Lucky Deal

Lucky Deal

OH I love this…

Plum District, a groupon-esque site geared towards moms but great for random deals like this too, is offering half off a voucher to Lucky Vitamin. LV is like VitaCost or iHerb -lots of great products at discounted prices. I used it to stock up on nuts that the beau can eat (aka weren’t processed in a facility with peanuts) so I can go back to making nut butters and raw desserts without the fear of him going to the hospital. huzzah!

If you want to take advantage, click here within the next 3 days.

Yoga/beauty/savings,

Kait xo

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Our Next Big Adventure

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Fuzzy but look how effing cute it is!

Well folks, it’s official. The beau and I are officially the latest residents of NYC (though I’m not living there yet)!  I’m beyond obsessed with our adorable studio. I mean, we have a fireplace and a spiral staircase. No dishwasher or laundry *gulps* but right now, I don’t care (I love it)!

The beau is moving in immediately and I’ll follow as soon as my work here is done (date still TBD). Right now I’m in the process of finding new doctors and a new gym to teach at. But mostly I’m in complete and utter awe that this dream, the one we never dared think possible…this impossible, beautiful dream…is coming true.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I keep hearing “New York State of Mind” on the radio. All the time…like it was just release. And you can bet your behind that I sing along at the top of my lungs, each and every time.

There’s still so much up in the air…I’ve got to figure out the move, establish myself with new healthcare providers, find a new gym to teach at and so forth. Luckily, I already have my eye on a nearby yoga studio (and a mindfulness group). #priorities 😉

In addition to that, we’re still recovering, financially and otherwise, from the brutal months of job hunting. For now though I’m excited and grateful and a million other invigorating emotions because guys…it’s my favorite city. And I really can’t wait to show it to you.

Yoga/beauty/dreams coming true,

Kait xo

Grief

I’m not sure where to begin this post or even how to write it. I’m worried I’ll offend or earn misplaced sympathy. But then I remember that my heart is breaking too – for my loss, the loss of a best friend, and the loss of this world.

Two Tuesdays. Two farewells.

My heart has not physically hurt this much in a long time. For much of last year, I wouldn’t let it. I’d shovel it down under one poor coping mechanism or another…then there’d be a breaking point…I’d promise not to do that again…and the cycle would begin. As I’ve worked to break this habit the emotions often have swept over me in a wave so powerful its left me shaking and gasping for breath and literally on my knees.

The last two Tuesdays have not been easy but I felt them, deep in my bones and yes, physically, in my heart. Last week, my relationship once again added the qualifier “long distance” to its title, a season that I thought had passed for good when the beau moved in earlier this year. But with this pain came  joyous news – a job with an organization I truly admire.

This week, however, the pain was just raw with nothing to soothe it. I buried it for my commute. And then again for my job. And then again on my break. And one last time while teaching Zumba. The dancing, admittedly helped. Watching my students master one of the more difficult songs caused a smile to occupy my face for a few moments as I realized that we were all there for each other.

But at the end of the day, the world has lost a wonderful, beautiful soul. My dear friend lost her mom. I lost someone who supported me through hard times and continued, even from a distance, to offer inspiration, positivity, and encouragement. And the UMass community lost an incredibly compassionate and dedicated caregiver.

For all these reasons and more, I grieve.

Yoga/beauty/life,

Kait xo

I sometime wonder if as humans we are meant to continually, break, fall apart, and rise back up, having grown in ways we dot always understand.

The Best Advice I can Give

Be true to yourself dearies… honor what your body needs, really listen, and then ask for whatever help you need.

Doing this isn’t weakness.  It isn’t cowardice.  On the contrary, it’s the strongest statement of love + bravery you can make.

Yoga/beauty/guidance,

Kait xo

 

 

A Quickie…

This is me just popping in to say…I’m alive.  I’m surviving finals week but it has taken over my life.

So I’ll be working a little Kait-time-magic for next week and figuring everything out on my ten days of freedom.  Until next term starts.

