Saturday, December 3, 2011

Photos lately

You wouldn't even believe the schedule I am balancing, so I just won't tell you! I have some pictures instead :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Monster Mania

My boyfriend, John, is a huge 80's movie fan. So when he found out that Halloween creator John Carpenter and a slew of other stars would be coming to a convention an hour away, we planned to make the trip. I was most excited to meet Anthony Michael Hall, nerd from the Breakfast Club. Who doesn't love that movie or appreciate it's iconic statements about teenagerhood, cliques, and Saturday school? I also was thrilled to meet Norman Reedus, star of Boondock Saints and The Walking Dead (haven't heard of it? It's a zombie tv series based off a great comic book on AMC. Check it out- the human drama is excellent). Norman was incredibly friendly and Anthony Michael Hall said I was "truly beautiful". Coming from inner city school days where I've been called much worse, that was a nice change of pace! This entire event was a blast, and now I'll be even more excited to watch season 2 of the Walking Dead.

What a whirlwind!

As many know, about one month ago I started teaching in public schools. It has been the busiest and craziest thing I've ever done, but deep down I love my job and there are about ten kids who make my job really worthwhile on a daily basis. On the toughest of days, I know I can come back to count on those kids who either really need the help or the challenge to stay on track for college. That said, that's why there are NO blog entries over the last month! Being a full time student, taking classes at night, and creating the majority of my own lesson plans, has been incredibly tiring! I'm glad I made it through one month. I have had some appearances and events and I wanted to share this one from last week. A local friend sells Stella and Dot jewelry, of which I'm a huge fan because of it's enormous styles that are eye catchers. She was putting together a line to be shown at Frederick Fashion Week, and I modeled! Wow, it has been a while since I saw a runway and this one was LONG! I even challenged myself by wearing the 4.5 inch heel I arrived to the Miss Virginia pageant in two years ago. No trips, stumbles, or falls! Some people even clapped as I finished- perhaps because they were shocked I didn't fall? (haha). I had a blast and it was really fun. Miss Maryland was there and Ms. Senior Maryland also performed a burlesque fan dance, something I've never seen before!

Frederick always surprises me with the events and level of style we have around here.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Book Thing

Most people would find this hard to believe... but it's true! As a new part of the Baltimore community, over the last few months I've been investigating various areas that natives are recommending to me. One of those ideas was the Book Thing. It's actually free! Thousands of free books.

John and I had the chance to visit this last weekend and really enjoyed it! It was amazing first of all how many books were available and how many people were visiting! There were boxes to fill with everything you wanted. I was able to stock the majority of my classroom library and pick up dozens of copies of National Geographic to use for projects and reading! What a great way to encourage people all over to read. The next time you're in the Baltimore area, check it out!

Have old books that you'd like to donate? They are open every Saturday and Sunday!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Giant Eagle Advantage Contest

I'm excited to report that I participated in the Giant Eagle Advantage Contest this summer and I won over $240 in gift cards! During a summer where I was being paid at the end of my training, every little bit helped us out! I won a few times for my photos, but it was a video I made at 5:00 in the morning that ended up being a runner up video and getting $200! I was on my way to work and had had this video on my to do list for weeks when I decided to just do it! I'd had the concept but hadn't scripted it out, so I just winged it! I guess sometimes that just works. You can check out my video on the Giant Eagle homepage!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Crowdtap Shorts Party!

I love my new shorts, shirt and accessory from Old Navy, and so does everyone who attended my summer Party on June 20th! What I loved about ON is that they have lots of options for different styles and fabrics so that you could find exactly what worked best for you. I've included a few photos below, and I've already worn my outfit on the 4th of july!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Miss Ohio night One: Preliminary Thoughts

I missed evening gown, oops!

Favorite talents:

Courtney Monk did a good job and her hair was flattering.

Chelsi Howman’s Banjo playing was a refreshing change from the normal dance and singing and she was very talented! I have never seen a banjo player in a pageant.

Amber Bussa’s outfit was cute and she did a good job incorporating little flirty moves into the movement around the stage.

Shannon O’Neill was great, of course I think she’s the one to win the entire crown but her talent was entertaining and one of the voices that actually sounded consistent throughout the song.

Alyssa Waldman was entertaining and a good voice, but I was not a fan of the gown.

Ellen Bryan’s hair pulled back was just stunning!

