Apps for Lazy Couponing

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not the best couponer. I try, but I’m just not that good at it. I would love to have the patience to cut and organize coupons each week and to make sure I went to the correct store to make the best use out of all of them. But if I ever do cut any, I usually forget them at home. Fortunately, in this lovely age of technology, some super smart people have created apps to make couponing easier for those of us who don’t come by it naturally. (I’m looking at you, Amber.) ;)

Cartwheel

This one is probably my favorite because I was a frequent Target flyer before Cartwheel came around. I love getting discounts and coupons for things and places I’ll be going to/buying anyway! (It’s actually one of my ‘rules’ of couponing.) The other awesome part about Cartwheel is that it’s completely free! I am not all about to paying to get discounts. ;) I’ve been using Cartwheel for about 8 months and have lazily saved over $30!

Features I like most:
1. If you’re in the store about to buy something and don’t have time to sift through the offers, scan the item with your phone and Cartwheel will tell you whether there’s a coupon for it!
2. The more you use it and save the more ‘spots’ you have to add coupons to your virtual wallet.
3. (frugal bonus!) Many Target stores now have free Wi-Fi so you don’t even have to use your cell phone data to add coupons to your ‘wallet’ in-store!

Wal-Mart Savings Catcher

This one is brand new to me and I’m so excited about it. A few months ago I started shopping at my local Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market because it’s much closer than the commissary and cheaper than the other grocery stores. The other day after my grocery run, I noticed there was an extra paper with my receipt. That paper gave me the deets on the Savings Catcher. Basically this is an app that searches local sales/deals for you and if you bought something at Wal-Mart that’s cheaper elsewhere, it will refund you the difference! Literally all you do is download the app, then scan your receipt and let Wal-Mart do the work. You then redeem your refund in the form of a Wal-Mart eGiftCard which can be used the next time you shop. On my very first trip, I got a refund of $2.31!

Features I like most:
1. Free and easy to use! Requires no coupon cutting prior to shopping!
2. I can use the savings during my next trip or let the money build up on my eGiftCard (which never expires)!

RetailMeNot

To be honest I don’t use this app all that much but I do like using it to see if there are any deals in my area. Basically when you pull up the app it tells you if any of the stores in your area have any great deals going on. As per the usual, the app is free. :)

Features I like most:
1. I like that it looks at stores that are around you so if I’m out shopping or running errands I can decide which store I want to go into based on whether one or another might be having a sale.

 

What are your lazy couponing secrets? Or do you just put in the work so you can get extra awesome savings!?!

Workout Motivation?

Over the last couple months I haven’t really had a workout ‘routine’ so much as an active lifestyle. We were participating in lots of weekend cycling events and even had a pretty active vacation, hiking over 20 miles. However, now that all of that is coming to an end and the weather is getting cooler, I know I need to come up with a plan before I just give up completely and hibernate for winter.

Baby Steps

So the first part of my plan is just to get a few runs in over the next few weeks. I even put them in my calendar so that I’ll feel bad if I have to delete one without doing it. ;)

Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 9.13.49 PM And I even put in what time I would need to be out the door because sometimes when I’m really demotivated I use the excuse “well I’m not sure what time I have to get up” as an excuse not to run. :/

Next Month

Over the next couple weeks I want to make a schedule for all of October. I am a person who is highly motivated by expectations. So I’m hoping that having a schedule already set and knowing what I expect out of myself for the month will be very motivating. It will also serve to get rid of lack of planning as an excuse.

Also in October I would like to actually start working on some strength training and core workouts. With those as well, I often use lack of preparation as an excuse so maybe I’ll put together something for those as well.

What keeps you motivated? If you have workout motivation secrets I want to know! :)

 

10 nights, 11 days, and 3700 miles

We recently returned from our longest vacation in over 2 years. Actually, it was our first real vacation since our honeymoon (December 2011). To say we were overdue would be the understatement of the year. We hemmed and hawed for a while over where we would go, considering Disney World, a cruise, and even Europe along the way. Then we finally decided that we would go to Moab, Utah. Then we decided to expand the trip and go to all 5 National Parks in Utah. Then, we decided that while we were at it we might as well scoot down to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon since we would be closer to it than we ever have been.

mountains

When we finally sat down to plan it all out (which wasn’t until about 5 days before we left) we devised a plan and schedule that would take us 10 nights, 11 days, and over 3000 miles. (Though during the actual trip, we ended up traveling over 3700 miles due to unexpected side trips and other adventures!)

canyonlands

Our approach to this trip was different than for a lot of ‘vacations’. We did not want to follow a strict schedule and we were adamant about stopping or going whenever we were moved to do so. There were so many beautiful sights along our routes that many of our drives between sights took us a lot longer than anticipated simply because we had to stop and see and photograph along the way, sometimes delaying our arrival at our true ‘destination’. Basically the only rule was to experience and enjoy everything! No schedule, no timetable. The only actual limit was that I had to be back to work by Thursday, 12 days after we embarked on our journey. Like I said earlier, we did have a general timetable to make sure we got to see all that we wanted to, but it was adjusted many times. ;)

grandcanyon

So where exactly did we go?!

