Monday, May 30, 2011

Product Review: Canopy Anywhere Console Table, Mahogany Finish

I looked for over a year trying to find an affordable buffet to store my extra kitchen items and more expensive dishes. I had the toughest time finding anything selling for less than $600! I traveled near and far to try to find this piece of furniture but to no avail. Then one day, it occured to me to look on and here I found the best bargain of all! A "buffet" for less than $300, shipped to the store for FREE. Gotta love Walmart for that.

It took a lot longer than expected to put the whole thing together. The instructions are very easy to follow except for the fact that the way it tells you to put it together is NOT the best way to put it together. It says to attach the two main side pieces to the front and back pieces then place the middle pieces into the buffet (the pieces that would hold the drawers in the middle). Well much to my dismay, the pieces didn't go in perfectly, they would attach to the front piece but not to the back. I almost broke the whole thing due to my frustration.

I looked online and found a different instruction manual. If you are thinking of purchasing this item, follow these instructions instead! Trust me, it will make your life a whole lot easier.

Anyway, I waited a whole hour before I went back to putting it back together again. To my amazement, I was able to FINALLY put the console together. Wow, it just looks absolutely beautiful. Just like those $800 pieces I was looking at that! It has a lot of storage and it looks great in my living room! :)

I gave the Canopy Anywhere Console 5 stars out of 5!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Product Review: Body Fortress Super Advanced Whey Protein Powder Chocolate, 2 lbs

As of May 1st, I have been working hard to lose some weight. I was hoping to add some protein shakes to my daily routine to help build some muscle and help me get toned. I purchased the Body Fortress Super Advanced Whey Protein Powder Chocolate online from for $14.98 plus tax with free shipping. As always, I used to get 2% cash back.

I have never been a huge fan of protein shakes. I always thought that you can still taste the powdery texture and the flavors were never that good. But I have to admit that this one is a lot better than any of the other ones I've tasted. I like the chocolate flavor and the texture isn't gritty like most other protein powders. I have made different kinds of protein shakes with this (1 scoop of powder with frozen or fresh fruit and soy milk w/ ice and/or greek yogurt). I have found that this tasted best with frozen blueberries, soy milk and a banana!

I give it 4 out of 5 stars!

My review can be found HERE.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Product Review: Old Navy's Compression Active Pants

I signed up for a new campaign through Crowdtap in which I get to sample a free pair of active pants from Old Navy!  I was so excited to be able to try a pair of pants for free.  Plus it came at a perfect time as I was shopping for new workout pants to wear for running.  I just started running again (started May 1st) and I have discovered that a lot of the pants I have been using for running isn't really meant for running.  It fits right for regular workouts but as soon as I start running, the waist part starts inching down so the next thing I know I am spending most of my time trying to jimmy my pants back up while running.

The Old Navy compression pants I chose isn't necessarily the 'perfect' pair for running either, but it's a lot better than some of the brands I've tried.  It stays up for the most part but after half an hour or so, I have to start messing with my pants to get them to stay up again.  But luckily, I don't run very far (only about 3-4 miles a day) so it usually happens towards the end of my run which I don't mind so much since it's time to stop anyway.

I really do like how it feels on my body.  The material is really nice and feels tight and taut around my bosom, which I appreciate since it actually makes it look like I've got a nice booty. :)  It also doesn't cause too many bulges around the waist area which I like since some pants make it look like I have a muffin top when it squeezes too much on my waist.
I have washed it twice since I purchased it last Thursday (May 26th) and they look as good as new.  I am hoping they hold up well through its lifetime!  I think that it's a pretty good bargain at less than $30 for the pair.  Some compression pants that are comparable are going for $80 or more (like Athleta's, which I could never buy since I just can't get myself to spend that much on activewear!). 

I give the compression pants from Old Navy 4 stars out of 5!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Best Buys: Old Navy

I had a ball shopping at Old Navy today.  For once, I got to enjoy a good hour and a half browsing through the store WITHOUT KIDS.  I took my time, trying to decide how I was going to spend my hard-earned money (well not necessary "mine", gotta thank hubby for that!).  I had earned $40 in  rewards cards just by using my Old Navy Rewards Visa card!  Plus I had a 25% off one item coupon AND (4) coupons for FREE (yes, you read that right) pairs of activewear pants!  Coupons I received from signing up for one of the Crowdtap* campaigns

Knowing the Old Navy coupon policy (they will only take up 2 coupons along with 2 rewards cards in one transaction), I asked to speak to the store manager as soon as I walked through the door.  I am not a bold one by nature (OK, maybe I am.  LOL) but it just helps to straighten out the issues before they become issues, if you know what I mean.  Needless to say, I didn't wanna waste my time shopping around, getting all the items I want to buy and then get to the cashier and have them tell me "Uh no."  So I explained my situation to her about how I have all these coupons and I live 20 mins away from the store and rarely come down that way to be able to use all my coupons by its expiration dates.  She was so sweet and totally understood, so she let me use all my coupons AND rewards cards.  Yay!

