Swago’s Back!

Swagbucks is holding their Swago promotion starting Monday, July 24th at 9am PDT! It’s just like bingo, but in this case you’re filling out squares as you earn points on their site for doing things you already do online. If you’re thinking of trying Swagbucks, this is a great chance to learn all about how the site works and earn bonus points while doing it.

The best part is that the points you get can be used to get free gift cards to places like Amazon, or PayPal cash! 

Fill up your board and then submit your pattern to get even more points – if you can fill in the whole board, you get a 500 SB bonus! That’s enough for a $5 gift card in our Rewards Store.

Click here to sign up and get started! If you sign up through my link and earn 300 SB before the first of next month, you’ll get a bonus 300 SB!

Swagbucks with Kohls!

Swagbucks has a deal where you can get 25% back when you spend $50 at Kohl’s, and that’s before any deals you’ll get through Kohl’s Cash.

Here’s how you take advantage of this deal:

1. Click here and sign up for Swagbucks if you haven’t already. Make sure you create your “Swag Name” after you sign up.
2. Send an image of your product(s) along with the qualifying receipt to Iredeemkohls@swagbucks.com and include your Swag Name in the subject line.

That’s all you need to do to secure your 1250 SB credit, which is equal to $12.50 – that’s 25% back on your purchase. If you already have a Swagbucks account, you can get a $50 Kohl’s gift card for 4650 SB, a 7% discount of the usual price.

Haven’t tried Swagbucks yet? They’re a site where you earn points (called SB) for doing things like shopping, watching videos, taking surveys, and discovering deals and services you might like to try. You then take those points and turn them into free gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart, Target, or PayPal cash.

Countdown to Carey

Someone asked me the other day if I was nervous about getting married.  Not about the getting married part – I’m nervous about the weather honestly.  Right now the 10 day forecast shows a 50% chance of rain in the days leading up to the ceremony.  I know this is SC, it is going to change eleventy-billion times before then!  

I think I am more nervous about the boatload of paperwork required to change my name afterwards, so many places and things to remember!   Thank goodness for pinterest and a lovely little checklist!  Unofficially (ie: work email & facebook) my name will change the Sunday after we get married, officially I am waiting until September and the kids start school to change everything.  I was more worried about getting all the paperwork back before our honeymoon flights, so it seemed easier to just keep the legal papers as Vann until then.  Less hassle with Delta – the better!

This countdown has been on for a long time, and I cannot believe that as of right now (as I’m writing this) we are less than 10 days away!  Single digits people!  I swear just yesterday I was writing “75 days” on the little chalkboard countdown we have on the fridge at home!   

I cannot wait to become a Jake’s wife!

Wedding Wednesday – Vendors!

Things have come together so well, and anyone who knows me knows that I worry about everything, so having everything come together so well has been a giant blessing.   

I wanted to give a shout out to some of our vendors (more about them after the wedding).  They have each so far been amazing to work with during the prep time, and I cannot wait to see each of them on our wedding day!

PhotographyAndrea Fabian from Trevor Mercer Photography

Cupcakes/Cake – Megan Bennett (graduate student)

DJ – Ronny Lane from Partytime DJ’s

Bartender – Jayne Elmgren from Blue Flame Bartending

VenuePalmetto Collegiate Institute – Town of Lexington

Catering – Moe’s (Rehearsal Dinner) and True BBQ (reception)

DressesDavid’s Bridal

Mens WearMen’s Wearhouse & Kohls

Hair – Candice West at Magnolia Salon

Flowers – Sam’s Club – (flowers in bulk)

Newnan – 5 Years later

When my daughter Katie asked to go to Newnan, to go back and see the Mayhews and her other friends, I would put her off.  We didn’t have the money, nor did I have the time to take off work.  My car is failing, and it is just too far to go.   If I could take back every time in the last 5 years I have said no, I would in a heartbeat.

