Cardstore Contest & Deal!

Okay, I get that this week is Thanksgiving, but forgive me for sharing a fun contest AND a great deal with you all in regards to Christmas today. There is one week left to enter and the grand prize is AWESOME! I've used Cardstore the past couple of years for just about every occasion and can truly say they are my favorite place for cards.

Cardstore just launched its Candid Christmas Cards Contest! We all know that the “typical” posed Christmas card photos don't capture the chaos that goes on behind the scenes every year, so to enter this contest, they want people to share a photo that tells the real story. We want to see kids crying on Santa's lap, dogs knocking down Christmas trees, or your living room post-unwrapping-- basically whatever Christmas really looks like in your family. 

The grand prize winner will receive a $1,500 Visa gift card, a Nikon CoolPix camera, and free Cardstore Christmas cards to send out to their loved ones this holiday season! They're also giving away prizes for second and third place. I'd really love to hear/see your craziest Christmas memory/photo. For me and my family? It's always the dancing we do on Christmas Eve each year. From babies to great-grandma's, everyone gets in on the fun! Crazy hats are worn, and yes- that's even a broom as a makeshift limbo stick! What can I say? We know how to have a good time!


You can share YOUR memories on social using #MyChristmasStory to encourage others to join in the fun!


Also, Black Friday is almost here and that means BIG savings at Cardstore! Normally, when I think of Black Friday, I think chaos (like yesterday's post). Lots of running around trying to grab all the awesome deals from all of my favorite stores. But then there's Cardstore, the online, super easy, super fun way to create my holiday cards. 


The best part is their Black Friday offer is good through the whole weekend and they'll even mail my cards for me so I don't have to leave the house for stamps. Win-win! Use coupon code DDCCN4261 for 50% off all holiday cards + FREE Shipping on Orders $30+ now through 11/30! The selection of cards is amazing! 



Choose from Christmas, Kwanzaa, Season's Greetings, or even New Year's Cards. They only take minutes to create, so start shopping for your holiday cards now and save! Don't forget to show off you creation for a chance to win! #MyChristmasStory 

Sallie & Perkins {Guide to Black Friday}


Hi, everyone! We'll cut right to the chase today-- we know everyone's got Thanksgiving and short work weeks on their minds and we can't blame you. The holiday season is here and we're pumped! But as a couple of nerds who love talking about money, we couldn't let Black Friday come and pass without passing along our oh-so-helpful tips ;)

Plus, Sallie got some new glasses courtesy of GlassesShop and couldn't wait to show you her new look. Aren't they perfect for the holidays?? Lightweight, stylish and fun! You can find her frames here, or shop anywhere on their site for great deals and tons of options.


Without further adieu, Sallie & Perkins's Helpful Black Friday information:

1. If there are multiple store options in your area- try to choose the less convenient one. If there's a Best Buy right off an exit, and a Best Buy 8 miles off an exit go to the one further away. Less crowds (even though yes, it will still be crowded) and you have less competition for some of those limited number items.

2. Park far away! Honestly, it'll save you time getting in and out of the stores and shopping malls. Besides, you need to burn off some Thanksgiving dinner calories anyway ;)

3. Carry a small purse/bag/wristlet. If you're like me, my purses are large and in-charge at all times. But not on Black Friday. I try to manage with just a wristlet to put my cards, ID and even a list if necessary in. That way your hands are free to push a cart or carry items. Also, remember how it's going to be crowded? You don't need a purse acting as an additional human! There will be plenty shoulder bumping as-is.

4. This might be a no-brainer, but check out your store's map ahead of time. Most big stores will show you the store layout online and let you know where the big items will be set up. If you're on the hunt for a TV or that one specific "hot" toy, you better know where to head first. Once you get the "must buy" you can backtrack and scope out other smaller deals, but get the goods first! You don't want to find yourself in a Jingle All the Way scenario without a Turbo Man.

