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June 2017

Holidays Lifestyle Seasonal

The Best Birthday Deals (You’ll Actually Use!)

June 8, 2017
Best Birthday Deals (You'll Actually Use)

I turned 25 this week. Quarter of a century! My first birthday as a married woman! It was fun. The Hubs and I both took the day off work and celebrated. We went to the Dallas World Aquarium and took time to snap up all the best birthday deals and freebies I had. If you’re like me, you’re on every store email list imaginable. This usually means you rack up a lot of good birthday coupons, some worth your time, others…not.

I’m here to tell you which deals are the best birthday deals. These birthday deals are the ones that you’ll actually use and enjoy.

The Best Birthday Deals

Grimaldi’s

The Deal : A free large(18″) pizza with one topping!

This is a birthday freebie that we use every year without fail. We already love Grimaldi’s (if you’re a think crust pizza person, you’ll love them too!), but a whole pizza! We’re all over that! It comes with one topping already, though you can pay to add additional toppings if you want. I genuinely prefer cheese pizza, but we get half toppings for The Hubs. Very few birthday deals are this generous, so we make sure to always take advantage of Grimaldi’s birthday pizza.

The Best Birthday Deals (You'll Actually Use!)

Sephora

The Deal: Free Beauty Products, No purchase required! (if picking up in store)

If you’re signed up on Sephora’s Beauty Insider program, they’ll send you a coupon for a free mini gift in the month of your birthday! This year, the choice was between a Tarte mini gift (which had a little Amazonian Clay 12 hour Blush and a mini Tarteist Creamy Matte Lip Paint) or Caudali (which included a Vinosource Moisurizing Sorbet and a Radiance Serum). I love Tarte, so that’s the gift that I chose. The colors are pretty current and definitely something that I would use and I didn’t even have to buy anything to get it! If you claim the gift online, you’ll have to order something,  but in store you just go up to the register and they confirm that you’re in the system and give it to you. Neat, huh?

Starbucks

The Deal: Free beverage or food item!

Is this like stating the obvious here? You can get a free drink or food item loaded onto your Starbucks app for your birthday. It’s only good for a few days, but honestly, I’ve never had a hard time making it to Starbucks. 

Nothing Bundt Cakes

The Deal: Free Bundtlet!

I’m not sure if Nothing Bundt Cakes is a thing everywhere else, but it’s definitely a thing in Texas. We love Nothing Bundt Cakes so much that we catered them for dessert at our wedding. If you’re on their email list, they’ll send you a coupon for a free Bundlet on your birthday. The coupon is good for about a week after your birthday, which is useful in case you need to space out your birthday sugar consumption err freebies!

 

Best Birthday Deals (You'll Actually Use)

Kendra Scott

The Deal: 50% off one item during your birthday month

Like Nothing Bundt Cakes, Kendra Scott is a thing in Texas. Like, I’m pretty sure they don’t let you call yourself a Texas woman if you don’t own any Kendra Scott. It seems like everywhere I look, there’s a woman wearing Kendra Scott. Even my little middle school girls at church have Kendra Scott. I did not own Kendra Scott because 1. It’s not cheap and 2. I’m not hip and with it. I was starting to feel a little left out. Enter the birthday deals. Kendra Scott will give you 50% off one item in the month of your birthday. You’ll need to sign up on their website and show your ID at the register to get the deal. That what I did and guess what? This girl got herself some Kendra Scott for her birthday! 

CVS

The Deal: $3 Free Extracare Bucks

If you’re not using CVS to get good deals on makeup, you need to get on that bandwagon, stat! Seriously, just search “cvs makeup deals” and some very smart, very thrifty ladies have done almost all the work for you. If you’re part of CVS’s Extracare program, they will send you $3 free extracare buck on your birthday. Free money. For your birthday. Combine that with any other coupons you have and bam! Super cheap makeup!

Einstein Bagels

The Deal: Free Egg Sandwich with Any Drink Purchase

I love Einstein’s. I didn’t know about them until I moved to Texas, but boy I’m glad I know about them now! It used to be so bad that my local Einstein’s knew my order the moment I walked in the door! This deal is for a free egg sandwich with any drink purchase, which sounds like a nice birthday breakfast to me.

So there is my collection of the best birthday deals. Did I skip any of your favorite birthday deals? How do you like to celebrate? Let me know!

