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The last two weeks have been a total blur. Here’s a snippet:

Friday before last, I drove down to Tucson with Tony so he could ride 111 miles in El Tour de Tucson. He finished in 6 hours, 5 minutes! He did really well, considering he had to change a flat tire too!  I’m really proud of him :) Hopefully I’ll get to ride next year when I’m not busy planning a wedding.

Then on Saturday, I attended my own fall-themed bridal shower.  It was simply beautiful, my bridesmaids really outdid themselves. I am truly blessed.

On Sunday, I hosted a baby shower for my future SIL.  I chose a teacup theme, and made cute cupcakes with toppers that say “A Baby’s Brewing.” Because I’m an Amazon addict, I even picked up some of these cute silicone cupcake molds to bake my cupcakes in. I used this recipe to make pink lady cupcakes (I thought the pink was cute for a baby girl), and then topped them with swirls of vanilla bean cream cheese frosting. Wanna see?

Then there was Thanksgiving, where we spent the day with my lovely family from Colorado (blondes rule! browns drool!). We also saw The Muppets with my little cousins. Two words. LOVED IT!

On Black Friday, I drove down with my sister to Newport Beach, CA, where we spent 2 1/2 days of non-stop shopping for bridal necessities and clothes for my engagement pictures. I did pick up some nice steals, like a pair of fabulous boots from Banana Republic for 40% off…that have already become a staple in my wardrobe, along with some skinny jeans that my sister insisted I try on…a trend that I swore I’d never be able to pull off, but apparently I can, and they are so dang comfortable that I now want to buy more!

Which brings me to Cyber Monday, where I actually did no cyber shopping whatsoever (gasp!).  Instead, Tony and I met our most awesome and amazing photographer for our engagement photo shoot in Costa Mesa. (more on that later)

Yesterday, Tony’s niece Marie was born, and we got to meet her today for the first time. She’s precious, and her big brother Mason already loves on her, it’s so adorable.

Tomorrow I leave for a quick weekend trip to Vegas, for a couples getaway, so Tony and I can take a mini break from all the wedding planning. And just be. Together.

Whew.

Pssssssst. You want to know who won the giveaway? Lucky entry #10 was the winner — Congratulations to Andrea F! I’ll be contacting you via email. Thanks for being a loyal reader!

I made a trip to the grocery store yesterday to pick up baby shower supplies, and Tony gave me a very strange look when I came home with an 18-pack of beer!! (Don’t worry Janelle, the punch was NOT spiked!! haha)

Then when I told him it was free, and I couldn’t pass it up so I threw it in the cart, he said “Oh, that makes sense.” (after all, it is ME we’re talking about). Then he said “Wait…how did you get beer free?!?”

Here’s how:

I found this rebate form near the Coors Light display at my Fry’s. Since the 18-pack of Coors Light was on sale for $14.99, it wasn’t just free, it was a $10 moneymaker after the $25 rebate! Plus I used a coupon that I found attached to the case of Coors Light to get $3 off a salty snack wyb 18-pack of Coors Light. I found a bag of Kettle chips on sale for $3.06, essentially making those free as well!

 

Here’s how you can make this deal even sweeter: Combine this rebate with the gift card promotion going on at several grocery stores right now. 

For example, at Safeway, you’ll get $15 off your next $50 purchase when you buy $100 of participating gift cards –> 4 DAYS ONLY! 11/20-11/23 .  An 18-pack was on sale for $16.99 there, so you can possibly turn this into an $8 moneymaker plus get $15 off your next order!  Plus your order should also qualify for their 4x fuel rewards promotion (good only at a Safeway gas station).

At Fry’s you’d get quadruple fuel rewards through 12/11, as I’ve already outlined here. (Go enter my giveaway!) So if you bought a $100 gift card you’d get 400 fuel rewards, or $0.10 off per gallon up to 35 gallons at Shell or Circle K on four different fuel-ups. Just make sure to use them before they expire, fuel rewards do not roll over and are only available through through the end of the following month in which they were earned.

You can always buy a larger pack of beer too, the rebate is for 18-pack or larger. The 30-pack of Coors Light cans was on sale for $19.99 at Safeway, so you would make $5 after rebate + plus get $15 off your next $50 order.

When I bought my gift card & the beer, I just bought a Fry’s $100 gift card since I knew I would be using it again on groceries. But you’d have to buy a non-Safeway or non-Fry’s gift card to be eligible for any of the gift card promotions.

?

You all know how much I love to double/triple/quadruple dip whenever possible. When I was offered to write a post on Fry’s new holiday gift card promotion, I said you betcha! Because that’s something I already take advantage of! I don’t even need a super fancy promotion to do it — but quadruple gas rewards makes it even better!


Here’s the skinny:

Kroger’s Promotion – Get Quadruple Fuel Rewards 11/20-12/11

Beginning November 20 and running through December 11, Fry’s will offer quadruple fuel rewards points on most gift cards sold at its in-store kiosk. The rewards points can be redeemed for discounts of up to $0.10/gallon on fuel at Shell stations and $1/gallon at Kroger Family Fuel Centers. The company is encouraging holiday shoppers to stop by Fry’s before they even start their holiday shopping, buy gift cards to use like cash, and save on fuel in the process. It’s a win-win!

