Tag Archives: shopping

Catching Up: Black (and Silver) Friday

Yes, we’re those people…the ones who get up early and head to the stores for crazy Black Friday deals.  Yes, it’s early.  And yes, there are lots of people.  But it’s SOOO worth it!

Last year was my first year to ever do the whole Black Friday thing.  Michael’s family had been doing it for years, and we decided to carry on the tradition in Oklahoma last year.  We found a ton of amazing deals, and decided that we’d be doing it every year we could from then on!  Last year we had a list of lots of things we were looking for, and a big time game plan.  We were at Kohl’s before 4:00 (yes, A.M.) so we could be there when the doors opened.

This year we decided to take it a little easier since all we were looking for were clothes.  So we didn’t get to Old Navy until 5:00 (I know…so late, right?!).  Michael’s mom went with us, and we just took our time shopping around.  Literally everything in the store was on sale. We got some really great deals!

When we left Old Navy, we went to the mall.  We were going to just go to Aeropostale and JC Penny, but we saw that New York & Company was having a 60% off everything sale.  So we went to those three stores, found some amazing deals, and went back to Old Navy for a few more gifts before we went to breakfast.  Richard and Amanda were finally getting started on their shopping when we finished breakfast, so we dropped Michael’s mom off with them and then we stopped in at Bath & Body Works, picked up a pair of ski pants for Michael at Academy, and went back home to relax.

It was 12:00, and we’d already been up for 8 hours.

But we’d saved over $420  so it was WELL WORTH IT!!  I can’t get my brain to figure out the math, but I do know that we saved well over what we spent!

Look at all of our Black Friday goodies!

These pictures aren’t the best quality, but here are a few of our favorite deals of the day:

It was a GREAT day of deals!  And we had lots of fun shopping.  It was fun to have his mom with us this year.



After we relaxed and watched a movie, it was time to put on some Black and Silver–we were going to a Spurs game!

Michael’s family has been huge Spurs fans forever.  Even though I’m not a die-hard fan (like I was when Michael Jordan played for the Bulls!), I enjoy cheering for the Spurs with Michael.  We’ve been to two Spurs vs. Thunder games in OKC, and we had a GREAT time.  But this was the first time I’ve seen a Spurs game in San Antonio.  And they were playing their biggest rivals: the Mavs!

Michael’s dad had called a while back and asked if we wanted to go the day after Thanksgiving, and of course we said yes!  All 6 of us went together, and we had such a great time!  The only thing that would have made it better would have been if Sarah (Michael’s sister) could have been with us.

We got there in plenty of time to walk around, shop, take some pictures, and even shoot some hoops before the game.

The brothers and soon-to-be sisters-in-law:

Mom and Dad E

All the championship rings!

These guys were making tons of noise and getting everyone all ready for the game:

They even had shooting games set up in the “fan zone”

When it got closer to time for the game to start, we headed over to find our seats while the team warmed up.

Michael’s mom sat with Richard and Amanda above us:

And we sat with his dad on the row below:

We went to get some food during half time and ran into H-E-Buddy

It was a REALLY good game!  The Spurs lost, but it was still a really exciting game.  We had to take our traditional “We won/lost picture”.

We had a great time!  It was so much fun to be there with Michael’s family!!

After the game, we went to Freddy’s Frozen Custard (YUM!) and headed home.


It had been SUCH a great trip to San Antonio!  I’m so thankful we were able to spend Thanksgiving with Michael’s family this year.



Do you shop on Black Friday?  Have you ever been to a NBA game?  Who is “your team”?




New “Books Are Fun” Finds

Yesterday, “Books Are Fun” came to my work.  A couple of times a year they’ll come and set up all of their books, toys, gadgets, and other items.  And a couple of times a year I leave with at least one bag full of great buys. Yesterday was no different.

“Books Are Fun” is a division of “Reader’s Digest”, and they set up displays at schools, small businesses, and larger corporations.  I’m guessing our office is one of the larger corporations because they had at least a hundred titles and things.  There was everything from books to blankets, toys to creative watches, movies to scrapbook supplies, and so much more.  Needless to say, I loved looking at everything!  Oh — and another plus is that everything I bought yesterday was retailed between $20 and $50 and I only paid between $10.99 and $15.99!


I bought cards and a Christmas present before lunch, and then Michael went back with me after lunch and we bought a few more things.




My mom bought me a set similar to these when I was in High School or early college, and I’ve been addicted every since.  This is my fourth “Books Are Fun” card set.

They have divider tabs inside with lots of cards in each category.

