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Mar. 14th, 2010

This Site Has Moved! Go Check Out My New Blog!

Please update your favorites and RSS feeds to my new blog: Lanaye.com!

At long, long last, I'm stopping the presses here at Livejournal, and moving to my own site over at Lanaye.com.  I've moved all my old posts and comments, for a (hopefully) seamless transition, so please join me over there!

Please drop in, take a look around,  and leave a comment to tell me how you like it!

Mar. 13th, 2010

Fry's Online Game: I Just Won a Free Pizza!

Look what I just won!

Tony's going to be excited. I never buy pizza since I don't eat cheese. That's one meal I don't have to plan for next week!

Through April 6th, you can play the hoops game on the Fry's website once a day. There's over 80,000 prizes, and it looks like your chances of winning are pretty high since this is only the 2nd time I've played. Your prizes are automatically loaded to your Fry's/Kroger card, so no need to print or carry coupons.

I'll be playing daily now that I'm registered - apparently I was already registered on the Fry's site, I just had to figure out my password. Annoying.

Thanks to kc at Desert Deals Diva for the heads up.

Mar. 10th, 2010

Arizona Residents: Don't Forget to Deduct Your 529 Contributions!

I just did my taxes this weekend with TurboTax, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Arizona residents may deduct their contributions to ANY state 529 plan, NOT just an Arizona plan! 

I know, I know, I should have known this before I started my Ohio CollegeAdvantage 529 Plan. I just assumed that you only got the state tax deduction if you invested in a 529 plan from a state that you lived in, and since the Arizona options were so poor, I didn't even give the state tax deduction a second thought. The money I'll be saving in lower fees over time will outweigh any state tax deductions I could receive from a plan with high management fees and/or limited investment options. But taking advantage of BOTH low fees AND state tax deductions is the best of both worlds!!

Through 2012, Arizona taxpayers may deduct contributions to ANY 529 plan of up to $750 for a single or head of household or $1,500 for a married couple per year. We're one of only 5 states (Pennsylvania, Arizona, Maine, Kansas and Missouri) that have this privilege!

So, if you live in Arizona and you took advantage of the Ohio CollegeAdvantage 529 sign up bonuses, make sure to deduct any contributions you made from your state taxes. This is even more incentive to give contributions to a 529 plan as a gift!

I had $250 in contributions to my 529 last year, which reduced the state taxes that I owe by an extra $11. Every little bit helps!
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Mar. 7th, 2010

FREE $10 North Face Gift Certificate

Sign up for text message alerts from The North Face and receive a FREE $10 gift certificate by email. (Email will arrive within 2 weeks).

Obviously, you only want to sign up if you get free text messages, or already pay for a texting package. You can opt to get as little as 1 text message a week, so it shouldn't interfere with your texting quota.

And since all posts are better with a picture, here's my sexy GQ bf modeling his favorite TNF fleece:


Mar. 6th, 2010

My Explorer Reached 197,000 Miles Today!!! + Check Those Spare Tires!

Today was a busy day for Mr. Tan Monkey (my Explorer).

Mission #1: Oil Change at Desert Car Care
First off, he got his very first oil change at Desert Care Care. We went to the Gilbert shop, since the Chandler shop was temporarily closed. We had received a complimentary oil change at any NARPRO approved shop, so we thought we'd give them a try.

Mr. Tan Monkey is always nervous to try out new car shops. He's super shy, and afraid people will make fun of his less-than-perfect features.  He's also highly untrusting of most mechanics, and afraid they're going to give him a laundry list of items that don't really need to be fixed, just to put some extra dough in their pockets.  I mean, c'mon, he's 17 years old! He's bound to have some leaks here and there as a  result of age. I've taken him to get his oil changed before, and I had just replaced the air filter myself. On the long list of things to fix/replace, there was "Air filter is old and dirty. Needs to be replaced."  Hrumph.