5. Once you know what stores you'll be hitting up, download their mobile app if you don't have it already. You can access those stores maps we were talking about, and often there will be additional coupons available too! Another great app to have? ShopSavvy will let you know if you're getting the best deal or not. Just scan a barcode and it'll pull up any prices from nearby stores! I do this with Amazon too sometimes, to check that I can't get it cheaper that way.

6. Leave kiddos at home. Seriously people--- I'm sorry, but why on earth would you drag your 5 year old at midnight, or 4am, or whatever time you might get in line?! They might seem excited at first to be out past bedtime, having a good time with mom or dad- but let's face it. They aren't going to last long on their feet and in a crowded store, you don't want to have to stress about keeping track of them. 

7. Load up on the caffeine beforehand. You're going to be shopping amidst the crazies, so you need to keep your energy up. Grab that soda pop or dark roast coffee and get pumped up! Shopping counts as cardio today.

And if you just don't want to brave the chaos and the crowds? Cyber Monday is just as good ;) So let's hear it- who will be out shopping and who will be hiding safely in their house? What's the best Black Friday deal you've ever snagged?

The Jam-Packed Weekend

This weekend I...

...danced to way too many songs at Jared's cousins wedding.
...loved watching Jared DJ the wedding with his Grandma. Some of you may remember DJ Dottie from our wedding.
...Got to spend time with Jared's parents who were in town for the weekend and snapped a great family photo.

...Had a complete stranger be INCREDIBLY rude to me at the reception. It upset me, but then I realized it must suck to feel like you're too cool to have a blast at a wedding!

...Hosted the 2nd Annual Friendsgiving at our house!
friendsgiving

...Made and ate a LOT of food.
thanksgiving plates

...Had a blast playing seriously competitive games of Catchphrase, HedBanz and good 'ole classic spoons.

...Got to have a blast with our great friends-- some even drove an entire hour to celebrate with us!

...Stayed up way too late and insisted on cleaning the whole kitchen when everyone was gone. Around 1:30am ;) I can't go to bed with a messy kitchen!

...Watched my Bengals win a HUGE game against Houston and improve to 7-3-1 on the season! #whodey
...Spent more time with Jared's parents and family for a belated birthday/early Thanksgiving party and feast.
bengals-party

...Napped through most of the the 4 o' clock football games.
...Lost horribly in fantasy football.
...Munched on leftovers all night long (and likely will for the next 3 days)
...Watched the Walking Dead (any other fans out there?) and called it a NIGHT.

This weekend was just entirely too busy to post about other than the bullet points listed above. So much food, so much family, so many friends, loads of laughs and a lack of sleep. Excuse me while I nap at my desk today ;)

Thankful Thursday {Part 2}

Last week I made Thursday a day all about giving thanks and wrote a post on some of the things in life I was feeling thankful for. I figured I'd keep it up for this week and next, with the Thanksgiving season. It's so easy to lose site of what's important in life. It's so easy to complain, but isn't complaining so ugly? I'd much rather focus on the good in the world- because there's plenty of it.

I'm thankful for music (and musicals!) Hey, I didn't say everything I was going to be thankful for had to be deep and thought-provoking. Sometimes the simplest things are the ones we forget to appreciate. I cannot imagine a world without music. I sing and dance all day long, it just makes me happy!

I'm thankful for me time. It doesn't always happen regularly, and sometimes I go way too long without it, but I think that makes me all the more thankful when I do get a chance to enjoy it. Jared and I both know it's good for the soul to do girls night/guys night regularly and also to enjoy time to ourselves. Sometimes we just need to be with our friends and sometimes a gal just needs a good book and a mug full of warm cider to unwind after a crazy week.

I'm thankful for the health of family, friends and blog friends alike. I've had many people in my life hurting recently, dealing with illness, disease, scares with newborn babies, but I'm so thankful we have a God who heals! I don't want to ever take my own health for granted, I am thankful that overall I'm a very healthy person who gets maybe a cold or two a year. Many people deal with scary, life-threatening diseases every day.

I'm thankful for Swagbucks. It's free money and it's helping my Christmas shopping not put a dent in our debt-free plan too much. I know some of you have signed up and not used it much, if you have questions don't hesitate to ask-- it's not as overwhelming at it might seem at first.

