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Thankful for Life and Death #ThankfulThursday

Be Thankful For Life and Death#thankfulthursdayAs today is the last day of August, most people look forward to September to start them off with fall’s with its crisp, cool air, leaving turning and falling, school starting and the start of everything pumpkin. For me, September is a time of mourning those that I have lost this month. These people are ones that have had a huge impact in my life and I take the time to mourn them every September.

It has been 16 years since I lost my first person in September. I will never forget 9/11, where is was, what I was doing and what I was supposed to be doing but instead I was glued to TV watching the horror unfold and awaiting to hear that people who I cared about or know where safe. Then I found out 3 days later that a close friend of mine, a firefighter in the FDNY, had been trapped in one of the towers when it collapsed and they never were able to recover his whole body, just parts. His mother was devastated and so was I because I never thought that I would lose a friend in a horrible way like this. He is someone who had been through some of the worst times of my teen years with me and his death changed a part of me that may never be fixed because I still see myself push people away when they get to close in fear of losing them as well.

The next person I lost has been the hardest death I have ever experienced because it was my little brother. Another situation that I remember that day like it was yesterday when it was 9 years ago. Being the oldest of my siblings, I had to be the one to keep it together for my family when I was mentally losing it. The little brother that I used to torture as a child, was gone and I could never say I am sorry for not being a better big sister. His death is the one that I learned what drugs could do to a person and their family. When people make a joke of drugs and what they use or have used, I explain that my brother didn’t think they would take his life until one tragic day they did. This is the death that has affected who I am today the most because it has taught me to love those in your life and be thankful for everyday you get to spend with them because you never know if it could be your last.

I went from losing one person to drug addiction to losing an on again/off again boyfriend to his addiction to alcohol. After seeing the horror that my family went through with losing my brother, I thought that I could save my ex boyfriend from his alcoholism. It took me nearly 2 years to realize that he had a problem because we all drank alcohol. In the beginning, we had a blast drinking and having fun until I realized he didn’t know how to be sober unless he was at work. There were so many signs that I ignored because I loved this boy (he was not yet a man) and didn’t realize alcohol was his problem in life. As time progressed and he couldn’t live without a drop of alcohol in his house to the point where he would drink cooking sherry just for a buzz then it started to hit me. Add that to the mental, emotional and (at times) physical abuse I endured, I began to see his problem but the rest of this friends and family wouldn’t see the problem until it was to late. I still remember the last thing I said to him was to never talk to me again. Well my wish/nightmare came true because exactly a week later he died driving off the side of cliff on his Sunday alcohol run on his motorcycle. His death taught me not to say things you will later regret because you may never be able to say your sorry.

The last person that died was at the same time as my ex boyfriend but I was never able to meet her… my daughter’s heart stopped beating before she was ever able to be born and meet me. I was 16 weeks pregnant and just found out it was a girl when the Ultrasound tech all of a sudden stopped talking, went to get the doctor, who came back in the room to tell me that her heart had stopped beating a few days before the scan. I had to carry her around inside of me for another 2 weeks, attend my ex boyfriend’s funeral, and wait for my body to miscarry her. My body decided that on the anniversary of my brother’s death that it was time for her to leave my body. I went through a depression like no other after this and it took time and therapy for me to feel like me again. After her death, I never thought that I would have another baby but I am so grateful that I am expecting Baby Evelynne in just 18 weeks or sooner.


In reality, I never became me again because these deaths all changed who I was in different ways. I have learned how to get past some of my fears or recognize when I am escaping back into my fears when getting close to other people. I have tried to use my experiences of loving someone (family and significant other) to teach others that if they love someone with an addiction, they need to want to fix themselves we cannot fix them. On the flip side, I have also tried to scare addicts or “recreational” drug users that they are not invisible and can die from what they are doing whether it is just once or millionth time.

For years, September became a month that I would push everyone away just to deal with myself and my feelings because I didn’t want people to see me be week but as the years have gone on, these deaths have made me more grateful for the life I have to live everyday and to not take the people I love for granted, though I am only human and have my moments. I still mourn in September but this is the month that I try my hardest to find the things that I am grateful for because each and every day is a blessing to cherish. Please hug and love your loved ones today and everyday!


