Friday, December 27, 2013

IT MAKES "CENTS" TO ME FOR FRIDAY - DECEMBER 27th

Hi everyone,

How are you? I'm doing really well.  I am happy to report that I am feeling better and no longer sick. That's been like that for awhile now and the antibiotics really helped.

I was in Whole Foods this morning and going to buy a gluten free shampoo, when I found another one that I use was on sale AND it had a coupon on the bottle.  While I do eat gluten free for health reasons, I don't necessarily have to use gluten free body and haircare products. 

Here's a photo of the shampoo that I use. It's a really good brand that leaves my hair soft and shiny. Plus, the area that I live in has hard water, which can sometimes make my hair feel like straw, but this shampoo seems to counteract that really nicely.  In any case, here is a photo of the shampoo that I purchased today:








































This was really cool.  I normally like to buy my products via Vitacost to save money. However, my budget is tight and I don't have enough money to place an order and get free shipping. So I have no problem just buying individual items at Whole Foods or another store when I absolutely NEED them. In this case, I needed a new bottle of shampoo, but it's one that is good for my hair and my skin.

I've used the 2Chic ultra sleek shampoo from Giovanni.  Just so you all know, I am talking about this product because I LOVE IT and IT WORKS FANTASTIC.  I was not paid in any way. I'm simply blogging about this because I love the product and at a fantastic price.

This bottle of shampoo normally costs $8.99 and with general sales tax of 7.5% comes to $9.66.

Now here's the cool thing. It was on sale for $7.19 AND it had a coupon pasted on the bottle for $2 off the purchase of any Giovanni product of $5 or more.....so I saved some major chaching...because I was able to combine both of those discounts along with my 10% mall employee discount and I only paid $5.18. 

That is a savings of about 46% off of the original cost. That's a great savings.  Now I can get shampoos for much cheaper than this, true....but this is one thing that I don't compromise on in terms of the quality of the ingredients.  I'm a really careful shopper and save in other areas, so I can afford this because it's important to me.

I also got paid today and gave every dollar a name.  I budgeted 10% of my gross paycheck for tithe and have that all in cash and ready to go for Sunday. 

God has been really faithful to me as I've been faithful to manage what is His to begin with.  It's been really interesting, because my budget is working out. I still have to be careful with how I spend my money and there are still things that I need and want. However, all of my current bills are getting paid easily and that is a huge praise ;) :) :)

It's going to take me awhile to reach my goal, but I will get there :) :)

Enjoy the weekend.  The weather here in Monterey is absolutely beautiful today. It's so warm. It feels more like summer than winter.  That is the news from the ocean shores of California today.

Love and hugs, Heather :) :) :)











Friday, December 20, 2013

IT MAKES "CENTS" TO ME FOR FRIDAY - DECEMBER 20th




 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Hi everyone,
 
How have you been? I've recovered from being sick. The antibiotics that I have been taking have really worked their magic and the sinus infection is G-O-N-E.
 
The photo I posted above was one that I took a few days ago when I was out at Asilomar State Beach and it reminded me of how God can still the storm-tossed waves of our lives. 
 
So I've been working on a financial plan of getting out of student loan debt and then I got thrown a curve ball the other day.  I'm still working on saving up a $1000 emergency fund when an unexpected expense for the dentist came up. I have to save up money for an xray before I can continue in my orthodontic/braces treatment. 
 
So sometimes when things like this happen, other wants get put on hold....again...and that  might be the situation here. I'm not sure yet.
 
One thing I have decided to do is tithe 10% of my gross paycheck. I started doing that last week and I'm going to continue to do that with each paycheck.  It's just something that I felt like God had been laying on my heart for awhile. It's all His money anyway and I just manage it...and I'm simply giving back what belongs to Him first.
 
I think it will look different for everyone and I firmly believe that we can also tithe with our time and talents when money is really tight. 
 
I've noticed a couple of things: 1) somehow my budget is working out and everything is getting covered, even inspite of me tithing 10% off the top of each paycheck 2) You can never outgive God.
 
I know that the money I give will be put to good use for people in need.  
 
That's just where I am at right now.  I got paid today and haven't given every dollar a name yet, other than to budget for my tithe.
 
The Christmas holiday season at work is still crazy, but once I can get past Monday, it will be smooth sailing ;) :) I'm so looking forward to Monday.
 
That's the news from the ocean shores of California today.
 
Love and hugs, Heather :)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

UPDATE - BEING SICK IS ZERO FUN

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to update you all on how I am doing. I'm still sick. I've been sick since I worked Black Friday on November 29th.

Well, last Monday night I developed pain/soreness in behind my right eye, right cheek and lower part of the right side of my jaw.  It being so unbearable that I finally had to make a trip to the ER on Tuesday morning. 

