free pizza.  Lots of places will be offering Superbowl deals on Sunday for game food like pizza and wings, but don’t forget about places like Trader Joe’s that offer unique (and healthy) appetizer options at inexpensive prices.

Tuesday nights are always walking nights with Grace Ann.  We walk on the track in the Recreation Outreach Center at Trinity Baptist Church (www.rocraleigh.com).  This church offers FREE gym services to anybody – membership not required.  All you do is sign in when you arrive and sign out when you leave.  Services include basketball courts, weights, treadmills, ellipticals, etc.  As a reward to myself for trekking three miles with GA, I used my Goodberry’s gift card for a treat.

Call me crazy, but I’m trying out a new food schedule.  I have read that eating 5-6 small meals per day is actually a good thing, as long as you spread your calories throughout the day.  I’ve made a schedule that should be pretty easy to stick to, well, at work.  I plan to eat every two hours.  I started yesterday, but wasn’t on the schedule I was aiming for because I started later than the first time slot.  But today, I stuck to it.  And I was starving at the end of each two hour period!  I am hoping this meant that my metabolism was increasing and the calories were being burned off quickly.  I am willing to give it several weeks to see if I feel any differently.

Tonight, Andrew and I had a FREE dinner!  We redeemed the Pei Wei cards for the new Korean BBQ dish.  It was fantastic!  Try it with tofu and veggies.

As I wind down with a glass of red wine and chapter 2 of “The Total Money Makeover”, I leave you with a question from Dave, “Is there too much month left at the end of your money?”