How I Saved Over $200 For My Disney Vacation With a Tissue Box and $1 Bills

One thing I’ve come to learn is that saving for vacation can be brutal, and make this fun experience more stressful than it needs to be. Here is an awesome way that I saw online to save for my vacation and it worked!

Back in July, the day after my birthday, I decided I wanted to take a trip in January because I’m finishing my Bachelors Degree. I always wanted to take a trip after I was done, so what better place to go to than Disney?!

I knew as a college student, I was going to have to pay some money for the Fall 2018 semester out of pocket and after I booked my trip and saw that number, I was instantly filled with panic of how I would pay for it. Now, I won’t lie and say that I am paying the whole thing, because I’m not, but half of the full price was still extremely unnerving.

I knew that I needed to do something making some extra money. I didn’t know how much I could do because being a full-time student, it’s hard to save some time not dedicated to homework and going to class five days a week.

I started selling online again after a long break because it’s an easy way to make some money quickly. I’m also a Pinterester so I thought “why not take a look on there” because I have a ton of money saving pins saved. I opened Pinterest and I saw the cutest thing on my homepage.

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I thought this was super cute and I definitely wanted a cute box like that! However, a box like this already created is between $15-$30 on Etsy, Amazon, etc. What was the point of ordering a box like this if I was trying to save the money? The idea hit me while I was at work one day.

I went to work and since it’s September, people are constantly looking for tissues for their allergies. Someone took the last tissue and the empty box just sat there staring at me. So, instead of throwing away the empty tissue box, I printed out a really cute Disney patterned print, and taped it up like a Christmas gift.

Image result for disney pattern background
I brought the box home, wrapped up and a hole cut in the top, and told my boyfriend about this idea I thought of. If we put every $1 bill we had in the box from July until January when we have our trip, we could take it and split it to use as spending money. We’ve been exceeding our expectations like crazy. We expected to maybe have $50 a piece for our trip. We are well over $200 in the box and we aren’t even close to being finished yet.

The way that I did it, I have been taking out cash for my purchases that I’d usually swipe my card for. Things like getting gas for my car, buying clothes, and more, have now become a cash expense instead of using my card for everything. Every time I’ve done this, I’ve gotten between $1-$4 in one dollar bills. If they have been a $1, they have gone right in the box. My boyfriend has been the same way. This is an awesome way to save some money, and it doesn’t even need to be vacation! Do this for Christmas, or a loved one’s birthday, or anything really! Saving money is difficult, but it doesn’t have to be so stressful if you don’t want it to be!

 

Smoothie Recipes For On-the-Go People

Hi there!! I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, so I thought I’d give a quick update! I am down 40 lbs and it is because of these delicious meals that I’m making on my own! I’m a very on-the-go person! I’m finishing my last semester of college and my schedule is insane due to working as well. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before, but I thought I’d make a list of the smoothies that I have for breakfast/lunch everyday!

1. Chocolate Banana Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 ounces low-fat/skim milk
  • one chopped up banana
  • 1 scoop of ItWorks! Chocolate protein (buy here)
    • I want to write a little blurb about how good this protein is. I loathe protein because of the chalky aftertaste. This protein tastes so good and I love the fact that it doesn’t give me a nasty aftertaste. 100% recommend.

That easy!! I use a Cuisinart personal blender (this one to be exact) and take it with me wherever I need to go!

2. Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 ounces low-fat/skim milk
  • 1 scoop of ItWorks! Chocolate Protein
  • 1 scoop of your choice of peanut butter
    • changing your type of peanut butter doesn’t necessarily matter. Low-fat peanut butter and regular peanut butter have the same amount of calories. Keeping your peanut butter regular is a good, natural source of monounsaturated fats.

3. Skinny Mocha Coffee Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 oz of ice water
  • 1 packet of ItWorks! Keto Coffee mix (buy here)
  • 2 scoops of ItWorks! Chocolate Greens Detox (buy here)

And blend!! It’s super easy and delicious!