So I went in for the kill and attacked the clearance section (which by the way, was an extra 50% off).  I have to admit I rarely buy anything from the regular racks anymore, even when they're on sale.  The clearance racks are where the real savings are at.  They have to make room for all the new styles so the clearance racks are barely "old" styles by any means.  They're like a month old, if that. 

I found the following:
  • a pair of size 6 jeans that fit perfectly (they look oh so good on too!) for $17.47
  • a couple activewear capris for $11.99 and $14.49
  • a black romper for $15.49
  • a T-shirt for $4.99
  • running shorts for $8.50 (off the regular rack actually)
  • a running tank for $9.49
  • fleece pants for my little girl for $8.99
  • leggings for her for $5.99
  • 2 pairs of activewear pants for $24.94
  • a pair of yoga pants for $19.50
  • a pair of yog capris for $16.50
Original Grand total: $199.32
- 25% off one item coupon
- 50% all clearance
- (4) FREE coupons for the regular retail prices of the activewear pants
- $40 Old Navy Rewards card

Out of pocket: $14.43

PS I just realized the cashier charged me TWICE for one item.  Ugh, so that means I could have saved an additional $4 off my purchase.  *sigh*

It pays to have the Old Navy Visa Rewards card!!!  I pay all our health insurance bills, groceries, gas, and use it towards other payments that take credit cards.  I have earned well over $300 in rewards since I applied for it back in November just by using it to pay for items I normally pay cash for each month.  Trust me, you will enjoy the benefits of almost FREE clothing!!!

*As part of the Crowdtap campaign, I gave (3) pairs of pants to friends.  :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Self-proclaimed "Central Coast Bargainista"

So for years and years now, my friends and family have been telling me to do talk about my life as a bargain-hunter, how I save money by using coupons, price-matching, perusing the clearance aisles and by never paying full price. The thrill of seeking deals has been a passion of mine for many years, a life that became more prominent when children entered the picture.

Living on a single income and being a stay-at-home Mom made me realize just how important it really is to be able to pay less to be able to spend more on things we really love (like eating out, vacations, fun stuff for the family to do, etc). In order to do that and still fulfill my need to shop, I turned to bargains as my savior. Clearance sections were my go-to's. Coupons became a way of life. Going to a restaurant without using one just feels so wrong. Buying things at the grocery store and drug stores have never been more fun, matching coupons with sale prices and store coupons. I am able to stockpile doing this which allows us so many options for meals and choices on which brands to use and try. I admit I'm not really loyal to one particular brand. If there's a coupon, I'll try it. If I don't like it, well, it was next to nothing so who cares?!

I love to shop at thrift stores, consignment shops, yard sales and the like. I don't see anything wrong with re-using old items. If anything, I love being able to restore something to new, even if all I have to do is sew a little here and there or just paint it! I have found many many great pieces for FREE. Furniture, clothes, household items, electronics, etc. Thank goodness for Craigslist and Freecyle! Like the saying goes "A person's trash is another person's treasure"! There is one rule I follow though: NO USED SHOES. Unless ofcourse I CAN restore it to new (like buff it if it's leather and replace the soles inside). But then again, I don't really look for used shoes, it's just icky to me especially if I can't wash it.

The best part is that even if I don't need it, if there's a real value to an item, I buy it and turn around and sell it on Ebay...which brings me to the next subject - MAKING MONEY. I have gotten free items using coupons and I usually donate them (like food, deodorant, toothpaste, dishwashing soap, etc). But for things that have a higher price point (like hair color, shavers, etc) then I sell them at yard sales for like $2 and make some money. For brand-name clothing and other items of value, I sell on Craigslist and Ebay.

I have so many tips and tricks I can't wait to share. So keep your eye out for them! So please FOLLOW MY BLOG! Thanks! ;)