So Mr. Tan Monkey was extremely pleased when the nice lady behind the counter boosted his ego and said that he was doing "okay" for his age - and then when she found out he had 197,000 miles, she said he was doing GREAT! He was even happier that her list of recommendations was short and sweet and focused on only the serious issues. It included fixing the brake lights (A known, reoccurring problem. Also a ticketable offense. Oops. And highly unsafe, I know.), a cracked drive belt (apparently it won't last another AZ summer), and most importantly replacing the severely cracked front tire (I had already noticed this, but it was reassuring that they had caught this detail).  She also asked if I knew my emergency brake was missing. LOL. I had to laugh at that one - how I could I drive my own vehicle and not notice that?!? She said "We don't park on too many inclines in Phoenix so I guess that's not much of a problem." I've meant to have Eric (my mechanic friend) weld that back on, but I guess I just got used to driving without it and didn't make it much of a priority. She also wasn't pushy to have us do the work right then, or even at their shop.

We will definitely be visiting Desert Car Care again, especially since their oil change is very inexpensive and quick. I like that they take appointments for oil changes, and they get you in and out, unlike several other shops I've been to. You can get an oil change for $18.95 using the coupon from their website

Mission #2: New Tires at Firestone
Then, we took Mr. Tan Monkey to get a shiny new set of tires. We went to a Firestone in downtown Phoenix at Eric's recommendation. I had done some research online, and couldn't beat the price that they had quoted me for a full tire package, including mount and balance. Plus, I was kind of under time pressure, since my front tire was so cracked that it was dangerous for me to even be driving on it.

Firestone had a special going on, buy 3 tires get 1 free, so four Pathmaker A/T tires came out to be $311.97, or ~$80 each. They also gave me a discount on the balancing and installation, as well as a discount on the road hazard protection. (I'm not entirely sure how this worked, whether it was a "friend of Eric" discount, or just a special of the day, but I didn't question it). So I got four tires mounted and installed with the Firestone Road Hazard protection, for a grand total of $408.56. Not bad for a full set of all-terrain SUV tires!! 
But that's not all! They checked the spare tire (which I've never even LOOKED at, since I've never needed to use it), and it turns out my spare had been part of  that massive Firestone recall, so I was getting a new spare tire for free too! It was so old and used (it only had 7/32 tire depth on it), that it was probably one of the original tires. I remember the huge recall, and I remember checking to make sure my tires weren't part of it, but it didn't even dawn on me to check the spare.

So Mr. Tan Monkey got FIVE new tires today. Boy is he feeling spiffy in his big boy all-terrain tires. It was fortunate I actually went to Firestone, since I've had my tires changed a couple times before and no one ever caught the recalled spare tire. If you have a Ford Explorer, you might want to check your spare tire too!

Mar. 4th, 2010

Free Download: Gift Tag for Your Neighbors

I just came across this adorable gift tag, and I had to come right here to share it!  Amanda Joy from Joy Ever After has created this free printable gift tag for packaging a sweet treat for your neighbors:

Now that I live in a good neighborhood with nice neighbors, I have actually entertained the thought of giving out some "Nice to Meet You Neighbor" treats.  This label will make my foil covered paper plates look SO much classier ;)

Go here to download the gift tag. Thanks Amanda! Love it! Now I also seriously want to make those blueberry muffins.

Mar. 3rd, 2010

RecycleBank: FREE Dish Detergent or Baby Wipes!

Have you joined RecycleBank yet? If not, you can join right now and earn up to 105 points, which is enough for a free bottle of Seventh Generation dish detergent or a free package of chlorine-free baby wipes.

