Thursday, May 7, 2015

Choose Your Aventure: Finances Recap and May Goals

Good Morning Everyone,

It's time for the Choose Your Adventure Linkup! Last Month: Finances!

Life According to Steph

 April's Goal: Finances

1) Stick to budget with a limited "free spending" amount-- Actually did pretty good on this one. Staying home saves money!

2) Organize bills onto my smartphone with updated payment dates and amounts (I still have notifications from things I paid off like...two years ago. My car for example!)-- Done! Updated and scheduled a lot of them!

May's Goal: Read

1) Get caught up with my GoodRead's Challenge. I am 6 books behind as of today! 

2) Listen to at least 1 new audiobook. (This counts as reading too right?) 

I think that will be challenge enough for the month considering we are entering the wedding/summer season and things are about to get busy around here!

What are your goals for the month? Be sure to join the linkup!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Confessions: Mommy Edition

Good Morning Everyone, 

In light of this Sunday being Mother's Day I thought I would share some of my "Mommy Confessions" with you today! 

I confess that I had NO CLUE what I was getting into when I became a Mommy. Seriously I thought so many things and believed I would do so many things....I was utterly clueless. 

I confess that there are days when I legit feel like I am a Mommy to both my husband and my daughter. It's like once you become Mommy EVERYONE expects you to do EVERYTHING.

I confess that when people give me unsolicited parenting advice (strangers!) that I immediately go to resting bitch face.

I confess that I was really excited when I found out we were having a girl but honestly I felt that we were going to the whole time. I never told anyone that I had just had a feeling about a month in that it was going to be a girl. 

I confess that breastfeeding was one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life...and I never felt like more of a failure than when I couldn't make it work and we had to switch to formula because she wasn't getting enough to eat. 

I confess that I have totally eaten the leftover chicken nuggets from lunchtime, while standing at the sink in the kitchen, with the secrecy and speed of a secret agent. 

I confess I also have to be a ninja when it comes to smuggling broken crayons into the trash. Hell has no fury like a kiddo spotting you throwing something of theirs out! 

I confess that for all my faults, for all the moments of insecurity or fatigue, being a Mommy is the absolute best thing in the world for me. I love Kyra more than I ever thought was possible and though I'm not a perfect Mommy...I'm a damn good one! 

Happy Wednesday Everyone, Be sure to join the linkup! 

#Hashtaghumpday @ Life with Lolo

Making Melissa

Monday, May 4, 2015

Weekend Update on May the Fourth

Good Morning Everyone, 

First things first, Happy May 4th, 

Now that that is out of the way, on with the update. 

Friday- Low key type day. My brother spent the day hanging out with me and then he and I and my husband played a few games and just in general chilled out. I also managed to get a lot of work done on my little garden. We've lived here for four years now but I never really messed with outside. I'm not really an "outside" type person, but my Mom and MIL gave me some plants and so I thought why not? I rather like I just need some bricks or rocks for a border...

Saturday- My cousin's birthday party. It was Monster High themed but the thing that she was most excited about getting was these Shopkins things. Admittedly I am not up to date on all things 8 year old but it took me a bit by surprise just how excited she was to get these things! 

Also I find them adorable as well but basically I like anything that looks remotely kawaii. (Update: Robert thinks they are creepy.)
(This is a kawaii panda...see so cute!)

The rest of Saturday was spent being lazy because Kyra was so exhausted from the party. She napped and my husband and I spent the time watching movies/reading. It was blissfully uneventful. 

Sunday- My parents offered to keep Kyra so we could go and see Age of Ultron! 

We went to an early showing so that we could avoid the crowds and I am really glad that we did. Our theater was still full but not overwhelmingly so. 

The movie was good and really funny. Definitely had some good one-liners and the sass level was off the charts. Joss Whedon was taking me back to my Buffy days with all the quips. Loved it. Two thumbs up!

After the movie we headed to the dreaded Walmart. However I had a list and actually took the time to make a meal plan ahead of time! So not only do I have the meals for the week planned but we managed to get in and out of there in record time and actually didn't spend nearly what we normally do! I realize how good meal planning is for me and I will attempt to continue. You all remind me of this when I'm whining about it later okay? Thanks.

