Friday, November 28, 2014

My Favorite "Holiday"

Today is traditionally considered Black Friday, a wondrous day of best price of the year sales. Recently, stores have started their sales as early as Wednesday and most big stores start their sale on Thanksgiving. I am "old fashioned" as far as in store shopping....Friday is the day. I got up at 5:30am to start my shopping spree.

Me being me, I had bookmarked a wonderful site called bfads.net which had leaked ads. I created a spreadsheet of all the deals I was interested in, I collected coupons, I made a "day of" checklist; I was prepared; and boy did it pay off!! Combining sales and coupons I saved $352.41, an average savings of 49% at 8 stores including Walmart and Target. The majority of my purchases were very boring; household supplies at CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens. But the savings in that area were massive....an average of 62%, my best transaction was 84% at CVS! Very exciting to watch the numbers drop. We now have a year supply of laundry detergent, plenty of toilet paper, and plenty of paper towels! Luckily my bf was able to finish building the shelf in our laundry room cabinet this morning so I had a place to store all this stuff.

I was also able to buy 115 pounds of cat litter, 16 pounds of food and a couple toys at a lovely 50% off at Petsmart.

As far as the fun stuff, that was limited this year due to a lack of fundage, but I still managed to get some nice things at an average of 38%. Much of that was purchased online Thursday as many sales went live. The best part was being able to get exactly what I wanted while avoiding crowds and traffic.

We definitely won't need to buy M&Ms anytime soon lol! I think 6 bags will last us a while. I was very happy to find an inexpensive Wall Mount for the bedroom TV. I will no longer have to worry about the cats knocking it off the bureau! Yay! My best find was a camouflage lightweight hoodie for $10 at Walmart. They were sold out online and in the first Walmart I went to. Even in the second Walmart there were none left anywhere, except one that I found mixed in with the women's jackets! Lucky for me, it just happened to be my size!

Now, to wait for my online orders to arrive....

Thursday, November 27, 2014

My Worst Thanksgiving I Can Remember

Let me start by saying that I know there are people much worse off than what I am considering "my worst Thanksgiving". I am very lucky to have most of a roof over my head (I'll get to that in a minute) and to have my two awesome cats, and to have my boyfriend. However, today is really testing my thankfulness. 

It started early this morning, like just before 5:00AM when we were awoken by a huge crash. Last night with the snow we got to learn just how horrifying the sounds of a mobile home are in a wet, heavy snow storm. I mean, these sounds cause me to jump every freaking time. It's crazy! I have been  in metal roofed indoor riding arenas that are less scary than this. Every time it sounded like the roof was caving in! Well, my fear ended up being justified....back to the pre-5AM crash. I didn't think much of it, other than the fact my heart was racing and I couldn't get back to sleep. He got up and checked the living room and picked up the trash can the poor startled kitties knocked over. As I couldn't sleep I figured I'd check on the kitties. I looked all over the house for them, and when I went to look in the spare bedroom at the other end of the house, boom, there it was. A tree branch sticking through the ceiling about 4ish feet into the room. 

Not cool. I tell my boyfriend about it and he starts making phone calls, insurance company, trailer park owner, fire department, roofers. Well, of course it's a holiday so you can't get anyone to come out. The fire department said no as it wasn't an emergency and they had been busy all night. The park owner said no because of the fact the insurance adjuster needed to see it first (which guess who don't work on holidays?). I took a boatload of photographs, inside, outside, in the dark, in the daylight. I want to make sure to document all the damage. I even took a screen shot of his phone trying to call different roofers. Looks like we are stuck for the time being with a tree stabbing our poor house.  Fail. On top of that it's above freezing out so now the snow can melt right into our spare room. 

I am thankful it was our spare room and no kitties were hurt (other than the trauma of the crash...Hobo is still in hiding more time than he is not, poor baby; I think he was in the room when it came through as that is where his favorite bed is). 
 The next fun experience of this Thanksgiving was while we were standing outside discussing what to do next. See the pic with the stairs? Yeah, guess where we were standing when we heard the crack of the branch breaking? Yup, right at the bottom of those stairs! Luckily we took a few steps backwards and avoided any injury besides a blast of snow on my poor laptop. (Luckily no damage). Scary. So at this point, I am scared of trees....not good as we are literally surrounded by them. Wish us luck in convincing the park manager to remove them, maybe the insurance company will help us with that part....

