Monday, January 30, 2012

Do You Like Money?

I like money.  I like earning it, receiving it as a gift, and finding it in pockets when I do the laundry.  Since I've been posting about some frivolous things I buy lately, I'll share with you how I find the money to buy those things.

1. Ebates - If you frequently shop online, it's a great way to put some cash back into your pocket.  Go to their site, plug in your email address and a password, click thru to the site you want to shop at and buy something.  You will automatically start to receive cash back.  You can receive a check every three months in the mail or they will put the money in your Paypal account.  It's a small amount, 1% for airline tickets or up to 6% or more at the Gap--but it adds up over time.

2. Sell Your Stuff - I'm an emotional shopper and frequently buy things I don't need/want/like.  Or I'm at Target and just throw the $5 tank top in my basket because it looks cute on the hanger.  Twice a year I go through those mistakes in my closet and sell them.

Ebay - Anything I have that still has the tags on it or is a designer brand goes on Ebay.  I don't bother selling Banana, J Crew, or Gap on Ebay ... unless the tags are still attached.  It's just not worth the time.

Plato's Closet - I used to think that Plato's Closet would not think my clothes were cool enough and that they would probably only give me $5 for a huge bag of clothes.  Boy was I wrong.  This is the place to take those Target and Forever 21 purchases that no longer fit after washing them once.  I took a sack load of Target, Forever 21, and Old Navy clothes in today and walked away with $50 cash.  Call ahead before you take your clothes to make sure they're currently buying clothes.  They prefer you bring in your clothes folded in a laundry basket and they accept clothes for all seasons.

Clothes Mentor - This is another place that will pay you cash on the spot for your clothes.  This is where you should take work clothes you no longer wear--Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, Loft, etc.  It's a different customer, but they follow the same rules at Plato's Closet.  They also want clothes folded in a laundry basket and will accept clothes for all seasons.  I took a full laundry basket before we moved and left with $95.  Not a bad haul for clothes I'll never wear again.

3. Don't pay for shipping - This isn't a way to put cash in your wallet, but it will save you money.  Before I order anything I visit Retail Me Not or just google the website name and free shipping code.  If there isn't a free shipping code, you might at least come across a discount code.

4. Free Stuff & Coupons - I don't clip coupons as often as I should.  But when I do, I usually go to  Target's website.  They have their own coupons you can combine with manufacturers coupons.  I also use and some couponing blogs like

5. Other ways I have tried to save money -

Bottled water - I stopped buying bottled water and just drink out of reusable water bottles and plastic cups.

Replace plastic bags you send to school with a reusable lunch cube.  I found these at the Container Store and send them to school in the boys' lunch boxes.

Visit the Library - The boys and I have been checking out books from the library instead of buying them.  Not only is this a money saver, but it saves me from putting yet another novel on our already crammed bookshelf.  And I'm sure you know that at most libraries you can reserve books online and they will email you when the book is available.

Tonight I'm going to the opening of a casino in Kansas City.  I plan on taking my Plato's Closet money straight to the slots!

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Few More Favorites

Yesterday I realized there are several other products I discovered last year that should have been included in the previous post.  Here they are:

L'Oreal's Sulfate-Free line.  I use the one for really badly damaged overly processed hair.  After using it for a month, I went to see my stylist and she said, "Your hair feels so much better, what have you been using?"  I kid you not, that really happened.  

From the same line the Overnight Repair Treatment.  I don't use this often enough, but love it when I do.  It's not greasy and doesn't leave a residue on your pillow.  

Kevin Murphy Powder Puff - My hair gal talked me into buying this product.  It's a fine powder that you rub into your roots after your hair is dry to give it volume.  It gives my hair texture that no other product has given it before.  It's a little pricey for the size ($28 on Amazon), but a little bit goes a long way.

Olay Professional Cleansing System - I have heard from several friends how much they love Clarisonic's  cleansing brushes, but I wasn't ready to spend $100+ on something like this.  I saw this one at Target for under $30 and decided to give it a try.  I LOVE IT!  I keep it in the shower and use it every day. 