Choose from retailers such as Macy’s, JCPenney, Sears, Starbucks, iTunes, Lowes, Gap and Old Navy, Chili’s and Best Buy, among many others.

If I know I’m going to be making a purchase at a particular store ahead of time, I often will run across the street to Fry’s and buy a gift card first.  For example, I often shop on Amazon, so if I have a big purchase to make, here’s what I do:

How to triple dip on gift cards
(credit card cash back + Fry’s fuel points + airline miles/online cash back)

  1. Determine how much your purchase will be, so you know how many gift cards to buy. I usually round down to an even $25 amount, so I don’t have leftover gift cards randomly laying around.
  2. Buy a gift card for that denomination at Fry’s. When you check out, use a credit card that gives cash back on grocery store purchases.
  3. Receive fuel rewards for your gift card purchase (normally 1 fuel reward pt for every $1 — so $100 in gift cards will give you 100 pts, or $0.10 off per gallon when you fill up at Shell/Circle K)
  4. Shop through a cash back shopping portal or frequent flyer shopping portal to earn cash back on your final purchase.
  5. Choose free in-store pickup or free shipping depending on the size of your order.

Regarding step #5 —  you want to make sure it’s a big enough purchase that you get free shipping or free in-store pick-up, otherwise you’ll pay shipping which sort of defeats the purpose of your cash back in step #4.

Because I like math and I like examples, let’s suppose you were buying $100 in Home Depot gift cards for a home renovation and you don’t have one of those nifty 10% off coupons that we all love so much.  So you buy a $100 gift card at Fry’s, then you make your purchase online through a shopping portal like eBates.  During the Fry’s holiday gift card promotion, you can earn up to 12% cash back (or more depending on your gas tank size!)!!

Example: Total cashback on $100 Home Depot purchase

1% on credit card = $1
4 fuel pts/$1 = 400 fuel pts = save $0.10/gallon on FOUR future fill-ups — {worth $6 supposing you have 15 gallon fill-ups}
5% cash back when you shop through eBates = $5
Total cashback: $1 + $6 + $5 = $12 = 12% cash back!!

A bonus? You can choose free in-store pick up while shopping online at Home Depot! (Or free shipping to your home on orders over $45)

Just be sure to read the restrictions on the cash back site. For example, under Home Depot on eBates, cash back is not available on orders where a Gift Card is used to purchase another Gift Card or any order for items that include Installation Services.

(credit card cash back + quadruple Fry’s fuel points + airline miles/cash back = winning!)

GIVEAWAY TIME!

Speaking of winning, who wants a $25 gift card for Kroger (Fry’s)?

Just go here and enter your name and address to win a $25 gift card for the Kroger chain of stores. Entries taken until 11/30/11 at midnight MST, at which time the winner will be chosen randomly, contacted by email, and posted on the blog. Limit of one entry per person.

Good luck!

Disclosure: I was given a $25 Fry’s gift card in exchange for this post and giveaway.

A Random Picture Post

Just thought I’d pop in to say hello! Yes, I’m still alive, barely. :)  Wedding planning is exhausting.

Here are some fun pics from my girlfriend’s wedding last month:

In just 59 days, it will be our turn!

In other news, I have a fun giveaway coming up, so stay tuned!!

The first sweep of bonus miles from the 2011 Grand Slam have posted to everyone’s accounts. They were released in waves over the 29th-30th. I got nervous when some FT members had received their bonus miles yesterday, and I didn’t get mine, but I woke up today and the bonus miles had posted.

Apparently some people are receiving emails that tells them how many hits they’ve received.  I never received an email confirming my registration, nor the number of hits.  :(

Hilton HHonors Transfer Not Counting as a Hit During First Sweep

I had exactly 8 hits in my account by the cut-off date, so I should have received 10,000 bonus miles.  But I only got bonus miles for 4 hits:

9/29/2011 9/29/11 GRAND SLAM 2011 MULTI PARTNER BONUS – 4 3,000

I’m not the only one that has a discrepancy between the hits I have tallied, and the bonus that actually posted to my account.  According to this thread, there are several of us in the same boat.

Thankfully, Karlie19 from FT has already done some detective work and determined that the Hilton transfer of 850 miles did not count as a hit.  She was told by a CSR that the issue had been corrected, and the Hilton transfer would count in the next sweep. Here’s hoping!  If it doesn’t post during the next sweep, I’ll make a call to customer service myself.

Revised Strategy: 25,000 Bonus Miles for Me & the Mr.

Now that the Audience Rewards trivia miles are a confirmed hit, I’ll be swapping out my SPG points transfer for the Audience Rewards trivia hit (I need every last SPG point for our hotel on our honeymoon, so I’d rather not swap them to miles).

I still plan on only doing what I can get for free, which is 12 hits (15,000 bonus miles). You can see my tally of hits in my spreadsheet.

