I’m an aunt… again! No, Morgan isn’t yet a big sister. I love to call myself “aunt” whenever my close friends have babies. Congratulations to Ambie and Josh! I can’t wait to meet their sweet bundle of joy, Daniel Troy. (And, this is even more reason to visit them in sunny FL!) How was your Cinco de Mayo? Your Mother’s Day? Your past few weeks? I hope you’ve been seeing snowballs in spring… debt snowballs.
Doing things outdoors, like walking around the lake, attending Jimmy’s birthday pig pick’n, and grilling out with William and his friends, has made me think of lazy summer past times… and the new organic apple acai smoothie at Smoothie King. As the temperatures creep up to the 90s and the neighborhood pools open, we begin to dream about vacationing with our toes in the sand and drinks with tiny umbrellas. Sure, Stein Mart’s swimsuits (www.steinmart.com) are 30% off and Kohl’s (www.kohls.com) are up to 50% off, but consider Dave’s latest article before you’ve taken two baby steps back – “Does your vacation match your budget?” (www.daveramsey.com) Speaking of summer, Wal-Mart has a pink double knock out rose-bush in a 3 gallon container for $16 and an 18 gallon beverage container with handles in red, orange, blue, and green for $5.97 – just the things you need for deck parties. (www.walmart.com)
I was excited to read “The Budget Family Weekend: Atlanta” in the April 2011 edition of “Southern Living” magazine. (www.southernliving.com) A family of three saved money on dining by purchasing a picnic lunch from our beloved Trader Joe’s (www.traderjoes.com), enjoying it in Piedmont Park, and having breakfast at the very lovely Flying Biscuit Cafe (www.flyingbiscuit.com). I was so glad to learn that two of my favorite places made the savings cut! Also in the same magazine edition, Mia James restores her Baton Rouge home and had these five steps to guide anyone on home purchases: 1) Buy only what you love; 2) Use a signature color palette; 3) Make antiques the focal point; 4) Choose art with your heart; and 5) Pick furniture that will work in multiple spaces. I know I’m always in a hurry to complete a room, but it is wise to be sure about your purchases so that you’ll use them for years to come and will get your money’s worth.
These past few weeks have flown by! I did a few of the TIT projects at Ornamentea – a Coreopsis Bangle on 5/3 with Bluefish and Joanna and a Pearl Cocktail Ring on 5/17 with Bluefish. Nothing like FREE Hershey’s Kisses and FREE hot tea to help you focus on a jewelry project. While I was there this past Tuesday, I bought beads for one of the two pairs of earrings that I’ll make for Peggy’s birthday. I just hope she likes them! (www.ornamentea.com) I completed my two continuing ed real estate classes. I don’t know what intrigued me more – real estate taxes and form changes or listening to my teacher’s Texas accent. If any agents/brokers need to fulfill some credits, Legacy Real Estate school offers pre-licensing, post-licensing, and continuing ed classes ($45/class) at lower rates. (www.legacyrealestateschool.com) I saved money in the food area by taking advantage of the Moe’s (www.moes.com) Cinco de Mayo promotion (two meals were $9 and change), having the two for $20 special at Chili’s (www.chilis.com) with Chuti (definitely splurge on the Chocolate Chip Paradise Pie), and making nachos at home. At least this didn’t require me to turn on the oven. I saved $5 per ticket purchasing two Cape Fear Beer Fest tickets (www.capefearbeerfest.com) for Mama and Daddy, as a Father’s Day gift. Tickets were $35 rather than $40 when purchased prior to 5/15, if a promotional code was used. I just googled this code and found that a local radio station published “encore”. Easy as pie! I bought Miss Morgan nature bracelets (butterflies, insects, and plants) from Blockbuster, on clearance for $.99. (www.blockbuster.com) Andrew and I bought Mother’s Day flowers from Trader Joe’s for the mothers in both of our families. Potted begonias (white, pink, or red) were only $2.99 and cut cream-colored hydrangeas were only $5.99. The Red Room (the master bedroom in Show Stopper red) is now complete! All that’s left to do is purchase a small rug to cover the paint stain on the floor. Until then, I’ll just tell my guests to be snobby and look up. I joined Moolala (www.moolala.com), which is similar to Groupon and Living Social. The only difference is that Moolala gives members 2% back on every deal purchased. Andrew and I tried two new places that I must share with you. Pronto Pasta (www.prontopasta.com) offers fast and fresh soups and pastas. Try the quinoa with spinach pesto and tomato basil soup. Thanks Bryan! Relish Cafe & Bar (www.relishraleigh.com) serves comfort food with a twist. Dig in to the Italian mac & cheese skillet. Thanks C-dub! Thanks to Sarah, I have a new gem on my list to try – Gigi’s Cupcakes. With flavors like Champagne and Kentucky Bourbon Pie, this is a must. Be sure to read “Gigi’s Story”. (www.gigiscupcakesusa.com/raleighnc) I babysat sweet Alex. He spoke partly in Thai while I perfected my Southern accent. Why is it so mesmerizing to watch a child take everything out of my purse, then put everything back in all the wrong places? I could just squeeze him.