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Best Christmas Movies List

Best christmas movies to watch

Yes, I know that I am about to talk about Christmas Movies and it is only August but having a baby due around the Holidays, I just can’t help but already get into the holiday spirit! I started watching Hallmark Channel’s Christmas in July movies (starting July 1st) and thought I was past my Christmas obsession until the other day…

I have been binge watching Grey’s Anatomy (bad, bad idea when you are pregnant!) and they had a holiday episode on the other day and I started crying (hormone overload) about how I wish it was Christmas time. Partly, this is coming from the fact that I keep overheating and would really love the cold winter air. Partly, this is from working on my gratitude journal and the realization that most people only have that thankful spirit in November and December instead of the whole year. The last part comes from the fact that Christmas movies just make me happy and I want to feel happy!

Today is 117 days until Christmas and I posted yesterday a meme on my Instagram and Facebook baby support group that was Elf and said 118 days until Christmas. It sparked a whole discussion about favorite Christmas movies. So, Danyella and I complied a list of our favorite Christmas Movies and classic TV shows to share with all of you.


This is a PDF version you can download and print to keep track of which ones you watch this holiday season! https-www.facebook.comkaellaboutiqueposts146643746677789

That is our list which some movies are classics, some are black and whites, some are kids and all are just wonderful. What are your favorite Christmas movies? Did I miss any that need to be added to the list?

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Importance of Sticking to A Schedule when Homeschooling

The Benefits of Providing a Schedulefor yourkids (1)

When I woke up this morning, I really had no idea what I was going to write about today but I did know that I wanted to start a series on homeschooling since that is now our life. The good, the bad and the ugly of homeschooling since homeschooling has a stigma attached to it.

When I homeschooled Danyella before and would go out in public during the day, the looks and questions we would get were enough to make me snap… which at times I did because I refused to send my child to a shitty public school and not learn anything when I can provide her with a useful education at home.

Something that I learned when I homeschooled Danyella before was that she is the child that needs the structure of a schedule. If I let her take a million breaks or get up and walk away from something to many times, it became a game to her. One that she used to push-off her schoolwork as long as possible. Not this time!

Photo Aug 29, 9 33 49 AM

A comment on my Instagram post of Danyella and Max while she was doing her schoolwork and Max looked sad that his buddy wasn’t playing with him really bothered the hell out of me last night and this morning so that is where this post is coming from. The comment was kinda asking, kinda implying that Danyella should get lots of breaks in the beginning to start homeschooling…. ABSOLUTELY NOT!

When public school kids go back to school, do they get lots of breaks to start their year off? NO! Most come home with homework for both themselves and their parents. Just because she is being homeschooled doesn’t mean that we just fly by the seats of our pants. We have a daily schedule of what happens from 8am-5pm everyday. We have meals, chores, school and other activities scheduled throughout our day.

Yes, she does get some free time like kids get recess BUT it’s not multiple times through the day and it is not to play with the dog because he is lonely. Teaching my child structure and a schedule is important because as adult we live by structure in order to be successful (or at least the successful adults that I know do). As parents, if we do not structure our schedules and our children’s schedules then we have chaos and chaos leads to negativity which leads to unhappy, disconnected children.

Danyella is a dancer, a competitive dancer, and is taught a schedule and structure for each of her classes and her competitive team. Each teacher has a different style for their structure but the child thrives in class when there is structure.

Whether your child is a toddler/preschooler and you are teaching them at home or if they are older and you are homeschooling, a schedule is key to keep them on track and you sane. When a child wakes up, knows what they need to do for the day and at what times, life just runs smoother and happier for entire family.


  1. Schedules teach structure which is important to instill for adulthood
  2. Schedules keep the expectations of the child in focus
  3. Schedules help the child understand that School is serious not a game
  4. Schedules keep parents sane
  5. Schedules help families stay on track with their life goals
  6. Schedules make for happy children which make for happy parents

What are your thoughts on keeping your child on a schedule (whether you homeschool or they attend a school)?


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Countdown to Good Things #motivationalmonday

Countdown to Good Things#motivationalmonday

It is Monday morning and I can’t think straight right now. I need some of the motivation that I am about to talk about just to get myself going for the day. One of the best ways to get myself going in the morning is to think about something that I am looking forward to and counting down the days I have left until the event happens.

My current countdown is to starting college again. First day of class begins September 5th so I have 9 days left. Then there is the countdown until my brother’s annual balloon release where we celebrate his life. I have 27 days until that event. Then we have birthdays and holidays and my due date! So much to look forward to this fall.

