Weekend Wrapup

img_7412I didn’t get everything done this weekend that I wanted to, but I do feel more rested than I normally do on a Sunday night (even though it’s Monday night). So I’m counting the weekend as a win!

Saturday, I slept for 14 hours! I guess you could I was a bit tired after the week! I did an abbreviated version of my coast walk in order to have time to run errands before things closed. I only succeed in getting the oil changed in the car and running out to the outlet mall just before it closed. Continue reading

From Notting Hill with Four Weddings… Actually by Ali McNamara

22143098This is the first of many books I picked up while I was in London last month. I made two quick trips to Waterstones to load my suitcase with the Brit Chick Lit I can’t get in the States (even from the library!).

I really like Ali McNamara’s protagonist in this series, Scarlett O’Brien. Though she runs the risk of being a little too unbelievable (jetsetting from London to NYC, running three companies and still finding time to be a life coach to random celebrities), she’s still a fun person to read about. The conflict she faces feels very real for the first half of the book. There are several good cliffhangers that keep you feeling the tension and turning the page.

Then the threats materialize off screen, are dealt with and everything’s magical by the time we check back in with our heroine, no harm done. It felt like quite a let down. Scarlett’s follow up to this, her big takedown, falls flat IMO, but villain says, “touche” and disappears. Okay.

McNamara leaves herself open for a follow-up, even name-checking its possible title. Not sure I’m into these two as parents, but I like McNamara, so I’ll probably read it. But first, I’ve gotta catch up on everything else I bought!

Multiple Transactions for Maximum Savings

For the last three years, I’ve been couponing on and off, saving a few dollars here and there, but never really building a stockpile the way my favorite coupon blogs always seem to. As a single person, I’ve never been very good at figuring out how much of any given product I need to last the sale cycle. I went a little nuts with Pantene deals in the summer of 2011, and I still haven’t used all the shampoo and conditioner I bought. I usually end up running out of something and then looking for a deal at one of the three drug stores or Target. Saving 20% is nothing to sneeze at in my opinion, but I’m always jealous of those shoppers who can save 60-70%.

Last weekend, I decided to take a look at what Southern Savers had for deals with CVS. They had sent me a coupon for 25% off everything, and I didn’t want it to go to waste. I like shopping on the weekends because I can take advantage of two weeks’ worth of sales in two days.

6.21.14 HaulOn Saturday, I decided to stock up on face sunscreen (in advance of the July 4th weekend), body wash and hand soap. I used coupons for each of them plus the 25% off coupon from CVS. I knew it would be the most out-of-pocket I’d spend over the weekend, but the CVS ExtraCare Bucks (ECBs) would be worth it.

Total Value: $41.65
Coupon / Store Savings: $17.11
Total Spent: $24.54
Percent Saved: 41%

ECBs Earned: $11

On Sunday, I decided to split up my shopping list into three transactions. I’ve never been one to monopolize a cashier’s time to do multiple transaction in a single visit, but I realized that I could maximize my savings if I took the high value ECBs and rolled them into the next transaction. As I ran my errands that day, I visited three different CVS stores, each time rolling my savings.

6.22.14 OneThe first stop was to take advantage of a great razor/shave gel deal. Additionally, I have gotten a coupon from Carefree in the mail for a free box of their pads. It’s not my brand, but I rarely turn down a free product. Plus, Carefree was part of the Skintimate/Schick ECB deal I was working on, so it was the perfect time to use that coupon.

Total Value: $26.36
Coupon / Store Savings: $11.99
ECBs Used: $11.00
Total Spent: $3.37
Percent Saved: 87%

ECBs Earned: $10.00

6.22.14 TwoI had been clipping the numerous sunscreen coupons I found for the last month, knowing that a good sunscreen deal was on the horizon. Coppertone was on sale and had an ExtraCare Buck deal attached as well. Living in San Francisco, I don’t use sunscreen a lot, but it’s always good to have on hand for those rare sunny days.

