CVS Game



I'm back in the game ya'll!  Back in the day when Dave and I were newlyweds and had just bought our first house, I started playing the CVS coupon game.  I was able to stock up so much that I remember coming back a year later after moving back to New Mexico and Dave still had not had to buy toilet paper!

I haven't played in a very long time because coupling takes time. Recently, I came across this great Youtube channel and it seriously inspired me to jump back in. Right now I'm only dealing with CVS, I haven't bothered to begin planning for other shopping trips.

Jumping back in hasn't been with out flaws. Last week I watched Toni's video spent Friday night printing and clipping coupons, made my list, thought I had a plan, and then woke up Saturday morning ready to go. Something didn't work just right because I ended up spending about $120 out of pocket. I did save like $50 and the good news is I earned $15 in Extra Care Bucks (ECB). So this week I was resolved to not make that mistake again because who has time to be dropping Benjamins at CVS every week? Ain't nobody got time for that.

So Sunday morning I woke up and Toni had already posted her video for the week. She's seriously like the patron saint of the CVS game.  So I watched and made notes. Later that day I picked up the paper and clipped the coupons from the Sunday circular, went online and printed out the other's she mentioned, wrote out my plan, and created a spreadsheet to track my actual oop versus what ECB and coupons would cover.

So today I went in and I did it!  Here's what I bought for the week of 10/30:

Scope by Crest mouthwash - $4.79
Coupon - $1.00 off
Total - $3.79

Scope by Crest mouthwash - $4.79
Coupon - $.50 off
Total - $4.29

$2 off $6 mouthwash purchase

Total - $6.08

Earned - $6 ECB

Maybelline Cosmetics
Liquid Foundation - $7.99
Coupon - $1.00
Total - $6.99

Stick Foundation - $8.99

Total - $15.98

Earned - $5 ECB

CVS Vitamins B0G0 Free
Vitamin D - $8.99
Biotin - Free

Duo Fusion - $9.95
Coupon - $10.00
Manufacturer Coupon - $5.00

Total - -$5.05

Used Coupons- 2 - $10 off $40 (CVS coupon sent to my card)
1-$5 Extra Care Bucks

Total with tax - $1.69

Earned - $11 Extra Care Bucks + $5 Beauty Bucks

Until next time!


Queen Sugar Ep. 7 Recap - So this is what it looks like

Note: I am not going in the business of writing recaps. This episode requires some processing for me, so I'm writing to do just that.



If you haven't been watching the masterpiece that is Queen Sugar by Ava Duverney on OWN, you should start now. Whatever you are doing, leave work, take a break, sit down and watch.

Last week's episode opened with Charley laying in the chair and ottoman, motionless, emotionless, just laying there after learning the truth about her husband. I can't even describe the emotions I felt during this scene because I knew it. I've been there before. I was texting one of my girlfriends and she said "so this is what it looks like". That one image, with Charley laying there, barely moving, barely breathing, is familiar.  What Ava captured in art fully imitated life.

Then there was Ralph Angel. Gosh if I don't know that man. The man with so much bottled up inside. The man that finds his worth in his work yet nothing is really working. The man that expects everyone to give to him, do for him, trust him when he's done nothing to gain that trust in the first place. The man that would spend an afternoon with a random woman and miss out on the joy of seeing his son play. Jesus. I know that man.

As if my heart wasn't going through somersaults already, there's the closing with Aunt Violet and Hollywood.  So much in that scene.  I wanted so badly for Aunt Violet to believe Hollywood and trust him but I also understand how hurt she is and how quickly we move into operation protect our hearts.  I believe Hollywood is a good man that was trying to do the right thing but the answer to that situation just wasn't there. Not yet.

Chile I was emotionally spent after watching this episode. Lawd.

What are your thoughts? Are you a fan of Queen Sugar?



Colin Kaepernick is bae


I really don't need to say anymore.  

I've been saying people with a platform need to take a stand. I didn't want any Black athletes to travel to Rio for the olympics to represent the USA. I realize that is a big thing to ask. That is the dichotomy of being Black in America.  Black athletes representing a country and winning gold medals in the name of a country who doesn't fully see us. 

So Kaepernick gets all my love for taking a stand by taking his seat.  Personal protests have always been the catalyst for greater awareness and action. 