I called out sick from work on Monday and it was a good thing because the congestion was just getting so bad.

In any case, I am now taking antibiotics and an indoor/outdoor allergy decongestant.  So far the pain in my face has gone away and that is a total answer to prayer.

However, I'm still noticing that I'm having a bad reaction to mold/dust at work. I know that it's at work specifically because when I leave the building I automatically feel better.

Anyways, this whole thing is really tiring me out quite a bit. I've been sick for 2 weeks now.  So I'm needing to rest quite a bit. That is why I haven't had any blog posts up in awhile. 

Pray that my body will heal from this sinus infection quickly and that the antibiotics will do their job!!! Thanks all.  Otherwise, I'll be praying for all of you. I sure do miss hearing from you.

That is the news from the ocean shores of California today.

Love and hugs, Heather :)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

BEING SICK IS NO FUN

Hello to all of my sweet blog readers :) :)

Sorry I haven't been around much the last few weeks.  Christmas/holiday season at my job is in full swing and it means crazier than crazy hours.

I've also been fighting some sort of cold/flu virus for a week. So it's really put me out of commission.  I will have more blog posts coming up this week, including and especially on Friday :) :) :)

Here's a Scripture photo that I created this morning. Last night I was feeling really miserable and I was extremely congested. I just couldn't stop coughing, which made sleep impossible. While laying in bed, I was starting to let the worries about my financies and others things start to overwhelm me a little bit.

However, almost as soon as those thoughts entered my head, another thought, or rather a Scripture, entered my mind. It was Psalm 50:10 where it talks about how God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. It just encourages me to know that God is in control and that He does care about the things that concern me. He WILL take care of me.

I also thought about this photo that I took a little over two years ago. This was shortly after I moved back to California. I thought it was very appropriate.  So I decided to put Scripture and photo together.

Here it is. May you all be encouraged today and everyday.  I'll be praying for the things that concern you today, too !!!





Feel free to share this on your blogs and Facebook pages. If you do, PLEASE credit it back to me here at Heather's Blog-o-rama and also at my public photography page, Heather Danielle Photography.  While you're at it, leave me a note that says you stopped by. I'd love to "meet" you all :) :) :)

My best friend from church brought over some cold and flu stuff for me. I'm feeling much better right at the moment.  Plus my father is being really sweet and doing all my chores which amounts to a single load of laundry right now AND cooking all my meals today :) :)

That is the news from the ocean shores of California today.

Love and hugs, Heather


 

Friday, November 15, 2013

IT MAKES "CENTS" TO ME FOR FRIDAY - NOVEMBER 15th

Hi everyone,

How are you today? How has your week been?  My week has been crazy and good and everything in between.  We're starting to get into the "BUSY" season at work. It'll stay busy until the end of the year.

I very rarely spend money on new clothes because I am on a really limited budget, so it's not worked into my budget, even when I really could use some new clothes. However, today was payday, and I decied that some new shirts for work were really needed. My goal is to have enough work clothes in my closet, that I could have one new outfit to wear every day of the week for 7 days, so that I don't have to wash the same thing over and over again.

I happened to be working in a department today that sells Ralph Lauren clothes for women. So I took a look at some basic long-sleeve tops. I ended up purchasing two black and one dark gray top.









































Now listen to how I saved some serious "cha-ching" aka money, on the tops that I purchased today.  Most employees at work have a store credit card that they use.  We are required to have one in order to get the employee discount. However, there is also the option of having a prepaid store card. That's the one that I took, since I MUST put money on it FIRST before I can use it. 

So I happened to be looking at these tops, because I've purchased Ralph Lauren tops in the past on clearance and I've always had good luck with them. They also wear really well in the wash and still look good. so I know it would be a good deal, even if they were full price.


I saw these tops.  They are normally $32.98 each. However, they had a clearance tag price of $29.99 each.  When I checked the final price at the register, they were ringing up at $24.99 each. That's great !!! There was also a "use your card" discount of 20% on sale and clearance.

So I used my prepaid card and got 20% of the current clearance price. That dropped the cost of my tops to $19.99 each at the register.

So with all three tops together plus 7.5% sales tax, my total came to $64.47..

But wait, it gets so much BETTER.  Since I am an employee, I also get an additional employee discount of 20%. So that will bring my overall total down to $51.58.

Before I go into how much of a percentage I actually saved, let me throw in a picture of the cute little pocket on the left arm of each of the tops.  I don't normally like pockets on the front of any top. This is small, subtle and on the side. So strictly from a style viewpoint, this is fantastic.































Okay, if I had paid regular full retail price for all three tops and 7.5% sales tax, this would have cost me exactly $106.36.

However, since they were on clearance, there was a 20% "use your card" discount and my 20% employee discount AND the fact that I paid cash on my card FIRST....well, now my 3 designer tops only cost me $51.58 with tax.