I decide that while he is clearing the snow from the driveway, I would participate in what has become my Thanksgiving morning tradition, getting a cup of coffee and the newspaper with all the Black Friday ads. I usually sit and enjoy my coffee while perusing the deals. Nope. I did get the coffee, but the newspapers had not been delivered to the store yet. They were due at 3:30am, it was after 7am when I went to the store. Fail.

I return home and decide to see what online sales were live. I had my cart all ready for Walmart with the items I wanted to order. Of course they had already sold out of the two main items I wanted (an air compressor and a camoflauge hoodie). Fail. Guess I should have gone online when I couldn't sleep at 5am. Maybe I'll get lucky tomorrow and be able to buy in person. I did have success at Best Buy even though I didn't plan on buying anything there, got a great deal on a Kinda HD Fire Tablet, Case, and screen protector. As I spend so much time at work, I decided an inexpensive tablet would be nice to throw in my bag to keep me entertained. Target was also an online success, got the 2 movies, a sweater dress, and the blanket I had wanted. Yay, maybe my day was turning around.

Nope. I start feeling like crap. My neck hurts, dizzy/nauseous, sleepy. My boyfriend decides to stop by his work to see about plowing. I was originally going to go with him but as I felt awful I figured riding around in the plow truck would suck. 3 hours later, he's still not back and I'm thinking I should figure out how to start dinner...so much for a 5:00 dinner time. Oh well, it's just the 2 of us and the cats which is my favorite way to spend the holidays.

I feel a little better so I head back out the store to see if they have the newspaper in. Victory! I grab my copy. I decided to go for the more local paper. Bad choice. They didn't have the one ad I really wanted (Walgreens), and there were like 3 copies of other ads. I'll stick with the Union Leader from now on. I never had that issue. Disappointing.

I started finishing up my Black Friday list. I double check the coupon/rewards policy for Walgreens. There goes my deals. They make you wait to redeem the rewards from buying certain items. Well, I don't wanna! Oh well, if today is any indicator,  I'm sure none of my deal scenarios will work as they will be sold out of whatever it is I have on my list.

So yeah, this is my worst Thanksgiving I can remember. And I was really hoping our first Thanksgiving would be a nice, special, fun, together sort of day.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Influenster: The experience

If you have followed my blog for any length of time, you will see that I am an active member of the Influenster online community. What is Influenster you ask? Well, it's an awesome online community that gives you free stuff to try, and who doesn't love free stuff?

My first VoxBox...
Spring Beauty over 2 years ago!
Influenster is a place for people to share their opinions. When you sign up you gain Impact by connecting your social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc which help you to qualify for programs. Don't worry if you don't have thousands of followers (cause I certainly don't),
you will still qualify! You also earn badges by answering survey questions, reviewing products, completing campaigns, sharing products on social media, and answering other people's questions. You can become an "expert" in categories such as Eco, Beauty Queen, Gamer, Techie, Sweet Tooth, Decorator, Jetsetter, Pop Culture, and Tastebud.
When you participate in the site on a regular basis, you can qualify for VoxBoxes. VoxBoxes are the best part of being a member of the community. You are mailed a box of usually full size items for free to test and review. After each box is mailed out, you receive a list of tasks, usually very simple like "Like" a company on Facebook and post a review, or post to Instagram. The tasks build your impact score. As well as the VoxBox tasks, you receive brand specific tasks as well, which are just as easy. Sometimes you have to photograph a display in a store, or write a blog post review; none of the tasks take up much time or energy. I personally find the tasks to be fun. If you don't have a certain account, or are not comfortable with the task, it's ok to skip it. I never post to youtube. I am extremely self conscious of my voice recorded. Yet I still manage to qualify for more boxes, and I have even won some of the brand challenges!
In the past couple months, Influenster released a mobile app, making it even easier to stay connected! The app has a built in scanner so you can read reviews and compare prices right there in the store.

I love being a member of Influenster Nation! They reward you for your honesty as well. It's perfectly ok to say you don't like a product! I always review each product in my VoxBox honestly. There are products I have absolutely loved, like the Dr Scholls Cozy Cushion insoles, and the Sinful Colors nail polish, but then there are products I have not enjoyed at all. They want your opinion as it helps the company to make better products. Give your reasons as to why you say what you say, and you will go far on this site!

