Life's Sweet Journey

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Sunday Currently: Tennessee Road Trip Edition

Linking up for another edition of The Sunday Currently...
Reading: I just finished reading The Gates of Evangeline. It was a recommendation from People magazine and when I found it at the library I had to grab it. I think I finished it in three days. I was hooked and it kept me wanting to read more and more. I hated when I had to put it down. It’s a great book, full of mystery and intrigue. A little spooky even- not scary. You find yourself connecting to the characters, even the protagonist. I also loved that I didn’t call all parts of this book. Though I did call a good portion of it I always love when some of the ending surprises me (in an good way). Any book that can throw a twist my way without outraging me is a good book in my world any day of the week!!
Writing- As of right now, just this. I did finish an article for our church magazine though that I am pretty excited to see in print. This is my second one and each time I do one I still get nervous.  
Listening- to the radio in the car. We road tripped to Tennessee this weekend for my cousins wedding.
Thinking- That I got pretty blessed to have found the perfect road trip partner! He spoils me. He packs the car early in the morning, wakes me at 5am so that all I have to do is stumble to the car and fall back asleep while he drives. Waking up to his bearded face, driving in the sunshiney morning makes me smile a lot. Even when he tells me I look a hot mess after I pull my head out from under my blanket, maybe especially when! Love is all about being open and honest right?! (P.S. I called him pretty).
Smelling- My coffee and the crisp Fall weather outside my window.
Wishing- That we could stay in Tennessee a little longer and continue to watch the leaves change colors, while spending time with family on the porch. Tennessee is my happy place and some of my very favorite people live there. Back to Florida it is though. That’s pretty happy too I guess!
Hoping- That the cooler Florida weather continues to stick around. It was so nice before we left and apparently is supposed to be even cooler when we get home!!
Wearing- T-shirt, shorts and bare feet on the dashboard, my go to road trip attire!
Loving- All the time in the car this weekend! Time in the car with just my Babe, a book or two and the tunes on the radio is total perfection to me. So two full days in the car for a one day wedding is right up my alley! 
Wanting- To be super productive this week! I worked on cleaning out the house all last weekend to prepare for a garage sale we are having on Friday. It was time to purge, A LOT! So I am hoping to go through the house again this week and get rid of at least two more boxes of stuff. Getting rid of stuff is usually really hard for me, but I have felt this need for simplicity recently so it is time for it all the just GO! 
Needing- To see my sister and my sweet nephew baby! I feel like life is so much more hectic then when all my other nieces and nephews were born. I was younger and it just seemed easier to carve out time to meet up. But life being busy doesn’t mean I can’t be more intentional about finding time to visit. Babies grow so quick and I want to cover him in kisses before he is old enough to not want as many!
Feeling- At peace. Car rides do that for me. I think it’s also the reason Flo makes me so happy. I just feel at peace on the road, there’s not much you can worry about focusing on in the car. You don’t have connection really to anything except your destination and the person sitting next to you. Glorious I tell ya!!

Clicking- Through Instagram and Facebook and Youtube videos- my dad and the guys at Mind, Body and Soul have a new video they just posted for their recovery race. I’m pretty proud of them, that’s for sure! My daddy, he’s the handsome man at the end of the video, with the big heart and a story of fight and redemption.

What are is your Sunday looking like currently?

Friday, October 16, 2015

5 Favorite Extra Cash Apps

I use to be quite the couponer, but ain't nobody got time for that anymore (well at least not this girl)! I mean, these days, we are lucky if we ever even make it to the store for groceries! But I still love finding ways to either save a few bucks at the store or even better make a few dollars when I shop. I had known about ibotta back when I was couponing, but I never kept up with it. But when my sister-in-law reminded me of it a few weeks back she also told me about a few others apps that you can download in order to make a little side cash.

Here are my favorites:
ibotta- I gave it another go and actually love it. It is so fun scanning the barcodes with my phone! Plus, it is the receipt App I have made the most money on so far. I use to use it before I shopped to try to add things to my list, but I found that I was buying stuff I never used. Now, I wait until after my trip, I plug in where I shopped and search the deals to see if any matched. Most of the time they do. There has been a handful of times when I don't make any money off a shopping trip, but then there are others where I will hit it big and have 5+ deals on one receipt. Usually though I am least get one match. You can also take part in challenges each month, with changes to earn even more. For example, October's challenge is to redeem at least 10 rebates worth $0.25 and to have a team rebate total of $10. You can connect with friends who also have ibotta, so the more people on your team the more chances of hitting the goal. If you would like to join my team you can use 'ndvyayn' when you sign up. You don't have to, but I would love to have you join in on the fun with me! Plus, we both get a little incentive with your sign-up. You can cash out once you hit $10 and receive your money through Pay Pal, Venmo or get a gift card (lots of options to choose from).