Newnan is the place that is hard for me to go back to.  Sure it is where I brought 2 babies home from the hospital, the first home my husband (now ex) and I owned together.  I watched my son Jonathan learn to ride a bike in that driveway.  I paced the hallway swaying my newborn baby girl Natalee to sleep.  I watched my daughter Katie and her friend Madison play for hours on the swingset in the back yard.   But Newnan has it’s bad.  It is where I watched my baby gasp for air before being taken to the ER only to endure a 4 day hospital stay at the Children’s Hospital.  It is where I learned that my husband had a years long affair, it is where he “came clean” to me in the bathroom on the 2nd floor about how he had been unfaithful.   It is where I sat calmly on our bed as he told me he was leaving, and moving out.  It is where I rebuilt myself in those months after he left – doing everything I could for my kids as my world seemingly crumbled around me.

As you can see – its hard to go back.  But then the text came and the facebook messages that Anissa had passed away.  All of that bad melted away, and I just needed to get there for my friend and her family.  I waited for news of her service, I booked hotel rooms and then this past weekend we went back.   The kids of course wanted to see the house, so we went past.  The only thing I remember thinking was that the neighborhood had sort of declined, but then again I live in an HOA neighborhood now full of perfectly manicured lawns.  I was simply basing this off the fact that the grass was waist high in some spots.   The house looked much like it did when we lived there, save for the trees growing taller & fuller.

The celebration of Anissa’s life was good.  I know that’s weird to say about what was essentially a funeral, but it was more a celebration.  There were bright summer colors, Hawaiian shirts and stories.  Boy were there stories, there was a video full of photos of her with a special surprise in the middle that made us giggle.  There was a story about a coconut, that led most to say that they will never think of a coconut in the same way, or see a coconut and not think about Anissa.  Even through all of the tears and hugs and more tears, it never hit me that it was because she was gone.  Before we left on Sunday, we stopped by the house to see Pete (her husband) and our old neighborhood one last time.  It was raining, and my teenager remarked that Anissa was mad because we were all sad – so she sent some storms down to us.  Pete showed me some improvements they made to the house, and as I rounded the corner into the sunroom, her wheelchair was there.   In my mind I said “oh Niss is in the bathroom” and then it hit me.  No, the chair sititng there, in front of her computer like it was so many times – she’s not coming back to it.   Before we left I reached over and ran my hand across the back and let me hand rest on the handle.   I walked away, ran my hand through her son’s hair as I passed him sleeping in the chair, and hugged Peter one last time.

Despite all the bad that happened in Newnan, this friendship between our families was the good.  Those memories are good.  And this trip healed me in a few ways, because I could bring Jake back – show him the good that happened and the good people who helped me through.

I end with this song that was played during Anissa’s celebration.  It is one of my favorite Christian songs and I hope it touches you in a way that touches me when I hear it.

Savings with Walmart & Swagbucks!


Walmart is running huge deals all week long on everything from clothing and jewelry to home electronics, grills, and toys, and Swagbucks is offering 6% cash back (in the form of SB Points) for every dollar you spend through Sunday. Whatever you need this summer, now’s the time to buy it and get rewarded for doing it.    Need pool supplies or stuff to take along to the beach?  Walmart’s got it!

Just click here to take advantage of these deals. If you haven’t signed up for Swagbucks yet, you can also do that at this page and start earning points towards your first free gift card. As a bonus, if you sign up through me a spend at least $25 shopping online through Swagbucks before the first of the month and you’ll get a 200 SB bonus – that’s $2 in addition to the points you get for each dollar you spend.


Wedding Wednesday – Couples Shower!

My friend and maid of honor Laura threw us a couples shower a few weeks ago at River Rat Brewery.  It was perfect, despite the gross weather (hello humidity!).  We were able to sip some yummy beer out of these adorable mugs she made us, visit with friends, play cards and just hang out.  We got some lovely gifts, and ate some delicious food – prosciutto wrapped melon maybe one of my favorite things now.