If you are interested in joining, send me a message with your email address and I will email you the information! It's a great opportunity!



Sunkissed Vox Box

Kimmel London Brand Challenge Prize
Kiss Brand Challenge Prize
SurfsUp Vox Box
Rose Vox Box
Brand Challenge Prize!


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sick of it all

I am sick of almost everything that life entails. I was seriously hoping this new relationship and new living situation would have made it better as it is exactly what I wanted, but no change. i'm just repeating the past and all my failures.

I hate my job during the summer. I hate going to work for just a few lousy hours on boring shifts. Once in a while it's nice cause some of the passengers really do like when I drive, but overall it sucks. I am far too anxious on other shifts about creepy dangerous people. I'm sick of seeing the scum that roam the streets, trying to get a free ride so they have more money for drugs. It's not fun.

I spend nearly every weekday sitting on the couch in front of the TV, watching DVRed shows or reruns of favorites. Of course, that may change soon as we are seriously thinking of cutting the cable, but that's another post for another day, but then I'll have more to watch. When he gets home from work I am still stuck just sitting there. He wants to actually live life and I just sit and rot. I've basically given up on life and being happy. It's just not in the cards for me I guess.

I am dreading going back to work in the fall. I don't want to spend the fuel to go back and forth and back and forth for split shifts. At the end of the year, I wasn't even enjoying that job, which makes the impending fall even less desirable. But what else can I do? What other job is going to give me the benefits, which once i get, I probably can't afford that big a hit on my paycheck, but I have to wait and see. I have no attachment to my coworkers. I am invisible to them anyways. Most of all, I don't want to give up being a lump on the couch.

I've felt like crap for weeks and weeks now. Probably into months. Just pure exhaustion despite how much or how little I sleep. I get plenty of dizzy spells and spells where I feel just plain weak, like I can't move. Don't even mention the sudden teenage onslaught of bad zits....

Remember how excited I was about the thought of getting my own motorcycle next year? Well, after how I've felt since then, it would be a giant waste of money. I'm lucky to have 1 day a week where I feel like I could safely ride. Why go to all that expense for a 1 full season, 2 partial seasons 1 day a week toy? Pretty pathetic. I'm 29 years old.

I do love my bf very much, but all I feel like I do is make him miserable (which he has never ever said! He's nothing but sweet and nice and kind to me) but inside I know he wants to live life, and at this point I am one step above wanting to die.

It sucks as I have everything I ever wanted. I have a perfect guy, a perfect house, 2 purrfect cats, the job I have wanted coming up, but yet I just can't be happy.

(Don't worry, I'm not going to end my life, cause I'd just fail at that too)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Ch Ch Changes

Things have been going very well in the new home. We are starting to make it our own. It's amazing what a coat of paint can do to make a room more homey. What's even cooler is we both picked out the same color without talking about it first, which made it nice and easy!

I have been in a mood to make changes to better my life. I have sold both my little Geo Metro Convertible and my Vespa Scooter. Now I just have my Fiat 500, which will likely be traded in for the automatic transmission version if my local dealer gets one in with the right specs (color!). I want to simplify things.

Since making this move, I have really cut down on a lot of the "stuff" that I had. My craft room really got pared down to mostly essentials, but could do with being pared down even more. That is one thing I am liking about the mobile home life, it's a smaller space, so it kind of forces you to make smarter decisions about what you bring into it. It definitely feels better to not feel like you are drowning in stuff!

I have even been reconsidering my career as a bus driver. I am completely fed up with the transit city buses, there are just too many crazies out there that the job just isn't fun, not to mention the fact the company I work for, I just don't fit in with. Not that fitting in is all that important, I want to go to work, not make friends, but still, I've just always felt like an outsider. However two good things did come out of my job there, one is my wonderful boyfriend, and the other was being able to get my air brake endorsement so I could be hired there.

As far as school buses, I finally am getting the full time job at the one district I want to work for, but I am not sure if I still want to do it. I would like to not have to worry every summer about not having any money and should I look for a part time summer job....However, the school bus driver life fits me fairly well, it is Monday through Friday, no late nights, I have time off mid day to get things done at home most of the time. I do enjoy driving school buses most of the time, which is helpful. I think I got worn out at the end of this school year, so I am not going to make any decisions until later. I'm kinda hoping to find something different for the summer to try out and see if it is something I like.





