Sunday, April 28, 2013

As of Late: Instagram

I haven't posted much at all lately! Besides being busy, which I really have been, can you believe all the flooding we've been having and on top of that it's not even been warm - it snowed three mornings ago! The forecast finally looks like winter might be behind us though, so I'm eager for sun and inspiration. In the meantime, here's what I've been up to.

The sun's been coming up earlier and the birds are singing songs again. Stevie is enthralled by them and often tweets back.

Andrew and I finally tried out Two Beards Deli in downtown Grand Rapids. It was hard to choose what to get because they have several vegan and vegetarian choices! We'll be back again.

I made puppy chow! There have to be unhealthier ways to eat chocolate and peanut butter, I'd imagine.

Just another Stevie shot. He is such a sweetie.

Grand Rapids has a place called Marge's Donut Den. It is totally authentic and wonderful, and I realized I don't even live too far away from it! Marge was nice enough to donate her treats to a press conference I was a part of.

The press conference was for the 2013 Festival of the Arts poster unveiling! I am a volunteer on the PR team. Above is artist Abbey Bradley with her design. I also found out that she is going to TEDx, as am I! Cannot wait for that.

And here is my baby girl Ellie, who is not such a baby anymore. She has been a little cranky this weekend, but last night she looooved playing with her feather. ^.^

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Best Shopping Apps for Saving Money

I grew up in a household with a mother who was constantly bargain hunting. She'd only get certain things if they were on sale and she had a coupon. She would take advantage of double coupons, price matching, and using a manufacturer and store coupon at the same time. Some people may think this is a waste of time, but it's basically free money, at least to me! I caught on to the thrill of the hunt, and my boyfriend thinks it's silly that I look at the online ad, gather up my list and my coupons, and then go to the store. But I think it's smart. We can spend our money on other things if we save it where we can. Some of my friends have also noticed all the great deals I get, so I thought I'd write a post about a few tips and also a couple apps that I use to stretch my dollars further.

shopkick is a free app that turns shopping into a game. When you enter certain stores (Target, Best Buy, and Macy's to name a few), you open up the app and a bubble comes up that you pop to get your "kicks." When you've reached a certain number of kicks, you can exchange them for a reward, like a gift card. There are also coupons within the app, lookbooks to browse, and you can earn even more kicks by looking for specific items in the store and scanning them. Yes, it takes a little extra time, but don't most of us go to Target knowing that we won't quite stick to our list anyway? I haven't redeemed my kicks yet, but after using the app for a few months mainly just when I go to Target, I have enough for the $5 gift card rewards.

Endorse is a really cool app, that I'm able to take advantage of maybe once a month or so. Endorse gives you about 15 or so offers each week - like 10% off fast food or 20% off Nature Valley Granola Bars. If you buy those items, you upload a photo of your receipt to Endorse. Then they give you some money back. It's that simple. They also have a component where you get points that equal money for charity. Just now as I was reading the site, I realized that you get charity points for every receipt you upload, even if no offers are involved. I wish I would have realized that sooner! Some examples of offers I've gotten - 50% off champagne or beer (around New Year's) and 10% off any brand of pet food. You should definitely download the app. Once you hit $25 you can get a check, otherwise you can have your earnings put in your PayPal account. Very cool and super easy way to save money!
Disclaimer - the link above is a referral link - please use it : )

I was going to talk about Meijer's app, but I know that's sort of a midwest thing. If you do shop at Meijer though, make sure you sign up for their mPerks program.

So what apps do you use or tricks do you have to save money? I'd also love to know which stores are worth getting a credit card at or signing up for their email list. I may do another post about that and also one about getting the most free stuff around your birthday! Happy Saturday! I cannot believe there is snow on the ground here...

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Do Me a Favor?

Hello everyone! I entered my mom in this World Market mother's day contest, and I was really hoping you'd take a moment and go to this link to vote for her! I'm way far behind, but it's still somewhat realistic that she could win, so pretty please?! If she does win, I'll make sure I reward you all with a great giveaway!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

April Floods Bring What Exactly?

Rain, rain go away
Come again some other

Photo from mLive

Photo from WOODTV8

Photo from WOODTV8


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Ode to Oberon

Dear Oberon,

You taste much nicer than you did last year, and with this winter dragging along so late, you are a welcome sign that summer is near. As I wade through day 3 of five 100%-chance-of-rain-y days, I am happy to call you my friend. I pity those who have not tasted you and cannot buy you in their stores. Michigan isn't good for many things (more than you think though), but you are one of them. Thank you for being you. 