I'm thankful that I live in a place where I get to experience all four seasons. Don't get me wrong, winter is still definitely my least favorite -by far- but I can enjoy it for a little while. Our first snow fall this past week actually brought a smile to my face. In February, don't ask me if I like Ohio and it's winter, though. ;)

I'm thankful for business! Sure, it's just a side hobby- but every penny I've made from designing blogs, business cards and party invitations has gone straight to our student loans. I am so appreciateive of each and every customer who trusts me enough to hire me!

What are you thankful for this week?

Celebrating Jared

Jared- you turn 29 today! Happy Birthday! Happy final year of being a 20-something ;) I'm kidding, I'm kidding. I know I can't ever make any jokes about you being older than me, because you are always ready with, "But women age faster than men, so you're actually the old one." Touche, my dear. It's hard to believe this will be the eighth time we've celebrated your birthday together. Those first two we weren't even dating yet! Time flies and there's no other way to describe it.

I love celebrating you in fun ways each year on November 19th. I must say, you got pretty lucky, marrying a gal who loves birthdays as much as I do ;) I wish we had a massive bank account and I could buy you anything and everything you wanted each year, but I know it's not about the gifts- as fun as they are to buy. It's about celebrating YOU. Your life, your accomplishments and your future dreams. You are so loved by SO many people- me especially!

There aren't enough words to tell you how much I love you. I could say it a zillion times in a zillion languages and it still wouldn't be enough. You're my everything, Jared, and I hope this birthday is truly the best one yet. Yes, I say that every year- but that's because life just keeps getting better and better for us. Through the good times and the bad, we still make memories, share laughs and learn more together every day. Thanks for making every day a real life fairy tale :) 
Happy Birthday, babe! Enjoy 29!


Louisville Weekend

If you've been reading my blog for any amount of time- you've probably caught onto the fact that I'm a little birthday obsessed. Mine, Jared's, friends, siblings... you name it, I love to celebrate them and celebrate them for as long as possible! Jared's birthday is this coming Wednesday, but we decided to kick things off by spending a weekend together in Louisville. It's just a quick 2-hour drive and it had been over 3 years since our first visit there.
 
We've kicked around the idea of a weekend getaway for awhile and lots of ideas came to mind but we landed on Louisville for 2 reasons:  a Groupon deal I couldn't pass up for the hotel and the fact that Christmas was getting kicked off that weekend. Another thing you may have picked up is that Jared is a Christmas fanatic. I'm telling you, I've never met someone who loves the season more than him. So what better way to celebrate his birthday than by seeing light diplays, streets lit up with candy canes and some holiday entertainment?

Friday we headed out late afternoon and were checked in at the hotel shortly before dinner. We stayed at the Galt House hotel - let me emphasize that we wouldn't pay this much for a hotel normally, the Groupon saved us big time ;) The hotel has tons of restaurants and shopping within the two connecting towers and it's located near everything else you'd want to see downtown. They were decked out for the holidays and we spent tons of time just wandering around admiring all the festive decor, the interactive displays and even heard some live caroling.



Since our last trip to Louisville we visited the Slugger Museum, we skipped it this time and checked out the Frazier History Museum instead. The building doesn't look like much from outside, but it was a fabulous museum- I think we spent easily 3 hours here. Bonus exhibit? Movie memorabilia from White Christmas, one of my favorite old movies!