They would all sell for around $4 – $6 in a store, and I got all of them for $15.99!  Here are some examples:



101 Things to Do Before You Grow Up

I bought this before lunch as a Christmas present for a family friend (6th grade boy).  When I showed it to Michael, we both liked it so much that we decided to get one for ourselves!  It’s packed full of awesome things to do.  Boys would especially love this, but there are plenty of things for girls too.  (Here’s an Amazon link for the book, but if you can find it at “Books Are Fun” it’s a lot less.)

There are 6 different sections, and they all have diagrams and detailed instructions on all of the different things to do.

Here’s part of the Table of Contents.  You can see that it’s a spiral bound hardback.


Which has everything from “Build an air cannon”

to “Make a tree swing”


With things like “Make a flick book”

and “Write a detective story”


“Extract DNA in your own kitchen”

and “Walk on Liquid”


From “Make a battery”

to “Make the ultimate bug catcher”


“Master some coin tricks”

and “Send messages in invisible ink”

And lastly — Survival:

Things like “Start a campfire without matches”

and “Build an emergency shelter” (in all kinds of places)

We’re both really excited to try some of these things out!  And it’ll be a lot of fun to go through them with our kids someday.



The Berenstain Bears Set

We’d both loved “The Berenstain Bears” growing up, and when we found this set of 7 for $12.99 we couldn’t pass it up!

These were two of my favorites:

I love how they all have lessons in them, but they’re still fun to read.



And lastly:


101 Classic Stories

We saw this book and decided that it’d be a really good “bedtime story” book someday.  The illustrations are really cute, and there are TONS of stories inside.  Here’s a link to a different edition — I can’t find the one we bought.

There are stories for 4-6 year olds

and 7-9 year olds

Some stories are ones I’ve heard over and over, like “The Princess and the Frog”

“The Emperor’s Clothes”, “Cinderella”, “The Tortoise and the Hare” and “The Princess and the Pea”.

And then there are a lot that I’ve never read like “The Giant who Counted Carrots” from Germany

and “The Dragons of Peking” from China.



We were really happy with all of our new “Books Are Fun” finds!  I hope that we can find a place where they come in Beaumont.  I just love how most of the items they have are fun, creative learning things.



Have you seen any must-have books lately?




We’ve Been Spoiled

Over the past week, Michael and I have felt so spoiled!  We’ve gone places, bought things, and eaten at restaurants that are very out of the ordinary for us.  Since we’re on a budget (thanks to Dave Ramsey…), we usually only eat out a few times a month, and big purchases have to be saved for.  (By the way, Michael is a MUCH better saver than I am.  Almost every month, I spend at least $25 buying books and movies from Amazon, while Michael saves his until he has money for something big.)

I think our spoiled-ness started on Tuesday of last week.  We were all ready to eat at Danna and Jonathan’s (our really good friends, who we hang out with as much as possible), but they decided to get Oscar’s Chinese food instead.  Michael and I LOVE Oscar’s.  Let’s just say I *might* have given Danna the number by looking through my most recent 10 calls…

Then later in the week, I was looking through my purse and saw a ton of unused gift cards.  These are the one thing I do save.  I didn’t even have a clue where we got most of them, or how much was on each.  I called the number on the back of most of the cards, and I found out that we still had a  gift card from our wedding to Dillard’s, three Wal-Mart cards, my massage gift card from my parents for my bday back in April, an Elephant Bar gift card from my Bible study girls back in April, and a few other random cards!  Why hadn’t we used these before?!

I called and made my massage appointment for Thursday, and the spoiling started full-force.

On Thursday, we each got to pick out new glasses!  This doesn’t sound like a big deal, but we were both looking forward to it.  Michael has never worn glasses or contacts in his life.  Up until this past year, he had perfect vision.  (He still likes to say his vision is perfect and that he just has an astigmatism, but we won’t go there…)  We both picked out our glasses and we’re only going to have to pay less than a third of the price because my work covers a certain dollar amount! You can see Michael’s later on in the post, but here are a pic of mine:

After we went to get our glasses, it was time for my massage!  I’ve never had a true table massage before, but I’ve always wanted one.  My family bought me a massage for my bday, and I’d been saving it until now.




Why haven’t I been getting massages my whole life?!  When Michael came to pick me up, I was still completely out of it, and I feel like I walked around in a haze for the rest of the night.  I was just SO relaxed!  I’m pretty sure I’ve inherited the stress gene (thanks, Mom), and no matter how hard I try to not stress, my shoulders are one big knot.  Ann, my massage therapist, spent almost the whole hour trying to get the knots out.  She said that if I really wanted to get rid of them, I’d need to come at least every two weeks.