Let me tell you a quick story. This summer at our Scentsy convention, Orville gave a moving and authentic speech that touched on the current times. I could see how he genuinely felt about what he was saying. There was a moment where this quote by a Scentsy consultant's husband was placed on the screen. I realized when he said "he's Black", everyone remained seated, but when he said "and he's a cop" everyone stood up and clapped.  I've talked to others and they observed the same thing. 



My sister and I sat. I looked at her and said "I don't feel like standing up in my struggle". 

The reality is, I'm connected to a lot of the same people who were standing up around me on social media and they never say anything about what is happening to us. So while the moment absolutely felt genuine, it felt fleeting. So I sat. 

I've had people delete me on social media for "forcing racism down their throat", I've lost customers because I choose to speak up about injustice, I've had a church pastor call my speech "hate mail". I've seen as people not so subtly imply who they will vote for this election, someone whose speech and actions has offended every race and religion except one. 

We can't always be expected to stand in our struggle. Sometimes we just need to take a seat. 


My son is now a big brother


My ex-husband welcomed another child to the world last weekend. My son is now a big brother. It's something I've known was coming since Christmas. It's something people don't talk about. 

I don't know why. I don't want to live a life unaffected. Journeying through as if major life events don't take my breath away, knock me to my knees, whimpering in bed at night. Life affects me.

I remember when David told me he was having another baby. It felt like a life sentence.  I remember abandoning prayers that although separated, our family unit would remain intact. I remember staying silent because it wasn't my story to tell. I remember wearing the narrative like a heavy coat.  

I cried. I was mad. Sad. Confused. Angry. 
Affected. Why don't people talk about this? 

Then one day I woke up at peace. I'm never afraid to do my work. To find the place where love abides.  I recognize that we are always, in all ways, healing. Yet this was something I didn't want to have to do. I shouldn't have to do this. Grace doesn't happen overnight.

I don't know why we don't talk about this.

I see the "likes" and "congratulations" and wonder if people have any idea what it takes to get here. If they have any idea the impact this has on a family.  

The deep feelings that the world, my world, looks past the affect life has on you. It's like we're all just trying to keep ourselves safe from the trueness of ourselves. Like if we can just look past the process of the journey we don't have to face that it exists. Don't look past my pain...see me in it. 

We welcomed a new life into our world last weekend. We are in love already and I want him to have a beautiful life.



Lunn Family vacay - 2016


Summer summer summertime! I realized coming to write this post that I hadn't written about our trip to Vegas at the beginning of the summer, so that will be to come.

What do you get when 13 people meet in Orlando to take the kiddos to Disney and Universal? Fun. 

At Christmas, my sister-in-love and I talked about spending Christmas 2016 at Disneyworld. Then, shortly after it was announced that my nephew's AAU tournament would be hosted in Orlando this summer. So we set our sights to all go down.


We rented a house from Home Away. It was located in a resort community. Well the initial house we rented had a bug infestation, but they made it right before we made it to town and moved us to another house, but once we got into town that house had no ac so they moved is to another. Two days in we discovered the hot water went out so they again moved us to another house but allowed us to keep the house we had, so I'm not sure I would recommend this particular company although they did make it right by us.


We were blessed because Dave's cousin JJ and his family were there and JJ is a great cook. We woke up to an amazing breakfast every morning, fried chicken, ribs, beans, the list goes on. Thanks JJ.

Renting a house and grocery shopping for 13 people is absolutely the way to go. I imagine we saved so much money by being able to eat two meals a day at home.


The house had s pool that the kids probably would have stayed in the entire week. So our first day was spent allowing the kids to jump in and allowing us adults time to catch up. 


The next day after everyone arrived, we went to Legoland. We got there pretty late and the Florida storm was rolling in so most of the rides were closed, but we still managed to have a great time.


I'm amazed by the level of detail at Legoland. We had a code to buy an adult ticket get a child ticket free. I think for the age of our kids, mine is 8, that's the only way I would suggest going. Maybe my opinion is skewed since we didn't ride many rides but it seemed more appropriate for smaller kids like my niece, age 3.

The next day was the big day. We were headed to Magic Kingdom. We woke up and started arranging to get tickets purchased. We headed to the park a littler after noon. It was hot but the magic was in the air!