Eucerin Everyday Protection Face Lotion, SPF 30 - I used to wear Neutrogena sunscreen under makeup and I always felt that it irritated my skin.  This lotion is so mild and non-irritating.  Plus, it's under $8 at

Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Sunset Tea - I discovered this tea during a visit to the Woodhouse Day Spa.  They serve it just before you go back for your massage.  It's a black tea that has a strong apple cinnamon taste and requires no sweetener.  It's $6.99 for twenty tea bags on

I was so disappointed in the last season of Dexter and was happy that Revenge could take its place on the DVR.  Isn't this the best new show?  I love Amanda Clark  Emily Thorne and everything she has up her sleeve.  I still have a slight addiction to the Bachelor, even though I think Ben is kind of a weenie.  

Pop Secret Homestyle - I love to eat this while watching Revenge.  I did talk about making popcorn in the microwave in a paper sack here.  And we still do that most of the time.  But when you want popcorn that REALLY tastes amazing ... try this homestyle variety.  You're welcome. 

The Hunger Games Series - I'm reading the second book in the series and I'm hooked.  I think it's written on an 8th grade reading level (which is about where I'm at), so it's a quick read.  I can't wait to see the Hunger Games movie in March.  

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Some Favorites from 2011

This post was inspired by my friend Kelly and her blog post from last week about her favorite yogurt from Target.  I love their yogurt too and will definitely be picking up the turtle cheesecake flavor she recommended.  

Here are a few things that I discovered in 2011 that I love:

Natural Bliss flavored creamer - I have to say, I'm a fan.  I have only tried the vanilla one so far and it's pretty tasty.  Plus the ingredients don't make me cringe.

Fage Greek Yogurt - Greek yogurt isn't for everyone, and that's okay.  That just leaves more for the rest of us on the grocery store shelves.  Yes, it's a little more expensive, but so worth it.  I stock up on it when it's on sale and usually stick to the strawberry flavor.  

Dry Oil - One of my girlfriends bought this for me as a gift.  I was hesitant at first because I'm naturally shiny all the time.  But this feels amazing and is not greasy at all.  This oil comes in the shimmery version or you can buy it without the bronze and shimmer in it.  Amazon has it for $36.

Lancome Doll Lashes - I bought this mascara on a whim.  They were running a Lancome gift with purchase at Nordstrom and I decided to give it a shot.  I love it and definitely notice a difference from the mascara I was previously using.  Plus, it's really easy to put on multiple coats and it does not get caked up on your lashes.  You can buy it at Nordstrom for $26.

Do I even need to say anything about this one?

Cinnamon Burst Cheerios - One of my all time favorite cereals are Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Golden Grahams.  I don't buy those because I will sit down and eat the entire box leaving my kids to wonder what happened to their cereal.  I discovered this cinnamon flavored Cheerios and it completely fills my CTC and GG void.  It's not too sugary (so I don't want to eat the entire box) and the boys love it.  

Pinterest - I used to play Words With Friends when I had some downtime.  Now I find myself going straight to Pinterest either on the computer or on my phone.  

Sean Minor - Some friends brought this over for dinner a few weeks ago.  I think it runs a little over my usual wine budget, but it's worth the splurge for dinner with friends and special occasions.  

L'Oreal Double Extend Mascara - I have to mention one other mascara.  Kylie turned me onto this mascara last year.  I use it every day and love it.  It doesn't flake off or rub off under your eyes.  And when you wash it off, you pull it off in little tubes.  It sounds weird, but it's actually kind of cool.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Pillows and Subway Art

I just finished two projects that I started while in Austin for Christmas.  The first was a pillow project that I have been trying to craft for a few months now.  I wanted to cut letters out of felt and applique the negative onto a pillow.  My Cricut won't cut felt and there is no way I could hand cut the letters.  My brother offered up his laser cutter and here is the result:

I know, enough with the chevron.

He also helped me create some subway art with my SIL's new Black Cat machine.  It's similar to a Cricut or Silhouette, but it's about five times bigger and can do so much more.  I ripped off  was inspired to do this project from the House of Smiths blog.  I followed Shelley's instructions and and this is how it turned out:

You can find her post about it here.  The address I used are all of the places that Steve and I have lived together ... starting with our first apartment in Dallas to the four houses we have owned in less than seven years of marriage.  One of these days we will live in a house for longer than two years.

We have a shallow nook by our bedroom that this guy will fit into perfectly.

And by the way, Target is now selling upholstered chairs covered in Thomas Paul fabric.  I nearly fell out of my chair when I saw these.  They are under $250 and just adorable.  You can check this one out here.  