4. Chocolate Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 ounces of low-fat/skim milk
  • 1 scoop of ItWorks! Chocolate protein
  • 1 packet of Berry Greens (buy here)
  • one chopped up banana

5. Vanilla Tropical Crush Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 ounces of low-fat/skim milk
  • 1 scoop of ItWorks! Vanilla protein (buy here)
  • 1 packet of Collagen Works (buy here)
    • This is a tropical crush flavor! It tastes like fruit punch and collagen helps the skin like crazzzzzzy! It’s delicious.
  • Add fruit if you want! (I add some pineapple)

Hopefully, this helps someone who’s on-the-go and forgets to eat sometimes!! Your body needs that nourishment and these ingredients will help you stay full!!

 

 

Penpal by Dathan Auerbach

Publication Date: June 2012
Publisher: 1000Vultures
Rating: ★★

Penpal began as a series of short and interconnected stories posted on an online horror forum. Before long, it was adapted into illustrations, audio recordings, and short films; and that was before it was revised and expanded into a novel!

How much do you remember about your childhood?

In Penpal, a man investigates the seemingly unrelated bizarre, tragic, and horrific occurrences of his childhood in an attempt to finally understand them. Beginning with only fragments of his earliest years, you’ll follow the narrator as he discovers that these strange and horrible events are actually part of a single terrifying story that has shaped the entirety of his life and the lives of those around him. If you’ve ever stayed in the woods just a little too long after dark, if you’ve ever had the feeling that someone or something was trying to hurt you, if you remember the first friend you ever made and how strong that bond was, then Penpal is a story that you won’t soon forget, despite how you might try.”

Review:

This one for sure had a creepy, creepy vibe. There were times where I would get goosebumps when reading the words Dathan Auerbach had written on these pages. However, there were somethings in this book I just couldn’t get into. And that hindered my ability to give it a higher rating.

This book was recommended to me, and I wasn’t disappointed. There were absolutely freaky moments and times where I had to stop and go“oh my god” or “woah, that’s weird”. On the other hand, there were times where I had to stop and reread a paragraph because it just wasn’t making sense to me. This was the most unfortunate part about the book, I think some things ended a little abruptly.

Penpal has potential and was a pretty decent read. If you are looking for a quick mystery, this might be a good choice for you. I’m giving it 3.5/5 starts because of some of the confusion and the ending wasn’t really good for my taste. Overall, it was okay and I’d recommend it to someone that is looking for a super quick read with a love of the mystery genre.

The Female, the Flawed, the Ferocious: A Review of Season Two of Jessica Jones

A review by guest author, Desiree Wallen.

WARNING: THERE ARE SPOILERS AHEAD

After three days of binging in between work and life in general, the lesson that Jessica learns in the final episode (and arguably, the season before) rang true, that it is exhaustingly easy to lose yourself in what happens to you. While I have already heard someone musing that there is not a “big bad” in this season, that’s never been what Jessica Jones has been about, nor is it what the show is renowned for (and Krysten Ritter nails it again, especially when Jessica is shaken out of the safety of her off-putting monotone and sarcasm). Watching the first season was cathartic for me, and I imagine anyone else who had been taken for a fool by a charming sociopath (and while the one-episode appearance by David Tennant in this season was electric, I wish it was more consistent with subsequent episodes since he is supposed to be the archetypal devil on her shoulder). Weirdly like a show opposite in its tone, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, this season of Jessica Jones casts its titular character as someone who strives for the utilitarianism approach to solving her problems, even at the cost of personal stability. So to paraphrase what her detective noir narration sums up in the final moments of the season, it took her past literally clawing out of death for her to realize that the person she is had been dead for a long time. As someone who, for a long time, had dealt with viewing herself as what she does or what she’s lived through  instead of who she is, I think that is an important note to end on for a character’s journey, at least for now.

 

Mothers and Daughters, Amirite?