While I won’t be going every two weeks, I was talked into buying a membership to Massage Envy.  I get one massage a month for a discounted price, and then every massage in addition to that is even more of a discount.  Michael and I are hoping that they’ll help with all of my stinking back problems.  He’s going to go with me next time!  If you’ve never had a massage before, GO GET ONE!  (and if you join, tell them I sent you!)

While I was getting a massage, Michael was picking out our new Blu-ray/surround sound system!  We sold our X-Box to our friends since we never use it, and with that money plus one of the gift cards, we had enough to buy it.

But before we went back to get it, we used another gift card and ate an AMAZING dinner!  We went to the Elephant Bar for the first time for my mom’s birthday, and since then it’s become my favorite restaurant.  The food is incredible, and the atmosphere is unique.  Every time we eat there, I feel like I’m dining at Disney World.  And if you know how I feel about Disney Dining, that’s saying something!  Well, my wonderful Bible study girls somehow found out that I love the Elephant Bar, and they gave me a gift card for my bday.  We’d been holding onto this for a long time.

Michael ended up ordering braised lamb shanks (sorry, can’t find a picture), and I ordered the Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi Mahi.

Both of our meals were fantastic! For dessert, we split a mini walnut fudge brownie sundae.  SO GOOD!  Neither of us could finish even half of our meals.  And one of the things I love the most about Elephant Bar is that I always feel like I’ve eaten so healthy when I leave there.  It’s VERY yummy!

We left Elephant Bar and went to see my brother at work.  I’m still not used to seeing him in a shirt and tie and hearing him say, “Can I help you with something, Ma’am?”  Being the three crazies that we are, Michael and I tried to hide from him and he tried to hide from us when we saw each other.  I think we forgot that hide and seek only works if at least one person is seeking…  I’m sure the people in the rest of the bookstore were wondering what three grown people were doing sneaking around bookcases.  Anyway, we had a great time visiting with him!

We left there and went to pick up our new Blu-ray player.  Michael was VERY excited about this! We’ve used it a few times, and the sound really is great.  Oh–and I got to help set it all up.  I felt very tech-y!

We went back to pick up our glasses and used our Dillard’s card to buy a new waffle maker since ours died sometime last year.  Have I mentioned that I love gift cards?!

Then on Friday, we were spoiled too!  I’d found tickets for Beauty and the Beast for 70% off through Travel Zoo (By the way, if you like to travel or want discount event deals, subscribe to their newsletter) and I was SOOOO excited about this!  Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney animated movie (I’m a lot like Belle), and the abbreviated show at Disney World is one of my favorites.  I was so excited to see it in person!

Before we went to the show, we were able to meet up with one of my really great friends, Jane, and her boyfriend, Andrew (who I’ve also been friends with since before they started dating).  Jane and I were in The Forge together, and I’m SOOOO glad that all of “us Forgies” have stayed so close.  She’s been up north, so I haven’t seen her for over a year.  It was wonderful to just be able to eat yummy Pei Wei food and visit.  They’re very cute together, by the way!

After spending time with our friends, it was time for our show!  It was at the Winspear Opera House in Dallas.  The building was really pretty!

I don’t know why, but I was so nervous that we’d get there and it’d be the wrong place.  We went to Will Call to pick up our tickets, and they were there!  I know I’m silly, but just knew they wouldn’t be.  We were definitely at the right place.

I bought a little pin before we found our seats.  I started this when I saw Mary Poppins with my mom and some friends.  Hopefully I’ll be able to buy pins from every Broadway/traveling Broadway show I see.

One of the attendants asked if she could take our picture before we went into the actual theater (no pics allowed).  Doesn’t Michael look good with glasses?

Everyone kept telling us we had great seats when we would show them our tickets.  And they were right!  Because of the discount, I was able to get second row mezzanine seats (regular $95) for $30 a piece!  The show was outstanding!  The actresses and actors did a great job, the special effects were wonderful, and the music was fantastic!  Here are some pictures I found on the actual site (since I couldn’t take any inside).

We had such a great time!  I’m so thankful to have a husband who likes to do things like this with me!  We felt so spoiled–it was a great date night.

We drove to my Aunt L’s house for the night and hung out with her, my cousin M, and her girls.  The next morning, Aunt L took us to brunch at a really good little place in town.  I had Texas Pecan Waffles with Bacon, and Michael had an Omelet, Pancake, and breakfast Potatoes.

It seems like it was a week full of spoiling!  I’m so thankful that we can have times like this.  We don’t expect them at all, but they’re always special when they do happen.




Q for you:  When is the last time you were spoiled?