Sunday, November 30, 2014

I'm a Star, A Big Influenstar STAR!

There is a good chance you have seen me post about Influenster before. Maybe you recall me posting about something called a VoxBox and lots of products? Yup, that's Influenster.


I can't recall how I found Influenster. Probably from another blog but I have been an Influencer since 2012. Since that time, I have grown with the Influenster brand as they have grown. And I am so glad I am so glad I am a part of this network.

I will let Influenster themselves tell you a little bit about what exactly it is.

Influenster is a community of trendsetters, social media hotshots, and educated consumers who live to give opinions of products and experiences.
Influensters meet here to learn about new products from our favorite brands as well as review the products they already use in their day-to-day lives!
We invite our most active and social media savvy members to participate in exclusive rewards campaigns, such as:
  • - VoxBox campaigns where members receive complimentary full-size products to test and review!
  • - Interactive Twitter chats with celebrities and in-the-know experts
  • - Fun contests where members can earn sweet giveaways
  • - Special discounts on featured brands, services, and more!
In return, all we ask of our members is to do what they already love to do: share their opinions with their friends & followers on social media!

Why do I love Influenster?

First and foremost, The VoxBoxes.

Every VoxBox has a theme that fits your lifestyle. Bride to Be, Fitness, Makeup, etc. There is at least 1 product from every VoxBox that ends up becoming a part of my daily lifestyle. Without Influenster, I wouldn't have been able to try them out. Here are my favorites from VoxBoxes:

Softlips Cube

DreamWater
MaryKay Mascara
Muller Yogurt
Bikini Lifestyle
PediFoot
Blue Diamond Almonds

I love the fact that I get to try many new products just as they are hitting the shelves. It allows me to test it and give all of you my honest feedback.I am able to share my thoughts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and on this blog. I haven't been penalized for bad reviews on products I didn't actually like. It's about honest feedback for the product and spreading the word about the new product.

There is usually a coupon given with at least one product in the box that lets you save while you continue to use that product.

The brand badges. Influenster adds these badges as an opportunity for really spread the word about the products from your VoxBox that you loved. You are able to win extra prizes if you are one of the top badge holders. I have actually won twice for brand badges and received extra goodies in the mail.

The InfluensterApp. Recently launched, this app makes it really easy to complete the challenges for the badges. Many include selfies or sharing on social media sites so it's really convenient to be able to report all of that on your phone. And the best benefit? You can scan items and see their reviews, right there in the store rather than having to wait for a computer. It makes it so much easier to decide on the best products on the go.

I am so glad I am part of the Influenster universe and you should want to be a part of it too! Leave your email below and I can send you over an invite.




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Friday, November 28, 2014

Give Yourself the Gift of Financial Peace

Thank you Capital One 360 for sponsoring this post. Stay on track with your finances this holiday season with Capital One 360 and deals you can bank on!

While you may have gifts, greetings and get-togethers on the brain, it's important not to lose sight of your financial goals this holiday season and as we enter a new year. Even in all the Black Friday hustle you have the chance to secure your financial future with awesome deals from Capital One 360 before we hit 2015. 


In 2015, we will be starting our path to financial peace. I say starting because it might take more than a year to truly be at peace with our finances but it's starting the path that's the hardest, right? These are the 5 ways we are going to start our path towards financial peace and you can give yourself the gift of financial peace.


//Set a budget 
We started 2014 off with the intentions of having and following a budget. We spent a few hours going over receipts, expenses and bills and thought we had it figured out. It worked for a few months but slowly we got off of that once the warmer months hit. Preparing for expenses that might come up every month is important in a budget.

//Manage Savings Account
We currently have 3 savings accounts. Yes, 3. We have a house savings account, a short term savings account and a children savings account (because we heard they are expensive.) Most of our money goes into our house savings but we like having our emergency fund and securing enough money for children without being stretched too thin. One of my favorite savings accounts is our Capital One 360 Savings Account. We are able to set up an automatic savings plan for it to withdraw money weekly, every other week or monthly. It's gone before we even have the chance to see it in our checking. It also keeps track of your savings goal, whatever amount that is. Your personal cheerleader right in your savings account.