Some Things to Look Forward to:
For a limited time while supplies last, Borders offers 40% off CDs and DVDs, in stores only. (www.borders.com)
Through 4pm today, take the Hen-side the Beltline Tour D’Coop, the 6th annual Raleigh garden tour of hens and coops. Admission – a non-perishable food item or cash donation to Urban Ministries of Wake County. 100% of the proceeds will be donated. (http://tourdcoop.com)
Through 5pm today, the Magic Wings Festival is held at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham. Admission – Adults $12.95, children ages 3-12 $9.95, children under 3 FREE. (www.ncmls.org)
Through today only, get $5 off a $25 purchase at Dollar General. (http://dollargeneral.com/coupons/Pages/index.aspx)
Also through today only, Old Navy offers $1 flip-flops. Limit 5 per customer. Bring in your old flip-flops to be recycled. Also, get $5 off a $35 purchase. (http://oldnavy1.m.delivery.net/w/webView?cid=22462892314&mid=1945212391&pid=789178&vid=131&ee=YmlybWluZ2hhbWjhcmdhaW5tb21AZ21haWwuY29t&si=&mv=H&bv=H&oc=H&sc=&k=1pyPNd)
Through 5pm tomorrow, Raleigh’s Museum of Life and Science hosts Astronomy Days. FREE admission. How cool is this in conjunction with Pope Benedict XVI’s first papal call to space?! (http://naturalsciences.org)
Through tomorrow, the musical version of “Stuart Little” is being performed at the North Raleigh Arts and Creative Theatre. Tonight’s show is at 7pm ($15) and tomorrow’s matinée is at 3pm ($10). Senior and student tickets are $12. (www.nract.org)
Through tomorrow, Artsplosure 2011, the Raleigh Arts Festival, is held in Moore Square and City Plaza. Admission – $5 per person. (www.artsplosure.org)
Through tomorrow, the Got to be NC Festival is at the State Fairgrounds with food, rides, and live entertainment. FREE admission and FREE parking. The Smurfs will make an appearance today, through 5pm! (www.ncagfest.com)
Through tomorrow at Earth Fare, get a coupon for a FREE pound of shrimp with any $10 purchase. (www.earthfare.com)
Through 5/23, Borders is holding its Customer Appreciation weekend. If you are a member, check your email for the 50% off coupon for one item and the coupon for 50% off one large cafe beverage. If you aren’t a member, sign up! It’s FREE. (www.borders.com)
Through 5/25, Redbox is offering texted discounts on movie rentals. Each day, text DEALS to 727272 to receive a new daily discount code, offering anywhere from $.10 to $1.50 off your rental. Andrew and I did this last night and received $.50 off our rental for “The Next Three Days”. (www.redbox.com)
Through 5/28 at Ulta, Rejuvenating Bath & Shower Gels and 3 in 1 Shower Smoothies are buy 2 get 2 FREE (mix and match). Includes yummy smells like Mandarin Mint and Chocolate Milkshake. (www.ulta.com)
Through 6/7 in conjunction with Barnes & Noble, Ree Drummond performs an online reading of her children’s book, “Charlie the Ranch Dog.” A new online story begins on 6/7. (www.barnesandnoble.com)
Through 6/15, get $1 off McDonald’s new McCafe Frozen Strawberry Lemonade. (http://cdn.eyewonder.com/100125/769897/1478424/coupon_landing_page.html)
5/22-30, Sherwin Williams paints and stains are 30% off. (www.sherwin-williams.com)
On 5/24, Ornamentea’s TIT project is Ruffle Ear Drops for only $2. (www.ornamentea.com)
On 5/26, the Midtown Beach Music Series spotlighted band is The Magnificents. 6-9pm. North Hills Commons. FREE (www.northhillsraleigh.com/news/3758)
On 5/28 at 10am, the Lowe’s Build and Grow FREE project for kids is Biplane. (www.lowes.com)
From 6/1 – 9/5 for kids 12 and under, Borders offers a “read 10 books get 1 free” promotion with its Double-Dog Dare Challenge. (http://media.bordersstores.com/pdf/formDoubleDogDare.pdf)
