September 23, 2010
Events & Activities, Free Stuff, My Faves, Weekend Fun
free museum admission, free museum day st. petersburg, museum of fine arts
If you love art, spending time with your family and free stuff, then you’ll have a great time this weekend! This Saturday, September 25th (always the last Sat. in Sept.) is Arts Alive Free Museum Day; no passes required and no residency restrictions. Last year my husband and I got a very late start with our little boy, so we were only able to make it to the Museum of Fine Arts (St. Pete). This year, we are determined to see more than one. Here’s a list (taken from stpete.org) of local museums you can visit for absolutely FREE this Saturday:
So grab your family and take advantage of this great deal! I think we’ll try to make it to Great Explorations and The Morean Arts Center this time to see the Chihuly Collection. Which museums will you visit for free? To learn more about our local museums and other activities going on this weekend, click here.
Last year at the Museum of Fine Arts all the kids were invited to make their own art to display.
September 20, 2010
Food, Free Stuff, Saving Money
BOGO mexican food, email club freebies, free food tampa bay, free online insurance quote, free Tijuana Flats, largo insurance agency
Here’s a great deal for lunch or dinner today. I found this little gem in my mailbox this morning! This is one of the perks of being a member of restaurant email clubs. Enjoy!
Speaking of free stuff, you can always get a free insurance quote at http://www.patronsinsurance.com. You can easily get yours on your lunch break!
September 1, 2010
Creative Stuff, Free Stuff, Partners of Patrons, Videos
animoto, commercials, free video service, make your own music video, rejuvenation station studios, slideshow creator, video sharing, youtube
You too can create videos like this one for FREE! Animoto allows you to turn your photos and videos into 30 second slideshows with very little effort. All you have to do is upload 8-10 images, arrange them in the order of your choosing, pick out a song and theme (earth, water, fire, classic) and let Animoto create a music video for you. They choose the transitions and make sure the timing works with the song. You can even add text, like I did for the video above. One of the difficulties I’ve had with the service is not knowing how many photos will fit in my video. I often upload the number recommended with two or three text slides and find out that the last 2 photos didn’t make the cut. I think this may have to do with the length of the songs I choose; some are less than 30 seconds long.
However, if you’re looking for something more elaborate, you could just purchase an All Access ($30/year) or a Pro account ($249/year). For $249 a year you can make music as long as you want, as many as want. Unlike the free account, they won’t be branded–no Animoto graphics for you. With a professional account you also have the option of downloading your videos so you can upload them where you please and create DVDs. Members with free accounts can email their videos or share them on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Blogger, MySpace and a few other places. Videos can also be embeded on a person’s website. However, the video above had to be exported to YouTube first, then the embed code for that was used here on this blog.
I like using Animoto because I know next to nothing about editing videos, but I do like to showcase our commercial clients, like Rejuvenation Station Studios. I usually export my video creations to YouTube and then share that link on Twitter and our Facebook page. If you’d like to try out Animoto for yourself click here to create your free 30 second video. Don’t forget to show us what you made!
August 17, 2010
Contest, Free Stuff, My Faves, Saving Money
$100 AMEX gift card, back to school prizes, Belkin messenger bag, coupon blogs, free laptop, free stuff, win giveaways
One of my favorite coupon bloggers, Mindi over at Moms Need To Know, is teaming up with 10 other female bloggers to give away tons of prizes from their sponsors. All week long they’re announcing new prizes like laptops, $100 AMEX gift cards, backpacks, snapfish.com gift cards, and much more. All the winners will be announced this Friday. If you’d like to join the fun, “like” the Win Giveaways page on Facebook. There you’ll find out who’s giving away what prizes. Entering is easy and you can do so multiple times. They usually ask that you leave a comment…
1. about their post
2. that says you subscribe to their blog
3. that you shared the giveaway on Facebook
4. that you tweeted the giveaway
Sometimes you can enter more than 4 times. It’s very easy! I actually won a $20 Diapers.com gift certificate in one of Mindi’s giveaways last week and my order should arrive tomorrow. Some of the prizes can be won on all the blogs and other prizes can only be won on one or two. However, they’re all giving away a $100 AMEX gift card from Invisalign Teen, a Land’s End backpack and Belkin laptop messenger bag with accessories. Just keep checking the Win Giveaways Facebook page for the latest postings. Good luck! Don’t forget to let us know if you’re a winner.