//Set up auto-pay for all bills
 It can be all too easy to let a bill slip by and be issued a late fee. These fees can really add up after the first time it happens. Auto pay allow you the peace of mind to know that these bills will pay themselves. The Capital One 360 Checking account has you covered. They have a great calendar option to set up your auto-pay with bills.

//Have a {Better} Debt plan
Debt. Many have it and are unsure just how they are going to get rid of it. This year we were lucky enough to pay off all credit card debt and pay down a good chunk on student loans. This year we want to have a better plan to pay off at least one student loan, the one with the most interest. It's a great time to assess all the debt you have and how you will pay it off.

//Sign up for Capital One 360 Black Friday Deals
Once the Thanksgiving celebrations are done, be sure to add Capital One 360's Black Friday Sale to your shopping list. Visit http://clvr.li/cap1bfs to give yourself the lasting gift of financial peace of mind by taking advantage of Capital One 360's deals on banking, brokerage and mortgage products.

In addition to taking advantage of deals on banking, brokerage and mortgage products yourself, you can give your friends and family the gift of financial peace of mind by encouraging them to take advantage of the deals and refer them to the sale. If they sign up, you may be eligible for a $40 referral bonus.


Deals:

ProductOfferDetails
ShareBuilderUp to $1,250 bonus (tiered offer)
  • Must be a new ShareBuilder customer
Home Loans$1,250 off closing costs
  • Must sign up for the loan during the sale period
360 Checking$100 bonus
  • Must make a $500 minimum initial deposit and make five transactions
  • Must be new to 360 Checking
360 Savings$100 bonus
  • Must make a $1,000 minimum initial deposit
  • Must be new to 360 Savings
Refer a Friend$40 bonus per successful referral
  • For someone to receive the referral bonus, they must be a current customer
  • Their friend must meet the minimum initial deposit requirements
  • Applies to all accounts


What are your plans to set yourself up for financial peace in 2015?


I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Giving All the Thanks

As I sit here waking up at noon after a night of preparing for Black Friday, I can't help but think of where we are this year and just how thankful I am.



I will be heading back to work in a few hours to accommodate all the crazy Thanksgiving shoppers. But I am thankful that this will be my last. I am thankful that I am given the opportunity to do something new and different.

I am thankful we have found a place we love and can entertain our friends. It has a homey feel and can see ourselves here until we save for our first home

I am thankful for my husband who knows my crazy ways and loves me anyway. Who supports me even when I am intolerable and even I know it. As we work through our first years of marriage, I know I am so lucky to have him

Last year, I was hoping for this very thing and now I have it. I am about to start a new career which is scary but exciting in a place where I feel like I could relax.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving meals everyone! And have a cocktail for me while your at it.


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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Heart of Christmas

If you are planning on shopping this Thanksgiving, I just ask you this. What's the reason? If you will be leaving a Thanksgiving dinner with family to buy the hottest item this season to have under the tree or in your home, shame on you.



Yes, I said it. I come from a place where the presents under the tree don't mean the most. When I remember my past Christmases I remember the memories, the pictures, the videos, the laughs and smiles of my mom. I can't tell you what I got but I will always remember the last holiday season with my mom. That's what you should be worried about this holiday season. Will your child be wondering where you are at the dinner table? Will a family member's last holiday season be spent yelling at a retail employee because something didn't go their way?

Many people say they can't afford Christmas and that's why they rush out to shop the deals. Since when do we have to "afford" Christmas. Chrristmas isn't bought, it's felt. It's felt when we spend time with our family during the holidays. It's spent teaching our children it's better to give than receive. It's felt when children are happy with whatever is under the tree that Santa was able to give. It's teaching children that there is no price tag on Christmas.