Entertainment: Ok, I got REALLY spoiled by the great entertainment and strong dancers with good costumes at Miss Virginia, including some really talented teens or preteens to fill in as entertainment. Ohio’s performers just don’t look as “professional” wearing jeans on stage.

Swimsuit picks: Alissa Brumbaugh, Heather Wells (great pace on her walk!) Devon Stansbury (have you seen those calves???)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Old Navy workout pants

It's hard to find the perfect pair of workout pants, but I can now say I highly recommend Old Navy! They have a new set that is moisture-wicking, which makes these pants even better to wear for other daytime activities during this incredibly hot summer. I picked up my workout pants courtesy of Crowdtap, a great online community that allows you to voice your opinion and participate in special sample shares.

What I love about these pants is their lightweight feel and the fact that it feels like they don't weigh you down while working out. They had a great fit and were extremely comfortable to hit the gym in!

I highly recommend checking out Old Navy for your workout needs!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Monthly "Free"

This list is not exhaustive as I'm sure during a busy day I missed entering something, but it's still helpful. People are always asking if it's really worth it to be a bargain and deal hunter. To give you an idea of the things you can get for FREE using coupons, deals and sample requests, here's a partial list of the items I got for free during the month of April:

-2 laundry detergent samples

-3 free razors for our house

-2 free razor’s for John’s brother

-Air Wick scent and warmer

-Bic lighter

-Microwavable popcorn bowl

-1 can manwich

-1 can pasta sauce

-1 full size Murphy’s Oil Soap Bottle

-1 travel size Jergen’s lotion

-1 Nivea body wash

-1 old spice body wash

-4 travel size deodorants to give to charity

-1 old navy dress, plus 3 for friends

-Entire box of Playtex sport wipes

-EOS lip balm

-Full size CVS hand sanitizer

-Full size Dawn dish detergent

-Full cut of meat for pot roast

-Box of Betty Crocker Potatoes

-Olay body wash

-Travel size gilette shaving gel

-Libman mop

-Dishwasher cleaner

-Strawberries, one pack

-1 Breve coffee creamer

-1 Can chef Boyardee

-1 bottle of Nexxus conditioner

-1 John Frieda shampoo/conditioner sample

-1 Arm and Hammer Toothpaste

-One sample set of Nexxus

Review: Playtex Sport Wipes

Many people know: I don't have air conditioning in my car.

I recently tried the new playtex sport wipes because I am always on the go and I hate
that I get down to my evening classes after sweating through muggy DC traffic!

These are great! Is your team going out for dinner after a major game? Are you always
on the run, going from work to a great date? Want to feel freshened up quickly?
These are a good bet. I'd use them in conjunction with a travel size deodorant for a
midday touch up!

These are new, so go check them out!

Using buxr to find deals

I can't even remember how I discovered this website, but I'm glad I did. I am "friends" with many deal-hunter websites on facebook but when you know you're going to make a purchase somewhere it's too much to sift through.

I highly recommend using this website if you're hunting for a particular coupon or deal. They are posted daily, and it's easy to do a search for your store and see what deals are out there. Plus, members can vote deals up or down, so you can look at the most popular deals and vote down deals that aren't so great. I've found the only downside is that there are a few "superusers" who seem to post deals every ten seconds, so it's hard to be the first to list something, even if the deal was just released. However, they have a ton of contest options to win lots of money, and extra cash never hurts, right? Visiting Buxr is so much easier than trying to google old coupon codes. Deal seekers can see exactly when something expires, too!

Visit the link below to get started- it's free!

Buxr Hot Deals

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Using Offermatic

Today I'd like to share Offermatic, a program I have been using for a little over two months now.

I initially joined because they had a special to get $15 off a $30 purchase at Amazon or Target. You got to pick which one. I was hesitant at first because the way this program works is by linking one of your credit or debit cards. Based on your spending history, they will offer you rebates based on your past spending. The way it works is that you "unlock" an offer and then have a certain amount of time to use it. I had one to spend $10 at 7-11 and get $5 back. This is easy for me to do because I work directly across the street from 7-11 so I'm always over there. About two weeks after my purchase, $5 was put back in my bank account. Free stuff!

Now, of course there's that not wanting someone to know everywhere you spent your money. I get that. So link up a credit card you don't use often- you'll still be eligible for rebates. So far I've gotten $20 back so it's worth it to me.

