Monthly Archives: March 2011

Spring Cleaning

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Wasn’t it Sheryl Crow who sang that a change would do you good?  Well, Sheryl would be proud of me.  Since I last wrote, I’ve had my hair cut and dyed, began reading “Oprah”, started painting the master bedroom Showstopper red (two out of four walls), and changed my blog theme to “Bueno”.  That’s my version of spring cleaning!

I’ve still been pinching my pennies.  I found a “Jungle Babies” book at Barnes and Noble for $4.88, just in time for Jeremiah’s birthday.  (Barnes and Noble is having great sales on Easter books for children.)  I tried Chipotle for the first time ever with Chavon and, boy, was I impressed – great food at great prices and super healthy.  (www.chipotle.com)  Did you hear about the new Whole Foods store opening in North Raleigh at 8710 Six Forks Rd?  I signed up to receive email newsletters from them.  Check out the “What’s on sale?” icon in the top, right-hand corner of the local store’s website.  (www.wholefoodsmarket.com)  I tried Tijuana Flats with Grace Ann and have gone back twice since!  I enjoyed BOGO coupons 2 of the 3 times.  Think of a cross between Moe’s speedy service and Armadillo Grill’s trendy atmosphere.  (www.tijuanaflats.com)  Andrew and I enjoyed a FREE appetizer at Brixx, a BOGO deal at El Rodeo Grill, and $6 off at Shish Kabob.  Brixx offers an awesome late night special of all appetizers and pizzas BOGO when ordered after 10pm Sunday through Thursday, and after 11pm on Friday and Saturday nights.  (www.brixxpizza.com)  I also redeemed a coupon for a FREE fruit and maple oatmeal cup at McDonald’s.  Through Living Social, I donated $5 to the Red Cross Japan Earthquake Pacific Tsunami fund and Living Social matched my donation 100%, totaling $10.  And, just today, I purchased from Lowe’s a Schlage doorknob/deadbolt combo at 30% off.  Andrew purchased a wireless router for $49.99 ($10 off) at Target, which will save $11.95 per month on the Time Warner Cable bill as a home networking charge.

Speaking of painting, Sherwin Williams runs a sale on paints and stains about once every month and a half or two months.  This past weekend, I was able to get 30% off.  Remember, you can buy paint when it is on sale and have it injected with the chosen color at a later date, in order to get the sale price.  The next sale will be April 8-10.  (www.sherwin-williams.com)

Ulta is offering a BOGO MicroZone Skin treatment through 4/2.  $20, 20 minutes, immediate results.  (www.ulta.com)

Like Old Navy on Facebook and get a coupon for 15% off a single item purchased through 4/7.  Also, like Suave Professionals on Facebook and receive a coupon for a FREE Suave Professionals product.  You’ll receive the coupon in the mail in 6-8 weeks.  (www.facebook.com)

Borders Final Week to Save – with the central Raleigh store closing (404-101 E. Six Forks Rd), get 50-70% off everything in the store.  At all other Borders stores that are remaining open, 4/16 is the Springtacular special kids’ event for children ages 3-8.  There will be FREE storytime, games, and crafts.  Show your Borders eReading app and get a FREE small brewed coffee in the cafe.  (www.borders.com)

The Race for the Cure registration fee will be $25 through 4/1.  This is part of the early bird special, which expires on 4/2.  Once expired, the fee increases to $30.  Join Team Pink Floyd and help save some tatas!  (www.komennctriangle.org)

Get a free men’s Dove sample delivered in 4 weeks.  (http://see.walmart.com/dovemencare)

Sign up for the new Living Social Raleigh-Durham Family edition to receive deals on family fun outings such as visits to museums, zoos, and aquariums.  (www.livingsocial.com)

We all love Trader Joe’s, but now that spring is in the air (well, it was and hopefully it will be back soon), stop by for amazing deals on gorgeous flowers – just a few examples are $4.99 for cut tulips and $2.99 for potted begonias.  (www.traderjoes.com)

For all you folks with kids, Barnes & Noble is offering a grand deal on “Parents” magazine – a one year subscription (12 issues) for just $1.  Enter code K4M8W9D at checkout.  (www.barnesandnoble.com)

Continuing to support those affected by the Japan crisis and those interested in staying up-to-date, Time Warner Cable is allowing the FREE viewing of channel 880 TV Japan to digital customers through 3/31.  (www.timewarnercable.com)

Shop for a good cause…  For every pair of shoes purchased from TOMS, a pair of new shoes will be donated to a child in need.  This is part of their “One for One” movement.  (www.toms.com)

Too sick to leave home?  Kerr Drug now delivers prescriptions for FREE.  (www.kerrdrug.com)

In the mood for some Italian food, but don’t have much cash?  Hungry Howie’s has 10 inch subs for $6.99 and salads for $4.99.  And, they are open until 3:00am on Friday and Saturday nights – just in case you stay up late playing a mean game of Uno.  (www.hungryhowies.com)