That means I saved a GRAND TOTAL of 52% off the original retail price with tax. I'm really proud of that.

Now my next goal is to start building my collection of work pants. I literally have one pair that I wash every day. In fact, I will wear one of my new tops to work tomorrow.


Next week, I'll share more about how I give every dollar a name. I get paid every week, which is really nice. It's making "giving every dollar a name" much easier.

That is the news from the ocean shores of California today. Love and hugs to you all, Heather

Monday, November 11, 2013

IT MAKES "CENTS" TO ME FOR FRIDAY - NOVEMBER 8th

Hi everyone,

Okay, so this post is four days late. I'm really sorry. Talk about a crazy last few days.  We're gearing up for the holiday season at work and it's already starting to tire me out. 

I hope all of you are doing well this week so far.

One of the things I LOVE to do is color my hair. I keep it pretty much my natural color with a hint of red in it for warmth.  That and I am starting to see just a few white hairs.  I've decided I don't want to go all white  until I'm at least 50 years old.

Coloring my hair at home is NOT an option, since I make such a big mess in the bathroom every single time. I also have some limited mobility in my right shoulder, so that is sometimes painful and not the easiest thing to work around when trying to apply color to my head.

I'd heard about henna hair color and thought I would give it a try.  There is a LUSH cosmetics store in Carmel that sells this wonderful, chemical-free henna.  I went for a color called "Caca Rouge"..yes, they used that word on purpose because when it's all mixed it up it looks like muddy runny stuff. It looks gross, but it works fabulous.

The salon I go to normally charges $65 for color application.  Here at my local LUSH cosmetics store they only charged about $28 for the henna.































I called the store ahead of time to make an appointment, just in case they were busy.  This particular henna is set with cocoa butter into hard blocks like this, but it melts down easily with warm/hot water.   When it's melted down, it sort of looks like this:









































It does feel a little heavy on the head, especially after it starts to dry. However, once it is applied to the head, I looked a bit like a cave woman:









































I also didn't have a blessed stitch of makeup on my face, not even moisturizer.  Henna takes a really long time to set.  Here I waited about 3 hours total before I washed it out.  Now I left for home as soon as the henna was applied to my head. I did wait a little bit while the lady who a pplied henna to my hair helped other customers. While waiting a took a couple photos of the store.  It's a beautiful store that is light, airy and just really lovely:








































The store was small but so well decorated.  I didn't feel closed in.









































After the henna had been drying in my hair for about three hours, it was time to wash it out. That took about 15 minutes, because it was caked on my hair and it's really, really grainy and gritty.  It took me awhile to wash all the henna out of my hair. I LOVE the color result.  I wanted to add back some of the red undertones in my natural hair color and this did that.  However, my white hairs are now carrot orange...but when blended in with the rest of my hair it looks great.  Next time, I'll probably try the LUSH "caca marron" henna. That's more of a reddish brown color.

The only real negative is the smell. It doesn't smell bad. It reminded me a bit of muddy wet grass while it was wet. Later, after I washed it out, the smell of my hair reminded me of patchouli spices.  Here is how my hair color turned out. It wasn't a dramatic color difference, but it did add a lot of vibrancy to my hair.








































This is what my hair looks like from the back.  I deliberately stood in direct sunlight so that you'd be able to see the red tones a little bit better.  All in all, I'm very pleased about how my hair color turned out. I'll let you know if I try it again.

The associate at my local LUSH cosmetics store said that it fades out in about 4 weeks.

Have you ever tried henna hair color? Or do you use something else to color your hair? What do you do to keep up with hair color and save a little money at the same time? I'd love to hear your thoughts and comments.

That's the news from the ocean shores of California today. Love and hugs, Heather :)


Friday, November 8, 2013

IT MAKES "CENTS" TO ME FOR FRIDAY - NOVEMBER 8th

UPDATE: Saturday - November 9th at 7:07 p.m.

HI everyone,
I'll do my Friday "cents" post tomorrow on Sunday. I worked today. It was 4 hours that turned into 5 because it was unusually crazy busy at work...but it was so stressful that it felt like 10 hours today and I'm just physically wiped out.

So I'll blog about the henna tomorrow. I got fabulous results with it and I can't wait to tell you about my experiences with that product :) :)

That's the news from the ocean shores of California today. Love and hugs, Heather :) :)

Hi everyone,

I'm actually going to do my usual Friday post tomorrow on Saturday.  I went and had henna hair color put on my hair this morning. It was quite the process but I saved a lot versus regular color in the salon.

I went to the LUSH cosmetics store in Carmel.

