February 18, 2010

My Mother the Artist

I have written about some of the amazing people in my family - my dad and his new career as an actor, and my grandmother who is 96 years old and just published her 8th book - but I realized today that I have not written about my mom. She is pretty amazing herself. Clearly I'm the black sheep of this crew.

About 8 years ago my husband and I bought our first house in Denver, CO. It was a super cute house that was more than 100 years old. After buying the house and doing a few improvements we were out of money. I called my mother and asked her to paint us a picture for an empty wall because we couldn't afford art. My mother at that point had never painted anything and said she would give it a try. I didn't just pull this out of the blue, she is an incredibly creative woman and has always been able to draw so I figured she could paint as well.

So here we are, 8 years or so later and she makes a real living as an artist (www.joyrichardsonart.com)! She is often invited to hang her paintings in different galleries and restaurants and had an extremely successful showing in the Oklahoma Art Festival last year - and will be there again this year. She has people calling her often for commission works and she has made a name for herself as an artist. It is all really awe inspiring from a person who had never painted anything until they were about 60 years old.

You should see my house. It is like a Joy Richardson museum. I still have that first painting she did for us. It is hanging in our bedroom. I keep searching my mail box for my 10% commission check - afterall I am the one who got her started - but it just hasn't shown up yet. Hmmm...

February 14, 2010

I'm Stealing it #10

I have never been much of a coupon person. When I remembered, I would use those Bed Bath and Beyond coupons that I get about 3 times per week, but other than that, couponing wasn't something I understood or took the time to organize. And to be honest I still do not understand about 90% of it. Couponing is a very detailed process that takes a lot of work.

Even though I am about as far as you can be from being serious about it, lately I have sort of gotten into this whole deal. I will never be like those ladies on tv that get their $200 grocery bill down to $11. But I have picked up a few tips and have been saving a lot of money actually.

Before now, the thing I never understood was how people saved money. To me it seemed when I would take a coupon to a store, the store brand of that item would be less expensive than the brand name minus the coupon. I have been in marketing and advertising for like 15 years so I fully understand that in the majority of cases the store brand is just as good as the brand name item and often they are made by the same company but just have different packaging. So I would end up buying that store brand item and leaving with an unused coupon in my hand. Don't get me wrong there are certainly some exceptions to this - i.e. have you ever tried non name brand Saran Wrap? Does not work.

So anyway, I have figured out that the trick to coupons is pairing them with a store sale on that particular item. Like I said, I am not huge into this and I do not sit down with the circulars from my grocery store to see what is on sale each week and build my family menu around that. If I did I would save a boatload on my grocery bill but I am just not that organized - yet - stay tuned maybe one day I will be! But I do cut coupons (well not cut, print them off on my computer) and if there is an item I need or foresee needing and if that item is on sale, I buy it using my coupon. Cha-ching - saving money!

I was at target the other day and my bill was around $90 but with my coupons I got it down to about $70. That is real money I saved! It was kind of exciting.

This post is definitely not a coupon tutorial, I really just wanted to share a few websites that I use because I have gotten some amazing deals. I have REALLY enjoyed using online coupon codes - much more than using in-store ones. By now you probably know to never buy anything online until you have typed that store's name into google with the word "coupon" - the majority of the time you can get at least free shipping.

The coupon code deal that I am most proud of was on a pair of Crocs boots for my daughter. Who even knew Crocs made kids boots? Well they do and they are cute and perfect snow boots. Anyway, the deal was that you could buy one get one free and get free shipping for $13.99 by entering a certain coupon code. The boots are normally around $40 or so. So I bought two pairs for my daughter - in sizes bigger than she wears now. I bought a yellow pair for $13.99 and was getting a pink pair for free. I got an email the next day letting me know that the yellow ones had run out but they were still sending me the pink ones - for free!

Here are my favorite sites to visit:
Wicked Cool Deals

Brads Deals

KC Penny Pinchin Mama

Some of these websites have tutorials on couponing that I have not taken the time to read but I assume they are probably very helpful and will teach you a lot. I know that CVS has some amazing deals with their Extra Care Bucks program. I have not figured it out yet but I need to sometime as it seems people are actually making quite a bit of money off their purchases. Not sure how that works.

Anyway, I just wanted to share. I am totally stealing these great deals from these other people's hard work - but that is what they have developed their websites for. So far it has been sort of fun and I'm proud of some of my purchases. Some of the deals I have gotten were just amazing!

Happy Shopping!

February 2, 2010


He watched an entire episode of Max and Ruby inside this basketball hoop and when it was over he screamed bloody murder that he was stuck and needed out. Weird kid.