We tried to get some photos of that night, but the humidity turned most of the photos very hazy.   Memories of that night maybe hazy depending on how much you drank!   Also, this was the best out of the 3 photos of all of us – sorority squats and giggles.  Not sure why the girl who took the photo cut off some heads and insisted on getting all our feet!   Laura did a very cute “who was it” game where our friends had to choose who said or did what first – like “who initiated the first kiss” and “who paid for dinner on our first date”.  Both those questions led to some pretty hilarious stories – and lots and lots of laughter.   

We had a blast, and if you ever visit Columbia – River Rat is a must see!  Great atmosphere and good beer!


What I read in June

I used to be such an avid book reader – but life got so very busy.  My quiet evenings on the couch reading have been replaced with housework,  our never ending home repairs and trying to get the wedding in order.  I did manage to read 1 book completely in June and it was great.  I made a point to try to cut back on the lunch time errands, and if possible sit in the shade and read while I eat my (packed) lunch.    Not only am I saving gas by not running errands on lunch, I’m saving money (and calories) by not hitting a drive thru!   

The book I read was “The Summer House” by Jenny Hale.  It was an easy read, didn’t have to think too hard.  I sort of figured out what was going on by halfway through the book but enjoyed how the story unfolded (in a similar way to what I guessed!).   It mentioned many real life places in the Outer Banks, one of the most beautiful areas of North Carolina.  

It was a love story, but not overly done and full of sex (not that I don’t enjoy those books – because I do) but this one was just a sweet love story).

You can purchase this book on amazon.com as an e-book for pretty inexpensively – just click on the photo of the book to go there!


Thursday Tunes -the wedding edition

We are having sort of a musical crisis in our wedding planning – so, I am taking to twitter and the blog to recruit some help!  We need songs for:

Garter Toss
When Jake takes off the garter
Cutting the Cake

I have appropriately picked to play parts of “Who Run the World” by Beyonce for when I toss the bouquet – because no wedding is complete without some Beyonce.  =)  

Jake and I have our song picked for our first dance, and I have picked a great Darius Rucker song for my daddy and I to dance to – some know what the songs are, for the rest of you – you will have to be at the wedding to hear!!   I am just excited to get to dance with everyone – I love a good party!   The song choices we have gotten back on the RSVP cards are great – ranging from the Wobble & Cha-Cha Slide to Prince and Frank Sinatra.  I think our last dance song of the night is Frank Sinatra – have to check with our DJ Ronny Lane to see if he has what we need.  

Picking songs has been a lot of fun.  I am music obsessed, and typically would rather have Pandora running than the TV while I am making dinner.  I mean, who really wants to hear about death and destruction while you are sauteing chicken?   

So give me your best suggestions for the above mentioned times!  

This post is sponsored by mine & Jake’s song…..

seven five

There are 24 days until our wedding, and I feel like we have a thousand things going on.  We hopefully close on the house on the 14th (finally!).   We have packages arriving almost everyday from different vendors – UPS must love us!   We have a few more things to grab, just little things.  We have to have craft time soon – painting the decor, and putting some things together – OH and making bug spray because – outside + SC = mosquitoes!  

How was everyone’s 4th?  Ours was super quiet.  The kids went to their dads, and I had off.  Jake had to work as normal.  I went to Lowes, and attempted to fix the handle on our toilet.  Yep, was not successful – it would not fit in the hole!  Jake came home and it took him 3 minutes to fix what I couldn’t do.  We hung some stuff up in our bedroom and attempted to fix the ball-catch on our bathroom doors – don’t ask about that one, as it did not turn out well.  

The neighbors set off some fireworks, which was neat to see.  We just stood in the driveway and watched down the street, as many were doing it.  Maybe we will join in next summer!   Luckily for us, they stopped right around 10pm, so it didn’t sound like a war zone all night. 

Stay tuned for another blog post from Sarah Anne – she has been cooking up a storm this last week and everything looks so yummy!!   We are also going to build a bar this weekend with some pallets that Jake was able to snag from work.  So excited about this!