I'll tell you all about it tomorrow and have photos and everything :)

Have a great weekend everyone. That's the news from the ocean shores of California today.  Love and hugs, Heather

Thursday, November 7, 2013

MERCY TREE, GARLIC FRIES AND OTHER STUFF

Hi everyone,

Oh, it has been quite the week. It's been rough, beautiful and just full of all sorts of interesting things. NONE of them were things I expected, but somehow I'm seeing beauty, joy and laughter through all of this :) :)

I was going to blog about a hat that I'm knitting for a friend's daughter, but I'll save that for another night.  Today was a rough day out on the sales floor and I just wanted to cry. So when work was over and done with, I met my father at Whole Foods and consoled myself with some fresh, made to order garlic fries...oh, boy was it ever tasty good... :) :)






























My job is also full of many blessings and really interesting stories as I get to interact with people from the community.  I got to help a couple of my favorite customers. It was an old retired Philippino couple who've been married since God was a boy. The wife is retired military. The husband uses a walker and EVERY TIME I see them in the store they're always holding hands. ... So while the husband was sitting, I helped the wife. When they were finished, I walked over to the husband and helped stabilize his walker, so that he could stand up. The first thing he did was reach out for the walker with one hand and his wife's hand with the other How romantic is that In any case, I'm so glad God brought that couple my way tonight. They always bring a smile and laughter to my day This is just one of the many, many reasons I love my job and being able to interact with all sorts of people on a daily basis.

When I got home, my sweet dog was at the door to greet me. However, lately she's developed a habit for eating the leaves of this one little tree in our living room and now the tree has almost no leaves on it. I'm not sure how to get her to not eat the leaves...but every time I catch her eating them, she puts on the extra sorry puppy dog face as if she's saying "Who me? Lil' ole me?"  Any ideas on that? I'm totally clueless why my dog is eating the leaves
 
 
 
 
 
I did get a copy of the latest Mary Jane's Farm magazine in the mail. So this was just another blessing to the end of an otherwise rough day at work. This magazine is so much fun...and it's got everything that I love in it - farmgirl stuff, farmgirl of the heart, feminine, frilly, DIY etc ;) :)  Click here to visit their website.  It's all about organic, American living and so much other fun stuff. 
 
Oh and then to top it all off, there was a Billy Graham program on tv tonight. We don't have a t.v. anymore. So my father was watching it on-line and he asked me if I knew who Lacey Strum was. I had never heard of her before. So I looked her up and came across this beautiful music video called "Mercy Tree" that was featured on the program.
 
 
I don't normally cry with songs, but after this one I was just a mess of tears. It's a beautiful song and beautiful video. So maybe I needed to hear this tonight and be reminded that I (and ALL of us) are loved by the Author of Ultimate Love. 
 
Tomorrow I have the day off from work. So I'm going to the LUSH cosmetics store in Carmel to have henna applied to my hair. It's a natural hair dye alternative that will hopefully cover up a few of the gray hairs. In any case, I'll make sure to take some pics and let you know how it all turns out :)
 
That's the news from the ocean shores of California today. Love and hugs, Heather :)
 
 





Sunday, November 3, 2013

HAPPY SONDAY AND HAVE A GREAT WEEK

Hi everyone :) :) :)

I hope you all had a great weekend. Have a beautiful week. I took this photo after church this afternoon. It's out in Pacific Grove.  It was really windy today, but the water was so very beautiful.

That's the news from the ocean shores of California today. Love and hugs, Heather :)
































If you'd like to visit me at my photography page on Facebook, just click here :)





Saturday, November 2, 2013

DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME - DON'T FORGET ABOUT IT
































Hi everyone :) :)

I hope that you are all having a really great weekend so far. I worked this afternoon/evening. It was an AMAZING day out on the sales floor.

This is just a friendly PSA about Daylight Savings Time.  Early tomorrow morning, on Sunday - November 3rd at 3 a.m. local time, make sure to set your clocks back one hour. OR if you are anything like me and prefer NOT waking up at the crack o'midnight or shortly thereafter, set your clocks back one hour TONIGHT (Saturday - November 2nd) before you go to bed :)


That's the news from the ocean shores of California. Love and hugs, Heather :)

Friday, November 1, 2013

IT MAKES "CENTS" TO ME FOR FRIDAY - NOVEMBER 1st

Hi Everyone :) :)

I hope you all had a really good week. My week was really busy. I had all these ideas for other blog posts that I wanted to write about this week and I just didn't get around to it. It's probably a good idea to start putting these things down on a calendar and writing a little bit here and a little bit there - as time allows.

I don't really have a blog post about saving money today BUT I am going to share a couple of things that I thought you'd find interesting.