Except for my kid. He just wanted to eat. He's my kid.



Before we figured out the FastPass system the kiddos waited in super long lines and we sat there...hot. Now we will be FastPass pros the next time!



We had an amazing family vacation to Orlando and Disney World. What did you do exciting this summer?







#dontrape


By now you have probably heard that a student athlete from Stanford University was convicted on three counts of sexual assault for raping a  young woman, who was unconscious, behind a dumpster. The judge sentenced him to 6 months in jail stating "a prison sentence would have a severe impact on him. I think he will not be a danger to others.” The news of this story spread quickly and outrage has been heard loud and clear, including a petition for the judge to be recalled.

We should remain outraged at what happened at Stanford but we must also recognize that this story made national news and is being shared because we are more outraged about things that happen in elite spaces. These atrocities are   happening on a daily basis in our communities. Victims who know their perpetrators are not believed because surely they did something to make them believe they had given consent. Most cases of sexual assault are void of DNA evidence and aren't even forwarded for prosecution because of a lack of evidence and when they are , they are dismissed because it's he say/she say. Victims are silenced and told to not speak up and ruin their perpetrator's life. Juries don't believe rape can happen in the context of marriage. Children are found to be incredible witnesses. Judges believe prison time will have a severe impact on the perpetrator. I assure you. This is happening every. single. day.

The fervor about this case will die down. It will move to the back of our consciousness.

We shouldn't be ok with that. We should be angry and furious. We should also start making change. We should start saying "not my son, not my daughter". We should start saying we will no longer uphold rape culture. We should start by believing when a woman, man, boy or girl says someone hurt them. When you're at the bar with the fellas and they make a derogatory comment about a woman, call them out. Tell them that's not cool and you won't accept those kind of beliefs in your presence. Stop supporting artists whose work is misogynistic and portrays women as objects to be conquered and dominated. Then take it a step further and stop supporting those outlets that promote their message. Teach your kids about their bodies, about their natural sexual desires, about consent, that yes means yes and everything else is no, that consent is sexy and an absolute must. When they say they don't want to hug that uncle at the family reunion, respect their wishes. Stop telling girls if they had self worth this wouldn't happen to them and start teaching boys that girls are worthy of respect. Stop telling little boys to man up and to not act like a girl. Let kids be kids. Look out for each other. Don't stand by without acting when you have the feeling that something just isn't right.
By all means, don't rape



Sunday Dinner

Many of you know my grandma is the cook of all cooks.  It's often so very hard to please her at some of the finest restaurants because she knows she could make it better.  In an attempt to have her spend a few more days in Albuquerque with us, my sister and I offered to cook for Sunday dinner.

My sister laid out a pretty extensive menu: roast and beans, grilled hot links, corn on the cob, cornbread, cake, fresh fruit and more.  I decided to make mac n cheese and lemon garlic butter roasted chicken.  I'm so happy to be able to say dinner was great and Granny approved.


The story behind the Mac-n-Cheese

When I first got married, I once had a really yummy mac-n-cheese recipe that I found online. It was so good.  Over 5 years later, I couldn't remember where I got that recipe so I started searching for a new one.  I first found Monique over at A Diva Can Cook's recipe.  Monique is amazing and I reference her blog alot.  I wasn't completely happy the first time around because my peppercorn grinder had broken and I didn't season the cheese mixture well enough.

About a week after I first tried Monique's recipe I caught Tia Mowry's new show on the Cooking Channel and her husband Cory shared his "famous mac and cheese" recipe. I really liked the idea of creating a cheese mixture melt by slowly warming all the cheese and heavy cream in skillet to then mix in with your cooked pasta.



I found that turned out a lot better.