The whole time we were out my parents were taking Kyra out for a day of fun! I kept getting cute pictures like this! 

But when we got back to pick her up she was ready to come home and took an epically long nap the rest of the afternoon! 

Our evening was spent grilling out, watching Food Network, followed by what is turning out to be the most boring season of Game of Thrones.  (I've read all the books, I know they are trying to stretch for time but UGH so slow!)

So there you have the weekend update! How was your weekend? Did you go see any movies? Did you see Age of Ultron? Did you like it? Let me know down below!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Friday Favorites: April Favorites

Good Morning Everyone,

Happy May Day/ Lei Day!

It's May 1st....the year is almost half gone....HOW?!

Today's favorites are going to be all the things that I loved during the month of April! 

Beauty Favorites: 

Pretty Things!

               Left to Right: Whisper, Peony, Pin-up, Blushing. I love these L.A. girl lip paints! They are super pigmented and budget friendly! They are VERY similar to Melted by Too Faced though  just a bit more sticky.

The Anastasia Beverly Hills Artist Pallet. The pigment on these is amazing and it is so buttery smooth when applied! I have been loving these "out of the box" type shades that are just fun to play with but at the same time there are some really good day to day wearable shades in this pallet!

The key to good makeup is a good foundation and this month I found two new loves!The Makeup Forever Step 1 Primer is AMAZING. Yes it is a little pricey but I am telling you IT IS WORTH IT. I got the skin equalizer which is for fine lines and pore minimizing. I can honestly tell you that it has made my makeup application so much smoother! 

The Foundation is L'Oreal's New Infallible and it has a matte finish. I am a matte finish girl and I have to tell you that this one is by far my favorite so far! Also it is much easier on the budget than most foundations on the market and it does an amazing job of full coverage! 

I am normally not a flowery scent type person. I tend to favor more vanilla scented things or anything that smells like clean laundry! However this Bath and Body Works Mist in London Tulips and Raspberry Tea is divine! It is so light and subtle but I always get compliments whenever I wear it!

Nerdy Girl: 

Most of these awesome items came from my husband's Loot Crate this month! The bow tie is D&D themed, of course the luggage tag is Harry Potter, and the Dire Wolf USB drive (yes it is a USB!) is from Game of Thrones. All of these items were just fun and awesome! The game is actually a new card game that we picked up and it is Alice in Wonderland themed. It is a very simple and fun game that is great to take with you as it is totally portable and small enough to fit in a purse!

Favorite Funnies: 
 Hogwarts Dog Houses LOL

That's it for me this week! Have a safe and happy weekend everyone!

Don't Forget to Linkup!  

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Thursday Thoughts: What's Been On My Mind This Week.....

1. Houses are expensive. 

2. Student Loans are the spawn of Satan. 

3. The simple thought of meal planning makes me groan like a teenager with extra weekend homework. How can I shake this? 

4.I think my blog might be boring. Maybe I'm boring?

5. I'm not very focused. My blog is a giant jumble of thoughts most of the time and I have no structure. Basically this is my entire life. 

6. I need a pedicure and a manicure....

7. Is it crazy for a person to go out with a pair of scissors and cut down the ridiculously tall dandelions in their yard? The grass is fine but the dandelions were like a foot tall. I mean it only took twenty minutes....

8. Baby #2....when? Soon? I'm still to heavy to think about getting pregnant again aren't I? That is toxic thinking....but it still might be true. 

9. Totally forgot to post yesterday. It was confession day. No one is going to read if you don't post regularly. Get it together.

10. The news- this is on everyone's mind I suppose. My heart hurts for the people of Baltimore, two of my friends live there and I worry about them, but I hold out hope for the good. I want to believe the best in people. Nepal- so much devastation and hurt. I'm not a particularly religious person but my thoughts are with all of them and I wish I had more to give. 

What's been on your mind this week?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

My Top Apps for Saving (and Making) Extra Cash!

Good Morning Everyone, 

Today I wanted to share with you the Apps that I use in order to both save money and also make money! 

I don't know anyone that isn't looking to add a little extra cash flow to their budget. The following apps are ones that I personally have used and have had success with in order to either save or to actually earn money! 

