I’m a diehard Apple user. But, if you have children, you may want to consider buying the Kindle Fire Kids Edition. I admit that the iPad, iPod touch, and iPhone are easier to use, have a bigger selection of apps, and a better camera than the Fire. But, as a parent, on any given day, I want my children reaching for the Kindle Fire over their Apple devices. And, here’s why:
When I joined a gym as a mom, my priorities changed: I needed daycare and I needed a shower. Motivation in place. Little did I know that my son’s poop, cries, and attempts to escape would interrupt my routine almost on a daily basis. My new mom friends invited me to take spin classes with them, but between the coaches shouting out mysterious numbers and the coordination involved, I kindly declined; spin was more than my foggy-mom brain could handle at the time, so I stuck to my elliptical, yoga, and Zumba classes. This pre-dated the Soul Cycle invasion of New York, before cadence and tap-backs became part of the everyday jargon.
By the time my son learned to love the gym, I was pregnant with baby #2. Luckily, my little girl eased into daycare and I soon realized after taking my first spin class that I had been missing out: with its trendy music and remixes blaring in a darkened room, let’s face it, this was the closest I was getting to a night out.
At this same time, the condo I lived in had redesigned its gym, and I convinced management to add a spin bike. But what can you do with a spin bike and no instructor? I downloaded apps and watched YouTube videos, but no good solution existed at the time.
Fast-forward to the suburbs and a house with room for exercise equipment. One day, soon after we moved in, I scrolled down on Facebook and noticed that several of my friends had “liked” the One Peloton page, then called Peloton Cycle. I asked those friends about it, but no one had purchased a bike, yet everyone agreed it was a brilliant concept: a state-of-the-art bike with spin classes live or on demand. The bike, however, comes with a hefty price tag ($1995 plus $250 delivery, plus a $39 per month subscription).
For three-hundred-sixty-five days a year, it is Mother’s Day. No sick days. No lazy Sundays. No Netflix and Chill days. I don’t want Mother’s Day. I want a Mental Health Day.
Suspend your disbelief, mothers (you’ll know which parts):
Cinco de Mayo may be just days away but it’s not too late to plan the perfect party.
I love entertaining. In theory. I love the actual moment when I’m hosting my friends. But in the time between making the plans and the doorbell ringing, panic sets in. Shopping, planning, prepping, cleaning, setting, timing everything and trying to enjoy myself can be exhausting.
Consider the internet to be your very best friend when it comes to planning a dinner party. With a little planning you can order everything you need to host a dinner party for 6-8 of your closest friends, all from the comfort of your own home (or in my case car, waiting in the pick-up line) and have it delivered in time for Cinco de Mayo:
Check out this cute Mexican blanket. Its extra large size makes it an ideal Cinco de Mayo tablecloth. After the party, throw it in the washing machine and save it for next year’s festivities. [Read more…]
As many of you know, I’ve been using the Peloton app with my spin bike for a couple of years now. Friends and readers have suggested that I check out Aaptiv (formerly Skyfit). So, for a week, I abandoned my Peloton classes and started spinning with the Aaptiv app on my iPhone.
What is Aaptiv?
Aaptiv is a fitness app available on Android and Apple devices. It provides on-demand classes in an audio format, wherein an instructor coaches you through various fitness routines.
Although Aaptiv includes workouts ranging from outdoor running, treadmill, elliptical to yoga, I will focus strictly on its indoor cycling classes.
Magic Pants are basically any pair of fun printed colorful leggings that motivate you, inspire you, and make you smile. Is there a cause close to your heart, some ’80’s nostalgia, or a favorite dog breed? I guarantee that you can find magic pants to match your style and personality. So, take those basic black leggings and stash them in the back of your closet.
And the best thing about riding at home? No judgments.
After publishing my first Instagram Story, I had a thought. Much of my “story” that day featured photos of food and coffee. (My kids had an unexpected early dismissal, can you blame me?) My story ended before dinnertime and so did my willpower.
Somehow, it has become the norm to photograph our food and share it on social media. But what if we chose to photograph each meal, snack, every glass of wine and all the times we carelessly tossed leftover food from our children’s plates into our mouths? Would we want to share these photos? Would we want people to comment?
If I took a moment before eating and paused to take a photo of my meal (whether or not I actually shared the image with anyone), would I rethink my food choices? What if I stopped counting every little calorie (and my resulting craziness that ensues) and focused instead on the visual presentation of the food before me? Would I lose weight?
I decided against bombarding everyone’s social media feeds with my photos. Could you imagine the subsequent unfollows and defriending that would occur?
What if I told you that you can shop on Amazon and find the latest and most popular electronic devices at a huge discount?
Buy Certified Refurbished Amazon Electronics
What is a refurbished product?
There are many reasons why a product may be refurbished. Yes, sometimes there was a defect that the manufacturer fixed, but many times it’s refurbished because of superficial issues. For example, a consumer returned an item due to a damaged shipping box, a minor scratch or dent on the product’s casing or exterior, or opened the box and simply changed his or her mind.
What happens to these returned items?
The items get shipped back to the manufacturer who will then test these products, repair any defects, verify that these products are “as new” and re-sell them as refurbished.
