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27 November 2015

How To Get The Best Cyber Monday Deals

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #LoveAmericanHome #CollectiveBias

In my opinion, there is nothing more stressful in this world than Black Friday. My vibe as a shopper is not one of hustle or panic. When I go shopping, it's a leisurely event for me. I like to look at every last thing on the rack, one-by-one. I'll place my hand on each individual hanger, touch the material, pull the sleeve out to see if it's long or short, admire the back of the garment... then move that piece out of the way, and repeat the process all over again with the same speed and care.

Leisurely is how I prefer to shop, and this is exactly why I'm more of a Cyber Monday kind of girl. 

You COULD.... Get out of bed at 3am in the frigid November temperatures and fight off most of Dallas Fort Worth in an attempt to get your hands on that limited quantity 4K television you've been eyeing since they announced the sales November 1st only to find out that they're sold out by the time you reach the front of the line.......


You could stay cozy in your dreamy bed with a cup of coffee, the scent of a Fresh Apple American Home candle wafts through the air, a cozy blanket draped over your feet and the warmth of the laptop on your legs as you kiss on your puppies while surfing those exact same deals in the privacy of your own home. 

"I choose option B, Sarah!"

I thought you'd say that! 

American Home™ by Yankee Candle® candles are a great way to stay calm and set the mood while you're shopping for Cyber Monday deals. Candles can be super pricey, but the one's that I got -- Fresh Apple, Fresh Balsam Fir and Winter Morning Fragrence -- are an awesome value at just around $14 for a 19oz two wick candle and are conveniently sold on!

As you can see on my computer screen above, I was able to shop for the American Home™ by Yankee Candle® collection of fragrances and candles at!

American Home™ by Yankee Candle® actually has a limited time Holiday 2-Pack offer exclusively for Cyber Monday. Beginning November 30th, their 2-Pack is just $22 and includes a 19oz. large jar Fresh Balsam Fir and a 19oz. large jar Sparkling Cinnamon Spice. There will be a limited quantity released, and this deal only applies while supplies last.

You'd never do black Friday shopping by yourself would you? No way. Now that you've got the mood set for a day of cozy shopping, I've enlisted some of my girlfriends to give their tips for the most effective way to shop Cyber Monday, because no one should go holiday deal shopping alone! 

1. Follow What Your Favorite Fashion Bloggers Are Linking To
Here is my personal tip: Although I might not be a fashion blogger myself (a girl can dream right??!) I still follow a ton of them via Instagram and Facebook. Some of my favorites who will definitely have the hookups on the best deals and certainly the best gift ideas are: Gal Meets Glam, Bows and Sequins, Modaprints, Lonestar Southern, Lemon Stripes, Lake Shore Lady, Penny Pincher Fashion, A Southern Drawl and McKenna Belu

2. Make a List and Plan Your Attack Ahead of Time 
This tip is from my bestie, Magen. She said she is buying almost all of her Christmas presents online this year because it is the easiest way to knock everything out. She's already made a list for Cyber Monday and knows exactly what she is getting, and from where. Some of her favorite online shops have already announced what sale they'll be having, and has written down every "stop" she wants to make so she won't forget anything! 

3. Stick to a Budget
My friend Larissa supplied this tip. She said, "Stick to a Budget!" Larissa said she sets a budget for each person she knows she has to buy for well before she spends her first penny on gifts. Doing so keeps her from overspending during the time of year that is the most brutal on our wallets. 

4. Search For Codes
This is another tip from me! I do this tip year round, not just on Cyber Monday. Anytime I'm about to checkout and up pops a "coupon code" box, I'll do a google search for that retailer to see if they are offering any coupons like free shipping or an extra 25% off. I almost always find an extra discount by doing htis. 

5. Don't Forget the Thrill Of The Hunt
This tip is from my Mom! The best part about Black Friday is bragging to your friends about the amazing deals you got. Just because you're in your pajamas doesn't mean you can't still brag to your friends or family. Tell a friend about the deals you got and give yourself a big pat on the back and have some fun with this whole "Cyber Monday" thing. 

6. Leave Items You're Unsure of in Your Cart, You Might Get an Extra Discount
This tip is  from me! Just yesterday I left an item in my "cart," but left the site without actually making a purchase. I was emailed about 2 hours later encouraging me to come back to complete my purchase, and given an extra 25% off to do so. It was an unexpected surprise and I did end up buying that itme. 

7. Get Social
Here is one last tip, and it's a final one from me! Share everything on social media. Ok, well maybe not everything, but keep an eye out for companies that reward you for referrals and generating sales. I have one online home store boutique that I shop on, for example, that gives me $15 in store credit anytime I refer a friend that makes a purchase. If you see an item you think a friend might like, pin it on pinterest, share it via twitter or send it directly to them in an email using your refer-a-friend code!

What's your plan of attack this Cyber Monday?
Any deals you've found that are MUST HAVES?