Love coffee?  Check out It’s a Grind.  With fun names like Nutty Cow, their drinks are tasty and cheaper than our beloved Starbucks.  (www.itsagrind.com)

In a recent issue of “Reader’s Digest”, there was a list of popular gadgets and the 2011 price prediction.  Not seeing these amounts yet?  Wait a little while and pay less!  Blu-ray Player – $39; Kindle eBook Reader – $99; 55-inch HDTV – $599; Full-size Digital SLR Camera – $299; 15- to 16-inch Dual-core Laptop – $199; Portable GPS – $40; and iPhone 3GS – $49

Lowes feeds kids’ curiosity with FREE Build and Grow clinics every 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month.  (www.lowes.com)

Feeling creative?  Stop by Ornamentea today between 10am and 8pm to give the Lovely Leather Necklace a whirl.  (www.ornamentea.com)

So, as the weather finally warms up, think about what to plant in your garden.  No yard?  No problem.  Many veggies grow nicely in pots on decks or porches.

Health.com recently rated the Healthiest Fast Food Restaurants.  The list includes Panera, Jason’s Deli, Noodles and Company, Chipotle, and… McDonald’s??  Yep.  McDonald’s is making changes to the menu to make it easier on the ol’ waistband.  I am excited to learn that so many of our inexpensive favorites made the cut!

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Funny Big Toe

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I am so proud of myself!  I took my first Try-It Tuesday class at Ornamentea with Bluefish, tonight.  From 10am to 8pm every Tuesday, you can stop by for a quick and easy project… all for $2!  Tonight’s item was a pair of green sparkly drops earrings, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day on Thursday.  I also made a pair of antique brass filigree flower earrings.  These were just $6.  Check out some adorable and affordable items at Funny Big Toe.  (www.etsy.com/shop/funnybigtoe)

Have you heard?  The Aveda Institute in Chapel Hill offers discounted services by cosmetologists in training.  Cuts range from $19-$25, all over color with simple highlights goes up to $65, and spa pedicures are $25.  And the coolest part?  Tips are not accepted.  You may, however, donate to “Tips for a Cause” (the charity choice for that particular month) in lieu of tipping.  (www.avedainstitutechapelhill.com)

The Chick-fil-A cows have stepped up their game.  Chick-fil-A is offering FREE breakfast items every Tuesday during the month of March (8:00 – 10:30am).  Also, if you bring in your church bulletin from Saturday or Sunday each Monday, you’ll receive a FREE original sandwich when you buy a side item and medium drink.  (Verify that your Chick-fil-A location is a participating restaurant – www.chick-fil-a.com .)

Bruegger’s is offering a baker’s dozen of bagels for $5.99 every Wednesday.  (www.brueggers.com )

Sure, Costco seems to have a deal on everything, including…. contacts?  Why has this never dawned on me?!  The Raleigh store has an optical department and has the cheapest prices of contacts, on average, nationwide.  Simply know your prescription and brand when inquiring.  (www.costco.com )

Through 3/31, wear your favorite school’s baseball gear when you visit Biltmore Estate and receive $10 off your admission ($29 rather than $39).  (www.biltmore.com )

Bank of America debit and credit card holders will get FREE admission to 150 facilities nationwide (including Marbles Kids Museum) on the first full weekend of every month (4/2-3 is the next one).  (www.mbna.com )

CVS is now offering a new budget friendly brand (Just the Basics) for general household needs.  Look for the lower case “b”.  (www.cvs.com )

Macaroni Kid is a newsletter which suggests mostly FREE family activities in North Raleigh (http://northraleigh.macaronikid.com ), South Raleigh (http://southraleigh.macaronikid.com ), and Durham (http://durham.macaronikid.com ).

Wednesday (tomorrow) is the last day of the latest Central Raleigh Borders closing sale.  Prices are 30-50% off plus an extra 10%.  Even store fixtures and equipment are for sale!  (www.borders.com )

Tuesday night, I redeemed a coupon for a free cup of soup at Quizno’s.

I received on Wednesday my $10 gift card to Eye Care Associates for taking the online survey after my appointment.

Thursday night, I used two $50 gift cards at CVS (from submitting Blue Points through BCBS)!  Also on Thursday night, Andrew purchased a WaterSense toilet, which uses 1 gallon of water versus 3, and is eligible for a $100 rebate.

On Friday, I received my federal tax income refund.  I applied every cent to my credit card with the smallest balance.  Man, that felt good.  On Friday night, Andrew and I cashed in a $25 Living Social gift card ($10 price) to Pulcinella’s Italian Restaurant.  (www.pulcinellaraleigh.com )  I received $2 off of the $12 price for simply watching a 32 second trailer on NBC’s America’s Next Great Restaurant.

