Friday Free For All

Dear friends.  Can I just be honest for a minute?  It's been a tough few weeks to write.  Too often I let metrics measure whether or not I should keep putting in the time and effort into the blog.  Sometimes the statistics are helpful: where are readers from, are there new people reading, what are people are reading.  But sometimes seeing these numbers (or the lack of them) really brings me down.  Add to that the fact that my computer froze and deleted the most well-written and meaningful post I've ever written (about my Pop Pop on what would have been his 93rd birthday).  And then spending time writing about an event I am passionate about and releasing the post on a weekend (such a no-no), only to realize it didn't get read.  As least not as much as I had hoped it would.  Which doesn't exactly help spread the word.  Sigh.  

Anyways, I've beat myself up too much lately about writing - so today in an effort to turn that frown upside down I'm sharing some favorite finds from the last few weeks & will introduce my upcoming October series with #write31days!  So buckle up ---- cause here we go!

1) Lay's Southern Biscuits & Gravy chips

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I don't care what you say.  These are delicious - and I don't even like chips.  My gut hates how sausage makes me feel, but as a true Southern girl, I have a hard time turning down such a traditional dish when it's on the menu.  This my friend is the perfect substitution.  It's the perfect flavor to match the real deal, plus I get to skip the heartburn and full belly sensation afterwards.  Win-win!

2) Mamuye tote from Live Fashionable

mamuye tote

I've had my eye on this tote for a few years but it wasn't exactly cheap, seeing as how it's real leather for starters.  But I've been carting around a diaper bag as my purse for a year.  And I am so done.  For my birthday this year I saved up and got this number and I LOVE IT as much as I thought I would (I got the lighter Cognac version).  It holds everything I need for me & it's especially helpful for days that I work because I can toss in papers & books that I need and easily tote everything I need in one beautiful bag.  Plus, I found a small organizer to hold all the necessities I have to have for the little one and I can easily take it in & out and have successfully eliminated the need for the diaper bag! Hallelujah!  

Live Fashionable not only makes beautiful leather items, but they provide jobs for women around the world.  Each product is named after one of the women they were able to help.  Beautiful things + loving our neighbor = a total victory.

Good news!  You can follow my referral link and get 10% off your purchase!  I'll be honest, I wish I had had this discount when I bought my bag (see #3 below for my love of a deal).  I earn $10 for every referral, but again I'm sharing the discount because I love the product.  I first saw it used by Annie Downs on her Instagram and it's been her go to travel bag for years, so I know they hold up.  Check out the reviews of their products and you'll see they are quality!

3) Ibotta

At one point in my life I was a crazy coupon lady.  As in I had a whole 3-ring binder nonsense.  Then I got real and realized I didn't need the majority of what I bought that was a "deal" and I could use that time (& money) more wisely.  Don't get me wrong, I love me a good coupon.  I clip then on Sundays after church, download them to my Kroger card, and even have a small carrying case to tote around ones for things I might actually buy.  My favorite find in the last year is Ibotta.  I downloaded this app about 6 months ago, and no lie - I've saved just shy of $40.  Not bad because it's for things I'm already buying, plus it's the only way I can attempt to "double" my coupons around here since our stores no longer do.  So regular coupon + Ibotta rebate = double discounted. Even better they often offer discounts on those staples that never have coupons - milk, eggs, fresh produce.  Once you've saved at least $10, you can convert your savings to your paypal account or various gift cards.  If you want to try it out, get details & sign up on this page & Ibotta will start you off with $1 in your account once you redeem any rebate within 2 weeks of signing up.  

Just as an example, this week I earned $0.50 towards Ziploc containers, $0.50 off Far East couscous, $0.20 off bananas, and $0.75 off granola bars.  

4) #KonMari

My house is stressing me out.  So in an effort to stop moving stuff from one place to another I'm reading 'the life-changing magic of tidying up', also known on social media as the #KonMari method.  Notice the pack'n'play filled with toys, and even a plastic storage container to put them in.  Yet there they sit.  Three weeks later.  Sigh.  I made it halfway through the book during yesterday's nap time & I'm thinking this may actually work for me.  Here's to progress!

5) Pumpkin Pie Blizzards are back!

pumpkin pie blizzard

If you're on a diet - skip this.  I could give up Dairy Queen for life except for this number.  Something about the real pumpkin swirled in & those crispy crust pieces.  Sigh.  It almost is enough for me to forget it's still 92 degrees outside with no glimpse of Fall arriving in my future.

6) #Write31Days

I've participated in this writing challenge for the last 2 years.  You can click the link above to find literally thousands of awesome topics that were shared last year, and starting October 1, there will be thousands of new links as well!  If you missed my posts the last few years you can find them here:

2013: 31 Days of London & Paris

2014: 31 Days of Etsy

And back by popular demand for 2015:  The Best of Etsy 2015

best of etsy 2015

I'm super excited to share with you some amazing finds I've found on Etsy just in time to get your Christmas shopping started.  December may still seem far away, but don't forget most Etsy shops will stop taking orders very early in December in order to guarantee delivery by Christmas - so don't wait if you see something you love!  

I hope you'll join me staring on October 1 for round 2 of my Etsy adventures.  So until next week - rock out your weekend!

**Some affiliate links are included, but seriously only because I love them.  They did make it onto my Friday Favorites post after all! My promise is never to share something I don't stand behind!**