August 9, 2010
Food, Free Stuff, Motherhood, My Faves
amazon.com, coupon blogs, coupon match-ups, cvs register rewards, i heart publix, moms need to know, publix sales and coupons, saving money, smart couponing, true couponing
I’ve recently made a concerted effort to save more money by using coupons. So far so good! On Friday I saved $33 on groceries at Target and yesterday I saved $21 at Publix. There are 4 blogs that have inspired and helped me to do this. I’d like to share them with you.
The first one I discovered was Smart Couponing. One of our Facebook friends, Amanda, shared a link for free bagels and I’ve been a subscriber ever since. This blog tells you about all the good deals happening at several of my favorite stores, like Target, Publix, Amazon.com, CVS and Walmart. You can find coupon/sale match-ups on the blog, on their Facebook page, or just follow them on Twitter @SmartCouponing.
The same day I found Smart Couponing, I found a link to I Heart Publix. This blog is all about the sales, specials, promotions, etc. at Publix, my favorite grocery store! My favorite feature though, is the Sneak Peek at the upcoming Publix Weekly Ad. You’ll also find great deals from other stores there. You can also follow all the great savings on the I Heart Publix Facebook page.
Around the same time, I came across Moms Need To Know, a blog by a mom in the Philadelphia area. You can follow her on Twitter @MindiCherry or visit her Facebook Page. She posts printable coupons, free stuff, drug store and grocery store deals all day long. She also has a Moms Need To Cook section full of recipes. You’ll love her!
The fourth and final coupon blog that I love is True Couponing. This is a Faith-based blog run by 3 stay at home moms. They post great deals going on at Publix, Walgreens, CVS, Kmart, Walmart and Whole Foods. They also match up coupons to the sales and have “good deal alerts”. This blog is especially for the moms I know because these women live in Central Florida and offer coupon training classes at local churches. You can find their schedule here.
I hope find these sites helpful and you’re able to save some money. Please let me know if you of any other good coupon blogs or ways to save money. Happy shopping!
July 30, 2010
Contest, Free Stuff, Motherhood
auto insurance, facebook photo contest, I <3 The Road, i love road trips, Patrons Insurance agency, road trip, summer vacation, win a VISA gift card
We had so much fun with the I <3 My Pet photo contest, we decided to do another one! You don’t need a pet for this one. We want you to tell us all about your Summer road trip. Tell us where you’ve gone this Summer and why we should go there too. I will post the photos to the “I <3 The Road Photo Contest” album on our Facebook page along with your description. Then all of our Facebook friends will vote (by clicking the “like” button) for their favorites. Email your photo to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll post it pronto. Click here for contest details.
You’re not the only one traveling this Summer. Two of our agents at Patrons Insurance Agency, Dawn (mom) and Siobhan (daughter), are headed West right now. Their destination is unknown, but they’ll share photos from their trip along the way. You can find their photos on our Facebook page too in the “Dawn & Siobhan Headed West” album. Perhaps you’ll be inspired for your next road trip. They return August 7th and the I<3 The Road photo contest winner will be announced on Tuesday, August 10th. Their prize? A $25 VISA gift card. Stay tuned to our blog for all things road trip related until then.
July 28, 2010
Business, Food, Free Stuff, Partners of Patrons, Saving Money
bubbie's brown bag cafe, certified black angus beef, corn beef sandwich, family-friendly, free chips, free drink, largo florida, lunch coupon, Patrons Insurance agency
Friday I finally had the pleasure of eating at Bubbie’s Brown Bag Cafe. I came after their lunch rush, so I was able to take my time and ask questions. Owner, Chris Dunn, encouraged me that “the menu is really just full of suggestions” and I could have whatever I wanted. You can choose your bread, meat, cheese and toppings. Chris made me his own variation of the Reuben, hot corn beef topped with homemade cole slaw and swiss cheese on toasted marble rye bread with homemade Russian dressing. It was a thing of beauty. I had to take a couple of photos before my first bite.
You won’t find this sandwich on the menu, but you can ask Chris how he likes his Reuben and he’ll make you one too. Most people fill up on just one half or have to take a break, but I just kept going. Nursing moms know what I’m talking about. This delicious beast of a sandwich also came with a dill pickle spear, a sample of coleslaw, a bag of chips and a tall glass of A&W rootbeer. The chips and drink were free with my sandwich purchase because I brought in my Patrons Insurance coupon. If you want to get the same deal, click here and print.