The relationship between Trish and Dorothy did not budge too much from last season to this season (although Rachael Taylor and Rebecca De Mornay nailed the complexity of one needing the other to thrive), but it did underscore one of the major themes to come out of the show, and that is the influence of mothers on women. The scene where Dorothy takes off her proverbial mask and tells Jessica she doesn’t blame her for Trish’s laying in a hospital bed was a quietly powerful one that may go overlooked when the importance of the season is looked at. While Trish may take from her mother’s qualities of determination and “driving the narrative”, there’s proof she will never be her mother (and I feel like with her new reflexes, the slap that she showed remorse for despite it being deserved may have only been the beginning of Dorothy’s comeuppance). The theme of there not being a relationship like a mother’s to a daughter’s is one that smacks you in the face here, but it works for the development of the main characters.

That being said, the appearance of Alisa was an interesting turn of events, and certainly something that could have derailed the season (much like the mid-season appearance of Elektra in Daredevil Season 2 and Matt Murdock’s eventual self-destruction from it in The Defenders, but the less said about how that was presented that the better), but it didn’t here. I would very much make the argument that the “big bad” isn’t Alisa, but Jessica’s concept of morality in the face of yet another destructive force with personal ties. While that reveal was possibly introduced too early in the season (but what is modern-day Marvel media without pacing issues?) I appreciated that it allowed time for us to see the fears Jessica has manifest in loss, i.e., she fears that her mother will choose a man over her, or she fears she will lose Trish to her mother’s destructive powers, or most importantly, she fears she will lose herself to becoming the worst parts of her mother (which is a very universally applicable fear and one my mind has put me through a lot). This season handles Jessica’s adjustments to constant change quite well, in that there’s no time for self-reflection and she inevitably begins to choose to save and accompany the mother she thought she lost once before. Janet McTeer is amazing as the uncontrollable and insatiable Alisa, who shows us where Jessica gets her problem-solving skills and disdain for stupid people (along with the genetics that reacted to medical experimentation in much the same way). It makes sense that Alisa falls for a man that not only saves her, but finds a kinship in the mind she had (which she felt was not respected before in her marriage to Jessica’s father), but I like the dynamic that whom Alisa sees as a savior, Jessica sees as a destroyer. In the end, though, Alisa differs from Dorothy in that she ultimately chooses to protect her daughter from making more mistakes for her daughter’s sake, not for self, and I think that’s important in examining how Alisa ultimately dies (interrupted, at the hands of someone seeking to rectify her own mistakes). I think it says a lot that even through all the abuse Dorothy dished out to Trish (even though the angle with the director and Jessica’s ex-boyfriend/Trish’s singing career felt shoehorned in), Jessica never truly thought once about outright killing Dorothy, but Trish felt it to be her duty to kill Alisa in order to resolve her own sense of heroism.

 

Death and Desperation Are Partners in Crime

This being a superhero-tinged homage to detective serials, there is a lot of dark humor to be found in the macabre, such as carrying a charred human head in a purse or sharing a body bag as a means of escape, and quipping about the absurdism of it all. That being said, I was quite intrigued by Jeri Hogarth’s path of semi-indestructibility (again). Carrie Anne-Moss is so good in this role and yet, I fail to see why anyone roots for Hogarth. She is cunning, and beautifully  complex, but a lesson learned would be nice. I understand the folly in taking any “miracle” that comes one’s way, but manipulating someone who chose wrong given certain circumstances in her eyes to a life of murder and being locked up for life feels off-putting for some reason. Just as with last season, Hogarth feels like some inverse version of Clarie, a plot device to occupy a purpose, and that’s okay, but I don’t know (again) what her storyline actually served (well, beyond showing that being a “strong, badass female” often comes with flaws as it should, and to subvert more tropes). However, taking Malcolm and setting him up as an antagonist under her wing may prove to make for an interesting third season arc. It sure looks like Jessica will have a match in investigative perusal skills, as well as another “powered person” in Trish, which makes for even more exciting conflict (at the expense of Jessica’s trauma, but that is the foundation of this show.)