Monday, January 16, 2012

From Jayhawk to Powercat

Our family just celebrated our one year anniversary in Kansas.  Since the day we moved here we have been Jayhawk fans.  It's hard not to cheer for the Hawks in this town.  Everywhere you go you see people wearing KU gear and they sell KU shirts and hats in every store.  However, when we found out that Kansas State was going to play in the Cotton Bowl, Steve rushed out and bought us KSU t-shirts.  How quickly we converted to Powercat fans--especially when we found out we were going to the Cotton Bowl. 

Two days before we left for the Cotton Bowl, Steve sent me our agenda.  I had hopes of seeing old friends and going to Northpark Mall, but that clearly was not going to happen.  We barely had time to rush back to our hotel room to change clothes for the next event.  And thankfully my mom agreed to come to Lawrence to watch H & L so we didn't have to drag them along with us (thank you, Diane!).  

We started out the Thursday before the game at a lunch with the players and coaches at the Anatole Hotel.  US Senator Jerry Moran and his sweet wife Robba joined us.  It was our first time meeting a US Senator and he was just as nice and as down-to-earth as can be.  While lunching, we heard this guy speak:

That's K-State's football coach, Bill Snyder.  And we saw this guy:

That is not Brad Sham, it's Collin Klein, K-State's QB.  We saw Brad Sham too (voice of the Dallas Cowboys) and some professional football players ... but of course I couldn't tell you who they were.  Steve would cringe right now if he read this. 

After the lunch and a quick change at the hotel, we went to dinner and had these:

I miss the south.  

Friday was game day and we started out at Joe T Garcia's in Ft. Worth for a fundraiser for Senator Moran.  Then we headed back to the Gaylord for a quick change and then off to the Deathstar   Jerry's World  Cowboy Stadium for the tailgate.  I did something at the tailgate I have never done before ... armadillo racing!  We had to hold the armadillo down until they blew the whistle.  Then we let it go and stomped our feet behind it to get it to the finish line first.  My armadillo came in second place.

That's me on the right.  You can see my armadillo running away from me in the bottom right hand corner of the photo.  

Steve also took a turn at armadillo racing with his Arkansas counterpart. 

While tailgating, we saw a giant bus park in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart across the street.  This is what emerged:

The entire Arkansas band!  I'm not sure if that's ironic or a coincidence, but I loved it.

Once inside for the game I ran into this girl:

We also saw our other neighbors and friends Amanda and Lara.  We only had a few minutes to catch up, but it was so fun to see them there.

Kylie and I also had our picture taken with Gov Brownback.  He was such a good sport about posing with an Arkansas fan.

I had a couple of celebrity sightings while at the game.  I was walking to the bathroom and walked right past The Band Perry.  I was also standing outside Eric Stonestreet's suite when he came out to go to the bar.  He was quickly mobbed by other fans so I didn't get a picture.  But I did get a picture with this guy:

It was a crazy and fun weekend.  Arkansas played a great game and K-State gave it their best shot.  Steve and I count our blessings that we are so lucky to be able to do things like this while he's in this job.  We are not taking one single second of it for granted.  

We returned home on Saturday and were so happy to see these guys:

They spent four days at Camp Grammy and had a great time.  Thanks again, mom!

One more thing, I have some new game day items that I've been working on.  Since this post has been about K-State I have to share one of them.

I love a maxi skirt and will be creating more for other schools.  I should have some in my Etsy store by the end of the month.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Christmas in Texas

We spent a fun week in Central Texas for Christmas.  We stayed a few days at my brother-in-law's house in Round Rock and then headed down the road to Austin to my brother's house.  And of course we stopped at our favorite rest stop along the way, the Whitehead's house.  During our stay in Texas there was plenty of good food, drinks, laughs, hugs, a stomach virus, and a couple of projects were started.  Here's a cool project for next year I saw at my BIL's house:

Christmas lights in a wine bottle ... I need to figure out how to drill into glass.

I forgot to mention the singing.  There was lots of singing over the holidays.  The boys are belting out Jingle Bells and Steve is just trying to keep up with them.

These are all of my adorable nieces and nephews on the Hahn side.    

We opened presents on Christmas Day at my brother's house.  This game has been a huge hit in our house.  If your kids love Angry Birds, they will love this game.  It's called Knock on Wood and has provided hours of entertainment to the boys (and Steve).

Group shot of the Blanco cousins.  They were too distracted by their presents to smile.

Somehow my brother and SIL stumbled upon this gem online.  "It's an RV Clark.  Don't go getting too attached to it cuz we're taking it with us when we leave here next month."

And look what we saw on I-35 on our way home!