First, how I coped with Valentines Day ... in pictures:
I had planned a busy weekend of doing so that I wouldn't have time to sit and mope. The plan worked.
The non-moping was helped along when I got these at about 9 a.m.:
My second task of the day was going to brunch at my church. Sometimes it's just nice to be around nice people, what can I say. Eating waffles also helps:
After I came home I made some delicious food for a party that evening. I find baking extremely therapeutic, I dont know why. I love making something wonderful and impressive out of a pile of rather unimpressive things ... really, who has ever been impressed by a sack of flour.
Chocolate dipped strawberries, before and after like:
And eclairs. Mmmm:
The party spread:
Sadly, no photos of the actual party. I suck, I know.
As a final thought today, I want to share a few links that I have come across over the last few weeks and found extremely wonderful.
You should know that as much as I love to buy things, specifically food related, I prefer to buy them on the cheap. Since my D.C. days I've been a coupon clipper, but never really good at it beyond taking the ones I had to store and using them.
A few web sites, however, are rapidly helping me get better and find some pretty awesome deals. Some gems I've encountered thus far:
Frugal Living Online -- Portland based. This woman breaks down very well the weekly deals at Walgreens, Albertsons, Rite Aid and Safeway as well as highlighting helpful tips or any other steals she's come across.
Money Saving Mom -- Don't know where she is. She also breaks down the deals, but her focus seems to be more on other great steals, freebies, etc. I'm in the process of scoring a free sub to Martha Stewart Living (my favorite magazine that I don't like enough to buy) thanks to her.
Abundant Food Savings -- Like the Money Saving Mom, but more so. Found out about a free RedBox movie rental which I scored for tonight here. Good stuff.
Swagbucks.com -- Learned about this through Frugal Living Online, who claims to have seen results from it. I've not yet "earned" anything, but the premise is that you can earn gift cards by using their site, which operates through google and ask.com, to do your everyday searches. If it works like she says it does I'll be able to get free gift cards for basically doing nothing. Sounds fine to me.
Plasticjungle.com -- Dana turned me on to this a few months ago and I made my frist gift card purchase today. By signing up on their "wish list alerts" I was able to buy a $213 Bed, Bath and Beyond gift card for about $180. My plan is to take it to the store and buy several more gifts cards which I'll use as wedding gifts over the next few months. I'll be able to send a nice gift card that I would've bought and sent anywaya, for the less than cost. Can't beat that! If you use a specific store a lot or know, like in my case, that you'll be giving gifts to people from a specific store, and can plan ahead a bit, this is the Web site for you.