Monday, September 1, 2014

How I Earn (and Save) Money Online

As a college student, it's important that I get the biggest bang for my buck. Especially with the cost of text books, rent, gas, and all that, I've got to keep the rest of my funds strictly budgeted. When I do get to splurge a little with my money, I make sure I'm smart about it.

A few of the methods I use to save and/or earn money online are as follows:

SwagBucks - One of my favorite ways to earn quick cash online is through SwagBucks. It's basically a rewards site that lets you earn money for playing games, watching videos, searching the web, going on scavenger hunts, and completing special offers. I redeem my SwagBucks for Amazon gift cards, and in the few months I've had it, I've earned over $50 in Amazon gift cards. Click here to join SwagBucks!

Ebates - Ebates is a great way to earn cash back on the online purchases you're already going to make. They have hundreds of stores to choose from, and all you have to do is go through Ebates first, and they'll apply any coupon codes, free shipping offers, and give you your percentage of your purchase back! My mom used Ebates to buy her new mattress, and earned over $150 back! Join Ebates to get a $10 gift card + cash back on your first purchase!

Craigslist - I used craigslist to get a bunch of the furniture for my house, and to sell some of the junk I had laying around. Craigslist is a great place to find out about free stuff, community events, and anything else you could be searching for. I scored an ikea desk for $15 on Craigslist, and it's my favorite piece of furniture I own!

eBay - This one is a given, but I get in trouble really quickly on eBay. I want to buy everything!

Ibotta - Ibotta is an iPhone/Android app that gives you rebates for your groceries instantly. Not only do you get rebates on branded items, you can also get cash back for your basic items like eggs and milk!

What do you do to earn and save money online?
Do you use any of these resources?

Friday, August 29, 2014

I Believe...

The other day, my roommate and I went on a trip to Shenandoah Caverns, and on the way home, we passed by a field of sunflowers. If I were by myself, I'm not sure I would've stopped, but since we were in an adventurous mood, and had our cameras, we thought "why not." So I quickly made a U-Turn, parked nearby, and joined the other photogs snapping pictures of the beautiful flowers.

I don't know about you, but passing by a gigantic field of sunflowers (or any flower, really) isn't an everyday occurrence. It was a nice break from our busy, suburban lifestyles (even though I'm a farm girl at heart) and get out and enjoy nature for a while.

  • I believe stopping to smell the roses (or sunflowers) should be a higher priority in our lives.
  • I believe that people and opportunities are put in front of us for a reason, so we can experience things we never thought to in the first place.
  • I believe that you get back what you put in.
  • I believe that a big bowl of Mac & Cheese can help heal most wounds.
  • I believe that love is a renewable resource.
  • I believe that chocolate is acceptable currency. So are hugs.
  • I believe that nothing can brighten someone's mood better than kind words.
  • I believe that a good run, a good cry, and a really good meal are all things someone needs every now and then.
  • I believe in being barefoot whenever possible.
  • I believe that falling asleep next to someone you love is one of the greatest feelings possible.
  • I believe that reading a great work of literature can teach you a lot about yourself.
  • I believe that you should order dessert if you want it.
  • I believe in saying yes.
  • I believe in finding your own magic.
  • I believe in red lipstick.
  • I believe in turning a negative into a positive.
  • I believe in showing love when you feel it.
  • I believe in paving your own way.

What do you believe in?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

These Pigs Are Killing Me Right Now

These two pigs are killing me lately. I recently found Priscilla the Mini Pig on Instagram, she and her brother Poppleton are the most fashionable, adorable, hilariously cute creatures I've ever seen. So cute in fact that I'm jealous of them! Now I want to go adopt a mini pig!

Do you follow any particular adorable animals?
What do you think of Priss and Pop's instagram?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Day at Shenandoah Caverns

Yesterday Sabrina and I took a tour of Shenandoah Caverns. The tour was a mile-long stretch of winding rock and mineral formations. It was so cool to see such an amazing thing so far underground (upwards of 200 feet!) and to think, when the caverns were discovered, there was no electricity! That means, the first people to explore the caverns did so in total darkness, with maybe the help of a candle-lit lantern if they were lucky! The caverns also had many cute and quirky features, like a wishing well, a bunch of silly gnomes on the grounds, and a rock structure that looks just like the Capital Building in DC! Our tour guide was very knowledgeable about the caverns and was quite funny too. Overall, the tour was a great experience!

Have you ever been on a tour of a Cavern?
What are your favorite "natural wonders?"