Denver, CO
Pikes Peak, CO
Colorado Springs, CO
Four Corners Monument
Page, AZ
North Rim of the Grand Canyon
Zion National Park, UT
Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
Capital Reef National Park, UT
Moab, UT
Arches National Park, UT
Canyonlands National Park, UT
Rocky Mountain National Park, CO (this was an extra thrown in right at the end! :) )

There were some stops at smaller landmarks and monuments along the way but that’s the high points! ;) This was literally the most beautiful, most fun, and most challenging vacation I’ve ever been on.

bryce

Did you say challenging?

We knew this was going to be an adventurous vacation. I did not expect it to challenge me in the ways it did. And I love this trip and the places we went for that challenge. Even just standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon looking in while you are separated from the fall by a railing can be challenging. It’s immense size challenges your very comprehension of it. Then there was the 20+ miles of hiking we did. Some of it was leisurely walks to overlooks, but a lot of it was more difficult, sometimes backcountry trails that required hard work for the reward of some of the most amazing views and experiences.

delicatearch

Over the next couple weeks I plant post about each of the different parks and what we did there. They were all so different and so beautiful that I’d love to go into more detail! But for now I need to stop playing on the computer and actually get ready to go to work tomorrow. ;)

 

August Goal Review & September Goals!

sepgoals

So is it just me or did August go by in a flash! I thought it was finally slowing down but here we are at September 1 and I still haven’t posted a recap of all the fun stuff we did in August. Oh well, maybe later. ;) But for now let’s get to the goal review and new goals.

August Goal Review

1. Bike 125+ miles and run 25+ miles.
I’m going to go with green on this one because even though I only ran 8.8 miles in August, I biked a total of 150 miles! :) I’ve really slowed down on both the running and biking over the last couple weeks but I need to get back in gear!

2. Blog twice per week.
BAHAHAHA. Yeah. I actually only posted three times in all of August. Oops. ;)

3. Take more pictures!
I’ve actually done ok with this. I’ve of course been snapping lots of pictures with my phone (you can check that out on Instagram) and over the last couple weeks I’ve been doing a lot of baking and a lot of photographing the food I’ve been making. Nothing makes me happier than a fantastic cookie picture. ;)

September Goals

1. Run 25+ miles. 
This should be an easy enough goal as long as I get back into a good routine. And there’s an Extreme 5K at the end of the month I’d like to do so maybe that will give me some good motivation.

2. Enjoy our vacation!
We haven’t been on a true vacation together since our honeymoon so I’m super excited to travel together this month!

3. Create some fun fall cake pops.
Like I said before, I’ve been doing a lot of baking lately and most of it has been cake pops. Recently I’ve just been doing my standard chocolate cake inside (because it’s delicious) but I’m itching to branch out a little. Stay tuned!

4. Try something new, fitness wise.
Running and biking is great exercise (when I do it, of course), but I want to start doing some resistance training as well. I’ve been wanting to try some yoga videos or other at home workouts but haven’t quite found the motivation. Any ideas?!

 

Have any goals for September, feel free to share!

Super Fast Life Update

Oh hey! I bet y’all thought I gave up on blogging again didn’t you!? Nope. I’ve just been omgsobusyican’tseestraight. But in a totally good way! We have been having SO MUCH FUN this summer and I can’t wait to share with y’all! I had a “life update” about half way written but obvs it never got posted so here’s a super short rundown of what’s been keeping me away from the blog!

1. I’ve been keeping super close track of our household budget!
Sometimes I get really nervous and think we’re spending way too much money but this time when I went back to my budget I found out we’re actually doing pretty well! YAY! And summer is generally a really expensive time of year because it’s so much more fun to get out and DO when it’s not 10 degrees outside!

2. Playing with food!
Y’all! I have so much to tell you about all the food stuff I’ve been doing lately but there are lots of (unedited) pictures so it’ll have to wait. But as a teaser….I’ve been making more cake pops lately and started experimenting with royal icing this past weekend! This year’s Christmas cookies are going to be awesome!

