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I’ll admit it:  “Cellfire” as the name of a Web site automatically makes me think of companies spamming my phone.  Luckily, first impressions are not always correct!

If you shop at Shop Rite, Kroger’s, Safeway, Giant Eagle, Shop’nSave or Foodtown, you should be signed up for this site.  Jared and I first discovered it through Fios TV, and I think the concept is awesome.  By registering with the site, you are able to register your store loyalty cards and add coupons directly to the card.  No more coupon clipping or searching for coupons you’ve misplaced (Disclaimer:  I’m still a coupon clipper, and my system is so organized it would make your head spin.  But I digress).  Simply log on, add the coupons you want to your card, and the discounts will be automatically taken at checkout.

The site has a multitude of ways to keep consumers connected to the coupons they choose, whether it’s online, through your TV or through a mobile app.  The offers are for popular brands that you might shop for anyway, making it worth the time to sign up and browse.  The site also features a section that allows you to print coupons by installing an App onto your computer.

I’m desperate to use this site and all its features, but for some reason Jared and I are having a problem with our Shop Rite card, where the site doesn’t seem to recognize it.  We’ve noticed this before too in Shop Rite when they try to look us up, so I think the problem is on our end.  Once I’ve got it up and running properly, I’ll be sure to share any hints and tricks I’ve found when using the site!

Anyone else currently using this with success?  Or have you had trouble as well?

Thanks to Hip2Save, I’m discovering all sorts of fun sites lately.  Yesterday, I saw a notice about House Party on the Facebook feed.  After some exploration of Hip2Save’s blog post and the House Party site, I thought it would be a fun site to share.

The concept is pretty cool:  House Party lists a number of different events sponsored by various brands that are looking to get the word out about their products.  As a member of the House Party site, you apply online to act as host for the various events.  If you are chosen, you get some free stuff and great products to use.  All you have to do is host the party!

So what’s the catch?  Parties do have to be hosted on a specific day, so if you’re booked for like months on end like we always seem to be, it might be hard to find something cool to host.  Also, there is no guarantee you’ll be chosen.  Basically, it seems as if you have to meet certain requirements, and there are only so many party packages to go around.  Also, you are expected to be an active part of the community, sharing photos and information from your party.  Fun for a blogger like me, but probably not a real incentive for most other people.

I’m super into this concept.  Number one, because I like free things, and number two, because it’s a great excuse to get people together.  My only concern is not getting enough people to attend!  While most of the upcoming parties are on dates that I wouldn’t be able to host, I’ll be on the look out for some fun ones.

Who’s in??  Would anyone come to something like this, or is it annoying?  Feedback, please!  Otherwise, I’ll update once I have my first party 🙂

Just when I think I’ve been pushing myself to the limits when it comes to working out, I find a new DVD that makes me wonder if I’m ever really working hard at all.

Similar to the HiiT video, Cathe’s Cardio Core Circuit incorporates a lot of plyometric movement that has your heart pumping within the first few minutes.  The DVD is set up into 5 intense little rounds.  When I first started, for some reason I thought it was 7 rounds, and I honestly didn’t know how I’d get through them.  There are 3 cardio drills that are done for 30 seconds each, and then repeated.  After that, there is a small session of intense core work.

Regarding the cardio, there is a LOT of jumping and bouncing around.  Honestly, if you have any kind of lower body injury, such as knee or ankle pain, I really would not recommend this workout.  Knowing you only have to do each move twice and then you move on helps to keep you motivated, however, it’s definitely not for beginners.  There were a few points where I had to stop just to try to get my breathing back on track.  I’ve never found myself wishing for jump squats, but to be honest, those were a welcome break after some of the other moves!

The core moves are very advanced.  I’m sure I’ll work up to them, but Cathe does a lot of squat thrusts and push up type things that have always been very hard for me.  She does provide some modifications, though, and those will have to do for now!

This is not the kind of video that I could do more than once or twice a week.  While it’s most definitely a FABULOUS cardio option, I was very sore in my legs the next day and even the day after that.  Make sure you bring a lot of energy to this one…you’ll need it!  While it’s certainly not impossible to the point where I’d need to turn it off, it’s a true challenge, but the rewards outweigh the pain 🙂

So you survived the moving day-the worst is over, right?  Not necessarily.  It’s daunting to be surrounded by boxes and boxes of your things, especially after you might be exhausted from an all day move.  Below are some strategies I’ve used to ensure we don’t spend an entire month staring down the box piles.