Each day you wake up is another day closer to a wonderful event that you are looking forward to in your life. Whether the event is small like your weekly nail appointment or big like a vacation, it is something to get you motivated in the morning. Each morning that you wake up is another day closer to your special event to help you make the day go by faster.

I love that my calendar is marked by special events going on so when I wake up and get my planner out for the day, I can see that I am another day closer to that special day I am looking forward too. I even downloaded an app for my phone last year that you can plug-in special dates and it gives you the countdown until the event happens. It was favorite moment every morning to see the countdown for my Vegas girls trip go from months to weeks to days!

Everyone has something special to look forward to which is an additional reason to wake up and get going in the morning. What are you counting your days down til?


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Birthday Month Freebies

#235 carnation st., mulberry village,calabasas, california (2)

If you are anything like me you love to celebrate your birthday for as long as possible and love getting FREE stuff! This post is all about how to get FREE food and other cool things just because you are another year older and another year wiser.

I can’t remember when the first time I signed up for a birthday freebie but my first one came from Starbucks (which oddly enough I never got this year!) because a free latte or cappaciono from a my favorite coffee place was the best birthday present ever!! Their birthday coupons last until the end of the month, which my birthday is on the 4th so I am not sure if they make it longer for those with later birthdays.

The emails or mail coupons typically come anywhere from a week to a few days to the day of your birthday. It is so exciting to see the word Birthday in the email notification and open it up to see what free item you just got. It is like winning the lottery!

Coffee (because I cannot live without it):

Starbucks  Free treat or drink plus other perks when you sign up with the rewards program

Dunkin Donuts  Free drink plus other perks when you sign up for the perks program


IHOP FREE full stack of our world famous Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity® Pancakes

Applebees FREE entree with purchase of an entree

Ruby Tuesday FREE Burger or Garden Bar (I have to opt for the Garden Bar or I will pay for it with tummy aches)

Olive Garden FREE dessert (wish it was free salad because I LOVE their dressing!)

Friendlys FREE Ice Cream Sundae

Perkins FREE Magnificent 7 Breakfast (its ALOT of food)

Ben & Jerry’s FREE scoop of ice cream (only at shop locations which I wish we had)

TGI Fridays FREE Dessert (wish it was an appetizer)


Kohls Free $10 credit towards a purchase of $10 or more (basically you can find an item for $10 and get it for FREE!)

Disney Store 25% off coupon (great to gear up for Halloween or Christmas or your favorite disney characters!)

Payless Shoes 25% off coupon (because who can’t use some discounted shoes or bags!)

Old Navy 15% off everything coupon

Ulta Beauty FREE Birthday Palette (it is great and I love it!)


Regal Cinemas FREE small popcorn

I know that there are other Birthday freebies out there so please share with us what Birthday freebies that you love! 


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21 Weeks and Feeling the Kicks

We are having a baby girl!

Every week that this baby stays inside her little oven and “cooks” a little longer is a blessing. I had my big anatomy scan this past Wednesday. It was amazing to see how our little girl went from the size of a bean at her first Ultrasound to the size of a Pomegranate at this Ultrasound!

According to the various apps, Baby Evelynne has starting producing meconium aka the first poop substance. The first poop is super weird and yucky and looks tarry for the first few poops until they get breast milk or formula circulating through their system.

Evelynne weighed 13 ounces according to the Ultrasound tech which is right on course for how far along she is because in the next few weeks is when she will begin to store the fat cells to gain the cute baby look.

This is the first time I ever got to experience a 3D ultrasound because when I was pregnant with Danyella, 3D ultrasounds were just coming out and most hospitals didn’t have them yet or only used them for special occasions. Of course Evelynne didn’t want to cooperate with the picture and kept putting her hand in front of her face so this was the best picture the tech could get. I happily placed it in the picture frame I received in my Bump Box this month!


The doctor came in to talk to us after the Ultrasound to tell us that there is evidence of contractions and make sure I take it easy because we need her to stay in longer. It is scary to think about having her so early because she needs to be at least 24 weeks to be able to live outside of the womb and even then it is super scary.