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Weekly Wrap-Up

J. Crew Factory stores had a half off sale last week! I bought a pretty dress.

Here are my favorite posts of the week:
This spaghetti squash alfredo from Jenny at Everyday is a Holiday looks soooo good. And it's vegetarian!
Oh my goodness, these mushroom sugar cookies from Kaylah over at The Dainty Squid look delicious and are beautiful! She also made letters and teeth - I am so impressed!
I love Vanessa from Vanessa Chloe's World's five favorites. I think I might borrow this blog idea and share a few of my current favorite things later this week!
Gentri Lee went south and shared some gorgeous photos. I've been to Austin, Texas and LA but really no where in between. I'd love to go!
I love this post from A Cup of Jo about making your own salad dressing for the week. Not only is it easy, but it is way better for you than store bought dressing. Eat healthy!
I'm not really into nail art myself, but I like this coral ombré idea from Lily Pebbles because she used a different color on each finger. Really pretty!
Mmm, I used to hate rosemary but I've been coming around. The ladies from A Beautiful Mess posted a recipe that I've been eager to try - Rosemary Lemonade. It looks divine!

Best thing I ate this week:
I'm just going to throw it out there. Qdoba naked vegetarian burrito. I seriously love Qdoba. Do you have them where you are? Everyone is all crazy over Chipotle, but I don't get it. I also had a delicious bloody mary from a fun bar we have here in Grand Rapids, Stella's.

Favorite day of the week:
On Wednesday, I received my official offer letter for my first "real" job ever! It's been three years since I finished my coursework, two since my internship, and over one since I had to start paying on my student loans, so I'm really excited! Finally!

Best purchase of the week:
In addition to buying a bunch of great clothes on sale from J. Crew and Kohl's last weekend and then getting compliments all week, Andrew and I ordered a couch yesterday. We've been sitting on a cheap futon for years, so we're really excited for it to arrive! I love the throw pillows that come with it. Pictures soon!

Something I learned this week:
That hard work really will pay off in the end!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Lovely Llorys Turns 90!

Gotcha! The internet isn't even that old! But the namesake of my blog, Llorys, my grandmother, turned 90 about two weeks ago. If you haven't read my about me, my middle name is Llorys after my grandma, as is my mother's, so that's where I got the idea for my blog name. I still like it after a year, which is about how old Lovely Llorys the blog is, but enough about that, here's my grandma!

Llorys was born on March 21st, 1923 in Minnesota. I looked up the year 1923 to see what was going on. Time Magazine debuted, Yankee Stadium opened its doors for the first time, the Hollywood sign was inaugurated in California (it said Hollywoodland back then), Disney was founded, and the first refrigerator was sold in Sweden.

My grandma lived through some major changes. She recalls WW2 and dealing with ration coupons. She considered herself an old maid when she was married at 24 (I'm 24!). She has no interest in getting a cell phone or computer. Just to impress/motivate you, she still drives, lives alone in the house my mom and siblings grew up in, and has no major health issues.

For her 90th birthday, my mom and aunts had contacted some people to card-bomb her. Not only did friends, family, and extended friends send her cards, but she received something from the Detroit Tigers, Barack Obama, our state senator Carl Levin, Mickey Mouse, and the "special tribute" shown above from the state of Michigan. How cool!

My grandma is a very cool lady. She has a monkey collection and also collects Woody (from Toy Story) things. She has a very good sense of humor and is still "with it." She even knows who Justin Bieber is, and made me feel silly for asking if she did. I'm very lucky to still have her in my life!

Here's to 90 more years!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Earth-Friendly Tip!

Happy April! I am all for making the whole month about the earth instead of just one day, so I'll try to share some sustainability tips with you. Here's my first helpful hint!

Don't you hate the way some things are packaged? Like at some point I can't get anymore toothpaste/shampoo/body wash/lotion out of its container, and I feel like I've been cheated. And more than I hate wasting money, I hate waste in general. So I have a nifty little trick to share (you've probably already thought of this, but in case you haven't)! 

I use a pan scraper, or if you don't have that, something with a flat edge that's somewhat thin and sturdy. Starting at the end furthest from the opening, use the scraper to push whatever's left to the other end. Then find some sort of handy container and both your hands' squeezing power to empty the contents into your container. With toothpaste, you can't really empty it into anything else, but at least you can squeeze more out of it! 

Then find a cool store near you like Tree Huggers or participate in Terracycle to be even more earth friendly and recycle your tube! 

What tricks do you have for reducing waste or making life easier? I'd love to hear!