3. LOVING and living life!
The past few years my hip has really kept me on the sidelines during the summer. But now that I’m all healed I can do all the running and biking and being outside I want! It has been so nice to not be restricted in what I can do!

I promise to be back with some real posts ASAP! :)

Was It Worth the Money?

Yesterday was supped to be my day off. I’m scheduled to work all day Saturday which means I get a whole day off during the week. However, due to vacation schedules and 2014 work ethic (hi, Dad!) my bank found itself with only 3 of it’s necessary 6-7 bankers yesterday morning. So while I was in my pajamas watching Pretty Little Liars (don’t judge), I got a phone call from work asking if I wouldn’t mind sacrificing my day off to help out. The conversation ended with my boss reminding me that all of my time worked would be overtime. I told him I would be there in an hour. ;)

As I was getting ready I contemplated what I would do with all of my “extra” income. Save it. Get my hair done. Spend it on my vacation in September. Save it. It’s not like I won the lottery or anything but there will be a little cash in my pocket come next Friday.

When I got home yesterday evening looking tired and slightly disheveled, the husband asked if sacrificing my day off was worth the extra cash. My first thought was “HELL YEAH!” but as I lay on my bed checking Facebook and decompressing from the day I started to make a pros and cons list…just to be sure. ;)

PROS:
- extra cash
- I didn’t spend any money (I had originally planned to go shopping)
- I didn’t lay on the couch in my pajamas all day
- it looks really good to my bosses that I willingly came in to help

CONS:
- I’ll now be working 6 days this week and 5 next week before my next 2 day break
- I didn’t make that much extra money
- I didn’t lay on the couch in my pajamas all day
- I didn’t get to enjoy my day off doing what I please

Honestly for me it was worth the extra money. All I would have done yesterday was lay around, go shopping, and possibly spend an hour or two washing clothes and cleaning. Ever since switching careers a year and a half ago, I’ve been working to recover my previous salary so I generally take any opportunity to earn some extra money. And it’s not as though yesterday was a day of particular importance or that I cancelled any really spectacular plans to go to work. So for me, it was definitely worth it. Oh, and my boss is buying me lunch today. :D

Have you every turned down the chance to make extra money at work because it meant sacrificing time off? Why or why not?

July Goal Review/August Goals

Better late than never…

July Goal Review

1. Use reusable grocery bags and coupons when shopping (especially for groceries).
Um, yeah. Didn’t do this. My grocery bags have been hanging out in my kitchen since the beginning of the month. :/

2. 5X OR LESS FAST FOOD
OMG I completely forgot about this. I probably had fast food 5x last week….

3. Hit 1000 miles on my bike and run over 30 miles.
Almost! I ran 16.81 miles and crossed over to 1000 miles on my bike on July 24! I even posted a photo on Instagram when I did. :) Anyway, I’m counting this one as a win. (And just to clarify, I did not ride 1000 miles in July, I was hoping to get to 1000 total miles with my bike. I’ve had it for about 3.5 years and have tracked practically every mile I’ve ridden on it.)

4. Blog about makeup/beauty stuff 1x per week.
Geez. This goal should have just been to blog 1x per week…period. Hmmm, maybe I’ll consider that for next month.

August Goals

1. Bike 125+ miles & run 20+ miles.
According to my favorite cycling app I biked 122 miles in July and I’ve already done 61 miles in August!

2. Blog twice per week.
I’ve really missed blogging this month. I keep thinking of all these ideas for posts but not taking the time to sit down and write. This month is another busy one so it’ll be a challenge to keep up!

3. Take more pictures!
I’m considering a Flickr account for when I take photos. I don’t want to overload to blog especially when there’s not a story attached so I thought that might be a fun place to post my pictures (when I get around to taking them that is). ;)

July 4th Weekend Recap

A few weeks ago we decided we wanted to go camping over the 4th of July holiday. The husband took the whole week before off work and went down to the campground early to get us a spot because we thought sure it was going to be packed on the holiday weekend (it wasn’t). He and Ella went down Wednesday morning and Louis and I followed Thursday evening after I finished work.

ellalouis

The first night was fun, albeit a little mosquito-y. We had a nice fire and I had some delicious marshmallows and s’mores. It even got a little chilly overnight which was nice because I got to snuggle down in my sleeping bag without sweating.