Yoga/beauty/life,

Kait xo
PS Send your love/hugs/positive vibes towards Bmore as I go into my scariest final yet (epi).  Whose butt I will be kicking…  xo

A Simple Guide to Whole Foods Couponing

Source

***UPDATE*** Whole Foods recently released a Corporate Coupon Policy!  This is super good news because all stores, no matter where you are, follow the same rules.  And its the most inclusive policy out of the ones they used to have.  As usual, I suggest printing and having it with you when you shop.

***UPDATED*** Here is a copy of the Mid-Atlantic WF Coupon policy.  I suggest printing it and having it with you when you shop.  Check the comments for the North Atlantic  link.

If you are like me, you’ve undoubtedly heard this quip about Whole Foods.  In fact, now that I’m in grad school, I’m hearing it more and more.  Fact of the matter is, most of us are in a similar position: we’ve got tens of thousands of dollars in loans (or more), we’re living off of savings or loans, and we have no or minimal steady income coming in.  Yet being Public Health students, we want to live a healthy life.  For many of us, that means supplementing our Farmer’s Market trips with a stop at Whole Foods, the major option for organic products in downtown Baltimore (the two Trader’s are out in the county and otherwise its Safeway).

Lucky for my classmates, and all of you, I happen to be a budget-and-couponing loving shopper who truly believes that shopping at Whole Foods can be affordable with a little work + awareness + know-how.  I’ve figured out how to “work the system” to my advantage as much as possible and therefore save myself money while sticking as much as possible to my food values.

So here you are….my quick guide to making Whole Foods affordable.

Where to Find Coupons

  1. Whole Foods. Whole Foods has this great booklet that gets released bimonthly called The Whole Deal.  You can pick them up in store (usually right near the entrance with the weekly sales flyers) or print just the coupons you want right at home.  Each coupon is is good for three months.  For example, the coupons in the  the May/June Whole Deal don’t expire until the end of July.
  2. Online.  My favorite sites for all natural coupons themselves are Mambo Sprouts, Common Kindness and RecycleBank.  The latter two require accounts and are free to join.  RecycleBank is a website that allows you to complete tasks for points and then buy coupons with these points.  I was able to get Earth Friendly dish soap for $0.99 at Wegmans a while back thanks to this site.  I usually visit it a couple times a month and do a ton of activities in bulk.  Right now I’m also loving Earthbound Farms’ Organic Step Forward Program.  Again, it’s free to join.
  3. Online Part II.  Lots of “regular” coupon sites (Coupons.com, RedPlum, etc) also have all natural coupons.  To save you time + money, there are couponing blogs that do the legwork of finding out where such coupons are for you.  My favorites are Healthy Life Deals, Organic Deals, The Thrifty Mama, and The Greenbacks Gal.  Hip-2-Save also has an epic coupon database where you can look forcoupons for a specific product.
  4. The Weekly Newspaper.  Try to find a neighbor who gets the weekend newspaper and doesn’t use the coupons.  In Baltimore, the coupons come Saturday for subscribers and Sunday for those who just buy it at the store.  There won’t be a ton in here but hey, every dollar counts.
  5. VegFests, your local co-op, mom & pop natural stores.  This is where I get the bulk of my really good coupons.  If it is for a product I use a lot of, or can be convinced to use a lot of, I will grab a small stack.  It is important, however, to always ask before just grabbing away.
  6. The manufacturer’s themselves.  Goya lets your print coupons from their website once/month.  Attune sends out a monthly newsletter that almost always includes them.  Food for Life will mail them to you once every couple of months or so. E-mail the company, and check out their website and facebook page.  I was impressed at what I found.

How to Use Coupons

  1. Stacking.  Stacking coupons means that you use more than one coupon for the same item.  This is usually done by using a store coupon (e.g. one from the Whole Deal) with a manufacturer’s coupon (like one you get out of the Sunday paper).
  2. Combing coupons + sales.  I love doubling up on coupons and sales.  A couple weeks ago, for example, Whole Foods had Earthbound Farms Power Greens on sale for $3.99 (save $1).  Between that and my coupon, I saved a total of $1.75.
  3. Using both of the above.  This is the best deal you can get!  Not only is something on sale but you also have a store coupon and a manufacturer’s coupon for it, saving you the most amount of money possible.  🙂

Here’s an example to put it all together.