I also plan on completing 8 hits for Tony, for a free 10,000 miles (instead of my previously planned 4 hits). Here’s my plan for his account:

  1. Points.com transfer – already posted
  2. Amazon purchase – already posted
  3. Toolbar search – already complete/will post next week
  4. SPG dine – dined at an SPG hotel during RW; need to email receipt
  5. Audience Rewards trivia –  completed today
  6. Dividend Miles Dining – will go out to dinner sometime next week
  7. Like Thanks Again on FB – this is a BIG maybe, he doesn’t like to “like” anyone on FB; can also buy a Restaurant.com cert
  8. e-Rewards –  I have $25 in my account that I could use to transfer 500 miles to his DM acct
  9. magazine redemption – back-up option, he doesn’t have enough miles yet

Is anyone else playing? How many hits have you accumulated?

Good news! There’s another option for getting a FREE hit in the US Airways Grand Slam promo! It’s been confirmed by several members on the FT Grand Slam forum that answering Audience Rewards trivia counted as a hit to reach the bonus threshold that posted on 9/29.

You can go here to play the US Airways trivia.  I’ve been finding the answers each week on the InACents blog.  After you submit your first answer, it will prompt you for your US Airways Dividend Miles number.

You get 2 miles for every question that you answer correctly. It took 5 days for my miles to post to my account.

You can also earn SPG points, Delta SkyMiles, and Best Buy Reward Zone points for answering trivia questions. You’ll have to link your various programs to your Audience Rewards account. Once you add all your account numbers in your Audience Rewards account, it’s easy to just sign into your AR account each week and answer trivia questions in all the programs. (It doesn’t matter which you choose as your default earning preference — that’s just for purchasing tickets. I leave the default earning preference as US Airways miles, but still earn the points in all the other programs for the trivia).

I found out today that you’re limited to answering 20 trivia questions per day. :)

Saveology has AMC Theatres Silver Experience movie tickets on sale for $5 each.

The best part of this deal is that it’s available for all Saveology customers (not just new ones). The deal expires in two days or until sold out.

I bought my two! Another cheap movie date night for us.

I share the plight of every curvy woman out there — how to find the perfect pair of jeans that a) actually fits without showing crack when you bend over or sit down and b) accentuates your curves in the right way. No easy task.

I don’t pretend to be a fashionista, but I do think that I know a thing or two about curvy girl jeans. I have, after all, been shopping for them for almost 15 years. Yikes.

I started out with Express jeans in high school (back in the day, I got them for $20 a pair!), then switched my loyalty to Seven for all Mankinds in college (I had to fit in with all the other ASU girls).  Then began my yo-yo years when I couldn’t afford to buy designer jeans in every size to account for all my crazy size fluctuations, so I sought out a more wallet-friendly curvy jean. I found some okay deals at Nordstrom Rack.  They carry Sevens for $90 and Nordstrom’s house brand for $30-$40, but I would often have to spend an additional $16 to hem the jeans and I was never 100% satisfied with the fit.  Then I found my beloved Arden B. jeans.

Arden B. jeans are normally a bargain at $59-$69 a pair, which I would gladly pay because I’d definitely get my money’s worth out of them. But they often have sales for $40 each, or buy-one-get-one for $10. I have never spent more than $40 on a pair of Arden B’s.   ($50 is my new cut-off for my everyday jeans, which believe it or not, is actually really really cheap for girl’s jeans, unfortunately — this coming from a girl that used to fork over $150+ per pair).

And to be honest, I love my Arden B.’s even more than the $200 Sevens that I used to wear. Some Sevens make my butt look flat and smooshed, and they have an annoying habit of wearing thin in the crotch area. I have 2-3 pairs that have gigantic holes in the groin area, but they’re so comfy from years of wear that I can’t bring myself to toss them out. (Has anyone seen the Friends episode where Monica accuses the maid of stealing her favorite pair of jeans with the hole in the crotch? anyone?).  Who wants to pay $150+ and then have to pay EXTRA to have a tailor reinforce the crotch so they last longer than 1 or 2 years (yes this is what many women do)?  Sometimes I get desperate for a good looking pair of jeans, don’t get me wrong, but that is just plain silly.

This all brings me to the awesome sale on denim at Arden B going on right now.  All denim is now $39. Shipping is 99¢ on all orders greater than $25 through 9/30.

Even better, you can go through this link to get $10 off a $50 purchase (it’s from the 2012 Entertainment Book, valid through Dec 31, 2012.) FYI, the Entertainment Book normally has a physical $10 off $50 coupon that you can use in store as well (my favorite coupon out of the entire book!!)

I just picked up two pairs of my current favorite style – Charlie Boot Cut — for a grand whopping total of $74.48 after $10 coupon, tax, and shipping. That’s $37.24 a pair.  Plus I earned 68 B.Rewarded points (you get a $20 Arden B. voucher for every 200 points, and you get 1 pt per dollar you spend).

I currently own like ten pairs of Charlie boot cut, in sizes 10-14 (I told you I fluctuate, and those were all bought just this past year!). I’m one of those people that has no problem wearing the same style jean every single day to work (my poor co-workers).  It makes dressing in the morning a very easy process. :)

PS – Arden B doesn’t know I exist. I get nada for this post.  Just one curvy girl expressing her love for denim.

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