Saturday morning, Andrea and I attended the Downtown Designers Market.  I scored an African shell bracelet for $5!  (www.africanbeautyjewelryandartifacts.com )  Andrea brought with her my new “Oprah” book that she found at the Borders sale.  I am super excited to dive in.  Later that day, Andrew and I enjoyed a BOGO deal at Henry’s Gelato.  Try the bacio flavor.  (www.henrysgelato.com )  That night, my two Andys and I (Andrea and Andrew) visited Vinos Finos Y Picadas to hear Andy Coats perform solo – NO cover.  (www.vinosfinosypicadas.com )  Awesome cheese, nuts, and dried fruit.

Sunday night, Andrew and I celebrated St. Patrick’s Day early by redeeming a $15 Twongo gift card at Napper Tandy’s.  (www.nappertandysirishpub.com )

Also this week, I performed my first doorknob replacement, finished the Dave Ramsey book, and realized what to give up for Lent… my temper.  (I just heard my boyfriend sigh in relief!)

As I think of all that the Japanese are facing, I am so thankful for companies like Time Warner Cable, Vonage, AT&T, and Verizon which are allowing customers to call Japan for FREE for a limited time.

I’m excited to try another FREE yoga class, tomorrow night.  We just happened to have a substitute teacher in my Monday night yoga class, who announced that she teaches 4-5 students in her home each Wednesday evening.  Hip, hip, hooray!  Or, should it be hip flexor, hip flexor, hooray?!

Cheese Pie

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I’ve found the perfect combination – rainy weather, a blanket, and a Goodberry’s vanilla concrete with bananas and Reese’s peanut butter cups.   (Of course, I used my Goodberry’s gift card to make the purchase!)  I recently got back from a mini vacation in Newton Grove, my teeny tiny hometown.  We celebrated Morgie’s (my sweet niece) fifth birthday with cake, ice cream, and presents.  I think she enjoyed the festivities; she was chased by dinosaurs on her John Deere Gator, was given a unicorn horn of sudsy shampoo in her hair, and even made a cheese pie (cheesecake).

Last Sunday, I was fortunate enough to see “In the Heights” with Andrea at the DPAC for FREE!  She had an extra ticket and offered it to yours truly.  Who can turn down a Mexican lunch and musical?  Tickets for the 2011-2012 season are as low as $15 per ticket on Tuesday or Wednesday nights for balcony seats (Peak Seats package).  Andrea mentioned the latest Charlie Goodnight’s deal – $30 Thursday.  This includes dinner and a show for two for only $30 (limited availability and can only be used towards specific comedians).  See http://www.goodnightscomedy.com for more info.  After the musical, I found loads of $1 items at Target to throw in Morgie’s gift bag – Dora socks, coloring books, and markers, a sunflower seed kit, and a frog puzzle.  (By the way, she absolutely loved the big bedtime storybook from Borders!)

On Tuesday night, I watched TLC’s “Extreme Couponing” for the first time.  Wow.  I am definitely an amateur at this saving money thing.  These coupon kings and queens were dumpster diving for coupons, had their own organized notebooks, were being assisted by grocery store employees with cart pushing on one of their many weekly grocery store visits (and loading their very own trailers to transport the goods home), and had garages of stockpiled items.  These folks could feed a small army and donate razors and toothbrushes, too.  This episode was part of a trial show to see if there would be an interested audience.  Folks must have loved it – the new “Extreme Couponing” series of 12 episodes begins April 6.  Set your DVR for Wednesdays at 9:30pm.  I did my part by purchasing today’s copy of the N&O.  I am hoping for lots of coupons, although I’m not quite ready for dumpster diving.

On Wednesday, Smoothie King emailed their latest deal.  Through 3/13, stop by before 10:00am or after 5:00pm any day of the week and purchase any 20 oz small for $2.99, any 32 oz medium for $4.99, or any 40 oz large for $6.69.  I had a Light and Fluffy on Saturday morning.  Divine.  Wednesday night, Andrew and I cashed in our $25 coupon ($12 price) to Cafe Asia through Living Social.  The decor was awesome and the shrimp Pad Thai fantastic.  Go hungry – the portions are monstrous.

On Thursday night, Andrew and I redeemed a $6 coupon at La Rancherita.  Ole!  Speaking of coupons, Whole Foods now offers printable coupons on their website (www.wholefoodsmarket.com).  No more cringing at the prices of natural and organic items.  But the price of gas is making us cringe.  As the new per gallon price changes 6 and 10 cents overnight, I am glad to know that I don’t drive a truck or SUV.  My Sally is 11 years old.  Dave Ramsey would be so proud.  She had a check-up on Friday and is still going strong.  No power windows, no air conditioning, and the CD player works when it wants to, but no car payment!  So when you see me and my ‘fro driving around town, just smile and wave (above the pearls, below the crown).

Since yoga class was canceled the past two Monday nights, I am in much need of some bending and stretching tomorrow.  I hope you, too, are bending and stretching… your money, that is.  Make it last.  I’m off to upload pics from Morgie’s party and show them off to my friends and family.  Be sure to check out Lori’s latest comments for ways to recycle and reuse, and learn how to swap books, CDs, and DVDs.  Thanks Lori!  Will I see you Saturday at the Designers Downtown Market?  Anybody who is anybody will be there!