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

weekly art update #6

 Since it had been a while since I'd painted, I picked up this 24x36 canvas at Michaels on a whim. I knew we needed some art to go above our sofa, but to be honest, the size of the canvas intimidated me quite a lot. I had no idea what to paint, but knew I wanted to keep it in the area of our red/blue semi-theme that we have going (I say semi-theme because it's kind of wishful thinking, nothing really matches.)

I started with the blue watery pattern that I accomplished with the help of a roller brush; like the kind you use to paint your walls. That took my Pollock-esque splashes of paint and translated them across the three feet of canvas. Then, I blended it with another one of those house-painting brushes.

Later on, I decided to paint a pink lotus. This is one of my favorite flowers, and I like the spiritual meanings implied in imagery featuring lotus flowers. There's a famous quote that equates a lotus with the human spirit. "May I live like the lotus, at ease in muddy water..."

After spending a while on the flower, I outlined it with light blue paint, and added some speckles with the darker colors to add some extra texture. I'm quite happy with the way this turned out, and being the biggest thing I've ever painted, it was also one of the quickest!

Have you painted anything lately?
What is your favorite flower?

Monday, August 25, 2014

What's In My Bag? (+ a Giveaway)

What's in my bag? Quite a lot if you ask me! I got this bag a few weeks ago, after I'd been lusting after the Madewell transport tote for ages. Since I didn't want to fork over $140 for a bag, I snatched up this almost identical bag from Lucky Brand for less than half that price. I'm absolutely in love with this bag, it's a perfect size, is genuine leather, and has both hand and shoulder straps.

I've gotten it into my head that if I keep all my belongings in little bags, nothing will leak all over the inside! Ever get those exploded pens or eyeshadow or lotions in the bottom of your purse? It's a nightmare!

Inside my makeup bag, I've got:
  • Bath and Body Works Fragrance
  • L'Oreal The Balm Lip Stain
  • Smith's Rosebud Salve
  • Bath and Body Works Stress Relief Hand Lotion
  • Clinique Summer Eyeshadow Palette
  • Yves Rocher Sexy Pulp Mascara
  • L'Oreal True Match Powder Foundation and Blush
  • ChapStick Green Apple Lip Balm
  • Clinique Blush and Eyeshadow Brush
  • MAC Lipstick in Spice it Up!
  • Forever21 Tweezers
  • Hair Ties

Glasses and my phone, would be pretty much lost without these.

My Lilly Pulitzer Planner, Papermate pens and pencils, and a little notebook of blog ideas.

My misc. items, sunglasses, spare deodorant (better safe than sorry), change purse, car keys, and some girly products. You can never be too prepared. Missing from this is my wallet, because I'm in-between wallets right now, my old one is falling to pieces!

Up next I'm excited to announce a giveaway! I searched high and low for this set, as I saw it a few months ago and knew it would be perfect for all of you. There's another option for this set, but it's mostly lip gloss (I'm not a huge fan of gloss, to be honest), and I much preferred this one. They didn't have it at my Sephora, but I finally found it in the Sephora a few towns over. So exciting!

Included in this set is:
Fresh Sugar Rose Lip Balm
Laura Mercier Lip Gloss
Buxom Lip Gloss
NARS Gloss
Bite Lip Crayon
Tarte Glitzy LipSurgence

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good Luck!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

On Loss

Earlier this week I lost my best friend. Pepper, my 14 year old black lab, and most loyal friend, who had been there for me since I could remember. I'd spent the past few months in a constant state of anxiety and guilt, knowing that she wasn't feeling well, knowing there wasn't much I could do for her, (other than three hour belly rubs and extra treats on occasion) and constantly dreading that moment when things would turn for the worst.

I almost didn't want to post this, because I didn't have much "good" to say about it. I didn't want to write something that would taint my memory of her. I didn't want a post full of pity, sadness, or any of those negative emotions.

I am finally writing this because I have come to terms with her loss. Losing a loved one is one of the hardest things a person will ever have to do in their life. Though I'm no stranger to it, loss is something I've never quite gotten used to, and likely never will. Goodbye is a word I wish didn't exist. Even in all of this, I'm finally at peace. I'm glad there is no more pain for my best friend. I know that I gave her as much love as I knew how. She was the happiest, smartest, and funniest dog I ever got the pleasure to meet. I've also never seen a dog with softer ears than she had. She added so much joy to my life, and even though she's not with us anymore, the joy she brought us didn't leave. I have so many happy memories with her that I will cherish forever. I know she was met on the other side with tons of head scratches, tennis balls, big sticks, an endless array of steak bones, and other pups to snuggle with.

If you've lost someone recently, know that you're not alone, even though you may feel like it. There is always someone willing to listen, pray with you, hold your hand, or simply distract you. In this rough time, I have had so many friends reach out to me, and I am so thankful for that. You all mean the world to me.