Nature’s Path Granola Bars: 2/$6.00 (reg. $4.69 ea) <–item on sale
-2 $2.00 Nature’s Path coupon <–manufacturer’s coupon
-$1.50/2 Whole Deal coupon <–store coupon
=$0.50 or $0.25/box <–awesome deal

Other Ways to Save

  1. BYOB. WF gives you $0.05 for each bag you bring to the store.  This includes reusable produce bags<–$ saver + good for the environment = big win
  2. Buy in bulk. If you buy a case of any item, you get a 10% discount. Products usually come in cases of 6 or 12 and you can find the exact number either by asking or looking in the lower left-hand corner of the price tag.  You can use coupons with cases but you will not get the discount if you get a case of something that is already on sale.  This may vary by store.

FAQs

  1. How much time do you spend doing all this each week?  I know it seems like a lot!  And at first it might feel that way too.  But eventually it becomes second nature.  I spend between 1 and 2 hours on finding + printing coupons, meal planning, and organizing my grocery list.  I tend to get lost in grocery stores and spend 4-5 hours shopping BUT when I’m not meandering the aisle I can do it in about 30 minutes.  I organize my list + my coupons by the rows of the store.
  2. What the heck do I do with those $x.00/2 items coupons?  Wait for the product to go on sale 2/$x,00 (like I did with the granola bars above).  Or use them with another coupon.  Or do both.  😉
  3. How do I know what’s on sale?  Whole Foods’ sales run Wednesday to Tuesday and the flyer can be found from their homepage.  There likely are more sales int he store than listed and this is where those coupon blogs come in handy again.  Each does a weekly match-up.Baltimore folks: I have yet to find a good match-up for our stores.  I will update this when I do!  For now, I suggest using Healthy Life Deals’ Cheat Sheet.
  4. Are there any couponing “rules” I should know about?  Here’s a crash course in Couponing etiquetteBe nice, be respectful, be honest, be fair.Do tell your cashier ahead of time that you will be using a lot of coupons andlet anyone who comes in line behind you know that it might take a while.
    Do not snap at the cashier if s/he isn’t sure what to do, steal all of the sticky coupons off the x container (sometimes manufacturer’s will put coupons right onto their products), try to use one coupon for another product, etc.  The grocery industry can easily pull these awesome savings out from under us at any time.  Don’t contribute to a negative couponing culture.
  5. So I’m going to start saving $100s with this, right?  Like on Extreme Couponing?  Um, not so much.  Consider this the part where I talk about managing expectations.  Some weeks I save more than I spend.  I try to do it every week but it still doesn’t happen.  Have I saved several $100s since I started couponing in the spring?  Undoubtedly.  But some weeks I save less than $10.  My thoughts are: if I want to buy x product and there’s a coupon available, why not use it?  I would have bought it regardless so all I’m doing is keeping extra $$$ in my pocket.  Understand that extreme couponing takes time…to learn and to dedicate to it.  For now, the basics will still help you out…poor grad student or not.  😉
  6. Ok but sometimes the sales price isn’t the best deal for that item.  What gives?  So true!  This is where unit prices come in.  I try to think of everything in terms of pounds, gallons, rolls, etc.  The 10oz package of quinoa that costs $3.99 is actually more expensive per pound than the 1lb bag that costs $4.99.  I like to pay less than $6.00/gal non-dairy milk, $0.25/roll of toilet paper or paper towels, etc.  You can calculate the unit price yourself or just look in the upper left-hand corner of the price tag.

There you go!  I hope this guide was super helpful.  I want to send a shoutout to Kristin for teaching me all she knows and opening my world to natural food couponing. Thanks girl!

Questions?  Leave ’em below and I’ll do my best.  😉

Yoga/beauty/savings,

Kait xo

A year ago today…

One year ago today I had a bit of a breakdown.

Then I drove to the place where my journey to wholeness would begin.  I didn’t know it at the time…all I knew is that I needed to be at the Kripalu Center this weekend because my life would change.

I didn’t know what the meant but I am so happy I listened to my heart and jumped into the unknown.

I had nothing short of a life changing weekend.  I grew in unimaginable ways and started a practice of mindfulness.  I began living my life differently…viewing my life differently.