Amazon takes this one step further by selling their own products as “certified refurbished” items, meaning that they come with the same limited warranty and return policy as a brand new device. This includes their popular Kindle and Alexa devices. Think about this: you are getting the same product, with the same warranty, and the same return policy. Why not buy Certified Refurbished?
(Note, although you can also save money from Amazon’s Warehouse Deals, you may not receive the same warranties as “Certified Refurbished” products; also these Warehouse Deal items may not necessarily be “as new” but rather a bit more used. However, you can definitely find great deals there, just make sure to read the fine print.)
My Top Picks:
To me, a trip to the spa is a mini-vacation. I want tea, brownies, possibly champagne. I want magazines, outdoor seating, the sounds of a rippling stream. I want saunas, steam rooms, and a hot tub. I want to escape for hours on end.
Handing over my credit card at the end of a blissful day adds a bit of stress. Luckily, I’ve found some ways to save money at the spa.
*Note: You can apply these tips to practically any online retailer, not just spas.
This is always my first stop while shopping online. If you are not using Ebates.com, what are you waiting for? Ebates works with thousands of stores, both online and in-store, offering you a percentage of what you spend as cash back, which varies from store to store. You choose whether you want the money you earn directly deposited into your PayPal account or paid via check; better yet, I usually trade in my Ebates money for an Amazon gift card. Thus, my cycle of online shopping continues. In the last few years, I have gotten close to $500 back for literally doing nothing but clicking on their site. Another reason why Ebates is so fantastic? Not only do you get a percentage back but you can also apply a promo code from another site.
This site sells gift cards that can be used at over 25,000 spa locations worldwide. Spafinder itself often runs sales; in fact, today, they’re offering 15 percent off. Otherwise, take a few minutes and google “promo code.” RetailMeNot, a favorite site of mine, currently has their own promo code for 15 percent off. OK, so let’s do the math here: assuming you wish to buy a $100 gift card to Spafinder, you get 15 percent off by purchasing online, plus 5 percent cash back from Ebates, saving you almost $20. Make this part of your routine before making any online purchase: take the extra two minutes to go onto Ebates and also google a promo code. I almost always get something back.
I discovered Raise.com a year ago. I decided to buy the Amazon Echo (“Alexa”) for my husband’s birthday. However, his birthday was the next day and I could never receive it on time, even with Prime. I googled brick-and-mortar retailers that sold Amazon Echo. Best Buy sold it for the same price as Amazon. “There has to be a promo code for Best Buy,” I thought. But there wasn’t. What to do? Here’s the answer: Raise.com.
This website sells unused gift cards, either as an e-card (which is what I chose) or as a physical card to over 1,000 stores. Discounts on gift cards vary from day to day, all the way up to 30 percent. I purchased a Best Buy e-gift card, received it in my inbox within minutes and applied it towards my payment method. All in all, I saved $20 by purchasing it online at Best Buy. (Even better, I chose “in-store pickup” and picked it up the next morning).
As I write this, Raise.com has Spafinder cards for 11.4 percent off. Meaning, you can get a $100 Spafinder gift card for $88.60. They have both physical cards, i.e., mailed to you, or printable vouchers. Since Raise doesn’t have any e-gift cards for Spafinder, unfortunately, you can’t use Ebates too. But you certainly can try for other online retailers.
Google “promo code” for Raise.com and I bet you’ll find something. I received $5 off my first order.
If you are a member of Costco, you may purchase $100 Spafinder gift cards for $80. Around the holidays, they often run a promotion where you can buy them for $70. And so, this is what I did last year when I went to the amazing Eau Spa in Florida, a spa that checks off everything and more from my list of wants. I approached the cashier with a stack of three $100 gift cards, for which I had paid just $210 for at Costco, claiming that someone had gifted these to me (of course, not admitting that I, in fact, had bought these for myself), and used them to pay for my treatment and my husband’s, complete with tip (I also had a credit from a prior treatment). “How much extra do we owe,” my husband asked? I answered, “77 cents.” Not bad, 30 percent off! And, of course, you know if I could have, I would have used Ebates too.
Now It’s Your Turn
So, the next time you are going shopping, whether online or in person, try out some of these tips. For example, I noticed that Build-A-Bear, a fun but expensive experience for my kids, is available on Ebates (3% cash back), Costco ($70 for $100 worth of cards), and Raise (over 19% off).
I’m looking forward to hearing how it turns out for you. Do you have any of your own tips?
As always, I appreciate your comments.
When my kids’ birthdays and the holidays approach, I assess: What do we need? What can we donate, trash and sell? (see my post on selling on eBay). Where are we going to put everything!? And think to myself, wouldn’t it be nice to find some extra money laying around?
Turning your Change into Money or Gift Cards
It’s hard to imagine sometimes how easily those coins sitting on your dresser, in your car cup holder or in the bottom of your purse, can add up. As children, we delighted in filling up our piggy banks, and had such a thrill emptying it, counting all of our money. Yet, as adults, and especially in our credit and debit card world, we treat coins with little respect. I use them here and there, but mostly they scatter themselves around my home.
So, like many of you, I had walked by the Coinstar kiosk in my local supermarket on a regular basis for years, paying it little attention. And, I always assumed that Coinstar charged a huge fee.