Even though death and superheroes famously do not mix, I appreciate this season for equating death with finality. I was grateful they did not bring back Kilgrave from the dead for some convoluted reason, and that equation does explain a lot of turnabout choices (some of which I had problems with, like Simpson’s weirdly resolved redemption; I knew he would be a foil to Trish and the cause of what is likely to be her ultimate transition to Hellcat, but I didn’t understand why his appearance was so limited given the events of the first season). The finality of death also did not factor into there being a lack of mention of the events of The Defenders (unless you count Jessica’s mention of someone dying the last time she teamed up with someone, but if that’s the case, where is the Iron Fist? He also had the strength to stop Alisa and took over Daredevil’s position as protector of Hell’s Kitchen, unless they plan on setting this round of individual seasons concurrently). I get that if Danny Rand came in to save the day, some of the themes regarding womanhood would have suffered, but an explanation would separate the oft-mocked ridiculousness of continuity in comic-based properties.

I still don’t know how I feel about the whole Oscar storyline (and the silly ex-wife-who-spends-all-her-money-on-herself side quest for Jessica to help resolve), but I do appreciate that they bond over the fear of loss. It makes sense for Jessica to find someone that is willing to do anything for his child and values her quiet strengths in choosing goodness (also, that scene with the paint was hot). However, I only see a season three leverage for her to suffer more loss, even if the romance didn’t overshadow the rest of the season as I (depressingly) expected it to.  

 

Inadequacy and the Impostor

Another interwoven theme between Jessica, Trish, and to a lesser extent, Malcolm, over the course of this season, is exhibiting the fear of not being enough. They are all inherent do-gooders with addictive personalities, but that is shown to be driven by that fear. Of course, that does intersect between Malcolm and Trish this season, and does drive Malcolm (Eka Darville, thriving in the obligatory fed-up-with-my-powered-friends role, and rightfully so) to a path where he’ll be even more manipulated, but I digress. It is Trish’s feelings of inadequacy that drives her to toss away all the tools that allowed her to do good in the first place (and her trajectory is a great critique of people with wide-reaching voices flinging them at causes where they may be misplaced or misguided). There is a bit of hearkening back to Greek tragedy where the do-gooders do more harm than good with their purposefully limited information, and it works.

Jessica, of course, is told she is a hero because she has the power to kill anyone who crosses her path and still chooses to control herself, and that at least places her on a pedestal of not becoming her mother, as she muses to her vision of Kilgrave. We don’t want Jessica to be perfect, and in the company of a world in which superheroes exist, she tries to make every justification as to why she isn’t one, and that’s okay. The big picture for her is actually baby steps, in that she is realizing she doesn’t deserve to be regarded the way Oscar’s son sees her (like a Captain America, which yes, #TeamCap), but that she does deserve to be regarded as someone who is capable of owning her own life and her own humanity and her own feelings, and still living and still doing good in her own way. Being honest with herself, about herself is not something that Jessica Jones will ever ask for, but it is what she needs to truly close the door on her past.

Score: 8.5 / 10

A Guide to Buying & Reselling Online

Hi there! If you would like to the best ways to buy & resell online, than this is the post for you! Here’s some background on me first:

  • I’ve been selling on EBay since 2013. (fashionfromnj)
  • I’ve been selling on an app called Vinted for over a year. (lalalacey721)
  • I’ve been selling on Facebook Yard Sale sites for almost two years.
    • If you didn’t know that there were Facebook yard sale sites, look up your town name or county that you live in, and yard sale site after and it should pop up! I’ll explain a little more about this in a little bit!

First, how to pick out the right things to sell. I’ll tell you right now that you probably have over $200 sitting in your closet. There are things that you definitely do not use anymore that are just collecting dust when you could be getting cash for them! Here’s my biggest sellers:

Sellable Items

  1. Women’s clothing/shoes/purses with good brands (Forever 21, H&M, Michael Kors, Kate Spade, etc.)
  2. Men’s shoes
  3. Kid’s Clothes/Shoes
  4. Refurbished furniture
  5. Jewelry
  6. DVDs/CDs/Video Games

If you do not have these items in your home and you want to start your own business by buying and reselling, here are some ideas of where you find those kind of things:

Goodwill

  • Goodwill is good for women’s clothing and refurbished furniture. There are some great finds. I’ll let you in on a secret. Every day of the week, there are colors listed where if the tag is that color, the item is half off. However, the most exciting day is Sunday. When you go to Goodwill on a Sunday, the colors that are listed means that items with that color tag are ONLY ONE DOLLAR. Buying at only a dollar and then selling it on one of the sites will absolutely let you flip!