In between then and now I went through some of the darkest times I ever experienced.  I felt the deepest sort of pain, the type that leaves you breathless and broken…the kind from which you only can arise as a better, stronger, clearer person.  I burned down and I rose again.

I found my path and discovered my calling.  I went deep and then deeper still.  I completed a 21 day cleanse.  I travelled.  I loved and I lived.

Then I began to see the light at the end of the closed dark space.  And slowly but surely I emerged, just in time for Hillary’s YSU program.  I was terrified…the commitment was large, the expense greater than I had imagined.  But Hillary’s question to me: “What are you losing by not enrolling?” stuck in my mind.  And I signed up, taking the next most important step I ever could have taken.

My Hopkins acceptance letter arrived shortly thereafter…at the same time Hillary decided to redesign the program in a way that happened to be perfect for my situation.  If “It was meant to be” describes any situation, its this one!

Last week I had my last session with Hillary.  It was super bittersweet and we ran almost an hour over but during that time we not only calmed my tightness over the move we also did a little reminiscing.  We gave thanks for how far I’ve come.  And honestly, until that moment I hadn’t looked back to truly see the change that had taken place in me + my life.  I had transformed, wholly and completely.  My thoughts, my actions, my patterns of behavior…all were new and different and more empowered.  I was a stronger, clearer person than 3 months prior.

And it all started because I took a chance.  I tossed aside the proverbial sails and I said YES to me…to self care…to my best life possible.  It was the best decision I ever could have made.

Yoga/beauty/chance,

Kait xo

Until Next Time

So the past few days have been insanely crazy.

My grandmother went back to the hospital.

I spent countless hours re-routing our trip to avoid parkways that prohibit trucks (like the UHaul we’re taking).

My stress is settling into my joints and I ache all over from sitting at the computer and working.

So I’m calling it quits…for a couple of days at least.  Anything that isn’t 100% necessary and non-negotiable just isn’t happening.

Calls are being rescheduled.  Plans are being changed. Blog posts aren’t being written.

This transition will be different than the last which means the challenges I’ve already faced in preparation for it and the ones I will be facing are also different.  They are all the same beast (chaos + fear) manifesting in different ways.

This time though, I know I can take them.

So bear with me folks…the next time I check in I’ll be settled in my gorgeous new place in the burbs of Baltimore, learning a new rhythm and stumbling as I go.

In the meantime, I’ll be packing + planning + saying a few final farewells.  There will be tears and laughter, anger and relief, sadness and hope.

Despite it all, I know this next step is the right one.  Just like I knew working with Hillary would be…and doing B School.  My gut tells me so and I’m learning to listen.

Right now, its telling me to stop writing.

So without further ado…I bid you farewell.  Just for a little bit.

Yoga/beauty/new beginnings

Kait xo

Surprises

I’ve found that people either love surprises or they hate them.

I tend to fall in the former category. I loved coming home yesterday to see that Mom has framed my Zumba certificate.  On Sunday I loved finding out that there was a Chipotle near my friend’s house…and that the beau had found my sleep mask which I had left at his parent’s house…and that my almost MIL had saved her coupon inserts for me.

But perhaps the best surprise of all was pulling into Whole Foods yesterday afternoon and seeing a Farmer’s Market set up in its parking lot!  I literally squealed with delight and started dancing (while still driving).  I went to snap photos…then remember my phone had died.

Since this is the big week, I didn’t have to pick much up…just some lettuce and beets and berries and hummus and crackers and milk.  And yes, I still had to go into WF to purchase some of those things.  But, you see, the food itself wasn’t what I was so excited about: it was the whole experience.

In my opinion, there is nothing better than  talking with other people who know and love food…who respect what they are selling and hope that you will enjoy and love it as much as they do.  I love being able to have an intelligent conversation about someone’s precise farming method to see if its just organic or also pesticide-free.  And I so appreciate that I can ask how to prepare something and receive a fiercely passionate answer about the best way to cook [insert veggie here].

Yesterday was sunny and 75 with barely a cloud in the sky.  It was, in short, simply the perfect day for the perfect foodie surprise.

Yoga/beauty/greens,

Kait xo