Here's how you sign up: 
  1. Join RecycleBank.com here (if you haven’t already) and you’ll get 40 points for signing up.
  2. Click on the “Earn Points” tab at the top and join the Ebay Green Team in order to get 50 more points for free.
  3. In the PROMO CODE section, enter code: RECYCLEYOURMAGS to get 15 more points for free.
You now have a total of 105 points! Here are some of the *HOT* items you can cash in your points for:
  • FREE bottle of Seventh Generation all purpose cleaner - 50 pts
  • FREE bottle of Seventh Generation dish detergent - 50 pts
  • FREE container of Seventh Generation chlorine free baby wipes - 75 pts
  • $5 off $35 or more at Sprouts Farmers Market - 50 pts
  • $4 off $20 CVS coupon - 50 pts
  • Good Housekeeping one-year subscription - 80 pts
  • Marie Claire one-year subscription - 80 pts
  • Popular Mechanics one-year subscription - 100 pts
The coupons are actually physically mailed to you when you redeem your points. So far, I have ordered a coupon for $5 off $30 at Sprouts, and a free bottle of Seventh Generation dish detergent.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Sprouts coupon! It helps offset my insanely expensive Kombucha addiction, which is only available at Sprouts or WF right now.

If you live in select cities, you can also participate in their curbside recycling program and earn 2.5 RecycleBank points for each pound of recyclable materials. It looks like Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Virgina are all currently participating. Too bad AZ isn't included, because earning coupons for recycling would be awesome!


Feb. 26th, 2010

Goodwill AZ: 50% Off All Merchandise Every Other Saturday

Goodwill in Arizona offers 50% off all merchandise (except food & beverages) every other Saturday.  You can go here to see a calendar with the exact dates of the 50% off sales. 

It also looks like students receive a 25% discount with Student ID every Sunday.
I must admit, Goodwill came in very handy when I had to stock up on cheap sweaters for my China trip! If only I had known about the 50% days, or the 25% student discount, I could have saved even more money. I also learned that the Goodwill near my house in Ahwatukee is open until 10pm on weekdays! That's later than most restaurants stay open here!

Feb. 25th, 2010

Jennie-O $5 Turkey Rebate (First 25,000)

Right now, when you register for the Jennie-O website, you can print a full product rebate (up to $5 value) for any Jennie-O turkey product. Hurry, as quantities are limited to the first 25,000.

I just finished making ~30 turkey burgers this weekend and freezing them for my weekday lunches. Right now I'm stuck on this tarragon turkey burger recipe that is pretty tasty. I'll have to post it sometime.

Feb. 24th, 2010

Groupon: $99 for Laser Hair Removal on Any Two Areas ($700 value)

Okay, so this post might be a tad personal for some! Sorry! Just keepin' it real!

As I may or may not have mentioned before, one of the lovely side effects of my PCOS is hirsutism, or "male-pattern hair growth." It basically means I'm MO-FO FREAKIN' HAIRY. There, I said it, for all the world to know. To be honest, I was more embarrassed by this when I was in high school and didn't have the means to maintain all my hair. Especially the PUBLICALLY SEEN hair. I was a plucking fool back in high school. One of the comments that I will NEVER FORGET UNTIL THE DAY I DIE comes from my lovely high school boyfriend: "Do you want to borrow my razor, so you can shave your beard?" Brutal.

Luckily for me, I've found an aesthetician I love, who I've been seeing for, oh, let me see, 7 years now!! She's become like a mother to me. A mother who rips out the hair from my face and makes me wince in pain. Lol.  Waxing is expensive. But I've tried all manner of hair removal and it's the most convenient, and the only method that minimizes ingrown hairs and works with my SUPER SUPER SENSITIVE skin.

So yes, I've come to accept my super abundance of hair and all the maintenaince it requires. I also try to ignore the $35-every-other-week cost of getting my face waxed (GULP). Let's go ahead and cost that out for a year, shall we? $910/year for waxing just my face. Okay, say I wax until I'm 80. That's $47,320 worth of waxing. MAJOR GULP. That's a lot of money on hair maintenaince. And that's just my face! My eyebrows, lip, and chin! It doesn't include my other hairy areas that I have to shave almost daily!

