Thursday, May 31, 2018

4 Easy Five Star Dinners You Can Make At Home

I've spend years pinning tasty looking recipes to Pinterest, and never actually making any of them.  I figured it was time I took all the effort I put into Pinterest while I was in college and make something of it.  There have definitely been some serious Pinterest fails, but there have also been some total wins! I wanted to share with y'all my favorite recipes that I've found so far!

Big Mac Sliders

Louisiana Chicken Pasta

**Edit: Instead of breading the chicken, I just cooked in in a separated skillet and added it in at the end with sausage and shrimp.  I also prefer penne pasta noodles in this dish!

Brown Sugar and Balsamic Glazed Pork Loin

**Edit: Shred this up and throw it on a tortilla with some freshly made pico and you will have yourself a tasty taco!

Cajun Chicken and Rice Casserole

I've been saving all the new recipes I've made this year and plan to share them in my "101 Things to do in 2018" recap at the end of December, so stay tuned! Also, if you have recipes you love, please share them with me! I'm not huge into seafood, but I'm willing to try just about anything once.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Collecting Change: 7 Easy Side Hustles + How to Snag Free Stuff

I've been using the internet for my personal benefit since I was old enough to create accounts without my parents help.  The intention of this post is to share with you some websites and apps that I use to earn giftcards and money!

1. MyPoints

MyPoints is super easy to use.  Once you create an account, there are four major ways you can earn points that can later be redeemed for giftcards.
  • Via Emails: MyPoints will send you a bunch of emails (roughly 5 per day, so use an old email address that you don't mind clogging up) and all you have to do is click through them to a website to earn 5 points.  You can earn more on some emails by signing up for things, but I never do this.
  • Via Surveys: Sometimes MyPoints will send an email with a survey that you can take that generally earns you 50 points. (I don't ever actually do these. I think you can access surveys via the website now, but they may occasionally still come in emails).
  • Via Coupons: You can also print coupons from MyPoints and earn 1 point per coupon printed and 10 points per coupon redeemed. I go on every week and "print" all the coupons.  But by print, I mean that I save them as a pdf to my computer so I have them if I want to use them, but I don't waste paper and ink on coupons that I won't use.
  • Via Online Shopping: You can shop a variety of stores from the MyPoints website and earn points based on the amount you spend. (roughly 1-12 points per dollar depending on the store).  MyPoints also offers coupons for the sites that you shop through their website.  There is a huge variety of online shops that you can shop via MyPoints, including Target, Groupon, Sephora, and Etsy!
I joined MyPoints eight years ago and the only things that I did for the first 7.75 years was click through the emails.  In eight years, I have earned over 20,000 points, which is equivalent to approx. $125 in giftcards. Not a lot for the amount of time, but considering all of those points just came from clicking a button in an email its not so bad.

Since I have started to save all the coupons via PDF only a few months ago, I have already earned enough for a $25 gift card, so coupons is definitely the way to go! Join MyPoints through my link here and we can both earn extra points!

2. Poshmark

Poshmark is a re-sale website/app that you can use to re-sell clothing, bags and accessories, and unused beauty supplies. They take a percentage of your sale, but you can make way more for your no longer worn clothing than you can by taking them to a consignment shop or a garage sale.  This one takes a little work, but the payoff is definitely worth it.  You can cash out your earnings by having them send you a check or direct deposit to your bank.  You can also keep your earning stored in the app as credits to spend toward new clothes.  Enter my username "thegretch" as a referral when you join and you will get a $5 credit to shop with!

3. Honey

If you don't already have Honey installed into your web browser, you are missing out!  When you shop online, Honey finds coupon codes you can use, and also tells you if the item you are buying can be found for a cheaper price.  When you use Honey on Amazon, it can show you whether the price of what you are buying has increased or decreased at all in the last month.  One time I was buying something from Groupon (through MyPoints of course) and Honey got me an even deeper discount! Plus, when you purchase something using Honey you earn points which can be redeemed for cash later on!

4. Ibotta and Checkout 51

Ibotta is a cash back system, and all you need to do is scan your receipt and maybe a bar code or two after you're home from your shopping trip. (Use this link to sign up and receive a bonus $10 credit after your first receipt scan!) Search for the store that you will be shopping at, then find the products on your shopping list.  You can "search" for your products, but I recommend browsing all of the items as sometimes the search function pulls up products from other stores. There is always an "any item" option that will give you 25 cents just for uploading the receipt. If you connect with your friends who also have ibotta, it can help you build bonus rewards.  Ibotta is mainly for groceries, but has a vast amount of stores connected to it and may also have liquor, health or beauty items listed.