So...here's my trusted Mac and Cheese recipe:

1 box Macaroni noodles
1 cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 cup Medium Cheddar Cheese
1 cup Muenster Cheese
8 oz. Velveeta
1/2 cup Colby and Monterrey Jack Cheese
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1 tblsp butter
1 Egg
Salt and Pepper
Paprika 

1. Cook the macaroni noodles in boiling water with salt until al dente
2. While noodles are boiling, shred one cup of sharp cheddar, one cup of medium cheddar, and one cup of muenster cheese
3. In a skillet, heat butter on low heat. Add all shredded cheese stirring slowly. Add blocks of velveeta cheese and continue to stir. Add heavy cream slowly stirring. Salt and pepper to taste
4. Once cheese is all melted and ooey gooey, crack the egg and stir it in to the cheese mix
5. Remove pasta from heat and thoroughly drain
6. Add half of the macaroni to a super cute dish, mix the cheese mixture in really good, add more noodles, mix more cheese, top with shredded colby and monterrey jack cheese, sprinkle with little dashes of paprika
7. Bake on 350 for 35 minutes 
8. Enjoy the ooey goodness.

Let me know your favorite mac and cheese recipes and how this one turns out if you choose to try it.  I'll be sharing the lemon garlic butter chicken recipe soon!

The Queen







Microagressions abound


I was once invited to a house party at a friend's house and in the course of her introducing me to the other ladies in attendance she said "Niecy comes from a working class family like me....".  I remember being caught so off guard and smiling oddly. Not only was she completely wrong in her assumption about my family's background, I wondered if she had introduced the other ladies making an assumption about their class in their biography?  What point was being made by talking about my family's background, even if not completely mistaken in doing so?

That was over 5 years ago and while no one at that party probably even caught on to it, it has stuck to me ever since. I remember exactly what I was wearing, where I was sitting, aware of all my senses in that moment.  That's what microagressions are. They fly by the person handing them out while clinging to the person being transgressed on like a little sucky leech trying to remind you "this is what society really thinks about you".

They are sneaky. Seemingly small. Yet they speak volumes about the person speaking them.

Microagressions.

They are the little things; subtle statements, interruptions and assumptions, that all add up to make you feel small.

I've certainly been heightened since this incident and I have to admit, it's not the first and last time they have ever slipped in a microagression in speaking with and/or about me.  Even me, in all my social justice fervor, find it hard to call people out on this because they are supposed to be your friends,  right?

So how to we address microagressions with our friends? We can all heal from a tiny thousand cuts but we can't always be responsible to self heal from the wounds, no matter how tiny or subtle they are.  It can be challenging especially when the person who offended with the microagression most likely has no clue what they've done.  So in addressing microagressions be thoughtful of your talk.  When someone says you've offended them, instead of being defensive, be quiet and listen.

My sister and I sell Scentsy at a festival in the mountains twice a year. One time, I was sitting in my chair, minding my business, in my natural hair glory and a woman walked up to me in what I believe she believed was a sympathetic voice and asked "oh darling...where are you from"? Me, highly annoyed as I knocked her uninvited hand that was reaching out to touch my hair blankly replied "Albuquerque".  She persisted, leaning closer to my face and said "no, but where are you originally from"?  I know it was the Blood that saved me in that moment because I was highly annoyed, offended, and pissed off.


Get it. Be more thoughtful. Shutup and listen. Do your work to be confident in yourself so you don't have to tear others down.  If you just can't seem to stop laying out the microagressions, then Crazy Eyes has already told you how I feel.



My garden

I have been looking forward to the spring time so I can get outside and start planting my garden and decorating the patio. I love taking it outside when it is warm.  I've been daydreaming of Casa Azul, dreaming up some serious inspo.


Every time I get serious about starting, it gets cold again. I know it's too early to start planting but these 70 degree days make it hard.


So this week I started plotting planters and decided to start on a small scale.  I bought a new plant (it's pink and green) for 50% off because they had had it in their freezers from last year for my office. It makes me happy. 


Then I bought this cute vase from Target with the idea of repotting some succulents I had. That didn't work too well. 


So one more trip to the store and we sorted some things out.


Here


The cute stand was just a standard black plant stand that you know had to get a touch of my favorite gold spray paint. Voi la. 



There's something therapeutic about getting your hands in the dirt and handling living things.  One of my co-workers has been teaching me how to better care for the green life around me and encouraging me to talk to my plants and love on them.  What are your garden plans?




Your presence is water - Week 3


This week started with a worship song by Anthony J. Brown and Group Therapy that set the atmosphere for my week. The song says "Your presence is water" and when you really grasp the magnitude of His presence it makes seeking Him and knowing Him through His word all that more vital. Without water, our physical bodies will literally shut down and die. Without His presence, our spiritual lives will shut down and die.  I entered this week with a desperation to be in His presence. 

Isaiah 43:18-19 • Forget about what's happened; don't keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I'm about to do something brand-new. It's bursting out! Don't you see it? There it is! 

John 4:14 • but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.

Proverbs 11:24-25 • The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller. The one who blessed others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped. 

Hosea 12:4 • He struggled with God. He struggled with the Angel and overcame him; he wept and begged for his favor. 

Jeremiah 29:11 • For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 

James 5:16 • Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

His Word is my lamp - Week 2


This week's verses:

Your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. • Matthew 6:18

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. • 2 Chronicles 7:14

I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth. • 3 John 4

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting. • James 1:6

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion. • Phillipians 1:6

He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer. • 1 Peter 3:11-12

I will remember my covenant between me and you. • Genesis 9:15

They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to pray. • Acts 2:42

Be strong in the grace that is Christ Jesus. • 2 Timothy 2:1

Morning Routine


I am addicted to my cell phone.  It is true and the first step is to admit it, right?

From sun up to sun down, the wee hours of the morning and late at night, I'm attached to checking something on my phone.

Perhaps it's the 22 voicemails or the 58,000 emails sitting in four email accounts.  Maybe it's the 99 unplayed podcasts or the constant stream of Facebook alerts and unread messages.  Maybe just the constant flow of information. I don't know, but I'm addicted.

Since September when we moved to the new house I've been trying to be extremely intentional about creating a sanctuary space in my home.  I've shaped my space where I don't have a tv in my room, I don't allow any work to be done in there, and I try to avoid bringing things in there that add chatter and noise to the space.  It is truly my place to relax, recharge, and retire.

Except for my phone.

In my efforts to be intentional, I've been trying to not sleep with my phone on my bed.  I try to make sure I set it on the nightstand.  However, I am still aware that I check it quite regularly.

My morning #coffeewithChrist time has been important to me for a long time.  I've always set my alarm at 5:30 to give myself time to spend in His presence and to start my day in peace.  However, my alarm is set on my phone so in waking, I see all the messages and alerts that have come in during the night.  The woo of all that information can sometimes win.  

Last year I wasn't so good about turning down the noise.  I wasted way too much time scrolling Facebook and Instagram.  In the past several months I've entered into a season of asking God some really big prayers and the thing I've been telling myself is that "no one on Facebook can give me what I'm asking for. I need God, not them".  It's true.

A few months ago I heard a wellness tip on the podcast Friend Zone and Fran suggested that you wake up, go through your morning routine, all without checking your phone.  I think about it every morning when I go to grab my phone.  I haven't quite been successful just yet.

It's so important though. I've read numerous articles with titles like "What successful women's morning routines look like" and "what successful women do before you wake up".  I think I'm pretty good but I must admit I let myself off the hook a bit much.

So this year I've really been trying to be intentional about setting down my phone. Everything I need is right here in front of me.  I want to enjoy my mornings not lose them do the chatter of my newsfeed.  I want to spend more time praying my big prayers to the God who can answer them, not idolizing the public lives of others on social media.  I want to enjoy my son's presence fully and the presence of anyone in my company at the time. I want to be present.

I am fortunate, so fortunate, to have an amazing prayer room space where I go. Some mornings I sit there and  I don't want to leave.  I open my Bible, ask God what He is trying to say to me, I write scriptures down, journal, pray, check my calendar for the day, plan, commit my plans to the Lord and when I leave that space I feel like a new woman.  It sounds perfect but sometimes those commas are filled with a quick scroll on Facebook, the desire to post a picture or respond to a text. Not perfect but I'm trying.

My morning routine is becoming vital to how I go out into the world.  What about you? What's your sacred morning routine?

I'll be home for Christmas

This was our first Christmas in our new home. Here's a few snapshots of our decor.





Now to get busy taking it all down. 

Filling my thoughts with His thoughts - Week 1


This week's verses:

Jeremiah 31:3-4 • I will always love you; that's why I've been so patient and kind to draw you to my heart. You are precious to Me and I will build you up again.

Proverbs 3:5 • Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. 

Proverbs 16:3 • Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans.

Jeremiah 29:11 • For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and future. 

Psalms 34:7 • For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear Him. 

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