1.) Prioritize which rooms need to be done first. Given how overwhelming it can be to move into a new house with more rooms than you might be used to, you’ll need to prioritize which rooms should come first.  For me, our bedroom is always first priority.  After all, at the end of the day, you don’t want to be climbing over boxes just to get in bed.  If you followed my advice regarding labeling your boxes (and if you didn’t, right now you’ll be wishing you did), it should be easy to tell which boxes belong in the bedroom.  If you do nothing else that first night, set up your bedroom and move those boxes out!

2.)  Go room by room, not box by box. This is another area where if you didn’t follow Tip #1, you’ll be wishing you had.  It’s a lot easier to go room by room than to just start opening random boxes and taking things into each room.  Not only does it waste time and energy taking things from place to place, it also leads to a lot of reorganizing when, say, you find that giant box of kitchen items after you’ve already set everything up.  If you followed Tip #1, all of your boxes should be in each room, allowing you to unpack each room in full before moving on.  Finally, even finishing one room can give you a sense of accomplishment and keep your spirits up as you continue to plow through.

3.)  Don’t be afraid of storage. Every time I’ve moved, I’ve always “traded up” so to speak for more space.  You’d think this would mean I could have everything out on display, right?  Not the case.  I’m not a fan of cluttered spaces, and for this reason, I’m not afraid of storing things, whether it’s in the basement or in a storage center.  We all have things that we don’t use every day.  Why stress yourself out trying to make it fit when it could easily be stored?  As you go room to room, start a box for things that don’t need to be out on a day to day basis and work to find a solution to store these things if space does not allow.

4.)  Set a goal for yourself. I know people that moved months ago who still haven’t finished unpacking.  I understand it takes some time to get to know your space and figure out what you want.  However, for me, I wanted everything unpacked within one week of moving in.  Keeping to this goal helped me to prioritize rooms and other weekly activities.  Unpacking within one week is NOT an unreasonable time frame.  In fact, I even logged some extra hours at work during this time and still managed to meet this goal.

5.)  Save the decorating for last. I’ve made this mistake dozens of times.  You come upon your box with all of your pictures/curtains and want to start hanging things up.  However, if you’re not totally unpacked, you run the risk of having to take things down as you continue to rearrange.  Once I cleared all the boxes out of each room, I was able to really step back and see if the furniture made sense where we had it and also assess where we needed pictures aas well as what curtains to use.  I know decorating makes everything feel more homey, however, save this for last if you value your walls and don’t want to put in nails unnecessarily.  🙂

6.)  Share the burden. When it comes to unpacking, I tend to be pretty territorial.  However, it’s unreasonable to think that I could unpack Jared’s office boxes and put things where he wants them.  Have an honest talk with your spouse/roommates about who is responsible for what.  If there’s something they want to be involved in, like setting up the kitchen, find out first before you start.  Also, be honest about your expectations as far as when you expect things to be unpacked.  It’ s not overbearing at all to say that you are hoping to have all boxes out by Sunday, for instance.  Setting goals together helps everyone stay on track.

To be honest, I secretly enjoy the unpacking process.  Take the time to realize how much fun it is to set up your things in a new space.  If you’re organized and stay on track, unpacking can happen quickly and efficiently, while still leaving you time to have a life!

All of us have seen or heard of Consumer Reports, but to be honest, this is never a magazine I would have gotten a subscription to.  For the one time every few years I need to buy cars or major appliances, the magazine seemed to really only serve a once in awhile purpose.  And to be perfectly honest, the covers always had a bit too much of a male focus for me.  Then along comes Consumer Reports hipper little sister, the ShopSmart magazine.

Jared’s mom has this magazine sitting out often, and from the looks of the cover, it’s almost hard to believe it’s under the Consumer Reports name.  Hip, modern, and definitely attractive to a newly married, almost homeowner female in their 20s, ShopSmart is actually a magazine I’d read.  And Jared’s mom was nice enough to lend me her copy!