If you're interested in learning more about Offermatic, please click here

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Another awesome giveaway!

This time it's for Bod Cami's. I love these because my shirts always get cut too low. I wear tank tops practically every day!

Click here for more info!

You can also sign up for these giveaways available until May 2nd right here!

Another awesome giveaway!

Want to win more free stuff? How about a $100 credit to

Visit here for details.

Great giveaways!

One of my fave websites, Cuckoo for Coupon Deals, has a wonderful Mother's Day! Please go ahead and check it out and enter yourself! Winning things and getting stuff in the mail free always brightens my day!

Mother's Day Giveaway

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Old Navy Dress Sampling

If you haven't visited Old Navy this spring to update your wardrobe, you should! There are some great new dresses (and even cute little complementary jackets if you still feel a chill) available. In fact, I had a hard time deciding what to take into the dressing room!

As member of the Old Navy style council, I received a coupon for myself and three friends to receive a free dress. I gave two of the coupons to my boyfriend's mom and sister and we all went shopping together! Not only was it fun, but I enjoyed getting to see what Old Navy has for sale and help other people choose their dress! I am a member of this program as a result of Crowdtap. Have questions about that or want to get involved? Leave me a comment!

Pictures above are of us redeeming our coupons and John's sister Jennifer off to her sophomore tea in the dress!!

Frank Beamer Award

Last week I got a major surprise. I was traveling down to Virginia for Omicron Delta Kappa (the national leadership honor society) initiation. We left in the morning because the drive to Blacksburg was a long one. We actually made it to the campus just 15 minutes before the ceremony started! It was already such an honor to be nominated and accepted into ODK, so imagine my shock when they announced the Frank Beamer Award for Exceptional Community Service...I was the winner!

An even bigger surprise was that legend Frank Beamer himself (coach of VT football) actually came to give the award and congratulate the winner! I was honored and excited to meet Coach Beamer and have a photo taken with him!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Laura's CVS Haul

Great deals at CVS this week. I wanted to keep my bill as low as possible, so using coupons I got:

1 full size essence of beauty hand sanitizer
1 starburst
1 Gain dishwasing liquid

Total $.06

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Extreme Couponing... No good news?

Why Extreme Couponing could be bad:

1) Real couponing is about getting what your family can use before it goes bad. Whenever I stockpile, I only get nonperishables. Things that don’t go bad for months- boxed dinners, frozen food, canned goods, etc. It’s stupid to buy 35 bottles of medicine- if you’re really using that many just in your family, you need to visit a doctor. Seriously.

2) The ONLY things I buy cheap or free to stockpile more than others is deodorant, toothpaste, cat litter, and shampoo. Why? Because my church’s cold weather shelter needs the toiletries for homeless people and a local animal center uses the litter. Why not get it and give it to them when it’s no cost to me? Otherwise, I’m just taking products off the shelf that I know won’t be used in my house. We only have two adults- the only things it makes a ton of sense to stockpile is razors, toilet paper, body wash, trash bags, etc.

3) I don’t want to be a hoarder. I feel like this show could be giving a bad name to people who are fairly trying to use coupons to save their family money. The money I save allows me to have a bigger budget for fun things, paying bills, or acquiring perishables like milk on a more regular basis. I don’t want to have a basement stocked with stuff that we can’t ever use. I’m sorry but even with a big family there is NO way those people are using that many products. They simply have to be giving it away.

4) If the show has cut out the part where these people are giving it away, that’s a shame. It’s really wonderful to use coupons to acquire products for those in need, but I also feel like it’s a travesty to empty grocery store shelves. Your neighbors might need some of that product, too! Why get 50 when it will take you five years to use that? If you’re not giving it away, you are WASTING PRODUCT. End of story. You’ll also waste product by sending the message to the company that tons of people are buying this product and so they need to make more. That means more wasted product sitting on the shelves next month because you’ve contributed a bizarre supply/demand message to the company.