Yard Sales

  • Yard sales are an awesome way to find stuff for cheap. I found this amazing website (https://www.yardsalesearch.com) where you can type in your zip code and it will pull up all  local yard sales that are registered to that site. Yard sales provide furniture and cute little knick knacks that you can redo and flip for a good amount of cash.

The best places to sell for me are below:

Vinted

  • Vinted has been my best seller for women’s fashion. From my closet alone, I made over $100. After I started shopping at Goodwill on Dollar Days, that $100 jumped to almost $300 profit. Vinted users are known as “Vinties” and they are notorious for sending offers for less. Sometimes, it’s better to send it off for a lower price because they come back in the future to buy again. Also, Vinted has a bundle option. For example, on my page, I offer a 20% off discount if you buy 2 or more items and 30% off if you buy 5 or more items. My favorite thing about Vinted is that the buyer always pay shipping. You can select 3 different weights. 0.5 lbs (Small) is best for small things like a single shirt or jewelry. There’s 2.0 lbs (Medium) which is good for jeans, or a bundle of a few things. Finally, there’s 5.0 lbs (Large) which is perfect for a big purse or a bundle of 5 or more items. When you sell your item(s), Vinted sends you a shipping label via email. You post that on your envelope/box, and send it on it’s way. The absolute best thing about Vinted is that there is NO PERCENTAGE TAKEN. Whatever you sell your item for is what you’re getting! You can link up your bank or your PayPal account to receive your earnings. You get the money sent when the buyer receives their package.

EBay

  • I have been selling on EBay for the last six years as I said above. The most successful things to sell on EBay are name brand purses (Michael Kors, Kate Spade, Coach) and DVDs/CDs/Video Games. They sell at a pretty cheap price, but a profit is a profit. To sell, go to the sell tab and write a title of what you will be selling. The best idea is to use a lot of different adjectives when describing your product because people usually look up specific keywords. Post as many pictures of your item (you’re allowed up to twelve). Be as descriptive as possible. If it’s a fashion item (purse, shirts), take the measurements. By that, I mean shoulder-to-shoulder for shirts or for a purse, shoulder strap length. Add a bio about what kind of condition the item is in. You can add an auction price, which is what people will often choose to do because it’s priced less. Also, you can add a “Buy It Now” option for a price of your choice. When choosing the shipping, you should weigh it on a scale in a box or envelope so that way it won’t be not enough when you get to the post office. You pay for shipping out of pocket first. When the item is paid for through PayPal, you get the amount of shipping back. On the other hand, there is an option for free shipping. If you do this, there is no reimbursement for the shipping. When you list, there is no listing fee up to fifty items. You can put up fifty of your items for free. For the fifty-first, there is a small fee that is taken. You can list your item on EBay for up to a month. Most people pick a 7-day duration. If your item doesn’t sell, nothing is taken from you. If your item does sell, 10% is taken from your final sale price. You print out the shipping label from EBay, put it on the package, and send it on it’s way.

Facebook Yard Sale Sites

  • Facebook yard sale sites are perfect way to get some cold, hard cash in your hands in a quick manner. Have some piece of furniture that you don’t need anymore? Facebook yard sale site. Have kid’s clothes that your child has grown out of? Facebook yard sale site. Have cute purses that you just don’t use anymore? Facebook yard sale site. Take some pictures of your items and post them on this site. Be descriptive, but also to the point. They’re not looking to read paragraphs long of information. There is a lingo to go along with the Facebook sites. When posting to multiple sites, make sure you put “cross posted or xposted” to let the buyer know that there could be someone else interested on a different site. When a buyer is interested, they will comment “interested” or something along those lines. This is when you will direct message that individual and figure out a time to meet or to do a porch pick-up (ppu: you will see this quite a bit). If you’re comfortable enough to have someone coming to your house, the better option is a porch pick-up and they can leave the money in your mailbox. If not, pick a local public place like a mall or grocery store, for example. Some people pick places with a lot of people if they’re uncomfortable. Therefore, meeting is also great because there’s a lot of people around to see if anything wrong happens. Facebook yard sale sites are easy because that’s all it takes. After that, you get the cash and have it in hand.