1) Us Likey-  This is an app that is sort of like Instagram. You post pictures with hashtags and each week favorites are selected and given rewards! The hashtags are usually demos of your favorite items or just images from your weekend! Usually rewards are in the form of gift cards or (as in my own case) actual cash money! They use Gift Rocket as a transfer and payment can be sent directly and safely to your account! This one is only available for iPhone users currently but ever since installing it I have actually earned $75 dollars in the past month! Now that may not seem like a lot but to me that is a water bill payment! If you would like to try this one out my user name is chaosncocoa! If you mention me when you sign up I will get rewards but you for sure don't have to!

2) Target Cartwheel- I am pretty sure that a lot of people use this one but just in case you don't here is why you should! I always scan my items before checking out to see if there is a cartwheel on them and about 7 out of ten times there is one! Also cartwheels can be combined with coupons for even more savings! I know I always save at least a couple bucks each time I use my Cartwheel! 

3) Walmart Savings Catcher- Walmart's answer to the Cartwheel. This app allows you to upload your receipt and then it scans nearby stores to see if you got the best deal. If another store had a better deal Walmart will give you the difference back on a gift card! The best part is you can keep adding up your savings until you reach a larger amount and then cash in the gift card! Now you don't have to drive to multiple stores which saves time and you still get a good deal! 

4) Swagbucks- I use Swagbucks on multiple platforms but I have to say the app is the easiest. I just log in, get some points and log back out! Also you can launch the Swagbuck TV app and just let it run for a bit to earn some easy points! Points can be redeemed for all sorts of items but the best bang for your buck? Amazon $5 gift card! I payed for a huge chunk of Christmas last year by saving up all my gift cards that I earned through this one! I also get points for referral so again if you are so inclined click here! (You totally don't have to! It will not hurt my feelings one bit!)

Those are the top four apps that I see the most consistent savings and money making abilities in though I have tried plenty more! I was not a big fan of ibotta or of Checkout51 as I never seemed to be purchasing the items that they offered points on but you budget might be different from mine so I would still recommend you check them out for yourself! 

 I also just recently started using some apps that sync with my Vivofit so hopefully I will see some savings there soon!

Do you use apps for savings/money making? What are your favorites?

Monday, April 27, 2015

Weekending 4/24-4/26

Good Morning Everyone,

This weekend kind of flew by for me but that didn't make it any less busy or fun! 

Friday-Honestly Friday was pretty low key and we ended up just staying in and enjoying a night at home just the three of us. We did watch the movie Perks of Being a Wallflower and I have to say I loved it. The acting was amazing and the story was so good! I am surprised I hadn't read it before or seen the movie but I am really glad that I did and will probably have to check the book out now too! 

Saturday- A totally gloomy and rainy day and we decided that we would take Kyra to her very first movie! We went to the 11am showing so that there wouldn't be a large crowd and that way if Kyra acted up we could get up and leave without too much fuss. It was great, there were only two other families there and Kyra did a stellar job! She did get a little bit antsy in the middle but as soon as another song came on she was good to go again. I was so proud of her and honestly it was really nice to go to a movie as a family. 
We saw Home and it was adorable and a lot of fun. Great one for Kyra's first!!

After the movie we went by my parents' place to visit for a bit and Kyra decided to play hide and seek...
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Sunday- Morning was spent doing a Walmart run where my husband decided that we needed to get an iced tea maker. For some reason we have been drinking a lot more tea around here and he felt that meant we needed one. Honestly it works really well and saves me from constantly having to put the kettle on! 
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We also stopped by the garden section and apparently they are painting plants now? Admittedly they were pretty but I avoid cactus on general principle. Too pokey.

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We did pick up this little guy however and he reminds me of prehistoric plants for some reason....I dunno why...but he was cute and not expensive so he came home to live with us! 
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He is really tiny and in a magnetic little pot that I put on the wall!

Then when we got home I saw this little beauty! This is the first time in four years that this iris has bloomed! I cannot tell you how excited I was and most especially since it came up in my favorite color! 

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The rest of Sunday Funday was spent playing board games with my brother who came to hang out for awhile, finishing up with the newest Game of Thrones episode. 

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So there you have it, our weekend recap. How was your weekend?