5) I’m afraid stores or companies might realize that there are some crazies out there just simply buying too much and abusing the system. I’m personally grateful that certain stores like Rite Aid and Target have awesome policies allowing you to stack manufacturer and store coupons, which can be great on a buy one get on free deal. But in this economy do we really need to encourage these companies to be more frugal with coupons?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Laura's List of Cheapies

Here's a list of things, that if combining coupons, store discounts, sales, and buy one get one free, you should never pay more than half price for: Shaving cream Soap Body wash Body lotion Face wash Razors (do not buy cartridges unless they are a major steal) --> (This is one of my favorite tips, we never buy razor cartridges and just buy new razors on sale) Deodorant Eyeliner Hairspray and all hair products aside from dyes Toothpaste Mouthwash So this is probably the majority of your toiletries, right? I regularly get the brand names I like from CVS or Rite Aid extremely cheap or free. When there's a deal, I maximize the savings by getting as many as allowed and rolling register rewards from week to week. For example, let's say I earned $10 CVS Extra Care Bucks last week buying Almay Foundation. This week Old Spice Body wash is buy one get one free. I can use a coupon on Old Spice plus those ECB's (which are like cash in this sense) to purchase the body wash. I add the bodywash to my stockpile in my upstairs closet and we get it out as we need it. That means once I stockpile something I dont have to buy it for 2-6 months (depending on how much I bought) and I saved the maximum amount on it! Keep your eye out for weekly circulars. Although people often think drugstores are overpriced, you will do the BEST at these stores by rolling rewards, weekly coupons from the store, and adding coupons to sales. Trust me!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Swing Dancing at Glen Echo

I'm a few posts behind where I wanted to be, but I wanted to share a new and exciting activity for couples to do. We've been looking for more ways to incorporate physical activity into some of our dates, and this one turned out really well!

Over the last year in graduate school, I've noticed that if I make a wrong turn on the way home I end up at this strange place that looks like the set of a 1950's horror movie. On a trip home from DC, John was curious about what this place was, so we decided to stop and check it out. While the rest of the park was silent, many people were filing towards one building, so we followed them. As it turns out, this was Glen Echo park and there is swing dancing with live music every weekend! We sat and watched for about twenty minutes, noting how good some of the people dancing at the front of the ballroom were. We decided to come back at some point and try it for ourselves.

This last weekend John's family came to visit so we all went swing dancing. It was great! They provide a one hour lesson that teaches you a 7 step combination beforehand, and the live music was wonderful! We all had a great time and will definitely be returning! We danced for about three hours, so this is definitely a workout!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Great Spring Cleaning idea!

Spring is almost here! Looking to get rid of stuff? I know that after our move last year, I am dying to unload some of this stuff for when we inevitably move the next time! Plus, we've (and mostly me..) have accumulated a lot of clothing and items over the years that I'm sure could be put to good use. We get these mailers at our house all the time and I'm jumping on the chance to donate (easily) to the Vietnam Vets of America. They come and pick up all your stuff outside your house, leave you a tax receipt, and you're done!! Just schedule a pickup. So much easier than dragging it to Goodwill, waiting in line for a tax receipt, etc.

Head on over to today to schedule your pickup!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My birthday

My wonderful boyfriend took me out for my 25th birthday and we had a blast! We have several upcoming things on our calendar that I'll share later, but here is a photo from my birthday this year!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Miss America

Well, I haven't posted in months. And that's certainly because over the last several months my schedule has been a nightmare, and within that time I've realized a lot of things that are important to me- along with realizing some things that need to be completely trashed. I'm in the process of making some major changes to my life, but this week I felt like coming back to blogging because a very dear friend, Katie Uze, is currently at the Miss America pageant.

Over my years in pageants, of course there are a few "bad apples" (and that's the case in any group of people) but Katie is truly one of the most genuine and lovable people out there. We first met competing together our very first year (2007-2008) and ended up sharing a car partner at the Miss Virginia pageant. Katie is incredible on and off the pageant stage, and it's easy for me to feel genuinely excited for her as she works towards a dream this week. She's very deserving of this entire experience and is, in my mind, the ideal Miss America: relatable, fun-loving, carrying a strong message, smart, funny, and sweet. If she doesn't win, it's fully Miss America's loss.

Miss America can be a total crapshoot. You can work your butt off and it's just not in the cards for you. It's the same way I view Miss Virginia: it's impossible to feel like you failed when you accomplished so many other things along the way you will cherish for a long time. However, only one girl each year can have that experience and the timing just might not be right. I'm proud of Katie no matter what (although I highly suspect she will win a swimsuit award in Las Vegas) and feel lucky to have become a friend over our time in pageants together.

Go Katie!