Now for the kicks…. This child will either be a dancer (like her big sister) or a gymnast because she flips, kicks, twirls her hands around day and night. It is like she on the go 24/7 especially after I eat (because she loves that I am feeding her different cravings) and when I go to lay down to sleep (whether a nap or bed). Oh and she moves around when she hears the Puppy running around and barking like she is trying to keep up with him. The one time she stops moving…. when Doug puts his hand on my tummy to feel her kicks. I think she is mad at her Daddy already (haha).

Each week I have found a new book to read or app to follow about this pregnancy. This week I am reading Belly Laughs by Jenny McCarthy. She talks about Pregnancy from a  funny point of view but beware she is extremely honest and outspoken about pregnancy. Also, since she doesn’t hold back there are parts and words that people who aren’t me may be offended by. I am from Jersey and at times talk like a trucker so it doesn’t bother me but could bother more conservative peeps. I love how honest she is and am really enjoying the book. You can find the book on amazon for Kindle or paperback (click the image to be taken to the Amazon link)

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Feed Me Friday Baking Failure

Feed MeFridayBaking Failure

Let me preface this post by saying this was in no way shape or form the amazing recipe’s failure but my own failure so please click the link below to the recipe and try this out!

Have you ever dealt with a temperamental oven? If you haven’t and want to try please come to my house and use my oven! She, yes my oven, (yes everything is either male or female and can change depending on its mood or my mood) decided, in the middle of baking this amazing recipe for Strawberry Cheesecake Brownies, that is was not going to light anymore.

What does that mean? It means that my gas (which I HATE with a passion) oven would no longer light to keep the oven hot enough to bake. In the past, if I gave it a little time then it would re-ignite but not tonight!

I was so super excited to find this recipe from a fellow blogger, Incredible Mini Strawberry Cheesecake Fudge Brownies, that I made sure to save the fresh strawberries that I froze a couple of weeks ago just for when I was up to making this recipe. I went out and got all the ingredients and was set to make these at night when the temperature dropped so the oven didn’t make my house even hotter than it already was from the summer humidity.

I began my journey into making these cheesecake brownies with one exception, I didn’t have a mini cupcake pan so I was making the bigger version. I learned how to make a strawberry puree from fresh strawberries. Which I saved the strawberry chunks to put on ice cream later! I made the brownies and had them in the oven. They baked just the way I needed them too. While they were baking, I made the cheesecake portion which hurts the arm when you are using a hand mixer! (A stand mixer is going on my Christmas list this year!!). I took the brownies out and began to assemble the cheesecake and swirl the strawberry liquid. I couldn’t wait for them to be done!

I adjusted the time to cook for the larger pan and waited, impatiently, for the timer to go off to check them. They looked pretty wet still so I figured they just needed more time. I set the timer for an additional 10 minutes. Check again and they are still very wet. So I upped the temperature just to see if it was the oven….

It didn’t light… SHIT!!!

I am in a frantic, panic mode because I want to eat these cheesecake brownies NOW! I keep trying to turn the oven off and on, hoping it would light. Nope. I turn it off for a few minutes and try again… click, click, click and nothing. Then I eye my little toaster oven, grab one of my other cupcake pans to test out the size. If I keep the door open, I can fit 3 rows in the oven at a time… this could work!

So I give it a try and they start to become golden brown on the top. I toothpick them and they come out clean…. or so I thought! I bake each side of the pan and hope that it works. I take them out and let them cool for about 20 minutes on the cooling rack. Then, I try to take them out of the pan…. they are not cooked and still very gooey. I try one after another, after another and they are all the same way. It wasn’t the cheesecake part but I guess the oven must have shut off during the brownie baking so the middle of the brownies were still raw.

Photo Aug 24, 8 22 43 PM

I was so upset because after 3 hours of mixing and trying to bake, my oven failed me. To make the matter worse, when I thought that the cheesecake brownies were baking, I made dinner on the stove top which never has an issue. Since we are moving and really don’t have a landlord that will come out and fix the problem with the oven, I will have to try again or borrow my mother’s kitchen (if she will let me lol) to make these again because every time I see the picture my pregnancy cravings hit full speed and I begin to drool!

Please try to make these yourselves by Clicking here: Incredible Mini Strawberry Cheesecake Fudge Brownies and let me know how yours turn out!

Here is a good laugh for your Friday: e58d7cea20078d50c469b64698683fbb


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Give Thanks For the Small Things

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Originally I wanted to make my Thursdays my day to rant but on my path to find the positive side of life, I changed my mind and am making Thursday into Thankful Thursdays. We should all take the time to find the things we are grateful for in our lives.