All I am asking is for everyone to remember the Heart of Christmas this season. It's not about the gifts or money spent. It's time we stop and remember that.


I’m gonna make a wish this Christmas
I’m gonna say a little prayer
I’m gonna stop here for a moment
Before the moment disappears

The world’s in a hurry this December
City streets and shopping malls
I wish we could slow down and remember
The meaning of it all

Wherever you are, no matter how far
Come back to the heart, the heart of Christmas
Live while you can, cherish the moment
The ones that you love, make sure they know it
Don’t miss it, the heart of Christmas


-Matthew West "The Heart of Christmas"


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Monday, November 24, 2014

A Friendsgiving Weekend


A Friendsgiving was had here over the weekend.



 The past few weeks we have been feverishly preparing to host our 20 guests in our 1200 square foot condo. A trick indeed to be able to seat those many people and not be too claustrophobic.



We went potluck style. Each person brought their own dish and we contributed our home, a turkey, gravy and apps. The dinner was so delicious. Each person's dish was well received. My picky eater self didn't try everything (I have trust issues with stuffing) but I have it on good authority from my husband that everything was delicious.






It was great to be able to have everyone together and continue our tradition this year. We also told people we would be making a trip to a local food bank to put together a Christmas dinner basket and they were more than welcome to bring a contribution.



Our friends did not disappoint. It felt great when people brought in bags to share with our donation knowing that we were about to have one of the first of our holiday celebrations.

Wishbone 


Sunday we recovered. After a full Friday, Saturday day prep, I just wanted to veg out on the couch. And that's what I did. We had leftovers for dinner and I ate chips for a snack. Then, I tuned in for the AMAs. Decent show.


Here's to my last week in retail and a week of many thanks!

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Gratitude Friday

I've decided to take this last Friday before Thanksgiving to give out a little gratitude. Thanks to Ashten for reminding us all to take the time to be grateful.



//My husband. He has been an amazing support system these past few months. Whether I was crying, yelling, depressed he would either yell back or tell me just how crazy I was being ;) It helped put me at ease that everything would be ok and I just had to have faith.

//My friends. You might think your friends are the best but no, mine really are. And they kind of have to be. Not having my mom and a dad who I barely have for support, they really hear it all. There is no mom buffer who I complain, vent to before. It goes straight to my friends and I am sure I can be a lot to handle some days. Not to mention, how happy everyone has been for me the past week because....

//New Job! I can officially say I have found a new job with using the word finally as an understatement. Through many cover letters, resumes, interviews I have finally found a way to get back into the corporate world. And I kind of have this blog to thank.

//This blog, you amaze me. When questioned about social media practices and how to use it for a companies advantage, I couldn't stop sounding all smart. And did I mention the love I have gotten this week for my Not Pregnant post? Holy way to make a girl blush and fan girl out. Thank you, thank you! Especially Laura and Erin. I am pretty sure you pushed my little post into the post that could.

//My Family. Even though my sister really tests me sometimes and we bicker, she's my family. Always calling or texting me. And after seeing some of my family at my cousin's wedding a few weekends ago, family truly does mean so much to me. They know my past and are truly happy for my future.

Ready for the next chapter of my life, let's go December!


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Thursday, November 20, 2014

How to Save Money This Christmas

The most wonderful time of the year is popping up in stores everywhere. We are just weeks away from the biggest shopping day(s) of the year and from putting a serious dent in our wallets.

With all the gifts you have to buy for the holidays, it can get overwhelming and quite costly. Don't worry, there are still ways you can save money this Christmas and not dread the after Christmas bills.



//Set a Christmas Budget
Setting a limit on each present for each person is the best way to not overspend during the holidays. It's really easy to drop extra cash during Black Friday or while your walking around the stores during the holiday season. If you know what you have to spend, you will know when to stop.