Another app you can use like ibotta is Checkout51.  It doesn't have as many offers as ibotta does, but only takes a couple minutes to check, upload a receipt, and scan your products so I think its worth it to check.

5. Receipt Hog

While you have your receipts out, scan them into Receipt Hog.  With Receipt Hog you earn coins for each receipt you upload that you can redeem for an Amazon gift card or money via PayPal. You also earn spins on a slot machine that get you more coins.  It takes time to build up the coins, but literally all you have to do is take a picture of your receipt which takes ten seconds.

6. RecycleBank

RecycleBank is a website/app that teaches about recycling.  Basically you can read articles (or just click on them) and take quizzes (or just click answers) to earn points.  You can redeem your points for rewards like magazine subscriptions, coupons for stores. There aren't a ton of rewards, I usually use it for magazine subscriptions, buts its super fast and easy to use.  You can go on and earn enough points for a magazine subscription in less than 15 minutes.

7. Paribus

Paribus is an app that you install in your email account that checks out your purchases and gets you money back if possible.  For example, if your purchase was suppose to be delivered on Monday, but doesn't show up until Wednesday, they will email the company via your email to tell them about it which typically results in a reimbursement of some sort.  If the place you purchase something from offers price protection, Paribus will email them if the price drops within 30 days of your purchase to get you a refund of the difference.


I've had a lot of people ask me how I get so many free things (prior to my "influencer" days), so I wanted to share the following:

I keep these web pages bookmarked at the top of my Google Chrome browser so I remember to browse them when I am on my laptop.

The biggest freebie giver that I have been using for nearly four years now is Influenster.

This one needs some explaining. You create an account on this website and link your social media accounts to it (facebook, twitter, instagram, blogs, youtube, etc.) NOTE: It doesn't share or post anything on your accounts unless you choose to. Anyway, the more friends/followers you have the more likely you are to be chosen to their boxes (supposedly). 

On the website you can review different products or read reviews from others- I never do this, I don't think it matters if you do or do not. You might have to fill out a lengthy questionaire thing when you create your account, I can't remember, but this is what others have told me who have joined via my recommendation. They use your demographics and what not when they make these sample boxes to send you products that they think you would like so you can test them out. 

Prior to sending out a box, they will send out surveys to the email of people who they think would like the box to make sure you are a logical choice. Once you get the box in the mail, they give you different tasks to do for each product (for example: review the product on the brand's website, share a photo of it on instagram, tweet about it, follow the brand's facebook page, etc.) You earn badges and that get help put you in the running for larger boxes or prizes from the brand(s) that sponsored the box. Sometimes I have completed all the tasks, sometimes I have only done some of them. 

Lastly, they will send you another survey via email once the campaign is done so you can fill out one last quick review about the products you received. Sometimes they want you to buy a product and review it (I never do these ones), but usually they send you the products! There is no fee or anything for this and when you post about the products it is required that you say you received the products for free to test and review.

Some of the voxboxes I have received:

I'm so into the side hustle that I've been doing it since before "side hustle" was a thing. Do you have any easy side hustles that you take part in? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Lavender Lemonade

Most people who know me know that I have been fighting chronic headaches/migraines for what feels like forever, and that they've gotten exceptionally worse over the past couple years. I've had a million and one people share remedies with me that they've come across on Pinterest, Facebook, etc., and I am thankful for everyone of you who thinks of me! One that I've had shared with me frequently was lavender lemonade.

It took awhile but I finally put lemons on my grocery list and made some, and to my surprise it was DELICIOUS. I was apprehensive about lavender as a flavor, because I once followed a recipe that included Herbs de Provence (which has lavender in it) and despite using only a little bit, ALL I could taste was lavender.  That is definitely not a taste you want taking over your mouth when you're eating a pot pie...

Anywho, I browsed some recipes online, and a lot of them called for fresh or dried lavender, which I could not find anywhere.  Luckily, I had my handy dandy bottle of dōTERRA lavender essential oil. I'm also not big on consuming oils, and I wasn't sure how using oil in a water-based would work, but I was pleasantly surprised.

The reason that lavender lemonade is supposed to assist in headache help for people like me, is because lavender is calming, and my headaches are stress and tension induced.  Lavender also helps with anxiety, depression, and insomnia.


  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 10 drops essential oil (more or less depending on oil quality)
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cups cold water
  • sliced lemons for garnish
  • purple food coloring (optional)


1. Create a simple syrup by boiling 2 cups of water, then whisking the sugar into it until disolved
2. Remove simple syrup from heat and stir in honey and essential oil
3. In a drink pitcher, combine 2 cups of cold water with the 3/4 cup lemon juice and stir
4. Then, stir in the simple syrup mix and add food coloring if desired
5. Drop in your sliced lemons and chill for 1-2 hours before serving over ice


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