The first is a link to a video from the Dave Ramsey website. Actually, I saw it posted on the Dave Ramsey page on Facebook.  Every so often they'll post really neat and inspirational stories of people who have gotten out of debt.  This is one that was some serious inspiration for me for a few reasons.  Here's the link below.  Watch the whole thing in its entirety:



The decision to be completely and totally 100% debt free is a choice that I have made for myself. It's a decision that will look different for everyone based on different circumstances etc. However, this video was really inspiring to me for so many reasons.

This is a young woman, who with her husband, perservered through some very difficult circumstances to reach a personal goal that they had set for themselves. People made fun of them. That didn't stop them.

What caused me to literally break down in tears was when I learned....well, I'm not going to spoil it. That's why I HIGHLY recommend you watch this whole video and then you'll know why it caused me to break down and cry.

What I carried away from this is that if you want something bad enough, you will find a way. God will make a way.  It may take me awhile to reach that goal, but with God ALL THINGS are possible.  Plus, I'm not going to let the objections of a few dictate my life or throw me off my goal.
































I spent most of the morning and part of the afternoon with my very good friend A. from church. She's a mentor and good friend. We went went shopping at Costco and also ate lunch there. While there and on the drive home, we talked about all sorts of things including money etc and setting priorities while working my way out of debt etc.

My mind was so focused on paying bills that I was not eating while at work. Yes, I admit it and it was a very bad thing. So we talked about how paying bills are important but I must take care of my body first. So we brainstormed some really inexpensive things I could bring to work and eat on my lunch break. 

A. gave me a huge box of these fast noodle packages that her daughter brought back from Vietnam. They work just like the Top Ramen noodles that you buy in the store. So what a blessing and that's a HUGE savings right there.

Some super duper cheap things you could bring just to give you a protein boost while at work:

hard-boiled eggs

peanut butter


I'm living on a soda-pop can budget right now and these are two very easy and inexpensive things that I can do right now.

In any case, I'm really having to sit down and rethink my priorities. I'm not giving up on my goal of getting out of debt. What I am doing is just rethinking how I do things.

So I'll have more to add to this as time goes on. So keep checking back here and read my updates. As I think of things, I'll add it here and save  some for next Friday, too. It's been a huge day of revelations for me about finances, how to treat my body well etc.

I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback. Keep it kind, of course :) :) I love hearing from all of you :) Have a great weekend.

That's the news from the ocean shores of California today. Love and hugs to you all, Heather :)

UPDATE: November 1st at 8:40 p.m. PST
The same friend that I was talking about earlier, came back again later today and brought her daughter with her.  She had all this extra food that she just blessed my father and I with. I was so humbled and thankful.  I don't often talk about the difficulties in my life, because I would rather foster an attitude of gratitude and be thankful for the many, many blessings that God has given to me.

However, this practical act of love was amazing.  So now our cupboard and freezer is comletely stocked. There are lots of things that I can bring with me to work, to give me that needed protein boost during the day.

I find that for my body, protein is a necessity throughout the day to keep me going.  So it'll be interesting to see how things change at work, because I'm making sure that my body and health are a top priority first while still keeping my goal of paying down debt and saving money at the forefront.




Friday, October 25, 2013

IT MAKES "CENTS" TO ME FRIDAY FOR OCTOBER 25th

Hi everone,

How has your week been?  Mine has been full of all sorts of things...BUT I've been really knocking it out of the ballpark on sales at work this week.  My main goal is to really develop personal relationships with all of my customers, because I want them to feel like welcome guests when they walk into the store.  I also strive to have them leave happier then when they walked in. In any case, I've been really thankful that for the most part I am totally exceeding my sales goals every day I'm scheduled to work and that is a praise :) :) :)

My VitaCost order arrived really fast.  I ordered it last Friday morning and it arrived by the following Monday afternoon (October 21st).  Here is a look at what I ordered:































Click here to read my post from last week. I detailed exactly what I purchased and what it cost from the VitaCost.com website versus buying it at my local grocery store.

I was really surprised to see that they sold the Eez-Gum threaders.  Those are like giant flexible plastic "needles" that help you to thread the dental floss underneath the metal wires of braces.  So I'm going to keep a detailed diary of when I use each product and when it runs out. It'll give me an idea of how fast I go through a product.  That in turn will give me a better idea of how much to order next time.

I don't really "need" to buy a natural soap, except I do believe that what you put on your skin gets partially absorbed into the skin.  It's true. The skin is the largest organ of your body, so treat it right.  I can only speak for myself, but I notice that when I use gluten free or natural products on my skin, I don't have a skin reaction like I do with regular "soaps" etc. 

Oh, and I'm still trying to figure out how to budget on a variable income.  So I'll fill you in on that some more later this afternoon. 