Although I just started the magazine yesterday, I’m already hooked.  From advice on what jeans to buy to grocery shopping hints and tricks to save money, this is really the perfect magazine for people who desire to be educated about their shopping choices, but don’t necessarily need advice on large items all the time.  From home renovations to lunch ideas, ShopSmart really covers a wide variety of needs in a modern way.

Still not ready to subscribe?  ShopSmart is probably one of the only magazines I’ve seen recently with full PDF versions of their articles on their Web site for those modern ladies that read everything online.  While the magazine is a bit more pricier than some of the ones I already receive (current promo advertises 6 for $18) I still think this is an investment worth making.

I’ll admit it.  I love photos, but I hate printing them out at kiosks at places like Wal Mart and Shop Rite.  There’s usually always a line, so once it’s your turn, you feel rushed or frazzled, plus I never do it often enough, so I always have tons I want to print, and it takes forever.  Not to mention there’s usually not a soul around when you need an associate to punch in the password.  Moral of that story is, I’m interested in ANY method that allows me to not have to deal with that.

I had heard of Snapfish before a million times, but never used it.  Sometimes I don’t trust Web sites that promise high quality photos for your uploads.  But, this time, I was desperate to have some photos people had taken at the wedding without having to ask them to print them for me.  Snapfish allows you to create an account, upload photos, edit them, and have them sent directly to your home (or you can pick them up-if you like that sort of thing).

No more picture printing confusion!

I was in heaven.  The first thing I did was ask my sister for access to her account so I could print all the great pictures she took at my bachelorette party as well as during the wedding.  Once I submitted that order, I started my own account and saved some pictures from Facebook to it and had Jared save our honeymoon pictures there.  In about 10 minutes time, I had ordered over 60 pictures that were going to be delivered in a few days’ time.  And the price?  Only about $13, which included printing and shipping!!

The quality of the pictures was a mixed bag.  For the ones that were uploaded to the site directly from our cameras, these came out beautifully.  For the ones I took from Facebook, their quality was only ok.  I did have the option to choose to have them resized for better quality, but I didn’t choose that.  Maybe I should have.  However, for my purposes, everything was just fine for what I needed!

I’ve used other sites like Kodak before, and I know WalMart allows you to upload photos to their Web site that you can pick up in store, but I have to say I think Snapfish has the best prices for photos of all the sites I’ve used, without slapping you with a huge shipping charge to make up for it.  Gone are my frustrating days of waiting in line! Yay!!

What are you doing this weekend?  If your answer was nothing, then you’re missing out!  On Saturday, my friends and I will be hitting up the 2010 Manayunk Arts Festival.  It’s our fourth year in attendance at the Manayunk, PA festival, but the festival has been running for 21 years.

The festival takes place along Main Street in Manayunk.  Manayunk is just a really cool town, with Main Street being a primo location for great shopping and dining.  Manayunk was named a National Historic District in 1983 and its adorable Main Street borders the Manayunk Canal and Schuylkill River.  It’s also offers very convenient access right into Philadelphia from the R6, which stops right in Manayunk in walking distance from Main Street.

I think the best part about the festival is that it offers something for everyone.  For the past 3 years, we’ve made it a girls trip, but this year, Jared’s going to join us.  Even though a lot of the vendors are local artists and jewelry makers, there are still a lot of great things that men can enjoy too. Like great food and free drink samples!  Not to mention the fact that the Manayunk Brewery is right along Main Street, making it a great option for lunch along the way.

Another great year at the Manayunk Arts Festival!

The festival runs on Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 8 pm Saturday and 11 am to 6 pm Sunday.  We’ve always gone on Saturdays, and while it’s certainly crowded, I still feel like there is enough room to see what you want to see-and to buy it too!  Parking has never been an issue, and we’ve never paid more than $10 to park and walk a short distance to Main Street, however, the train is super convenient as well.  While eating establishments do fill up quickly and there’s often a long wait, we’ve never had too many problems finding a great place to grab a drink or some food.

Prices for the various vendors obviously vary from the very expensive to the reasonable.  I’ve bought something almost every year, whether it’s a piece of small art or decorative wine glasses-good stuff that has lasted through a few moves!  So, bring your wallets and get ready to experience the best in arts that the Philly area has to offer!  See you there!