Monday, June 9, 2014

Invisible and broken

Somedays I feel invisible. It's like I don't even exist. I don't fit in anywhere. In conversations, I will say something and it is overlooked, someone else will say the EXACT SAME THING I just said, and it will get a reaction, whether a laugh or a continuation of the thought. I have noticed this a lot recently. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong, or what is wrong with me that makes me just not exist. My opinion is never valued. It sucks and is very frustrating. There are times it would be nice to be included in the group conversation with everyone else at the table, not just ignored. A not so lovely example of my not-so-amazing invisibility powers is I stopped in at my other job to sign up for work. There was a dispatcher, a supervisor, and two drivers I walked past. Out of all those people, only ONE driver said hi. Shows what a friendly company I work for, but I feel like that so much of the time.

As well as invisible, I feel broken. I am so completely exhausted/sleepy/tired 99% of the time. I am only 29, that's not old by anyone but a kindergardener's standard, but I feel like I'm elderly. My parents are older than most parents of a kid my age, but they are super active. They unload a ton of wood pellets, take care of a horse everyday, can lift a hell of a lot more than I can, they can walk around all day and not be dead. I can't keep up with my mom, not even close. Most days I feel like crap. My boyfriend has been very encouraging in getting me to do more and hoping that as I do more I will feel better, but no change. I am trying so hard to be a more active person, but I just feel like I fail. Every day when I come home and it's "early" I feel guilty. I am wasting the day. Life is short, you never know what will happen, but yet all I feel like I can do is come home and sit on the couch and watch TV. I am too set in my ways that lunch is at noon, dinner is at 6-7pm, then after dinner is TV and then bed time....God forbid anything changes those times. It sucks. If he wants to go out on the motorcycle after work or just do basically anything but sit on the couch all afternoon/evening, why can't we? Once in a while, or on bad weather afternoons is one thing, but I am technically young, I should be out living life with him. I hate that I hold him back because he is so sweet and tries to make me happy so he'll stay in, but all I do is spend that time I know he wants to be doing something else being upset that I once again failed. It's not fair and I have no idea how to change it!?

I should be the happiest girl in the world right now, I have a perfect boyfriend who really does make me happy when I'm not feeling guilty that we are spending all our quality time doing nothing every day.  I am getting the job I have been wanting. I live in a perfect little house.

I just don't know what to do and how to fix me.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Home. At last.

Lots of changes have happened since my last post. I am officially divorced. I am now sort of a homeowner. I am truly happy for the first time in a long time.

The biggest change is that I am now home! My boyfriend purchased a beautiful mobile home that we are able to call ours. We haven't even been here a week and it already feels like home. It's been a while since I felt truly home, for some reason the apartment wasn't ever home to me, nothing negative against my ex, he did everything to make it home, it just never was quite right for me. But this house, this adorable little house, is just right. Its perfect for the 2 of us and the 2 cats.

It's amazing how much stuff I had accumulated in the past couple years. My goal was to really cut down what I own. I have learned that the simple life with less "Stuff" is a much better way to live. In the process of packing, I made a large donation of clothes and craft stuff to Goodwill, as well as being able to sell a few things for some spending money. I still had too much stuff which I will continue to pare down as time goes on, but it is a huge improvement from what was.

The house is a 1993 single wide 14' x 70' two bedroom, two bathroom. My cats are loving the 70' worth of runway. They absolutely love charging around full speed from one end to the other end; unfortunately it is usually in the middle of the night and neither one of them is light on their feet!

One of my favorite aspects is having my own washer and dryer! What a change in my attitude towards laundry! Even though they are outdated machines, it is nice to just throw a load in while I do other things, and it washes much faster than the commercial machines!

Another wonderful aspect of this house is the pre-made gardening beds the previous owner had. I can't wait to get some plants and start making the outside look more attractive and colorful.  This park is not the stereotypical park though, I can't believe how nice it is. It's quiet, almost like a 55+ community, clean, well maintained, and so far the people seem nice. I look forward to us making this place even more ours.