I get paid on a weekly basis, but my hours can vary quite a bit. If you have ever worked retail, you know exactly what this is like. Add to that, that my job is only part-time, but I have the opportuntiy for full-time hours, when there are available shifts to pick up. Case in point, this week, I only have 17.75 hours, but NEXT week, I'll have 30 hours. 

I found this really simple, but very good article on the Dave Ramsey website. It's about how to make a zero-based budget.  Dave Ramsey has been a huge inspiration for me in wanting to be comletely out of debt in the first place.

I also found this article to be really helpful. It's really simple and straight-forward and it's great if you need an idea for how to budget when your income and your hours vary quite a bit from week to week. Dave Ramsey's daughter, Rachel Cruze, also has a really neat nifty website.  She wrote a really easy to understand blog post about budgeting with a variable income. Click here to read that article.


Now my budgeting got a serious monkey wrench thrown into it, because I had to make an appointment to get my teeth cleaned at the dentist in between visits with the orthodontist (when I get new wires put on my braces). That's going to cost a little bit, so the solution to that is pick up extra hours at work.

So next week, I'll try and fill you in a little bit more on how I do a zero-based budget from week to week...and how I still manage to live and have some sort of fun on my very tiny income.

































I have to say that VitaCost really does a good job, even with their cardboard boxes. They use some space on the boxes to provide good, healthy recipes for sweet treats :) :) As if it couldn't get any cooler or more practical, I also saw this on the inside flap of the box:
































There are even some frugal ways to repurpose this box. It is quite the sturdy box, too. 

That's the news from the ocean shores of California today. Love and hugs to you all, Heather :) :) :)

Friday, October 18, 2013

IT MAKES "CENTS" TO ME FRIDAY FOR OCTOBER 18th, 2013

Hi everyone,

Wow, is my head ever swimming. It seems like I was in a rut in terms of how I was going to come up with a game plan for knocking out my student loan debt etc. Now that I'm starting to turn my dream into a concrete vision, all these ideas are swimming around in my head.

I am starting with small baby steps. 

One thing that I like to do is to make a list of things that I'll be "needing" in the future.  Here is a list of things that I will definitely be needing at some point, but I don't have to buy them right away:








































First thing, the word "Einkaufszettel" is German for "shopping list". I still write it out that way, ever since I lived in Germany as a study abroad student. 

In any case,  these are things that I'll be needing to buy in the near future.  The MAC lipstick and lip gloss are really nice, neutral colors that I can wear anytime. It's funny, because I'm almost out of both colors.

I almost stopped by work to buy some today after church. However, I didn't really have a piece about it and I kept asking myself the question: Do I really NEED this right now or can I wait just a little bit longer before I plunk down money for this?

My answer was: I CAN wait and I will wait a little bit longer.

One thing I have learned is that just because you have the money to buy something RIGHT NOW doesn't mean you have to.  So I will wait until I'm completely out before I replenish my make-up inventory :) 


I do wear braces, so dental floss is a MUST right now.  I go through that stuff really fast.  The same for the toothpaste. Since I'm paying out-of-pocket for my orthodontic care, I want to make sure that I get my money's worth and that means taking very good care of my teeth.

The toothpaste is gluten free and so is the shampoo and conditoner on my list. I do use the Raspberry Shine. Here's a photo again of the conditioner:










































I was paying $8.99 a bottle for the shampoo and conditioner and probably about $6 for the toothpaste.  They are gluten free products and those things are important to me. So I am willing to make the sacrifice for those things.

HOWEVER, a very sweet reader sent me a private email the other day and told me of a really great site, where I could get my conditioner for much less. The site is called Swanson Vitamins.  Click here to visit their site. I found my conditioner listed here for about $4.98...yeah, my jaw dropped to the floor, too. With as often as I use this product and even factoring in shipping, I won't be buying it at my local store anymore.

There's also another site called VitaCost that has awesome natural and organic products at really great prices. Click here to visit them. The last time I checked I found my shampoo and conditioner selling here for about $4.98 a bottle and my special toothpaste for $3.98 a tube. the BEST part is that shipping is free on orders over $49 and they often have free shipping specials on smaller orders.

I don't normally spend that much at one time on my hair and body care products. However, with such great deals, I can afford to make a BIG purchase now, knowing that I'm saving a LOT of money in the long run. 

Today is payday. I'll let you know what I end up ordering, what the total is and what I ordered.

UPDATE at 6:23 p.m Pacific Standard Time:

Hi everyone ;) :) Okay, so I ended up having to place my order as a "guest", but I was able to reset my password this afternoon after work.  WOW, did I save a boatload of money...at least a lot for me.

After work, I went to my local store where I usually most of these products I'm about to tell you about.  If I payed full price (including tax) for everything I ordered today, it would have been $91.99.