Even though it was a chilly weekend, we bundled up and had fun exploring the downtown area all weekend. Lots of decor, historical things to look at, and I even found some beautiful fall leaves sticking around for just a few days longer ;)

Even though we were only there for a couple of days, I feel like we did and saw so much! Louisville is such a fun little getaway because it's a quick drive and there always seems to be something going on. It was tough to get pictures of, but this little park does 40 nights of lights and every night there is an hourly show. 
lights-at-louisville

Christmas music, lights, lasers- it was so entertaining. I'm not normally the type to celebrate the festivities this early, but I guess I just couldn't help it this year. Somehow Jared convinced me to put up our tree before Thanksgiving, too! This is a first! Celebrating my man's birthday just gets me excited- it's like the kickoff to ALL of the holiday season :)

Thankful

This time of year always reminds me that I need to more thankful year-round. It's easy to feel the magic in the air, the extra love and the joy of family and blessings around the holidays, but I want to become that person who's thankful every day. Not just the one that says hashtag blessed on every random thing that comes their way, but the one who truly counts those blessings and appreciates them for what they are. You might think the 'thankful' posts are overkill but I wanted to participate today. And I might participate for the next few Thursdays just 'cuz. We'll see ;) For today though...

... I'm thankful for my husband. The guy who understands me, supports me, encourages me and makes me laugh when I'm a stressed mess. I'm thankful for our marriage that continues to grow and that we get to do life together. Whether we're dealing with our debt or tearing up Disneyworld, I know he'll be right there next to me.
disneyworld-epcot
Look at that long hair- holy crap!

... I'm thankful for my job. That one was hard to type, you guys, I mean it. I'm not 100% happy here right now, but I have to tell myself day-in and day-out that it's a stable job that pays the bills and takes care of our needs and has provided some cool opportunities along the way. It's a lot of hard work and many days I leave frustrated, but I have to focus on the good. I remember what it's like to be unemployed and I don't miss those days.
TNF-cincinnati

... I'm thankful for our cars. Jared and I both drive older cars, mine just hit 150k miles last week and she's going strong. Knock on wood. Buying a brand new car just isn't something I'm ready to do, and likely won't do ever. One day I'll get a newer used car, but I plan to pay cash for it, so that time isn't now. I'm just glad Emma the Elantra is still kickin ;)

... I'm thankful for our home. Jared and I feel very fortunate that we were able to start our married life together in a house we bought for a steal of a deal. Sure, it's got its quirks and annoyances about it like any older house, but it's been home to so many memories in the past three and a half years. I know one day we'll move from here and it'll be bittersweet, so I want to cherish our first house now.
living-room-house
When we first moved in back in 2011 :)

... I'm thankful for friends near and far. It's so hard as we all grow up, move away, get married, have babies, have careers. Scheduling time together is trickier, but I'm so thankful that I can pick right back up with my friends no matter how long it's been. I know they're just a quick call away if I need something and I love how unique each friendship is.
orange-wedding

... I'm thankful for a lot of things of course. My parents, my siblings. My sweet niece. I'm thankful for days off work, for puppies and for fresh baked chocolate-chip-cookies. I'm thankful I married into a great family and for all the cousin-in-laws I have now. I'm thankful for the opportunities I've had to travel and for the talents God has blessed me with. Here's to remembering these things a little more this season and beyond.

Sallie & Perkins: Affordable Date Night

sallie-and-perkins

Hey, friends!! Long time no see! It's that time of year I guess where everyone get's busy with fall fun, holiday planning, shopping and whatnot. We've been busy paying off more debt, as usual, and also finding ways to not go completely insane over here. Most of the time it seems to work. But sometimes not spending money gets boring. Like super-duper boring. Date nights are still always something we budget for though. For our sanity and for the sake of our marriage ;) Today we thought we'd take you all on a journey with us for an inside look at our most recent date night. We just want to prove a point that you don't have to spend a lot of money, to have a lotta' fun!
sallie-and-perkins-date
We're both mexican-food crazy over here, so it's usually at the top of our list when we're considering a place to get dinner on date night. The cool thing about our local joint is the little ways they LET you save money while you dine. You read that correctly! Our favorite restaurant gives you 10% off your bill if you pay in cash AND they've got a pretty great rewards card we use, as well.
pay-cash
Obviously not every restaurant offers things like this, but it definitely doesn't hurt to look/ask around and find out which places DO! Your future favorite spot might just be begging you to come dine-in and save some money at the same time!