Receipt Pal- Receipt Pal is my second favorite receipt app mostly because they take pretty much everything and each receipt is worth the same point value. So they can add up quickly! You basically just take a picture of your receipt and once you get a square filled (4 receipts) you score 100 points. Think of all the fast food, gas, Starbucks... runs you go through in a week. It will really add up quick. Companies basically just want to know how and where you are spending so companies can better know how to advertise. One thing I don't like as much about Receipt Pal is that you don't have a Pay Pal option, but gift cards are always great!!

Yaarlo- This is another receipt app that simply wants to know how and where you are spending money. This one sounded appealing to me because, like receipt pal, they also take pretty much any receipt. They also give you %1 of whatever your purchase total was in cash. That is how their reward system works. To me it sounded like it could build up fast, but then I realized that most of my daily purchases are really small. So this one has taken a while to build, but it's pretty much the more you spend the more you earn. Which I guess can be said for all of them, but this one in particular. This is another one where you can get a little bonus if you want to use my code (MELANIES285). You can get paid through Pay Pal or you can get a gift card to places like Amazon, Target and Starbucks.

Receipt Hog- This one has taken the longest to build. They only accept certain receipts (mostly grocery stores) and are based on a point system. The larger your purchase, the more points you get. Most of my purchases under $10, which only counts for 5 points. If you have a large family and your purchases are higher then your points will build quicker. I do love getting to play the little piggy slot machine though which you earn spins towards on purchases made at major department stores. Receipt Hog doesn't currently accept gas or food receipts. You can use my referral bonus for some bonus spins for us both (cloft568). You get your cash through either Pay Pal or as an Amazon gift card.
Those are my receipt apps (listed in order or preference), below is an app that will pay you to complete tasks in your area. It is very similar to secret shopping except sometimes you are asked to actually do something (I once found an item to put on the shelf at Walmart). Let's just say thing app can have you complete some of the most interesting tasks, but it gives you the chance to walk in someone else's shoes and see things you may have never been privvy to before (ie to Walmart stockroom! Guys, those Walmart stockers need mad props!)

Gigwalk- This is the app I have made the most money through ($50 since I joined). However, I also live in a very large city and there always seems to be an assignment available. I actually haven't taken one in a while because they have all been for about $3 and they aren't anywhere near places I am going. Sometimes you get lucky though. I took a $30 gig that happened to be on my way while running errands and another right near where I work ($15). Most gigs average at about $5 and involve going to places like 7'11 to see if they have a specific product on display the correct way. You get a gig by applying for it and waiting to see if you were the one chosen to complete it. So you do somewhat have to plan ahead. I usually hear back within a day, but there have been some that have taken longer before hearing if I was accepted or declined for it. That's one of the downsides to being in a bigger city. Sure there are more gigs available, but there are also a whole lot more people competing for those gigs.

The receipt apps are great because you can always do them, but Gigwalk is worth taking a look at too!

If you are like me and love playing around with time sucking apps anyways, why not at least play around with some that will reward you right?! Most of the time my husband hates my phone, but he doesn't mind it so much as long as he sees receipts sitting next to me. Heck, he even saves his receipts and gives them to me at the end of the day.

Speaking of Time: The receipt apps don't really take that much time. More often then not I will snap a picture in my car while I am riding shot gun on our way home from dinner. If I do happen to make it home I will put it on the kitchen counter and wait a day or two, let them build up and then snap them all at once, which usually takes no more than 3-5 minutes and I do it all while watching t.v.

What about you? Any apps you love using that offer fun rewards? 
Here's to a little extra cash, happy rewards and FRIDAY! 
Hope your weekend is full of all this happy!! 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Words For Wednesday: Happiness and Light

I took this picture the other night on an evening stroll with Babe and it reminded me of one of Albus Dumbledore's most famous quotes. It may not be the very best of pictures, it may be grainy and dim, but that's kind of how it works isn't it? Happiness doesn't always come wrapped up in the prettiest package or riding a gleaming white horse. It comes in the smallest moments, that build upon each other, until they shine with a brightness, that even the darkest of nights can't snuff out. 

So here's to happiness and Dumbledore and all the hearts that still believe in the magic of a story! Oh, and Harry Potter! Illustrated!! People, have you heard?! There is a new illustrated edition of The Sorcerer's Stone! I don't have it yet, but my friend does and she brought it by for me to see. Y'all, it is glorious and wonderful and one of those little happiness things! We are really working hard to save money this month or it would already be in my hot little hand, but it is on my Christmas list for sure. Dear Santa, hint, hint... 

Friday, October 9, 2015

October Currently!