The next day we decided to do a little hiking and it was awesome except for a giant hill I could barely walk up and mosquitos. We literally passed through swarms of mosquitos. Yuck. That afternoon we headed back to the campsite and were not super pleased to find our entire campsite swarming with mosquitos also. Fortunately, our tent has a little attached screen room (thanks, Dad!) so we just relaxed in there until it was time to cook dinner. Even though we were covered in bug spray (which is disgusting in itself) we got practically eaten alive by mosquitos while we were cooking. We even went back to the screen room after dinner while we waited for our dessert to cook. We were making this super awesome apple crumble thing. It was delicious!

IMG_3154

While we were hiding in our screen room enjoying our apple crisp and trying not to scratch our limbs off, we decided to head home a day early. Unfortunately the bugs were so bad it was just not worth trying to stay for an extra day. That night (Friday) there was a crazy rainstorm and when we got up Saturday morning the bugs were even worse! :( I piled on as much bug repellant as I could stand (I honestly think it made me a little sick) and we packed up as quickly as possible. By about 11am we were headed back to civilization in our bug free cars.

When I got home and got out of the car I was kind of surprised by the bug free air! I told the husband that even though we weren’t camping I absolutely wanted to have beanie weenies for dinner so we cooked baked beans and hotdogs on our stove in our air conditioned house. ;)

Sunday we woke up and decided it would be a good time to head to the pool in our neighborhood for the first time. Early in the afternoon we packed up our towels and headed to the pool only to find a line of about 30 people just waiting to get in! And through the fence we could see that there were already so many people there. I guess it being over 90 degrees on a Sunday would make it pretty crowded. So we decided to head back in the early evening when surely there would be fewer people. Not so much. At 5pm there was still a line of people waiting to get in!

In the meantime we had gotten the bright idea to build a fire pit in the backyard using some left over paving stones from a garden project we completed last summer. It took a lot of work and most of the day…but look what we ended up with!

IMG_3168 I am so excited and of course insisted we roast marshmallows and make s’mores! I mean, I only got to have one s’more on our camping trip so it was basically required! As much as I love our fire pit now, I am even more excited to use it in the fall when the days start getting shorter and cooler. I see many roasted marshmallows in my future.

IMG_3170

 

It’s Monday!…

…and I’ve decided to scrap the Summer Self Love Link-Up for the time being. It seemed as though it wasn’t really very popular so I’m going to put something else in it’s place. I haven’t decided what yet but I’ll have that worked out by next week. Hope y’all have a great Monday!

I’ll be back tomorrow with something fun! :)

5 Tips for New Runners

newrunners

As I’m sure most of you know, I’ve been running a ton lately and LOVING it. But I know that starting out when you haven’t been a ‘runner’ before can be sort of intimidating. Honestly, getting back into it even when you have been a runner can be hard! SO here are my five tips for those of you considering becoming a runner! Come on in, the water’s fine! ;)

1. Use intervals.
 It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to head out the door and run 4 or 5 or 13 miles straight off. In fact, both when I started training for my first (and only) half marathon and recently as I’m coming back from surgery, I started out not being able to run a full mile (or even more than a couple minutes) without stopping. Intervals allow you to be able to run for longer and build up your stamina slowly. Most recently, I started with a 2:2 interval (i.e. jog 2 minutes, walk 2 minutes), moved to a 3:1, then to a 5:1, and now I’m running continuously!

2. Invest in good shoes.

Find a blog post about running essentials and you will find a blog post that tells you to invest in good shoes! I started training to the half marathon in a $45 pair of shoes from Kohl’s. They worked for a while and my feet didn’t fall off. However, the shoes I wear now make my feel about 100x happier. Find a local running shop, have them fit you for some shoes. I did buy my first pair from that running shop for about $110. BUT now that I know which ones I like, I’m able to search around for a good deal. My second pair (same brand, same style) I found on clearance for $60 because the ‘new version’ was coming out soon.

3. Hydrate.
This is my biggest struggle as a runner/cyclist/active person. But I promise you, the better hydrated you are, the easier things will be for you. I can tell a huge difference in how I feel during a run depending on how hydrated I am.

4. Set goals.
There are some who can just run and run with no goal in mind. But for most of us, and especially those just starting out, I think it’s a good idea to have a goal in mind. The first goal I set for myself when I began training for the half marathon was to run 1 mile without stopping. Right now my goal is increase my mileage slowly until I reach 5 miles. It doesn’t matter what your goal is, as long as you have one. Then once you achieve it, set a new one!

5. Have fun!
For me running is fun when I have a goal. Some people enjoy it because they get to be outdoors. Everyone has their own reasons and motivation. But whatever your motivation is, losing weight, running a faster 5K, running 100 miles this summer, etc., let it excite you and make you happy to jump out of bed to get your run on! :D