Lifestyle Seasonal

My 2017 Summer Reading List

June 1, 2017
2017 Summer Reading List

I mentioned recently that I was getting inspired by everyone’s summer reading lists. So inspired, in fact, that I decided to make my own summer reading list! I’m only showing you the first 10 on my list because 1. The later books are not set in stone and 2. When I put all of them on this list it felt like a lot and I started freaking out a little. Just these 10 books feel a bit ambitious. I used to read 10 books a semester for just one class, but now I barely read any books. Possibly because I was very burned out… Anyways, I’m hoping to wake up those reading muscles and actually finish some books again! Here’s what I have planned…

 

 

1.The Woman on the Orient Express by  Lindsay Jayne Ashford

I actually already finished this book for the summer. I had gotten it when it was cheap on Kindle, thinking that it sounded interesting. The Woman on the Orient Express follows the story of Agatha Christie herself on the Orient Express as she grapples with her failed marriage, finds friendship, and gathers writing inspiration. It was a pretty entertaining read, though there were a lot of characters to track with in the beginning. It got a little confusing at times, but it was still fun. This book inspired my #2 Summer Reading List pick:

 

2.Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie

Once I read The Woman on the Orient Express, I immediately wanted to read Murder on the Orient Express. I feel like every summer reading list need a good juicy mystery. My choice was also inspired by the fact that there is a movie version of this book coming out in November with a very exciting looking cast. The costumes look good too, so I know I’ll want to see it, and you know I have to read the book first!

 

3.Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry

Practically every Christian female writer who inspires me has great things to say about this book. Tsh Oxenreider featured it on her Summer Reading Podcast and so I figure it’s about time that I read it. I’m going in blind on this one, because I have no clue what this book is about, except probably a woman named Hannah Coulter. I have, however, heard that the writing is beautiful, so I’m excited to finally check this off my book bucket list.

 

4.For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards by Jen Hatmaker

I love Jen Hatmaker. She makes me want to invite my friends (if I had any) to my patio (if I had one that would fit more than two people) to eat sustainably grown food and engage in “fellowship” (if I knew how). I love her combination of humor, quick wit and raw honesty. My mother and I both read 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess in quick succession and loved it. I’m eagerly awaiting her latest book Of Mess and Moxie, but in the meantime I need to work through For the Love. 

 

5.At Home in the World by Tsh Oxenreider

Like Jen Hatmaker, Tsh Oxenreider also makes me want to eat good food on patios. But, like, patios in other countries. She also makes me want to sell all my belongings and live out of a suitcase. If you’re a traveler (or wish you were), Tsh is your girl. At Home in the World is her latest book, which follows her experiences as the travels through the world. I love her thoughtful, deliberate style of writing, and the wisdom that she weaves into her books, so I can’t wait to get my hands on At Home in the World. 

 

6.Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance

I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about Hillbilly Elegy lately. It reminds me of the kind of book that we would read in my history seminar courses in college. Being a historian, I tend to lead towards memoirs. I feel like the stakes are higher with memoirs, and they’re less predictable than novels. I’ve been curious about Hillbilly Elegy since I first heard about it, but it never seems to go on sale (come on, Kindle deals!). I might have to bite the bullet for my summer reading list, but I’m hoping that it will be worth it.

 

7.The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

This is another Summer Reading List book that I have finished already. That’s because it only took 1 day to read! Also, I was able to find it free online through Project Gutenberg Australia. This is just a sweet, satisfying little book from the author of Anne of Green Gables. I was never able to get into Anne of Green Gables (she talked so. much.), but Valancy, the protagonist is very easy to like. During the novel, she switches from Scared of Everything to Taking No Shit, which is a transition that I can get behind. Also, the imagery in this book is simply beautiful. This would be a great vacation read.

 

8.Chasing Slow: Courage to Journey Off the Beaten Path by Erin Loechner

I used to make fun of my mom for reading all her self help books. Now, I read them too. The Hubs and I have been in a rut where we feel like life is passing at an incredibly rapid pace, and we’re just barely hanging on. I’m hoping that this summer I’ll be able to slow down, unplug and find a little peace. I’ve heard great things about Chasing Slow and so I’m hoping that it can help. 

9.In Praise of Women’s Bodies by Gloria Steinem

I’ll be honest, this one was a case of “It was cheap and I was curious.” So much of my women’s studies literature in college focused on the Victorian Era, that I didn’t really read a lot of more modern feminist books. I’ve recently been doing a lot of research into the purity culture that I was brought up in and how it affect women and how they view themselves, and so I though that this would dovetail nicely with that research.

 

 

10. The More of Less by Joshua Becker

I am an avid reader of Josuha Becker’s Becoming Minimalist. When I found out that he had written a book, I knew I had to read it. Living in a tiny apartment with The Hubs (who gets a whole entire closet for his guitars) I am often confronted with the sheer number of things that we own. At the same time, I have trouble reconciling my minimalist and crafty sides.  Still, minimalist books always inspire me, so perhaps this will help me to find the right balance.

That wraps up the top ten on my summer reading list this year! I have more books, lined up, but I can’t decide if they’re going to make the summer reading list or not. There’s always a little wiggle room right? For sale books and stuff..

What are you planning to read this summer? Does anything on your list match up with mine?