My brother and sister are very important to me.  Out of everyone in my life, they’ve been my strongest supporters.  For that reason, I wanted to get them something special to thank them at my wedding for everything they’ve done.

My favorites 🙂

I have to admit, it was not easy choosing something that would express to them how much they meant to me.  I wanted something deeply personal, that could reflect what the three of us have shared. In my mind, I had a vision of a special frame with a quote that demonstrates how much we mean to each other.  I searched for a long time online, but was severely disappointed with the options.  A lot of places didn’t leave enough space for personalization, or added hokey messages that meant nothing to us.

I finally found Personalization Mall, and I’m so happy I did!  The options on the site were a bit overwhelming, but I was just glad to have choices!  I chose the Personalized 5 Photo Collage Canvas with Frame. This allowed 4 rows of personalization up to 20 characters each, along with another inscription that could have our names.  It was really exactly what I was looking for, already packaged in a frame so I didn’t have to spend extra money to find the perfect one.

Sample of the frame I bought

I do have to admit, uploading photos to the site was difficult.  I wanted to use some baby pictures, and scanning them in and altering them to be the right fit for the site took forever.  I chose the black and white option, because I honestly was afraid of how the pictures would look. I had nightmares that it would be low quality.  Once all the pictures were uploading, the online tool walks you through cropping them and arranging them in pre-determined spots. Also a bit of a difficult task, making the images I wanted fit.  However, with Jared’s help, I finished it up and was able to submit the order.

I was truly impressed with how beautiful these were.  Delivery was timely and they were packaged very securely, ensuring they wouldn’t get roughed up before I had the chance to present them.  Kelly and Mark seemed to like them a lot!

I had such a positive experience with this site!  If you’re looking for something truly personal and special, this is really the best place to get the job done.

I’ll be the first to admit that there are a lot of things related to wedding planning that I think are a waste of money.  Rehearsal dinner invitations were kind of in that boat for me.  After all, the bridal party knows they are attending, as do our parents, so what’s the point?  However, being the eternal planner that I am, I wanted some of our other ceremony VIPs to have an invitation so they had everything in writing.  Also, we wanted to invite our officiant, so I set a small $75 budget for the invites.

My first plan of attack was Target to see if they had any invitations that might work for a rehearsal dinner.  They let me down. So, the online search began.  I checked out a few sites, but once I added in shipping and the like, the cost was way over what we set aside.  I was getting pretty frustrated, and almost bagged the whole idea, but then I came across Wedding Paper Divas.

I know some of you designers might be cringing right now.  “Eek, she used an online site and now these invites won’t match her exact theme and colors!”  Valid point-if I cared about that stuff.  😉  Wedding Paper Divas is the ultimate site for self-service invites.  They had a whole section for rehearsal dinner invitations-it was kind of hard to choose!  Each invite had color options and font options on top of that, as well as a number of options for quantity.  That was the other issue I had with some of the other sites-we only needed 20 invites, and some of the other sites only offered fixed packages. These were fixed as well, but I thought the numbers counted up in reasonable increments.

When you create an invite with Wedding Paper Divas, it’s basically plug and play:  they ask you to fill out a form with the information needed on the invite.  Then, you get an online preview with your own information put in. You can adjust font, size, anything you want, really.  Your order comes with envelopes, however,  you also have the option to have the envelopes pre-printed with a return address (for a few extra dollars).  After you order (using an online coupon code, no less) they send you a proof via email to ensure everything is accurate before they are printed!

I was extremely impressed with the quality and quick turnaround time of Wedding Paper Divas.  Even though we didn’t work with them for all of our invitations, I still felt like it stayed close to our theme without costing us an arm and a leg.

Yay for checking this off the list!

Happy Friday!  It’s been a long week/month/beginning of the year, lol!  But, we’re only 4 months away from my big day!

So, in tribute to all of us brides who would love to focus on nothing else more than our wedding, but have been consumed with other bigger worries, I bring you The Everyday Bride.  Every day stories for those brides that can’t spend every waking hour thinking about the minor details!  Although it’s focused on Chicago resources, I still love to see the little things people are looking at and thinking about!

Enjoy!

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