Yes I could start this off with being thankful for my friends and family because I most definetely am grateful for them but sometimes it is finding the small things that make your life, just that your unique life that makes us even happier. I am going to list my 5 small things in life that I am grateful for this week and I want to hear what small things you are grateful for!

  1. I am grateful for Netflix. Yes it is completely materlistic of me to say an internet app but when you are on bed rest and all you can do is sit around, bing watching Grey’s Anatomy, Sons of Anarchy and other awesome shows becomes a way to avoid going completely stir crazy.
  2. Facebook Marketplace and Yard Sale groups. As we begin to pack to move, I have noticed how much stuff we have accumlated over the years. Let’s just say it is alot more stuff then we really need especially when I want to buy more stuff because it would look pretty in my house. Without having an income right now, selling off this extra stuff has been a great way to pay for groceries and have less stuff to pack for the move.
  3. Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Yes I am one of those crazy Pumpkin loving peeps! I love anything pumpkin but I look forward to the day that every coffee joint announces or people secretly find out they have Pumpkin Spice Lattes! I have found my local Starbucks secretly is making them and DD is starting theirs on the 28th.
  4. Washer and Dryer in my house. Have you ever had to tote 6 baskets of dirty laundry into your car, out of your car, into the laundry mat, sit for 2-3 hours (I didn’t wany my clothes stolen), back into the car and back out of the car. Then it was having to fold the laundry and put it away. Since installing the nice, big washer and dryer in our house my life has gotten alot easier.
  5. Notebooks and Journals. I have always been one that loves to write things down. I keep notebooks of notes and tips about projects I am working on. Journals of my thoughts. I am a big advocate on writing your thoughts, wishes and gratitude down because writing it down triggers in your brain to make it a reality.

A great way to start your day or end your day is with this gratitude journal that I found on Amazon! (Click the image to check out the book on Amazon)

Take the five minutes everyday to write down what you are grateful for especially on those bad days that you feel like nothing can go right. It is those days that you need to find the positive side of life and you will see more of the good moments and less of the bad moments. Don’t forget to share your small things you are grateful for below!


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Trying Homeschooling Again


Keep scrolling for the Free Printable Planner and Reading Log!

I wasn’t expecting this past year to go the way it has with a pregnancy that has ended up complicated, a daughter who became a competition dancer, needing to move out of our house, starting college again and going down to one income. With a new baby coming, more expenses are going to be coming our way so I am trying to find ways to cut our costs down which the biggest cost was private school.

Making the decision to pull Danyella from the private school was the hardest decision because I really loved the school she was in. They had smaller class sizes and staff that were focused on the children’s education and well being.

This was something she wasn’t given at the 2 public schools that she attended. Don’t get me wrong, I am not bashing all public school because they are not all made equally but the 2 schools that Danyella attended were in the same sending district and were just to big and money focused rather then student focused. After seeing my daugher crying before school and after school, I couldn’t keep sending her to this school that made her miserable like that.

After a lot of research and fighting with the school district (New Jersey is one the most parent friendly homeschooling states but the school didn’t want to lose the funding they go for the student they ignored for 2 years), I decided to homeschool her for the remaining 3 months of the school year. We continued to homeschool for the next year and then my work schedule changed so we put her in an excellent private school.

Now we are in a situation that we cannot afford private school but we aren’t moving for at least another month so public school is out so we are back to homeschooling again. This time she is a little older and a lot sassier so it will be interesting… to say the least!

The past week has been about planning out the next month of course work, picking her online program and getting myself organized. I realized that I needed a planner but a school or teacher planner wouldn’t work. I needed something to be able to customize for our plans as a homeschooling team. Nothing I found on Pinterest really worked for me or had way to many pages that I just didn’t need.

All I needed was a yearly planner broken down by quarter so if we decide to keep homeschooling then we know what we are doing for the entire year, a weekly planner broken down by day and subject and a daily planner that Danyella and I organize each day with a broken down schedule and expectations. Plus I wanted to make sure she kept a log of her reading books (very important to me outside of school as well). So I made the planner myself and am offering it free to my blog readers!

I hope you enjoy the printable planner and reading log. Feel free to talk about your homeschooling experience below and click the link below to download the planner!