I hope that this guide has helped you figure out what to sell if you’re not using it anymore, and what to buy and resell if you’re looking to start your own business! The money will start rolling in when you follow these steps! This is great because you can eliminate debt like I’m trying to with college loans. It’s quite a process and you won’t see money right away, but more over a long-run when you save all the money you’re making! So be patient, and make your money!

 

 

 

 

Recipe: Parmesan Crusted Chicken with Oven Roasted Potatoes

This is my favorite dinner to cook, period! The taste is always delicious, so for you chicken and potato lovers, this is for you!

There’s a funny story about how I found this recipe for the Parmesan crusted chicken. I was at my grandmother’s house a few years ago and I went to get a bottle of water from her refrigerator. That’s when I saw a mayonnaise jar on the door. I looked at the words Parmesan crusted chicken a few times before I took my cell phone out and took a picture of it. A few nights later, I tried this recipe and fell in love. I have it at least twice a month.

Here is the original recipe if you want!

Here is how I make my Parmesan crusted chicken and oven roasted potatoes!

First you will need (you can find these in any local grocery store):

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  •  A jar of mayonnaise (any kind)
  • Parmesan cheese (I prefer Kraft, but you can use any kind)
  • Italian breadcrumbs
  • Potatoes (I use 6)
  • Onion Soup Mix
  • Olive Oil
  • Freezer Bag

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425°F. 

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  2. Take your potatoes and cut them up into eighths. The smaller the cuts are, the easier the potatoes will cook in the oven.
  3. Get a freezer bag, the onion soup mix, and the olive oil. Drop your cut up potatoes in the freezer bag. Open and pour in the onion mix. Lastly, put just a little of the olive oil in there. Shake it up! Below is what your bag should look like:

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  4. Pour your potatoes into an oven safe container (I used glass, but feel free to use a baking sheet, etc.). After this, your potatoes are oven ready!

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  5. Take your chicken out of the packaging and set it in an oven safe container (I used glass again, but use whatever you prefer). Get a measuring cup out for the next part! Take your mayo and use 1/2 cup. After that, take your parmesan cheese and mix in 1/4 cup into the mayo. Stir it and make sure there aren’t any big clumps of cheese in the mayo!

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  6. When you’re finished with the mixture, take a spoon and scoop out what you have onto your chicken breasts. After you spread the mixture evenly, put your breadcrumbs on top. They should cover the mayo (it really helps the taste in my opinion).
  7. You’re oven ready! Put the chicken and potatoes in! The oven should be preheated at 425°F. My times always range between 25-35 minutes. Make sure that your chicken is not overcooking. The potatoes are fine as long as you need the chicken in there! 28000820_10212568603862704_1275168846_n

Enjoy your meal!!

An Update on Lacey’s Library

Hello everyone!! I just wanted to give an honest update about my life. I am absolutely swamped and haven’t had the time to get any books read. I am a college student, so I am currently taking five classes as well as a part-time job, and an internship! So I promise I really am busy!

Since I’m not getting a lot of reading done, I figured I would take Lacey’s Library and transform it into an everything blog. I will continue to read and write book reviews when available, but I’m going to write different things in hopes of maintaining this blog!

I’m going to make this a lifestyle/book review/everything review blog. I liked the name Lacey’s Library because I was writing book reviews. However, not everything in libraries are books anymore. There’s magazines, newspapers, computers, ebooks, tablets, etc. Therefore, I feel like the name would still be alright! Do you think I should change the name? Comment below!

Thanks everyone! Hope everyone has been doing well in 2018! I know I have so far!