Oh October! 
How I love thee! 
Especially when Florida decides to finally comprehend that October means Fall weather should arrive. Linking up with the lovely ladies of the Currently Series {Jenna & Anne} and the 5 on Friday gals to share a little of what's going on in my world for this glorious month!  
Eating } Our way through Trader Joe's delicious pizzas! Such yummy, quick and easy meals! Don't forget to add the honey! Honey and pizza is my jam! 
Exploring } All the places!! Our most recent adventure took us to Weeki Wachee where we kayaked the beautiful spring and got to meet the mermaids! 
Wearing } Long sleeves!! For the first time in a long time I was able to put them on. I am not sure if this Florida chill will last, but I am loving it! 
Admiring } My dad and the other men of Mind, Body and Soul Surf Co. for their continued work at helping those who fight addiction. I admire the steps they have taken that have brought them to the point they are at and their work at setting up their first Run 4 Recovery. You can read more about it in Wednesday's post.
Collecting } Trinkets from all of our adventures. Everywhere we go I have been collecting little mementos (shells, cure little pine cones, etc) to make into either ornaments or add to a jar that I want to get for Flo. My plan is to write on them in fine point Sharpie the name of the place we found them so that we have a little keepsake of each of the places we have been. 

And now I am off to enjoy this lovely weather that only finds it's way to Florida for 5 days each year! 
Hope your weekend is beautiful and glorious! How's your October currently? 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Words for Wednesday: Feet with Wings// Run for Recovery

Have you ever had one of those moments, where a reality of today sends you spiraling into the reality of the past? A moment that makes you think on what you've learned since you were young. A moment that makes you look at your past in a different way. I've thought about my brother, John Wayne, a lot recently, about his struggle with addiction. Addiction is a monster. People are afraid of monsters. I am afraid of monsters. But what happens when monsters attach themselves to the faces that we love most? What happens when it's hard to separate the two from each other? I had a hard time separating those things when I was younger. Every now and then I still do. But (maybe if only in this instance) I am grateful for the knowledge that comes along with aging. I am thankful for the fact that I had moments, before my brother died, that allowed me to see those things -the monster and the man- as two different beings. I am thankful that I could love my brother while I hated his addiction. And I did. And I do.

I hate addiction, in all forms. Addiction is a thing that takes. It's a thing that sucks life out of people. It's a word I try not to use lightly. I am not addicted to coffee, I am not addicted to TV. If they started sucking the life away from who I was then ok, but I am not addicted to them. They do not make me a shadow of the person I am. They do not control me. So, I can hate addiction. And I hate to use the word hate. But I can love something that comes from addiction. I love recovery. I love the story it writes for people, everyday that they choose to continue living in it. Recovery is not a point on a map. It is not a destination one will reach and say, "I am finished now". Recovery is a road with peripheral vision always in view. Recovery is a choice, made again and again; day after day, hour after hour, minute upon minute. Recovery is what saves lives. Recovery is what saves families.

My dad and the men at Mind, Body and Soul Surfing Co. have devoted their hearts to the fight for life. They have set themselves on the road for those in recovery, to be a face along that road, a sign to reads keep going. And that's why I will be participating in something I don't like, to fight something I really hate, in order to support something I really love. MBS is hosting it's first run for recovery. A run to support those that have met the monster of addiction somewhere along the way. A run to encourage them and help fund their road of recovery. On November 7th, in Orlando (Baldwin Park) Florida, people will be rallying to lace up their shoes and open their hearts to run for and with those who fight the monster that is addiction. Money raised will go to support Turning Point of Central Florida, an organization whose mission has been to work with not only the addict, but their families as well, to set a course for a life lived above addiction.

I am not a runner, in fact I quite dislike it, but I will do it. I will do it for my brother, for his memory, and for the love that he brought into my life. I will run to help my dad continue John Wayne's story. Running is the least I can do.

This race doesn't rewrite our story, it doesn't change what addiction took from us. But it may change the course of someone else's story. Addiction isn't something that is going away. It isn't something to be swept under the rug or whispered about in quiet corners. Addiction is a beast that will slip into the middle of people, slip into the middle of families, and cut them them wide. Talk about it. Encourage those you love to seek help. Encourage them to work the steps they need to. Encourage them to live for themselves and not let addiction live for them. Yes, the addict fights inside alone, but family plays their part. You can support, you can love. You can build up and be that face along the way. Not the face that runs the race for them, but the face that says keep going. The face that says...
"I know it's hard, but you're not through yet. Pound it out. Foot after foot. Breath upon breath. Bear down, fight hard, and finish strong. Worn up and sweaty, but strong." Be the face they see cheering all along the way.

I would love for you to join me. If you would like to sign up to run you can click the image above. If you don't live nearby, but would like to donate to the race you can also do so. Thank you for your support. Addiction really is a fight for life. And each life is worth it.