Free Printable Homeschooling Planner and Reading Log

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My Eclipse Experience

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All I have heard about for the past month or so is how this solar eclipse was a once in a lifetime experience. I didn’t want Danyella and I to miss out on the experience so I tried my damnest to acquire the glasses that were safe to use during the eclipse but everywhere was out unless I wanted to pay hundreds of dollars just for a couple of pairs… I think NOT!

There were lots of tutorials on how to make eclipse viewers from home that were safe for your eyes so I decided to go with the tutorial using a cereal box, paper, tape and tin foil put out by the National Weather Service. It was super easy especially since we had cereal boxes that I needed to get rid of because my family decided to boycott eating specific cereals. (I hate wasting the food but you can’t force them to eat it.) We had a Star Wars lucky charms viewer, Honeycomb viewer and Boo Berry viewer!

As the eclipse started in Oregon, we watched on my mom’s tv (we have gone without cable for a year now and just run everything off of the internet) as the total eclipse made complete darkness on the West Coast. It was the coolest thing to watch as the total eclipse started and ended in one place and moved onto the next. By the time it reached Missori, I headed home because I wasn’t feeling so great.

The peak of the eclipse in New Jersey was happening at 2:45 EST so I laid down for a while and watched NASA’s livestream on Facebook. At its peak in New Jersey, 87% of the Sun was to be covered by the moon. As the time approached, the clouds rolled in over our area which made it super hard to actually see the eclipse happen.

This is the view I had from inside my viewer: Photo Aug 21, 2 45 47 PM





Photo Aug 21, 2 45 01 PM

One thing I learned from others that experienced the eclipse before me, use your selfie mode on your phone to take a picture without hurting your eyes. This is one of my views from selfie mode at the peak time:





One of the coolest parts of the eclipse was feeling the tempeture drop. I wish it would have dropped the humidity but no such luck. As I stood outside I could feel the nice coolness over my hot skin.

Here is an photo from the eclipse in Missori: 20935089_1921539227862865_5155357038067295748_o






Here is a better picture someone was able to take through their solar lens telescope from my area: 20914452_329140380879770_5259685681633691618_n




I might not have gotten to experience what everyone else expierence but at least I can tell my grandchildren and great grandchildren that we were able to experience at least. What was your experience?

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My Secret to Motivation

My Secret To Motivation

As someone who struggles with anxiety and depression, finding the joy in everyday living has been a struggle or better wording has taken A LOT of work from me mentally, physically and spiritually. There have been days that I don’t work on my self-care and those days have been the ones that make me realize that I need to work twice as hard the next day.

About 8 years ago, I found myself in the biggest depression of my life. I was a single mom struggling to make ends meet. We had to have a funeral for my brother who had just lost this battle to drugs. I was in a toxic relationship with an alcoholic that I felt I needed to save from himself.  I had to hold it together because that is what I do.

I don’t know how I came across the books by Louise Hay but they changed my life. Reading her books, made me realize that I held my own power over my life not my circumstances or other people. I was the one who had to take a stand with myself, for myself.

After reading 2 of her books, I was focused and working on myself everyday for about a year. Slowly, I got away from the positive habits I had worked so hard to achieve and the old, bad habits started creeping up.

About 2 years ago, I was flipping through suggestions on Netflix and The Secret came across on my list. I had no idea what the movie was about but it looked intriguing so I watched it. Wow!! The things that the people in the video said spoke to me in ways that I didn’t even know I could be reached mentally and spiritually. I looked into the book and found it on which is my latest way to “read” books when I don’t have the time to sit and read.

I began to listen to the words over and over again. Some of the chapters I have repeated after listening to them once then over again because there is a message in there that I need to stick in my mind and soul. I was so grateful for these words.

Nearly everyday, I start my day by listening to the audio version of The Secret because I am at a point in my life that when I am stressed out I need the reminder to be set back on track. Listening to the wonderful things they have to say, the affirmations that adapt for my life and the success stories keep me motivated to keep working on myself. If I don’t work on myself then no one else will work on me and I will end up back in the deep slump I was in before and I don’t want that at all.

The great thing about having The Secret on audio book is that I can listen while I am making breakfast, taking a walk, doing laundry… just about anything and anywhere (as long as I remember my earbuds and new adapter)! Listening to other people acheive their sucesses through self care keeps me motivated to keep on going. To take the time everyday to work on myself and love myself.