Now, I'm lucky, because most of my hair is blonde. So it's not AS unsightly at it could be. Take my arms, for example. I have GORILLA-HAIRY arms. (Again, keepin' it real folks!) But it's light, so it shouldn't be a problem, right? RIGHT? Wrong. I've had men PET my arms. Not the oh, he's copping a feel and petting me all over kind of petting. Nope. More like the oooooh, it's furry kind of petting.   Shortly after THAT incident, I started shaving my arms. So that got added to my daily list of fun things to do in the shower. Yay for being hairy! (But I do looooove the smooth arms. To be honest, the prickles aren't even that bad if I go a day or two without shaving! Unlike my legs, unfortunately. Poor Tony.)

So yeah, there's a whole lot of upkeep involved with my hair. (And you gentlemen think we're insane for spending a fortune on our haircuts! The hair removal is a whole 'nother ball of wax, my friends).

I've gone and seen dermatologists for my PCOS, and they've told me all the options for my excess hair problem. Everything from topical creams, to shaving, waxing, electrolysis, and laser. The most recommended (and cost-effective if it works) is the laser hair removal. I've added that to my "things I will do when I have money coming out of my ears" wish list. I probably would have put it on my "things I need to do PRONTO" list, except for the fact that I couldn't justify $2-3K on treatments that MIGHT NOT WORK. Being a hairy blonde is a catch-22, you see. The hairs are light, so it's supposed to make me feel better because people don't notice them right away. Heh. But light hair is supposed to have only so-so results with the laser. My dermatologist said that so long as the hair has pigment (i.e. not pure white), it can be detected by the laser, so I should give it a try. He also said that most women who see him actually shave their faces, so I shouldn't feel bad. Lol. 

Wow, I guess I had a lot to say about this topic. A lot of bottled up anguish, apparently.

But all that anguish is about to end! Hopefully! I squealed in delight when I opened my email this morning and found the following deal on Groupon:

Today's Deal: $99 for Laser Hair Removal on Any Two Areas at Physician Laser Centers ($700 Value)

That's an 85% savings!!!! Plus, you can purchase multiple Groupons.  Each Groupon covers two areas. For example, if you want to do your full legs and bikini line, you can purchase 3 Groupons for 6 areas at $297 (regularly $2,100!) WOW! At this price, I figure why not try it. If it doesn't work on my blonde hairs, it was worth trying. In the discussion thread, the owners of Physician Laser Centers have commented that the technology has actually improved in the last 2-3 years, and that it is more successful on blonde and red hairs. So we'll see!

You too, my friends, can cash in on this deal. Just click on the link above, and sign up for Groupon. At the time of this post, there is 12 hours, 24 minutes left to get the deal!

Funny side note:  I sent this out to all the close women I work with, and so far we have a carpooling group of FOUR to get our laser done! Bonding over hair removal. Hilarious.

Additional side note: This couldn't have come at a more appropriate time for me! I  have this random whisker that likes to pop up on my cheek, but more often than not, it just burrows and creates an ingrown cyst of enormous proportions. This week, it was annoying me and I tried to pick it out, but the little bugger wasn't coming out to play. After a small massacre with my tweezers I had a large, oozing bloody crater on my cheek. It looks gross, still, three days later. No amount of makeup camouflages it. And of course I kept picking at the scab, which doesn't help the healing process any. Let's just hope the laser treatment keeps THAT from happening again. Wow. Too much information, probably. Sorry about that.

And if you're lucky enough to be hairless, then I encourage you to still check out Groupon! They basically offer really good local discounts when enough people "buy" the deal (although you don't get charged if there isn't enough interest).  Every day they feature a new deal for your particular area, and you can look at other cities you might be interested in as well (if you're planning a trip somewhere, for example). Recently I've seen flying trapeze lessons in Mesa for 50% off, and one month of unlimited hot yoga at Bikram Yoga Phoenix ($136 Value) for only $15! It doesn't cost anything to join and see their daily deals, so give it a try.


\end of hair rant

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