//Use Black Friday/Cyber Monday to your advantage
Many stores release their ads early so you are able to really scope out the best deals. It's a great time if anyone on your list is looking for an appliance or electronic item. The rest of the deals are mostly fillers that you could probably grab at better prices earlier in the year. It doesn't mean you have to shop on Thanksgiving though...Thought for another day.

//Consider Gift Exchanges
My family is quite large and buying for all aunts, uncles, cousins became quite expensive. One year we decided to start doing Secret Santa instead. That way we spent money on a  nice person instead of putting out a lot of money for all the presents. This also works for friends as well.

//Opt for Handmade
With Pinterest, there are so many ideas you can whip up. It is great for co-workers, neighbors or hostesses for all those holiday parties you will be attending. They are thoughtful but inexpensive gifts.



//Utilize Your Post Christmas Stash
Remember last year when you grabbed items at 50% off after Christmas? You told yourself those gifts would be great for next year. Make sure you know what you have before you buy. This includes gift wrapping, ornaments and decorations. We are all guilty of the indulgent 50% after Christmas sales.

//Shop Early
Set this one aside for next year. If you are already done by October or beginning of November, you do not even have to worry about overspending during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It also allows for less stress not dealing with crowded parking lots and overzealous shoppers.

With these little tricks and tips, you should leave the Christmas season feeling proud that you saved and still had a fun, loving Christmas.

What are your Christmas saving tips?


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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Married, Not Pregnant and That's OK

Before you get married, you hear" When are you getting married?" or "Why aren't you getting married yet?"

Then, when you get married it's all about having kids. I am pretty sure it was even mentioned a time or two at our wedding reception. They try to make it all cutesy and sweet but it's the basic, "So when are the kids coming?" "Kids anytime soon?"

I get it. I really do. Some people are excited (as we will be in the future) for us to start a family. Others just see it as the natural next step.However, I have noticed in the past year and a half, beyond the questions, that some people are becoming a little pushy and intrusive when it comes to this topic.

So today I want to address those people.

//Yes, I am aware of my age. I have been the one counting it for the past 27 years. Gasp. 27. Do my eggs dry up at the mention of how old I am or something? 30 is coming quickly and I can figure that out on my own.



//No, I am not pregnant even if I am drinking Ginger Ale. Sometimes the taste of Ginger Ale is refreshing. Let me drink my Ginger Ale in peace without you having a tricky eyebrow saying, "Oh, Ginger Ale huh?"

//Let this lady use the word craving without using all kinds of bug eyes and wondering aloud about the state of her uterus. How do women themselves forget PMS? During that time of the month there are some serious chocolate binges going on around here.



//Just because my uterus is not inhabited the first year does not mean I do not want kids. It just means I do not want them now. Why does it even have to automatically lead to this question? You are the one putting a timeline on me, not me. And maybe I really don't want kids, put that judgmental face away.

//It also doesn't mean I don't like kids. Once again, a little bit rude for you to just blurt this out because I say after a year a marriage we aren't ready for kids just yet. What if I desperately wanted kids and this question sends me into tears because we are having trouble?

//Being responsible enough to know when to bring a child into this world should be praised, not criticized. Careers are changing and last I checked babies can be expensive when you aren't asking everyone else for help. We want to support this kid on our own. Thank us for that.


Some couples are ready for kids as soon as they are married. Some married couples have chosen to not have kids. Then, there are couples like us who want to wait until we feel ready even if it years after we are married. All of these are choices the couples make on their own. You do not want to be the judgemental voice around them.

Now, I am off to drink some wine and eat some sushi. Because I'm married, not pregnant and that's ok.

Anything you have been asked regarding your timeline having kids?
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Monday, November 17, 2014

Monday Motivation


There are some Mondays where you wake up and need a little bit extra motivation, inspiration? Today, is one of those Mondays.























Happy Monday friends!

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