While I chowed down, I got a chance to get to know Bubbie, Chris and Amy (Bubbie’s daughter/Chris’ wife). This family is so sweet and welcoming. Bubbie sat down and fed my 6-month-old some organic applesauce so I could eat without a baby crying in my ear. Afterwards he fell asleep in her arms while we talked about having babies and Amy’s special egg salad. They also treated my 3-year-old to some baked (nothing is fried at Bubbie’s Cafe) chicken nuggets. He was so excited to be there, he couldn’t sit still. Thankfully, no one minded. I will definitely go back to Bubbie’s Brown Bag Cafe for lunch soon!
July 17, 2010
Business, Food, Free Stuff
commercial insurance, elephant ears, family-friendly, free appetizer, free dessert, group-friendly, Patrons Insurance agency, Red Elephant Pizza, restaurant insurance, sarasota florida, Tampa Bay restaurant
On our way home from Lido Beach in Sarasota, my family stopped for a tasty lunch at the Red Elephant Pizza & Grill on University Parkway. My parents told us that the food was great and we’re always excited to try out a new restaurant. The first thing I noticed when I walked inside was all the cool artwork on the walls–quirky but cute. To learn more about the artist, John “Cornbread” Anderson, click here.
We were promptly seated by a friendly server who was very patient with us while we looked over the menu. She was quick to get us our drinks, but the our appetizer took awhile. However, our Bar-B-Que Chicken Quesadillas ($6.99) were so cheesy and delicious. I definitely recommend trying them. Rather than ordering two adult meals (about $8.00 each) and a kid’s meal ($4.49), we opted for Medium Pizza with 3 toppings, which came out to $11.89. I like that they let you dress half the pizza one way and the other have another way, because Alistair only likes pepperoni. If you add it up with $3.00 for drinks (two waters and one beer), our total was $21.88 before tax and tip; not too bad for a family of three. Click here to see their menu.
All of the staff was very friendly. Our server stopped by several times to check on our drinks and apologized when the quesadillas were held up in the kitchen. The General Manager even stopped by our table to give us a card for a free appetizer (about $7.00) at their location or the new one in Tampa (Carrollwood). Because it was our first time there, they gave us a complimentary Elephant Ear ($2.99), which was hot out of the oven and dusted with lots of messy powdered sugar–perfection!
My parents were also given a free elephant ear and appetizer coupon on their visit a couple of weeks prior and I am confident that any first time visitor would receive the same treatment. It’s group and family friendly. They have nice big booths that can fit several people and they hand out crayons so the kids can color their menu, which has mazes and other activities to keep them entertained. We’ll go back soon and try some of their other menu items or maybe just stick with that oh-so-yummy pizza. To find a location near you, click here.
July 12, 2010
Events & Activities, Free Stuff, Saving Money
beach hotel, deep-fried hotdog, family vacation, free hotel stay, gulf view, holiday inn priority club, holiday inn review, lido beach, man vs. food, old salty dog, sarasota florida
Last week we had the opportunity to get away as a family to Lido Beach in Sarasota. This was our first family vacation, not in Rhode Island (where my husband’s family lives). We loved the idea of going somewhere an hour from home because it didn’t cost much to get there, but it was far enough away to feel like a vacation. We have a very tight budget, but we were able to stay at a hotel because my day is a Holiday Inn Priority Club member. He earns points each time he stays at a Holiday Inn for his job and can redeem them for hotel stays, airline tickets, shopping certificates and more. If you travel a lot, I recommend you look into becoming a member. We had a lovely room on the sixth floor with a beautiful view of the gulf.
We weren’t directly on the beach, but we could just walk across the street to get to the soft sandy shores. We played in the water , jumping in and out of waves and hunted for pretty shells. We took a break for some Publix subs and a nap. Then we got some lunch at The Old Salty Dog on City Island, just 5 minute drive away from our hotel. There are several places to eat at within walking distance, but we wanted to go to the place where Adam Richman from the television Man vs. Food ate. We tried their signature dish, the salty dog, a quarter pound hotdog beer-battered and deep-fried. I topped mine off with grilled onions and pepper jack cheese. It was monstrous artery clogger and pretty tasty. Then we hustled back to the beach to watch the sunset.
The rooms were nice and the staff there was okay. We asked about a burger and hotdog place on the beach, but they didn’t know about it and didn’t offer to find it for us– a good concierge would. I was also disappointed with the internet speed; it was very hit or miss. Sometimes it was quick and sometimes it took 10 minutes to load a page. I was hoping they had a fridge in the room to help us save on food costs, but I guess it doesn’t come in every room. If we go again, I’ll make sure we bring a cooler for storing breakfast and snack items. All in all I give this hotel 3 stars.