As it happens, with my VitaCost order I only paid $50.31. There was no tax and it was FREE shipping because I ordered over $49 worth of product :)

That's a savings of 45%. That is HUGE in my checkbook and that frees up that much more money to put towards paying off bills etc.  I just placed the order this morning and it should arrive in 1-4 business days.

Here's the breakdown of what I purchased. I will highlight in BLUE what the regular retail was and factor in the taxes at the end.  Unless otherwise specified, I only ordered a quantity of ONE of certain items. In other cases, I ordered multiples because it's something I know that I will use consistently.

South of France Bar Soap Acai Pomegranate - 8.8 ox
$3.94 / $6.39

Desert Essence Dental Floss - Tea Tree Oil - 50 yds
$2.29 x 4 qty / $3.99

GUM Eez-Thru Floss Threaders - 25 pieces
$2.96 / $3.29
I will say that this one came as a surprise, because I didn't even know that VitaCost carried this, but they DO :) :) :) I use these ALL THE TIME to help me with flossing. They're necessary in order to floss the teeth while going through the process of braces on the teeth.

Auromere Herbal Toothpaste Fresh Mint - 4 oz
$3.44 / $5.99

Desert Essence Organics Shampoo Raspberry Shine for All Hair Types - 8 oz
$5.29 x 3 qty / $8.99

Desert Essence Organics Raspberry Conditioner Red Raspberry - 8 fl oz.
$4.98 x 3 qty / $8.99

So here is the breakdown again. Hopefully it's a little easier to see this way:

Vitacost Order total (no tax/free shipping) - $50.13

Regular Retail (including sales tax 7.5%)  - $91.99

That means I saved a total of 45%. What does that mean?

Serious CHACHING back into my wallet :) :) :)

I can hardly wait for my VitaCost order to arrive. When it does, I'll show you all a photo. In the meantime, enjoy this vintage beauty :) :) It's a vintage Ford Mustang that I saw in the mall parking lot a few days ago:








































That's the news from the ocean shores of California today. Love and hugs, Heather :)


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

MY BEAUTIFUL PACIFIC GROVE, CALIFORNIA

Hi everyone,

How was your weekend? My weekend was really good. I worked for a few hours on Saturday. Plus, I spent a little time working on my blog, working on my budget and other household chores etc. 

I wanted to share a few photos of Pacific Grove with you today. If you'd like to see my other photos, please come visit me here at my photography page on Facebook. It's called Heather Danielle Photography. I love friendly visitors, and while you're there, if you want to "like" my page, please do :) :) 

These are mainly of the ocean. I love the ocean. My grandmother lived here for many, many years before she bought her home in Monterey.

I'm not sure what draws me to the water. It's been a life-long love ever since I can remember.  When I am having a bad day, I like to spend time near the water. When I am having a good day, I like to spend time near the water.  I'm always reminded that no matter what is going on, God has still given me things of beauty to enjoy.

I'll post the photos and then talk about them below each picture. 




























This is a photo of my dad taking a photo of me with my smartie pants mobile phone camera.  He is really camera shy. So I was very lucky to get this photo. We were out near Asilomar State Beach.































I am constantly trying to get photographs of birds in flight. This particular day, I had my "big girl" camera with me. Translation: I had my Nikon  D3200 with me :)  I can't even remember what type of bird this was now. It was either pelicans or geese. 































Deer are very common here on the peninsula.  As my father and I were driving along the ocean shore, we saw this handsome creature. Look at the antlers on that thing. It is not uncommon to see them in peoples yards, crossing the street, walking down the side walk etc. In fact, I see them in my neighborhood quite often.































It was a beautiful, sunny day with blue skies. However, it was also really, really windy. So while the wave were not very high. They sure were rolling in really fast.  Usually when the ocean looks like this, it makes me think there's a possible storm ready to head inland.  Not this time. I'm hoping we'll see some rain soon. In the meantime, it was really a beautiful ting to see this many waves.































Another thing that I'm obsessed with capturing on film are the waves right as they're about ready to crash into white sea foam :)






























This plant is called "Pride of Madeira".  It is not quite in full bloom. When it is in full bloom, it's amazingly beautiful.  I'll see if I can find a photo of it in all its glory. This is one of my favorite plants. One of my other favorites is Mexican sage.


































This will be my last photo for today. This is literally my favorite place to sit and look out over the water.  Whenever I drive along the shore to take photographs, this place is ALWAYS one of my stopping points.  It's a favorite of many people and I always see tourists stopping here to get photographs :)

Well, that completes my little ocean tour of Pacific Grove for today.  I pray that you all will have a really good  Monday and a good rest of the week, too.  That's the news from the ocean shores of California today. Love and hugs, Heather :)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

MONTEREY

Hello everyone,

How are you all today? I'm doing fine.