Total Value: $22.48
Coupon / Store Savings: $9.00
ECBs Used: $10.00
Total Spent: $3.48
Percent Saved: 85%

ECBs Earned: $7.00

6.22.14 ThreeMy last transaction of the day took advantage of sales due to the Gas Card Deal that CVS likes to run in the summer. I’ve never spent the $50 required, but items on sale is items on sale. I realized I also needed to get more dish soap, but I didn’t have a coupon for it. Even still, I spent a minimum amount, thanks to my previous planning.

Total Value: $20.73
Store / Coupon Savings: $11.66
ECBs Used: $7.00
Total Spent: $2.07
Percent Saved: 90%

6.21.14-6.22.14 HaulTotal Value: $111.22
Coupon / Store Savings: $49.76
ECBs Used: $28.00
Total Spent: $33.46
Percent Saved: 69.92%

So in four transactions over two days, I got over $100 worth of products and only spent about $30, saving about 70%. These results aren’t typical, but I had to brag to show it IS possible to get those big savings while still buying for just one person and only get things you really need.

Run 5K – Week Two Completed!

Over a month ago, I was struggling in Week Two of Run 5K and skipping group fitness classes because I was sore/busy. Then Sketchfest happened, I got a cold, it cold/rainy outside, my parents visited. Basically, I was an excuse factory for a month.

My New Kicks!

I wasn’t totally idle during my unintentional break. I got a raise this month and my treat to myself was brand-new running shoes. I last bought running shoes in 2002/2003 (I can’t remember when exactly), so it was MORE than time to get new ones. I went to See Jane Run in Noe Valley and the experience was everything I hoped it would be. The sales associate watched me walk and stand to see what kind of shoes I needed. Then I tried on various pairs, even leaving the store to run around the block and really get a feel for them. I ended up with the first pair of shoes I tried, Brooks Ravenna 3. I wasn’t totally sold on the color, but they just fit so well and it didn’t even feel like I was wearing shoes at all.

Yesterday, I decided I wanted to get back to work, but the wind in San Francisco was brutal. My weather app said it was only 9 mph, but I could barely catch my breath during the walk. I did one run sequence and gave up. It was the first time I’ve ever given up so far, but I knew if the wind died down today, I’d get a much better workout.

This morning, I pulled on my running clothes and set out for the beach. It was definitely chillier than I prefer when running outside, but I persevered. I had to stop a couple times to catch my breath, but I finished week two after a five week break! I still had pain in my foot, even with my new shoes, so I’ll be heading back to See Jane Run to see if they have some inserts or other suggestions to get that under control.

I’m happy to get back to training because I also signed up for my first 5K this morning! I’ll be running in the Giant Race in September. I wanted to give myself plenty of time to get into shape before the big day, especially if I continue to have month-long breaks before training runs. Besides, I thought it was only fitting that my first race begin and end at AT&T Park; fingers crossed for a high-five from Buster Posey!

July Links Round Up

One of my favorite inventions is the “star” feature of my Google Reader. I love being able to favorite posts I read for later consumption. I only wish I could do this with everything else in life as well.

  • Clockwork Lemon: Picnics and Picnic Baskets
    I’m a little bit in love with this picnic basket. I’ve never been one to pack a picnic, but this basket makes me want to frolic in a meadow or whatever people do while picnicking. LOVE!
  • Stanford Magazine: The Menace Within
    “You never know what you’re going to get involved in that will turn out to be a defining moment in your life.” – Stanford Prison Experiment “prisoner”
  • xkcd: Delivery Notification
    Oh, I’ve so been there! I remember trying to get FedEx to pick up my laptop for repair and it taking over a week for the guy to actually ring my apartment to pick it up and it only needed to go to Santa Clara. It was so frustrating to sit there day after day, waiting, when I could just drive 45 minutes south and get it over with!
  • The Hairpin: Bacon-Wrapped Egg Cupcakes

A Royal Visit to North America: