15 Must Read Tips: How to Save BIG on Christmas Shopping!








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The other day it dawned on me, CHRISTMAS IS 10 WEEKS AWAY!!! The mere thought of this threw me for a loop! I’m not ready! Wait, how did summer slip away so quickly. I was just getting used to wearing shorts and flip flops again and now it’s time to break out the jackets? Living in Northern CA our summers seem to run into winter, we really don’t have much of a fall or in-between weather, it’s either one extreme of the other. That being said, it does take me some time to adjust and get used to the transition of the seasons. I have cinnamon rolls in the oven and a pumpkin spice candle lit, while I have my cozy furry socks, ok, maybe not that hard, I digress. Nevertheless this season always brings a sense of peace and comfort. Hot chocolate, fresh baked cookies and inside DIY projects.

So back to Christmas. How can you save BIG on Christmas, you ask? Read on to find out. These are some tips I learned over the years from having two little ones to buy for and my son’s b-day the very same week.

  1. Plan ahead. We still have 10 weeks so if you start planning now you will be ahead of the game and ready to enjoy and embrace the Christmas season, instead of living in utter fear and sheer panic in December. Plan this money into your budget starting at in October or sooner. Also, start grabbing gifts you know you will be buying or even put some things on layaway that you know will be gone if you wait (like those cozy pjs and sweaters). K-mart has a .01 down layaway special going on right now and $10 off a $50 or more purchase.
  2. Layaway. Thank god for layaway, this is honestly one essential thing on my Christmas to-do list that has gotten me through many Christmas seasons. Last year I went to pay my layaway off and was told that an Angel paid it off for me. This happens to a select number of accounts at K-Mart every year which was a huge blessing! I owed over $100 on my layaway account. I have never waited that long to pay it off but didn’t want my son to see his B-day gifts so I figured they were safe there. His b-day is Dec. 22nd and I picked it up on Dec. 21st. I love K-Mart and always use their layaway for many reasons. First, I’ve been shopping here since I was a kid, (it was the only department store in my little town when I was growing up), I worked at K-Mart on three different occasions two during the Holiday season so I know how great the deals are there and last but not least the shop your way rewards program is amazing! I have gotten the best coupons from this program. Like on two different occasions I got a $30 of of a $30 purchase. I used both to buy household items when I moved like towels, bathroom and bedroom essentials and even a comforter that was on clearance.
  3. Budget. Set aside a Christmas budget in the months leading up to Christmas. For example, if you spend around $600 for Christmas shopping start early and set aside $100 every two weeks or every time you get paid. Sometimes this is hard, I know, there’s always something to buy or pay for. What you can do so this stings less is to ask for $100 in quarters at your bank each time you get paid. When you have change you are less likely to spend it, and therefore be more likely to save it. When you have your money for Christmas, just take the change back to the bank and get hundreds. It is a very unconventional way to save but I know, but if you are like me and have a hard time saving unless you get creative. Then you should try this. This also works if you are trying to save for a vacation fund or even a down payment on a car or house. Never use change, save it in a 5 gallon water jug and cash it in a year or two. You could have thousands saved.
  4. Cyber Monday. I totally avoided black Friday last year I have to admit. I love shopping cyber Monday over black Friday. I just hate the craziness and waiting in huge lines. I don’t have the patience waiting in line for hours. I have a bit of social anxiety and panic at just the thought honestly. Although, these days Black Friday deals seem to come sooner and stay around longer which make for easier shopping and more opportunites for everyone even if you spend time with family on Thanksgiving instead of shopping.
  5. Black Friday. If you don’t mind long lines, hours worth of waiting per store, and fit fights. You can score some pretty amazing deals. Like half off or more in some cases. Please keep in mind that stores want you to think that each item will be at it’s absolute rock bottom price, and a lot of times that is the case. But there are also a lot of amazing deals the closer and closer we get to Christmas. If there are specific items you need to buy then buy those first, then the people you can buy things like candies, bath sets, candle sets, slippers, etc. (you know the random gifts you need to have on hand) then you can always wait and be a last minute shopper for these items and still find great deals.
  6. Coupons. Be on the lookout for coupon booklets. Target has a toy coupon book that comes out the mail. K-Mart also has a toy coupon booklet that comes out in the mail. On a side note: K-Mart will give you cash back if the item you buy goes on sell, you will get the difference in cash. Be sure to hang on to those receipts! Sign up for your favorite stores newsletters and coupons. Kohls always sends out get coupons via email around Christmas.
  7. Craigslist. Can’t seem to find that toy your son or daughter wants? Check Craigslist for a steep discount, if you can buy the item used. While it might not come in a box, if your kids are older and they want something every specific like a game system or a laptop, could you buy it used? It’s worth checking out. You can save as much as 50% if you don’t mind buying used. You would be surprised what you can find on Craigslist. There are even boxed toys for sell. Bikes, exercise equipment, game systems, games, music, stereos, etc. Also check out apps.like offer up and  letgo.com.
  8. Amazon. I seriously love Amazon, who doesn’t right? I’m obviously not the only one, considering Amazon is the #1 online retailer. Amazon has so much to offer. You can sign up for a Prime membership receive free shipping ( free trial). Or Amazon student (also offers a free trial) You can even sign up to sell items on Amazon or use their trade-in program to receive cash off your next purchase. Many electronic items qualify for this program.
  9. Coupon and discount apps. Some apps even give you cash paid directly to your paypal account just for downloading and using their app. Sign up for Ebates.com sign up here… https://www.ebates.com/r/530SHA?eeid=28187 you can receive gift cards or cash for shopping the stores you purchase from anyway! befrugal.com gives you $10 just for signing up. Sign up here… http://www.befrugal.com/referral/?ref=LZTIRFN.  Or even apps like ibotta Cash back programs. I love Wal-Mart’s savings catcher app. https://savingscatcher.walmart.com/ Other apps you can download are shopkick.com, This app is so easy to use. Unlike some apps where you literally have to complete several steps to save a buck. Not so with this one. Simply download, scan your receipts after shopping, and receive cash back. Wal-Mart will compare all the competitors prices of items you bought and if it sees a lower price they will give you the price difference. I think you have one week to scan your receipt after purchase. so you can do it once a week on the weekend when you have a free moment. In two to three days you will see a balance in your account. You can use this towards your next Wal-Mart purchase. I have only scanned about 10 times and I have seen almost $30 in rewards back. Totally worth a few minutes of your time. Save the rewards in your account towards Christmas shopping. There are so many more cash back rewards programs, do your research to find the best ones for you.
  10. Price compare. Download apps like to see if the gifts you are buying are at their lowest price. There is nothing worse than buying that toy your son has his heart set on only to see that it goes on sale the next week for half off. A lot of stores will give you the difference in cash if this happens. This will probably happen at lot during Christmas shopping so it doesn’t hurt to ask if the store offers any kind of cash back or price matching programs, or even seals you don’t know about coming up. Always save your receipt for hassle free returns too.
  11. Target Cart Wheel. When I was a cashier @ Target I saw some pretty amazing deals come through my line. One of the best being purchased with the Cartwheel app. There was a set of Frozen little girls dolls one time that a dad got for $20 using sales and the cartwheel app. This was normally a $60 toy! It came with 8 barbie like dolls. I’m sure his daughter loved it, he was buying this for a b-day gift for her! Be sure to watch for these deals because they are usually for a limited time only.
  12. Price matching. Find out if your favorite store offers price matching. I know Walmart (the store I frequent the most) price matches, you don’t even have to bring the ad, just simply tell the cashier where it’s cheaper and for what price and they will adjust the price.Target is one store that price matches a lot of other stores, including online retailers. Some of the stores they will match include, Amazon, Toys R Us and Walmart, even grocery stores like Safeway and CVS.
  13. Start planning early.christmas-lights-house Think about Christmas when it’s over. I know this is honestly the last thing you want to think about the day after Christmas but the truth is stores have that same mentality. Let’s get this over already! They want Christmas stuff out of their store to make way for the next season. The retail business plans way ahead. Why not you? Do you see things coming out earlier and earlier? This is no mistake. Stores plan for ‘forth quarter” i. e.. Christmas season all year. It is the busiest time of the year and time retailers earn the most money. You need to think ahead and be aware of store cycles. That basically means knowing when products will be at their ‘rock bottom’ price. Snag Christmas wrapping during after Christmas sales, as well as lights and Christmas decor and things like storage containers and plastic wrap with a Christmas theme.
  14. Shop with a plan. I tend to spend less when I go into the store with a plan and a list, whether it’s shopping for toys or groceries. Make a list of the things on your Christmas wish list and next to each item put the price of that item so you can stay on budget. If you don’t know the price look it up ahead of time and always see what store has it for the lowest price so you can make a note of that to price match. For example, if you shop at Target, they price match for Amazon, just simply go to customer service and explain the price difference and they will give you a print out to take to the register. If you shop at Wal-Mart you can price match at the register. Be sure to plan grocery items into your holiday budget which can add up pretty quickly.
  15. Shop in categories. It can be so tempting to go into a department store and tackle both your grocery list and Christmas. Resist this temptation. Keep in mind convenience is expensive. Don’t be tempted to buy grocery items at place where you are buying toys and clothes for Christmas. I found that I was over spending doing this because every year I buy ingredients for fudge, cookies and candies. I found that it’s harder to keep track of what you’re spending for presents vs. grocery items you would normally buy if you attempt the one shopping trip for everything method. See weekly sales ads and match with coupons for food items you will be buying during the Christmas season. Be on the look out for grocery store sales.  Safeway isn’t normally the place I shop at for groceries but they have amazing Christmas sales, see the weekly store ads for your area follow their sales and use E-coupons as well as manufacturers coupons.

I hope these tips will help you get a head start on Christmas! I also wanted to add, never overlook the Dollar Tree for decor, wrapping, candles, cards and even grocery items, this is one store that I will be doing one cart shopping at! 😉

Happy Holidays!



You don’t look sick! 10 must read tips for living a good life with an invisible illness

When you hear that someone has cancer the first thing you think about is how detrimental and devastating this illness is, I mean cancer has touched almost everyone’s life in one way or another everyone has known someone that was diagnosed, or someone close to them with cancer.My grandma passed away from breast cancer and my grandpa from lung cancer. I also had a close friend pass away ( I met her in 2nd grade) at the age of 30, when her life should have just been getting started. My friend Daviette was one of the most mentally strong, compassionate and honestly the person most pure of heart that I have ever known. She would have done anything for anyone, she would have given her life for someone she loved, but nonetheless, her life was taken by cancer. Why am I tell you this story? What does this have to do with the title of this post? Everything.

You see, when we hear the word cancer we can’t help but associate the word ‘cancer’ the words with death, illness, and mental, physical and financial ruin. When you hear the word cancer we often have images of someone who looks ill, is bald or in the hospital fighting for their lives.

Now lets think about the word Fibromyalgia. What image comes to mind? Do I hear crickets? Nothing? Exactly.

I have fibromyalgia

While I’m certainly glad I don’t have cancer, Fibromyalgia can be in many ways just as devastating. It can tear families apart, cause the same kind of financial stress and causes pain and fatigue much in the same way as cancer often does.

I tossed the idea about writing this post around for many weeks. One day I wanted to post this and scream at the top of my lungs to be an advocate for all the patients that have this illness and then other times I didn’t want to say anything about it for fear of judgement, misunderstanding and also the fact that it could effect my life in a negative way. But then I thought, if this could help someone else that is struggling with this illness feel less alone in this then it was worth my time. I also feel like the best authors and writers are the ones who write from the heart, the ones that are candid and honest about real life situations and speak their mind are the best writers.

So here is my story.

I was diagnosed with this condition after dealing with a major cold about 10 years ago. I thought I was just overworked and over stressed which is honestly just everyday life these days, am I right?

Here I was planning a wedding (ten year vow renewal), working 50 hours a week and working on my A.A in Business Admin. I was stressed! I was overwhelmed! What started as a sore throat and body aches turned into a month of profound, unrelenting fatigue. I finally went to the dr who diagnosed me with depression. I ended up quiting my job, (I just could not keep up to save my life) I could barely get out of bed. I was miserable.

After getting better but still having major fatigue I was diagnosed with CFS and then a few months later fibromyalgia. I was scared, confused, tired, in pain and in debt from all the medical bills.

I had never heard of either one of these conditions and I quickly realized not many people at that point had. I told some friends and family about the conditions I had and at first many seemed to care, but after time went on I realized everyone forgot how sick I was or how much pain I was in. I would cancel plans due to the pain and fatigue I was having, more times than I can count. I just never knew how I would feel the next day. I lost many friends because, quite honestly, no one can possibly have an grasp of what it’s like to have either of these conditions, unless they have personally gone through it.

Some invisible illnesses have been in the media lately, which helps us learn more about these life changing conditions. Selena Gomez was diagnosed with Lupus a while back, and Yolanda Foster and Avril Lavigne were both diagnosed with Lyme disease.

I’m writing this to be an advocate for anyone with any type of invisible illness, whether it be Lyme diease, Lupus, CFS/ME, Athritis, Depression or Fibromyalgia. If you have a love one going through this please be supportive and understanding. The best thing you can do to help is be there for them, listen, and help when needed.  Offer to run an errand, offer to cook a meal, offer help with child care. Anything you can do to help your loved one feel less stressed, because stress can cause the already bad symptoms to become much worse.

If you are a patient with an invisible illness here are some thing that can help you cope.

  1. Find a support group. if their isn’t one in your area, start one on Meetup.com.
  2. Be honest about how you feel, be honest not only with others, but also be honest with yourself. Tell others what you are dealing with. I have met some amazing people who have this illness as well just by talking about it.
  3. Listen to your body. I know for me personally stress causes my pain and fatigue to flare up. I can’t work a physically demanding or stressful job. The work I can do is very limited by this condition and it has really taken a lot to be able to admit that, mostly to myself.
  4. Know your bodies limit. Listen to your body. Symptoms are the bodies way of telling you you need to rest and take some time to recharge. I have had to often take even a mental break and have a totally ‘unplugged weekend’ sometime where I focus on just relaxing and spending time with my family, no emails, writing, videos, nothing online. I have only done this a couple times but it helps when you are feeling very overwhelmed.
  5. Make some life changes. You might have to change your entire life and lifestyle when you are diagnosed with an invisible illness. If you work a physically demanding job, you might have to re-train and go into another field. You might have to stop working all together. If you have an undersand boss it helps. You might be able to take work home on days when you aren’t feeling your best. For me personally I can’t work a ‘normal’ job. At first I could but as time goes on it seems like this condition and the pain only get worse, that’s just been my experience.
  6. Know symptoms can wax and wane, so you have to plan accordingly. with fibromyalgia or even CFS there is an element of unpredictability. I might have major fatigue one day, feel fine for a few weeks and then have major pain for weeks after. This condition is so baffling to drs because the symptoms are so variable and vary in severity from one day to the next.
  7. Find a creative outlet. There will be days where you feel horrible and you just want to stay home. Some of the things I focus on when I’m having a bad pain day is writing, (of course) and I love doing upcycling DIY’s. I just started another Youtube channel as just a creative outlet doing thrift store hauls and DIY projects from the things I find. I think it really helps to have a mental outlet and to keep busy as much as possible.
  8. Exercise. Now I know this might seem counterproductive. Exercise actually helps tremendously. Exercise helps your body to release endorphins when are you bodies natural ‘feel good’ hormones that help with pain and mood. Just going on a short walk around the block helps muscle tension and pain. I live a couple blocks from a park that has an amazing trail and exercise equipment so that has really helped me stay as active as possible.
  9. Try herbal and natural remedies. I have tried everything to mange my pain and symptoms. It got to the point where I was on five different medications. I didn’t want to take a bunch of chemicals so I started looking into herbal remedies. The first thing I tried was fresh ginger juice at a juice bar. While the taste will knock your socks off, I’m telling you it’s no joke, I felt of heat go to the areas where I was really sore and it literally warmed those areas and stopped the pain. It was pretty amazing!!!!!! I then went to Wal-Mart and got some ginger capsules, because I can’t stand the taste of ginger, I don’t even like ginger snaps. I found that the fresh ginger works but the capsules offered no pain relief. I also did some more research and found an herb that a lot of fibromylagia patients where using called Kratom, I had never heard of it but after reading a lot of and stories about it’s use, I decided to order some online and I tried it. It worked better than any prescription I had ever tried! I thought this was going to be my miracle! But now the DEA is trying to regulate it’s use. I swear just when we find something natural that works, it is taken away because it would take away profits from the big pharmaceutical companies. So many people that use Kratom have signed petitions to stop this action which seems to be working, so for now the verdicts out on this one.
  10. Find a good doctor. Easier said than done right? Try to find a dr. that understands your symptoms and is not dismissive. I’ve had doctors diagnose my condition as depression, anxiety, and a cold or flu. It’s best to find a dr. that either specializes in Arthritis or Fibromyalgia or a regular M.D that seems to care and understand. There are a lot of bad drs. that have no bed side manner, so it helps to find a dr. you feel comfortable with. I’ve had the same dr. for about 6 years and it helps when you stick with a dr. that knows your history and your symptoms. And knows what works for you and what doesn’t.

Everyone is dealing with something. You just never know what someone else’s life is like. One can only speculate. It’s easy to judge someone you don’t know or even someone you do, who might not look sick, but in reality they are fighting a silent battle everyday.

I might not look sick, and honestly I don’t consider myself sick. I’m just one of the many million Americans living with an invisible illness and I want to stand up and say I support you! I get it and you aren’t alone.

I feel your pain!


I’m a bad mom! 10 examples of ‘mommy-guilt’ you need to let go of now!



We all have it, mommy-guilt. Am I working too hard, am I doing the right things, am I spending enough time with them? Wait, it might rain today. Did I send him with a jacket? Here are some things I like to call ‘momisms’ that we need to ditch right now!

  1. I should be a stay at home mom. My blog is called bringingmoms.com but I want to say this… do your thing. Whatever is right for you and your family is a very individual choice based on your own unique circumstances! I started this blog to give moms the option to stay home if they needed to ( like I do) and still be able to earn a living.Whether you are a sat at home mom, work at home mom or working outside the home mom, the thought will always cross your mind…Am I doing the right thing? Let go of the mommy guilt, we are all doing the best we can, everyone’s life, kids, resources, and family is different.
  2. Her life is so perfect. Don’t compare your life to other moms. Or anything you see on Instagram or Fakebook (ah hm, clearing throat) I mean Facebook. The things you see on social media are frankly bull-$%#@. I know I’m doing everything in my power today, with the tools I’ve been given to make the best life I can for my kids. Let it go! Real life is much different than social media. Complete with messes, spills, my son naked wearing only cowboys boots, (he’s three) and super hero’s taking over my house. Embrace your chaotic, beautiful mess of a life.
  3. I should have breast- fed my baby. Why do we think about this so much as moms? I’m over this phase of my life. My boobs just breathed a sigh of relief over that one. I do know that not one baby is the same. My boys were totally different in this department. With my first breastfeeding was so hard. He didn’t want to latch on, then when he finally did start nursing I had a bad allergic reaction to something ( breastfeeding apparently) my eyes swelled up so bad, I looked like Mike Tyson after a fight. I had to go on a strong dose of prednisone and therefore, had to stop nursing 3 weeks in. I felt so much guilt, and questioned every sniffle or missed milestone thinking it was because I didn’t breast fed long enough. This was mainly because of the moms in my circle of friends who were all breastfeeding at the time. Everyone has advice, just take it with a grain of salt, do what’s right for you and your baby and let-it-go! On a side note: My other son took to nursing right away and I was able to breast fed him for a year, that was a long and painful year in so many ways ironically. Every baby and experience is so different.
  4. I let my son watch t.v too long. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has sat their child down in front of the boob tube, to get something done, like make dinner, write a blog post, throw a load of laundry in or take a nap ( just kidding about that last one). But in all seriousness, we all have t.v’s in our houses, so therefore, we all watch t.v. no harm. There are plenty of educational programs on, who doesn’t love Seasame St. I swear I don’t know where I would be without that show honestly, maybe not writing this post. I love educational programming like this. I just can’t get my boys to watch anything but Transformers and Paw Patrol these days, anyone feel me on that one? Let the t.v guilt go!
  5. Not signing up to be class parent. I’m still working on this one. It’s still early in the year but I’m been busy working on projects ( like just launching my first e-Course today on teachable woo-hoo!) and trying to make everyone happy. I haven’t had a chance to sign up to be class parent and I don’t know if I will be able to honestly. It’s like… do I make money and pay my bills or do I help out in his class. Since I’ve divorced it has been a struggle financially (actually come to think of it it was more of a struggle when I was married, go figure)and I honestly have been hustling my little booty off. But nonetheless, I have never felt such a since of pride and accomplishment. I hope that someday my son will look back and go my mom worked so hard to give me the life she didn’t have growing up and I respect that. Even if he ever says that I hope that thought crosses his mind. We all have to prioritize and do the best we can with the resources we have.
  6. Sending your kids to school with a shirt that’s not ‘cool’ I honestly never thought I would be going through so much ‘fashion drama’ this school year. First of all, because I have boys and secondly my son is five! A plaid shirt and cargo shorts, that’s cool right? Every single morning it’s like an episode of Project Runway with my son being the coolness judge. Apparently only superheros are ‘cool’ these days. go figure.
  7. Taking a few minutes to indulge in something totally self indulgent or self absorbed. Like grabbing the Haagen Dazs raspberry sorbet (you know, that one you hid behind the healthy ice cream) and reading this article. Or watching the latest cat eye makeup tutorial on Youtube, Guilty as charged!
  8. It’s my fault he has or does___fill in blank__________. When my son was diagnosed with Autism I was confronted by not just guilt but the responses from others were astounding. Like, “Oh your son has Autism, I’m so sorry.” I’m not! He’s very unique, he’s charming, charismatic, creative and probably speaks better than your ten year old! Just kidding. Don’t be sorry, thank you! People I think, don’t know what to say when something is ‘wrong’ with your child and they like to place blame on you as the parent. Looking back I thought to myself, I did have a lot of headaches when I was pregnant and my dr. said to take Excedrin, maybe that was it. My dr. also said a Starbucks coffee from time to time wouldn’t hurt, did I go to Starbucks too much?  I think that some people think Autism is like the plague and that their child might ‘catch’ it and then their kid will end up like Tom Hanks in Rain Man. Is that really the only association some people have with Autism? Ok, so truth be told, that was one of my only associations that my mind went to when I heard the word ‘Autism’.  The bottom line is you can’t blame yourself, s**t happens, we just have to learn to adapt and adjust. Without his diagnosis I would never have started this blog and I would like to think if it could help one mom feeling the same it would be worth my time. Let go of mommy guilt. And on another note: If you are the ‘mommy shamer’, shame on you!
  9. My kids don’t eat enough vegetables! Kids are picky little eaters who often pick at their food like a baby bird. Well ok, truth be told my younger son usually inhales everything on his plate and wants seconds. My boys are like night and day. We as moms, go to the grocery store and are bombarded by the words;organic, gluten free, fat-free or sugar free. Should we be buying all of this stuff? No probably not. In fact some of these terms are just marketing tricks praying on your very own ‘mommy guilt’. Look through any baby food section in any grocery store and you will see all of these words enough to get your head spinning don’t buy into these marketing tricks and over pay on everyday groceries. Buy lots of fresh produce, wash throughly and serve. Make sure your child eats a well balanced diet but don’t stress about the little things, did Mikey eat his carrots? Is he drinking juice or eating other foods with the same vitamins? Probably. If not try giving him an multi- vitamin gummy daily (just hide that bottle)!
  10. Take a break! Don’t feel guilty going on a date night or going out to dinner, or even the gym, or to get a hair cut ( It’s the little things I value these days, I tell ya). Call grandma to the rescue or a trusted friend or family member for baby backup. Take time to relax and re-charge. You will come back a better mom, with less ‘mommy-guilt’ I promise!



Letting go of that ‘mommy guilt’ can be hard. Sometimes others like your friends, mom, monster in law (I mean mother in-law) or sister don’t help much in this department with on-going, hints and ‘helpful’ advice. My advice is let-it-go! Turn on an episode of Super Nanny ( this will always make your feel like a better mom instantly) have a cup or tea, or Moscato and give yourself a pat of the back supermom!

Goodbye Summer. Reflecting on Labor day weekend!

There is always something to be thankful for.

Labor day every year reminds us of the summers bitter-sweet impending end. Goodbye fresh watermelon, garden tomatoes, flip- flops and the smell of sunscreen. Get ready to say hello to Pumpkin-spice lattes, Halloween costume planning and dusting off boxes of winter clothes.

I hope you had a great Labor day weekend and an even better summer! Let’s not only reflect on what is now gone, but embrace the cooler, crisper temps that will soon follow. Let’s get ready for warm home-made apple pies, (which might be just warmed up from the bakery the way things are going these days), but nonetheless, I’m excited about all the little things that remind us to take a step back and embrace fall, and really embrace life’s simple pleasures. I encourage you to have a nice hot cocoa on your patio while the kids play near by, call an old friend, make a DIY scarf (I will be posting a tutorial soon) and take some time to reflect on the things that brought you joy in the previous months of the year.

More than five years ago I read a book called The Secret, the first time I read it,I thought to myself, this is a bunch of woo-woo hocus- pocus nonsense. Then after watching the movie, hearing success stories about how the life changing biblical advice in this book that was established long ago is still in practice, I started to be more open to applying some of the advice in this book to my own life. One of the main principles in this book is that like-attracts-like. So basically if we reflect on what is bringing us down, things that are stressing us out or any negativity, we are inviting more things we don’t want into our lives. If we reflect on the things that are positive in our lives, things that are going well, people we love and focus on things that bring us joy, we will therefore, be allowing more happiness and positive events into our lives.

It seems like ever since school started my life has been non-stop chaos and craziness, I’m sure I’m not the only one that feels this way. It’s been meetings, deadlines, appointments everyday and a couple of heartbreaking and disappointing events. I even took this labor day weekend to totally disconnect, unplug and enjoy the simple things, like…I read a book (yes a real book, not an e-book) and just allowed myself to de-stress and reflect on the things in my life that were working, things I love, goals I have in place and how much I am looking forward to the cooler fall months. I mean what’s not to love, cozy sweaters, UGG’s ( these are still in style right?) and pumpkin-Spice lattes, what could be better?

So here we are, the first day of the week, technically speaking for a lot of us. I’m approaching this day and fall, with a renewed spirit, positive vibes and armed with my to-do list, I’m ready to take on the world one check mark at a time.

Hope you had a relaxing weekend! Back to reality! Have a great week!




How I got over 100 new Instagram Followers in 24 hours

Instagram blog post

Oh how I love Instagram these days! Who doesn’t right? Chances are even your grandma is on Instagram these days. Ok, maybe not, but still Instagram is super popular and for good reason. I once overlooked this super popular form of social media marketing thinking that I would have better luck with Facebook, Pintrest and Twitter, but truth be told, I have had the most success and progress from dedicating a few days to Instagram than I have with any other social media outlet. I have not only had an increase in follows over a 24 hour period but I have increased my followers by over 200 in just a few days. Here’s how I did this and you can too.

  1. I wasn’t afraid to follow other accounts. Be generous with your follows. I was afraid to do this at first thinking that it would look better if I had more followers than following. Now I don’t care because I know the more accounts I follow the more followers I will gain. Not everyone is going to return the favor but just know that a lot will and this will be more than worth your time and effort. You can always edit and unfollow down the road if you need to.
  2. I researched what others in your genre are doing, How is there account presented, and what is their over all theme? If someone has over 1000 or anything that ends with K, I tend to take notice and see what they are up to. Things I look at on other accounts are colors they are using, what kind of images they have and most importantly what hash tags are they using.
  3. I posted positive messages. If see something you like, don’t be afraid to take the time to comment. It only take a few seconds of your time (hello emoji’s) and can lead to more engagement than just simply liking other posts. When you’re scrolling down you really don’t see who liked what only how many likes, you do see who commented on the posts. Get more clicks and more views on your profile with comments!
  4. Have a overall theme. Think about your colors, your logo and your overall branding. Instagram should not be any different. Think about the branding of Coca Cola. What colors would you expect to see on their Instagram profile? Red and white right? Think about brand identify and how do you want your business to be known. Have all of your social media accounts set up with your branding and theme in mind.
  5. I put myself out there, but not too much. Don’t combine business with pleasure. Don’t sell out and post things just to get attention, it won’t put you in the best light. Take the time to set up one account for business use and one for personal use. I am guilty of not doing this, I still need to find the time to do this. If you are targeting business clients you want the over all theme of your profile to look professional and polished. A few snap shots here and there of your family is ok to add to the mix for a more personalized vibe but don’t add anything that would make a potential client turn the other way. Be real, people like honesty and transparency, just don’t be too honest. Can anyone say #filter?
  6. I used over 10 tags -20 tags on almost every post. The more tags you use, the more chances you have for engagement. Take the time to use the most searchable and relevant tags possible.
  7. I used a popular celeb name a few times. Use a popular term or celebrity name. This can be a little tricky but I found that it does work. Think about which celebrity could relate to your post. Here’s an example. Maybe you have a natural baby product you are trying to market, why not add the tags #jessicaalba and #honestbaby. By doing this you are tagging a celebrity who has thousands of followers as well as her company with the same target market. Or even a business personality like #donaldtrump.
  8. I used trending hashtags. Use popular hashtags like l4l (like for like) or #follow4follow, tags that are only used on Instagram like #Instagood, #Instacollage, #quoteoftheday, etc. Research which popular tags are relevant in your genre. You don’t want a bunch of followers that won’t even be relevant to your business, for your personal account it won’t matter as much but you don’t want to end up with anything less that professional on your account like cursing or adult content.
  9. Don’t forget to target your local market. At first I didn’t even think to target my local market. Type in your county, your city or business organizations you are associated with or even ones you would like to be associated with. Follow local businesses that have the same target market. This just depends on your business and what your goals are. For me I’m targeting local businesses as well to market services I offer like graphic design and web design.
  10. I dedicated one whole day to posting, leaving comments, liking, following and responding to comments. I had a goal of reaching 100 followers by the end of the day! Which is not by any means impossible. I was actually shy by 28 at the end of the day, but two hours later and after losing sleep I met my goal #boom!  I probably put about 2-3 hours into Instagram to get to over 100 followers that day.
  11. I researched what times of the day are best for posting and I posted accordingly. In my genre 2 pm and 11 pm are the most popular times for activity. I also wanted to add that I probably posted over 10 times that day. I do recommend posting and engaging a lot, just don’t flood your followers with posts everyday or most consider that #spammy. Most days set a goal of maybe 1-2 posts. I had a huge goal in mind and that’s why I posted as much as I did for one day only.

Instagram is my new favorite social media platform! I don’t know about you but I love a having a visual to go with what I’m reading. Pintrest and Instagram offer more of a visual aspect to seeing and engaging with content.

P.s. If you want more followers don’t be tempted to go on a site like fiverr and pay for someone to get you followers. The reason is simply this, you want followers who are going to interact, engage and react to what it is your are marketing, interacting and engaging leads to more conversion. If you are marketing anything from a physical product to an article on your blog you want followers to see what it is you have to offer. Another reason is this, you want to look professional, with this kind of service it will be hard to monitor who is a follower and you could end up with a  bunch of weird profiles or adult content and that is not how you want to represent your business. Just food for thought.

Hope these tips helped you gain more followers and ultimately more sales!

Weekly WAHM job leads! Legit work at home jobs!

work at home job leads

Hi everyone, hope everyone is looking forward to the weekend. Is it really Friday again? I’ve been so busy getting my five year old ready for Kindergarten, complete with booster shots, tears, school shopping hauls, water gun fights, park trips and b-day parties. Hope you guys are having an enjoyable summer and remember to take some time for some R&R I’m guilty of pushing myself very hard this summer (wait is it really August this summer flew by), I might have set my goals a little too high but all I can do is try and mark things off my to-do list one at a time!

School starts on August 17th for us in Nor cal so it’s fast approaching.

So, anyhoo, I just wanted to post quickly about a new series I’m going to be doing thanks to Money Making Mommy! Weekly job leads for real, legit work at home jobs. Did I mention LEGIT?! Too legit to quit! Ok, can you tell that I’m a 90’s kinda girl, you can take the 90’s out, but you can’t take the 90’s outta the girl.

Here is a link to Money Making Mommy be sure to check out her blog as well.


Job Leads:


Virtual Client Receptionist – $10.50 and $11.00 per hour

Remote freelance writer: $12.50 – $16.50 / hr

Healthcare Recruiter (Virtual)

Testing Engineer / VistA MUMPS experience / Remote / Telecommute

Uber Driver – Flexible – Drive When Kids are in School – Average $20-25hr
They can even help finance the car you use!!

Sales Representative -Telecommute (hourly +commission) Avg. $12-24 per hr

Jazz Freelance Writer

Pop Music Freelance Writer

Digital Marketing Manager -$50 an hour – Full-time, Part-time, Contract

Work At Home Anywhere US: Customer Product Support Advisor

Most Popular Posts

Get Paid to be a Pokémon Go Expert

Be a Courthouse Researcher and Work From Home

American Express Work From Home Jobs $16-$30 hr

Neiman Marcus Work from Home Program – TX

Amazon Flex Jobs – Moms Earning $18-$25 an Hour!

Have a relaxing weekend! I will be working on a new Udemy course this weekend which will walk you through the process from start to finish on how to set up an online e-commerce store on the following three platforms Etsy, Ebay and Amazon. I will be also teaching a couple more courses coming up (setting up an ecommerce store as well as creating and selling digital printables) so if you are local to Nor Cal then please contact me for more info @ 530shasta@gmail.com

Oh, also I wanted to mention quickly that I am really kicking butt on Instagram these days and have learned a lot of tricks and tips. I will be researching social media tricks and tips one at a time ( I think Facebook is next) and I will be sure to give you the inside scoop on each as I uncover secrets to each. I will be recording an Instagram youtube video coming up this week on how to get 100 Instagram followers in 24 hours.

Talk to you all later. I will be posting more in the days ahead. Always feel free to contact me with any questions or for sponsor or business inquires you can reach me @ 530shasta@gmail.com

Have an amazing weekend!


Peace out moms!

7 Good Karma Tips to Grow Your Business

social media and marketing business


What the heck is ‘business karma’ you might be asking yourself?Have you ever read a blog post that you loved and thought, wow that was an amazing post, I need to leave a comment, but I don’t have time so I’ll just do it later!? I think we all are guilty of just trolling the internet without interacting or engaging with other readers or even the writer of the content due to lack of time. There’s always something on our ‘to-do’ list that we have to get done. From shuffling kids to appointments to running to the grocery store for what seems like the 19th time this week, then the emails, oh the emails, did I mention the emails? Then the social media and other projects you said yes to- it never ends. Is it really already Saturday? Where the heck did the week go?

So what is this ‘business karma’ you speak of, you might be pondering? Business karma is basically supporting other businesses in your genre. Are these your competitors? YES! So why should I be helping my competition, you might be thinking? Well the answer is simple- karma. Here is why I changed my mindset about business, competitors and the way I interact with others in my business element.

But first a story. So there have been a chain of events that have happened lately that prompted me to force myself to change my perception. First of all, I recently stumbled upon the website of a friend of a friend who had seemingly copied my entire business model right down to every detail of projects I’ve taken on from Ebooks to teaching. Now instead of getting mad and frustrated, which I was briefly, if I’m being totally honest, I reached out and offered to collaborate. After all, she doesn’t know everything about this business and neither do I so so I thought, maybe the two of us can exchange ideas. Even though she has been less than a friendly competitor I’m still trying to not take it personally and kill her with kindness. I mean maybe she’s stressed, maybe she’s going through personal issues or maybe she lacks time, don’t we all right? Anyhoo, I chose to reach out, praise her business and her efforts and let her know that I was thrilled to see another person in our area with the same business model as kind of a peace offering. Another incident happened when I came across a website that had nearly the same business name I had in mind of another website I’m going to be starting, focusing on local businesses in my area. I actually ended up calling this business to find out what I was up against, turns out I knew who owns and operates this business and he also teaches classes through the same local company I teach classes through- small world. The owner of this business, which shall remain un-named, was actually really friendly and offered me some good advice about the name and why I should not use the word ‘social’ in the URL, now that I mention it maybe it was a way of luring me in another direction. Either way he was super friendly and we had a good conversation and exchanged some business tips.

There will always be competitors, no matter what business you go in to. You could have the most unique business model, like making tutus for poodles, and still there will be another business out there doing the same thing. Competition is what pushes us to try harder, to push ourselves, to gain a new perspective and try new things.

I’ve always been very competitive in nature and I think that you really can’t be in business if you don’t have that kind of strong will. I’m learning that competition can be a good thing depending on your perspective.

Here are some ways to change your ‘business karma’ and maybe make some life long friends along the way.

1) Offer freebies. When you are first starting out, whether you are selling a physical product or just simply coaching, offer your product or services free for reviews and experience. You can take as many classes or get as many certifications you want, but nothing is going to prepare you more than ‘real world’ experience.

2) Offer free advice. Everyone is good at something. It’s just a matter of fine tuning those skills and offering your expertise to others. You might think offering free advice is counterproductive but actually it’s quite the opposite. When you consider launching a service or product most people are very reluctant to offer up their hard earned cash. Offering free advice gains you respect and credibility, thus, building momentum and getting your target market excited about what you have to ultimately sell them, this is going to be what sets you apart from your competition. It’s not what you sell that people are going to remember, it’s what isn’t for sale. I love making youtube videos and although the income I generate is hardly worth mentioning at this point (ask me in five years). Youtube is where people go for free advice, and I am happy to offer it to gain respect and authority in my field of expertise.

3) Think outside the web. When I first started working online as well as earning money online 12 years ago I was focused only on internet based efforts. After re-evaluating my overall business plan I realize now that focusing on my local market might be even more powerful and productive than I once thought. I really think I overlooked the potential my own local area has to offer. I guess I thought that there would be no market for what I teach or what I have to offer. I was wrong. Start with your local area and branch out from there. I did the opposite but the mistakes I made along the way are invaluable experiences that have helped me in the long run.

4) Collaborate. Look online for businesses in your genre. Local and otherwise. If you are a blogger for example. Contact other bloggers in your genre. Offer to guest post, offer to collaborate on Youtube or a project, maybe offer a free ebook to other bloggers for their readers, or even a free product for a giveaway. You know that saying two heads are better than one? It’s true. Reach out and send a message to others in your field. Take the time to leave a comment on like blogs or websites. So many readers don’t take that one simple step. By not leaving links like comments you are missing out on huge opportunities for traffic, readers and customers.

5) Don’t be a know it all. Nothing is worse than coming across as a know-it-all. I believe in staying humble, a little humility goes a long way. Some people have a little success and then lose focus of where they came from. If your target market can’t relate with you anymore, why would they continue to read your posts or buy what you have to offer. Prepare for an unfollow!  One blogger I started following that was a frugal living, money saving blogger marketed her business around the fact that she could live on $20,000 a year. Well that business model really caught on, so much it made her almost wealthy and now the very business that made her rich might make her poor again if she can’t re-focus her audiences attention. No matter what field you are in there is always room to learn and grow. Don’t be afraid to change direction. If something isn’t working change it. I started out blogging six years ago as a coupon blogger. This was a great idea- at the time. After a couple years I lost focus and so did my ideal audience as well,  so I had to revamp and re-work my business model and I’m so happy I did. I love teaching business. I think what makes someone a good teacher, is someone who never stops learning. Just like a writer needs books, a teacher needs continue to learn to teach. I try to dedicate at least an hour everyday to leaning something knew. There are always questions I think of that I write down and at the end of the day, I google, watch videos and try to figure out the answer to each question on my list. This is how I learned so much of what I now teach, just being curious and having a passion to help others succeed is what started this blog and my whole business model.

6) Refer, refer, refer. Your competition should be your friends not your enemies. Think about this. If you have too much work on your hands who would you pass your clients on too? Network and make friends with your competitors. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer right? Make your competitors your friends. Offer to help and offer your services or advice. Earn respect. Who would your competition refer their work overflow too? Get my point? It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

7) Donate to charities. One I would recommend is Kiva.org this is a peer to peer lending website that helps entrepreneurs. Or keep an open mind, donating doesn’t just come in a monetary form. Volunteer your time or resources. Have some office space you can donate for a couple hours? Why not? What have you got to lose? You could also donate to churches, schools or other non-profits. You may also qualify for tax write -offs which we can all appreciate.

The karmic business seeds you plant will grow with time. Always remember what you offer you will get back. Never lose sight of your mission or your vision. If you find yourself losing focus or getting sidetracked ask yourself why did you go into business for yourself in the first place?

What did you want to accomplish?

Who did you want to help?

Don’t start a business for monetary reasons alone. Do what you love and the money will come. Why spend your life miserable? Make your life fun! I’m on a mission to help mompreneurs live the lives they really want to live!

Share the business karma!!!! If you like this post. Leave me a message and I will be sure to get back to you. If you need any advice or have a home business problem or question I would be happy to help. I also teach local classes in Northern CA., if you would like any info, please contact me @ 530shasta@gmail.com