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25 November 2015

My Heart Can't Take It

I would generally consider myself a very happy person. I love my life and I'm unbelievably grateful to have it..... I'm sure I've said that about a billion times on the blog by now. I sometimes get sad for no reason though. Yesterday was one of those days, I was so very sad for no reason. 

I messaged CB on chat and told him how sad I felt, and that I couldn't shake it. He responded by reminding me that we've got 4 days coming up filled with family and of course each other, and how could I be sad with all of that fun coming my way? I unfortunately didn't have an answer. I don't know. I do not know why I get as sad as I do sometimes. It's honestly quite frustrating, I'm happy overall..... yet sad.

Except, there was a reason this time. It was a subliminal reason that I didn't pick up on until around 4pm that day when someone shared a photography project on "How Dogs Get Older" and it clicked what I was sad about. All day long, without even realizing, my eyeballs had been saturated with stories of dogs, each one making me sadder and sadder.

For some reason, everyone and their brother was sharing dog stories on Facebook yesterday; happy dogs, old dogs, rescued dogs, cartoon dogs, dogs that need saving, dogs that didn't make it. I bet I'd been shown 50 different articles about dogs on Facebook in the span of 8 hours.  

Stories of dogs rarely leave me feeling happy. I can laugh at the articles that show images of pups that don't comprehend personal space, but I can't handle much else. I'm just not able to read about dogs without crying, even the unbelievably happy rescue stories make me feel horribly sad. 

Why is that?

Take that article on "How Dogs Get Older" for example, I saw the first picture and I burst into tears. All I could think about was losing Gee and Veenie and how heartbroken I'd be, and I cried heavily and had to remove myself from my cubicle to dry my eyes.

Then I just cried heavily again typing that out, thinking about it all over again. They are my whole world, and I of course know they will go one day, but nothing makes me sadder than thinking about that day. That whole article was supposed to be a happy article, but all it made me do was cry. 

I genuinely dislike crying, and no matter what story I read about a dog, I cry. In turn, I seem to be left saddened for the rest of the day. It's really awful, because I want to read stories of dogs that have been rescued and are surrounded by nothing but the most incredible love they've ever felt, but I can't. I fear the feeling I know I will get, that feeling of being engulfed in sadness.

Tears of joy are confusing to me, to my body. Growing up, like most kids, being unbelievably happy about something didn't make me cry it only made me smile and giggle. As a kid, aside from tears caused by physical pain, I would cry because something made me sad or upset.

Now that I'm older, my mind can't seem to understand that tears brought on by pure joy shouldn't leave you feeling sad.

I read something that makes me feel overjoyed...
I cry...
Then my mind thinks, "Oh, she's crying, something terrible must be going on. She must be sad"
Then I'm left sad.

I don't have a point to this post, and I certainly don't have a solution yet, but I did feel the need to write about it. If knowing you have a problem is half the battle, then I just identified my problem.

Does anyone else get like this over puppy videos?????

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24 November 2015

The Things I'd Ask A Victoria's Secret Model

The other day, I stumbled on this article that compiled pictures of all of the Victoria's Secret Angels working out. Maybe it's because I'm older, but I find them to be more human than I ever remember. 

Actually no, it's not because I'm older, it's just because we have access to them in ways we never had access before. They have Instagram and Snapchat now, and we are able to see what they're doing at any given moment of any given day. Back in the Tyra Banks and Heidi Klum days, the only time I saw them was on television or in a magazine, all dolled up and totally scripted. 

Back in the day, (I think) they were trained during interviews to recite that they didn't work out and that they ate pizza for every meal. Was that to make them seem more human? If so, I think that was the wrong approach. It just made us resent them. 

Flash forward to today, I can't remember the last time I heard a model say, "I never go to the gym...

Ok, you got me, I don't listen to or watch a lot of model interviews, but I do have Snapchat and Instagram and they're always posting gym pictures. 

After the VS Fashion show was filmed, the internet was swimming in articles claiming they have the secret way to, "Look like a VS Angel with these 7 simple tricks.

Those tricks are highly predictable. Eat greens. Workout. Drink lots of water. Yada yada yada. These are not the things I'd like to hear from the VS model. I know how to eat heathy. I know what to eat. I know that I need to workout. I know what workouts I need to do... I just have a hard time finding the motivation to do so. That's terrible, I know. 

I don't want to put in the effort, mainly because I don't see that effort as fun. That's a problem. I want them to tell me, in an interview, how fun it is. I'd be more inspired to hear how they make eating healthy and working out fun, more than hearing anything else.

So instead of asking these VS models (over and over and over again) what they eat or what workouts they do or what green juice is their favorite, I just want these reporters to ask these girls real life questions. I'd find them so much more inspirational if they could tell me that their life, mind, body and soul is genuinely full and satisfied. 

Some people might think that's a crazy question I'm asking, "They're the most beautiful people in the world, OF COURSE they're satisfied!!"