My motivation for all of you on this Solar Eclipse Monday is to watch, listen or read The Secret and take the time to work on yourself even if its 5 minutes everyday…. You are worth it!

the secret

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My Favorite Savings App

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Pancakes & Coffee

With the hundreds of money saving apps out there it is hard to decide which one is worth your time to download and use. When I was introduced to the FREE IBOTTA app, I was clueless about how it worked but I was intrigued because my friend Erin raved about it. I figured I didn’t have anything to lose just to download it and try it…

One thing I had to learn was the Ibotta uses rebates which collect in your account and you can redeem for money or gift cards. (I will get into that later) Now please now that rebates are different from coupons because with coupons you get the money discounted at the register so pay less. With rebates, you get the money back AFTER you purchase the item.

I was right and super happy that I followed my instinct to try this app out. They have rebates for major stores and websites like Walmart, Amazon, Target plus other local stores which for me the big one is Shoprite. You can search for the type of rebate you want or browse through the stores they offer rebates.

Now please now that rebates are different from coupons because with coupons you get the money discounted at the register so pay less. With rebates, you get the money back AFTER you purchase the items.

Normally, I use Ibotta for my grocery shopping at either Walmart, Target and Shoprite. They seem to be the ones I get the most rebates for plus bonus rebates. (Yes I said bonus rebates…. just wait because it is cool) Honestly, I prefer Walmart because when you go to redeem your rebates all you do is scan the QR code at the bottom of the receipt instead of taking a picture of the ENTIRE receipt. With the other stores, at least so far, you have to take a picture of the entire receipt and if it is to dark or blurry then they reject it and you have to start all over. I just get to frustrated to deal with that sometimes.

After all of that information I am sure you are a little lost, so let me walk you through the process. You must begin this process BEFORE you go shopping because the rebates only count if they are selected before you purchase something! Select the store or rebate you want to look at, click the specific rebate you are interested in, click to get the rebate, complete either the survey or watch the video (its a pain but worth the rebates) and then you can check whether the item you are looking at in the store is qualified for the rebate (sometimes specific flavors or types of items are excluded), purchase your qualifying items, redeem your rebates then watch the money grow in your account.

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Let’s talk about the cool bonuses they offer! If you connect your account through Facebook then everytime one of your friends joins Ibotta they become part of your “team”. When you have a team of friends, you and your friends earn towards different levels of bonuses everytime you redeem a rebate. These rebates start at $1 when you personally redeem 8 rebates and your team redeems $10 in rebates. Then you have different bonuses from manufacturers, stores/sites or Ibotta boosts (the company will give you an added bonus for redeeming so many rebates in a specific time period). These bonuses are how I have really made some extra money.

The last bonus is the invite your friends bonus where you can make $5 for each friend that joins under your referral code. The bonuses escalate with each friend you have join under your code which can add up really fast. I have yet to have someone join under my code because I am not pushy at getting my friends to do the things I am doing. I will share it on my Facebook or Twitter once in a while but that is about it.


Last but not least the awesome ways you can redeem your rebates! First you can withdrawl the rebates for cash into your Paypal or venmo accounts with a $20 minimum. Or you can redeem your rebates for cool gift cards like Itunes, Uber, Walmart, Amazon, tons of restuarants and other stores. Each of these gift cards has a minimum that needs to be in your account before you can redeem them. Personally, I use my bonuses to redeem Regal Movies Gift Cards  because Danyella and I love to go to the movies. One $25 gift card is enough for us to buy movie tickets and then I just need the money for snacks. Photo Aug 20, 11 38 13 AM

So far, I have redeemed $271 in rebates over the past year and a few months! That is alot of movies we have seen just for buying things we use. Another nice thing about this app has been finding new foods or brands that I wouldn’t have normally tried but saw a good rebate so I tried it anyway and now have a new favorite. There is money to be made and fun you can have with this app so I highly recommend it. For the little time it takes to find the rebates, you can earn FREE money for the purchases you would be making anyways.


If you are interested in the Ibotta App here is the link to the website or you can find it for your smartphone in your itunes or android/google store. 85b1e55bab94bd80c698b64c678125f7

*For those of you that do not want to use the app there is a website version that you can add the rebates to your account but you need the app in order to redeem the rebates.

**Please note that is not a paid endorsement from Ibotta but a review with my own opinions and love for the app and company.