And don't be shy at the restaurants that bring out the free chips (or bread rolls, peanuts, etc!) They're free so by golly, we're going to eat them! Perkins and Sallie polish off baskets of tortilla chips like they're going out of style.
mexican-food-date
Eat at places that bring you "free appetizers" and then you don't have to buy quite as much food! We can easily split the delicious chicken fajita quesadilla here and be completely satisfied. When we split this meal our dinner is only $9.99 before the tip! And yes, this meal is so good that Perkins swiped it before I could get my picture of it.
chicken-fajita-quesadilla
And people, I'm sorry, but I have to say it. Drink water when you dine out!!! The mark-up on soft drinks and alcoholic beverages is just insane. It should be criminal how much money a restaurant makes on drinks alone! Say no to the $3 Mountain Dew and enjoy that water. Don't forget to ask for lemons or limes if you want- those are free too ;) Do we sound like tightwads yet??
order-water-and-save

Obviously on special occasions we'll splurge on a nicer meal, or even get a dessert, so we're not saying you can't ever do those things. But if you're on a budget and trying to get your finances in order, date nights can get put on the back burner. They don't have to be though- just be smart before dining out and you'll have an affordable, fun night.

Bonus-date for us? The DollarSaver theater is right next door to our little date night spot. Only $3 a person and we always smuggle our own candy in ;) What's YOUR favorite cheap date? We wanna' hear from you!

Feeling Human Again

A lot of times Friday is the day of the week for listing favorites, or good things about your week, etc - but I figured I'd mix things up and do that on a Monday. Since I got to have a real weekend which involved NO working, it's like I felt part of the normal world again. Having two days off in a row honestly felt like a vacation to me. I can't imagine if I ever switch to a more 9-5 job how that'll feel. I won't know what to do with myself on Saturdays and Sundays!! ;)

- BFF time on Friday night also included new puppy snuggles. I can't remember the last time I got to play with a puppy and I was in heaven!! You know, until my eyes got really watery and starting swelling up. Yep, I'm severely allergic to most animals but sometimes I just can't stay away from them!

- Jared and I finally started making some travel plans for the 2015. I am so excited about what we're doing and will definitely be sharing more details once it's all finalized :)

- Speaking of Jared, his birthday is next week! I fully believe everyone should get an entire birthday week (if not month!) of celebrating so I've been finding small little ways to sneak in birthday fun. Donuts before church were included in the festivities over the weekend.

- I made the most delicious Cajun pork roast with okra + more on Sunday. SO good and as most crockpot meals are- so easy! I have a serious obsession with my slow cooker.

It was so awesome having a weekend away from the office. I'll admit, I stayed in my pj's for the majority of the weekend and loved every second of it. My body and mind needed the rest and relaxation big time. So there's not a lot of pictures today, no big night out to tell you about, but just know that I'm going into this Monday finally FINALLY feeling like a human again ;)

Things that Matter

Sometimes we all need a little happy in our life. Some laughs, some jokes, some ole' light-hearted fun. I know I need it today. This has been one insane week, not one I'd like to repeat anytime soon. But tonight, everything gets better. Tonight, when I leave this office I'm headed straight for BFF time and I couldn't be more excited!! My bestie and I are meeting up for mexican food and then a sleepover at her house like we're in middle school again. 

It's been far too long since we've gotten together for even just a quick meal- let alone a FULL night of catching up. I have a feeling as tired as I might be (after my 15 hour day I worked yesterday- barf!) we'll stay up insanely late catching up. I need this night and I need it now! Sure we could go out and do something more exciting like see a movie or shop or something- but honestly? Both Lacey and I are just content hanging out together. It's nice to have those friends that you have a blast with whether you're out and about OR just spending your whole night talking. Plus, it helps that she and I share the same love for Disney movies and food ;)

My circle of friends might be small- but goodness I cherish the ones I've got. Lacey is one of those people I can't imagine my life without. I love her silly ways, her sweet heart and our friendship that's been going strong for 15 years :)

So cheers to good friends today! Cheers to things in life that matter- like living, friendship and making memories. Have a great weekend, everyone!