Think about the sacrifices they have to make every single day of their lives though. Are those sacrifices worth it to be the sexiest women alive? 

Here are the questions I'd ask if I had the chance:

How do you have fun when you're at the gym? 

Where do you find the motivation to go to the gym? (Particularly at 5am)  

What do you do with your friends on Friday night? Do you party? Are you allowed to party? 

Do you have cheat days? Tell me about those... how do you mentally recover from them? How do you get your mind back right after a cheat day? 

Is beer a 'hell no'? 

When you spend all of this time in the gym, or decline invites to go out, do you feel like you're missing out? Do you have FOMO?

If you did accept an invite for a night out on the town, how are you honestly able to avoid temptation? Do you avoid temptation?

Describe a night out on the town as if I were your doctor and you had to be honest.... 
(side note: has anyone ever seen Amy Schumer's HBO special?)

Do you feel that nothing tastes as good as skinny feels?  

I just have one request for the next person who gets to interview a VS model, please ask real questions. I want to know if they genuinely lead a fulfilled life that they love. I mean, yes, of course it's fun to be smoking hot, but in the words of Sex and the City, are you happy living this lifestyle, making these sacrifices... EVERY DAY? 

If they are, then maybe I could be inspired to be happy and healthy too! 

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23 November 2015

The Best Wines Under $10 To Bring To Thanksgiving or A Holiday Party

It's that time of year when you're constantly needing a wine to bring to a party. This week, you'll need a wine to serve at Thanksgiving. When you're serving a crowd, those really nice $20 bottles may not be an option. Here are my picks for the best wines under $10 to bring to your next party, or to serve with Thanksgiving dinner. 

The Best Wines Under $10 To Bring to Thanksgiving

1. Jacob's Creek ~ $6

Best Wine Under 10

If you come to my home, there's about a 76% chance you'll be handed an Australian wine. Australian wines are absolutely delicious and generally run cheaper than most other wines on the shelf. I've tried nearly every type of Jacob's Creek, and while I like most of them, the Shiraz-Cab blend is my go-to recommendation for Thanksgiving!

Plus, they're all screw caps. This is a plus for hotel rooms, just an item I find important to note.

2.  Penfolds ~ $9

Another Australian wine, Penfolds has a few different collections that vary drastically in price. The Rawson Chardonnay or the Thomas Hyland Cabernet will only set you back about $7-$9. 

3. Mirassou ~ $9
The Best Wines Under $10

Hey look, California.... not Australia! Mirassou Pinot Noir is my absolute favorite wine for the price point. My favorite wine is Estancia Pinot Noir, but it unfortunately misses that under $10 mark, usually costing about $17. If you love pinot noir, you'll love Mirassou's, especially for just $9. 

4. Bogle ~ $8.50

Bogle is a Californian wine that I actually tried for the first time with my mom in Virginia Beach. I couldn't believe how delicious I thought it was, especially for so cheap. I personally really like Bogle's Chardonnay, which receives excellent reviews from wine critics.

5. Estancia (White) ~ $8
The Best Wines Under $10

I mentioned California's Estancia Pinot Noir in reference to Mirassou, and while it is generally in the range of $15-$17, Estancia's white wines fit into that <$10 price point. 

6. Belle Ambiance ~ $9

Ok, OK, ok.... you got me. The first time I bought this wine, I only picked it because of the label. I never said I was some expert wine snob over here. I'm really glad I did though, because this Californian wine is fantastic, and not just because of that pretty blue label.

7.  Dark Horse ~ $7

Their red blend is actually a global wine, made from a variety of grapes from Argentina, California and Australia. The packaging is very sleek, making it look much more expensive than it actually is.

8. House Wine ~ $7.25

I'm embarrassed, this is another one I picked because I loved the label. Just kidding, I'm not embarrassed, packaging is everything right? The packaging might have sold me the first time, but the taste of this Washington wine was so good that I grab this one anytime I see it at the grocery store. Even better, they now package this wine in a box... SCORE!

9. Apothic ~ $9

I honestly don't think this wine needs a description, as I'm sure you've heard of it. This Californian wine is wildly popular, and quite frankly the perfect wine to bring to Thanksgiving!

10. A Good Trick

For number 10 I'm going to give you a trick that I do at the grocery store. I'll look for the biggest discounts. Sometimes there will be a big cart filled with closeout wines, don't ignore that cart. I'll also check out the shelves and find new wines to try based on the deepest sales. For example, that Seven Daughters wine shown above, was a fantastic $19 bottle of wine that I got for just $9. When I'm needing a wine to bring to a party, this is the approach I'll take!

So that's my list of suggestions, what do you think? Have you tried any of these wines?
What is your favorite inexpensive wine?

Oh, and get some goat cheese while you're at it.
Every wine goes with goat cheese.
Everything goes with goat cheese.

Goat cheese for president 2016. Gouda for VP.

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