Monterey is a beautiful city.  There's this one building that I drive by quite often when I'm downtown.  It is heavily decorated.  I'm not sure how old the building is. My first thought is that it was built in the 1920s or 1930s based on some of the design features.

There is a flower shop on the ground floor that has been there since the building opened. Hmm...that's a thought. I should walk into the flower shop and ask the owner. 

Here's a photo of the building from the outside. It has some amazing detail and I LOVE the fact that the main entrance to the building is on the corner. You don't see that kind of detail much anymore:
































The flower shop is called "Flor Monterey".  In any case, I'll make sure and get some more photos of this building sometime this week or next week.  It has so many interesting details.


There was a controlled burn out at Fort Ord yesterday and then again this morning. Here are a couple of pictures that I took with my mobile phone camera.  It looked a lot scarier than it really was, but I figure that as long as that smoke is not shaped like a mushroom, we're doing fairly well :)

The first pic was taken around 9:47 a.m. this morning from the Whole Foods parking lot. The controlled burn had just started at 9:30 a.m.
































This next photo was just over an hour later. It was taken from my front yard. By this time the smoke was quite thick and it even covered up the sun. However, it didn't last long. It's 1:20 p.m. now and most of it is clearing away thanks to the wind.
































I actually have today off from work. So I stopped by my hairstylist's salon to get my bangs trimmed. They were getting kind of long and I just can't make up my mind about whether to keep them short or grow them out long.  In any case,  I had my mobile phone with me and snapped a couple photos.  There is beauty all around if we can only learn to keep our eyes open for it.

I really like bougainvillea. It's a beautiful plant that grows very well here in the Monterey Bay peninsula area. I just loved how this particular bougainvillea was growing up around the slats on this balcony railing.

































I also love vintage antiques, including trucks. I usually see this beautiful Ford truck at a local carwash. Today it was parked downtown.  This is my dream car, for real :) :) I so would love to drive something like this.
































I also went to Trader Joe's to buy some cheddar cheese. I have a leftover bag of gluten-free tortilla chips that I purchased at TJ's yesterday. Then the idea came to me to make easy peasy nachos. So on the way to the store, I stopped to get a photo of this beautiful iris. This is another flower that I see a lot around this area.
































Oh, and in my backyard, we have quite a few different varieties of trees from Spanish oak to a very tall Redwood tree.  Well, a few weeks ago, one of the trunks on the Spanish oak just fell over. It just missed the house by a few inches. Thankfully there was no damage. One of our neighbor's was really kind and helped us chop up the trunk. Most of the wood has gone to the yard waste recycle bin. This is what it looks like now. Thankfully the rest of the tree is solid :)
































That's about it for now.  I hope you all are enjoying your Tuesday.  That's the news  from the ocean shores of California today. Love and hugs, Heather :)


Saturday, October 12, 2013

THE OCEAN AND BEAUTIFUL SEA GLASS

Hi everyone,

How are you all today? I'm doing well.  I'll often answer "Better than I deserve".

One of the things that I like to do in my free time is search for sea glass. Sea glass is simply broken shards of glass that have been worn smooth of the course of many, many years by the ocean waves.  It's like finding little gemstones in the sand. It really is fun to search for these tiny treasures.

Here is what I found one day back in September. I went to one of the local beaches here in Monterey. This is what I came back home with:







































These little bits of sea glass are often times smaller than my pinky nail. The biggest and rarest piece that I found was the size of my thumb nail. It's the very light aqua piece of glass that is to the left of that tiny piece of brown sea glass. Aqua glass is rare to find. 


I love aqua as a color.  When I went searching for sea glass this particular day, it was already afternoon and most of the good sea glass has already been picked over. However, I think God meant for me to find this piece to let me know that He cares about every detail of my life, even the small things :) 


Here's a close-up of what I collected:


































The white, green and brown sea glass is quite common to find.  Every once in awhile I do find aqua sea glass. I'm still on the hunt for the extremely rare pink sea glass. Some day. A girl can always hope and dream.


































Much of the aqua sea glass comes from broken pieces of old blue Mason jars like the one pictured above.  I wonder what kind of stories those pieces of glass could tell me. It's a bit of a romantic notion, I suppose, but it's fun to imagine and to dream.

I'm storing all of my aqua sea glass in a small glass storage jar with a glass lid and metal latch hook system.  My collection is small, but it's worth waiting for.  Maybe I'll actually manage to fill this small jar one day.

































Oh, and just as an added bonus, I took a photo of the bottom of this small glass storage jar. It's so CUTE. It says "WHEATON" in big bold letters up top...and below it in smaller much fainter letters it says "U.S.A".

































I love the ocean. Truly, I can be happy anywhere, but I'm so thankful that I've got this time to live near the ocean shores. 

That's the news from the ocean shores of California today. Love and hugs to you all, Heather