At the 6/4 game against the Pawtucket Red Sox, the Durham Bulls (players, coaches, and Wooley Bull) will be going pink to show their support in the fight against breast cancer. $12 gets you a ticket, a Bulls baseball cap, and a pink Komen for the Cure bracelet. $2 from every Komen Go Pink $12 package sold will be donated to the Susan G. Komen foundation. Enter promotional code “KOMEN”, for online ticket purchases. (www.dbulls.com) Kohl’s has also joined in the fight against breast cancer, offering $5 and $10 Food Network breast cancer merchandise. Shop for a cure. (www.kohls.com/kohlsStore/landingpages/foodnetwork_new/WomensCauseMerchandise.jsp?om_mid=_20110428_BCMerch) Our Race for the Cure team, Pink Floyd, has grown to 28 registered walkers/runners, 60 team t-shirt orders, and over $1,000 in donations! There’s still time to make a difference. (http://www.info-komen.org/site/TR/RacefortheCure/DUR_NCTriangleAffiliate/16677936?pg=team&fr_id=2137&team_id=152919)
On 6/11 at 10am, the Lowe’s Build and Grow FREE project for kids is Goofy Golf. (www.lowes.com)
Beginning 6/14 through August, Raleigh Grande 16 Movie Theatre presents the 2011 Free Family Film Series, offering a FREE movie every Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at 10am and a $4 drink and popcorn combo. (www.carolinacinemas.com/raleigh/announcements.php)
On 6/18 in historic downtown Burgaw, is the 8th annual North Carolina Blueberry Festival. Admission is FREE. (www.ncblueberryfestival.com)
On 6/25 at 10am, the Lowe’s Build and Grow FREE project for kids is Waving Flag. (www.lowes.com)
On 7/9 at 10am, the Lowe’s Build and Grow FREE project for kids is Tow Truck. (www.lowes.com)
On 7/23 at 10am, the Lowe’s Build and Grow FREE project for kids is Binoculars. (www.lowes.com)
Check out the NC Museum of Art’s new FREE mobile app. (http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/2011/05/north-carolina-museum-of-art-launches-first-ipad-app-free-video)
Salon Blu offers New Talent Mondays and Tuesdays, with men’s cuts for $19, women’s cuts for $29, and cut and color combos for $79. Salons are located in midtown, Brier Creek, and North Raleigh and have won awards including Best Hair Salon in Wake County (Independent Weekly 2008) and Trendiest Salon (Social Magazine 2008). (www.salonbluhair.com)
Raleigh’s new Contemporary Art Museum has opened its doors. General admission is $5, but FREE for members, children 10 and under, members of the military, and NC State students, faculty, and staff. (http://camraleigh.org)
Here’s a new savings website: www.southernsavers.com. Thank you Jenny!
Are you in need of a gift? Check out Sam Moon’s latest collar necklaces in funky styles and lovely colors. (http://www.sammoon.com/dev/product.asp?cat=jewelry&tempcat=Trendy_Style⊂=sub) For a young child, I always love Kohl’s Cares books and stuffed animals. At only $5 each, 100% of the net profits will be donated to kids’ health and education initiatives nationwide. The latest? “Llama Llama Red Pajama” and “Llama Llama Misses Mama” books with llama and zebra stuffed animals. (www.kohls.com/kohlsStore/landingpages/kohlscares/kidscausemerchandise.jsp)
Keep your eyes open for treats for Father’s Day, which is less than a month away. Scentsy is offering “manly” scents such as Amber Road and products such as the Magellan warmer to mask the man cave. (http://scentsy.net) If he is an NCSU graduate or fan, take a look at NC State’s online store, where purchases are shipped in 3 days. (www.ncstateshop.com) Through 5/23, enter promotional code “BOOK4MAY” to receive a $15 8×11 custom photo book through Snapfish. (www.snapfish.com) Or do like Andrew and buy something functional. He found a fun pen/fan combo for himself at Stein Mart for only $5. (www.steinmart.com)
Well, I’m off to get ready for Chavon’s bridal shower. She and Ken didn’t register for the typical types of gifts that most engaged couples register for (china, towels, etc). They have everything they need, so Chavon’s matron of honor is hosting a Honeymoon Shower. Guests will bring gifts that can be used by Chavon and Kendrick while they are honeymooning in a beachy setting. How fun is that?!