21 February 2018

BIRTH STORY: Welcome to the World, Everly

She's FINALLY here! My firstborn, Everly was born on February 3rd 2018 on pregnancy week 41. Here is my birth story, I hope you enjoy it and find it useful. 

There's nothing like the arrival of a new baby to change your world overnight. I experienced a healthy pregnancy, but it was nonetheless a long and laborious journey. We had been anticipating her arrival since January 19th since we kept hearing how she was going to be a big baby (she was already 8 lbs at 36 weeks). When I reached full term at week 38, the Nurse Practitioner performed a cervical check to see if I’m dilating which is a fairly standard procedure at that point. 

Usual questions:
How are you feeling? Anxious. Tired. 
Baby move regularly? All the time. She loves to roll around. 
Any contractions? I have "menstrual-like" cramps, but I wouldn't say they're true contractions. 

My weekly meetings with the Nurse Practitioner always had the same outcome: no dilation. At week 40, I asked for an induction, which was scheduled for February 3rd - 41 weeks on the dot. (Going over 41 weeks isn’t recommended because it poses increased risks for the baby.) I knew the risks of getting induced. Any mom who has been pregnant can tell you that the last week of pregnancy literally feels like a year. I loved being pregnant and feeling her tiny kicks inside me but after 10 months, I was over it. 40 weeks is more than enough time to be pregnant and I was beyond exhausted and simply ready to be meet my daughter.

During the early morning of Friday, February 2nd, I noticed a slightly bloody discharge while urinating. Since I had my weekly doctor's visit the day before I thought nothing of it. When I went again in the morning, more discharge was noted as well as the loss of my mucus plug. I called the Nurse Practitioner and was informed to go to the hospital. Luckily my husband decided to take the day off from work; he wanted to stay home before I was to get induced the next day.

At 11:30 am, I was attached to the fetal monitor. The triage nurse came in and did a cervical check (1.5 cm dilated) and my water broke. Yay! We moved into the Labor & Delivery room at 5:23 pm (the hospital was busy that day, apparently) just as the sun was setting over Catalina Island. Zac and I decided to wander the halls to help with the dilation and contractions. 

Contractions started getting worse by 1 am and by 2 am I was pleading for the epidural. They say labor pains feel like period cramps but I think this is misleading. For me, early labor pains feel like period cramps and active labor pains feel like something else altogether. It’s this intense painful pressure deep inside your abdomen that is sometimes accompanied by backache and pelvic pain. I used to think I have pretty good pain management UNTIL I experienced labor. Labor pains are on another level type of pain, not the kind you experience in your daily life like breaking a bone, getting a tattoo or taking a hard fall. It hurts like hell (and back).

Another important thing to note about epidurals is that you can’t get it when you are too far along and you have to be able to sit still while the anesthesiologist administers the needle. In other words, if you’re already in so much pain that you can’t sit still, it may be too late to get the epidural. So timing is crucial, and be sure you know this before you say no to the epidural and decide to wait it out.

By 6:00 pm (about 31 hours after checking-in) I was fully dilated and ready to push. At 8:53 pm, I heard her first cry and Everly was born weighing 9 lbs 2 oz at 20.5 inches tall. 

It feels like heaven, ultimate euphoria, this giant fireball of love that seems to hold all the love in the universe. It’s the most intense, humbling and gratifying feeling in the world. She was finally here in my arms after 10 long months of waiting and enduring and it was all worth it. Every episode of nausea, every pain, every backache, every sleepless night was worth this moment. This child, this beautiful new life that Buddha entrusted me with was already perfect in my eyes. And I was her mother.

I really enjoyed the hour of skin-to-skin to promote immediate bonding with baby. The nurses and doctor left the room and allowed our family to enjoy the magical hour without any distraction. I just kept looking at my husband with happy tears in my eyes repeating, “We created this little cutie pie.” My husband too, was overwhelmed with emotion. It was truly a blessed and wonderful moment that if I think back to it, tears still well up in my eyes.

After the hour, I was transferred to the recovery room where I would to stay for 24-48 hours. Once I gave birth I was famished and beyond tired. I felt like all energy and strength has been sucked out of me. I somehow managed to breastfeed every 2-3 hours through the night while half asleep but hubby had to do all the diaper changing until we got home.

I still can’t believe how tired I felt after giving birth. It’s called labor for a reason, the hardest work I’ve ever done in my lifetime.

So here she is, my firstborn, Everly. She is doing well at home and everyone is adjusting well to the change. The whole family is utterly in love with our little bug and we can’t wait to see what kind of adventures and stories await us.

Krispy Kreme: FREE Hershey’s Gold Doughnut (Rewards Members)

Today, February 21st only, Krispy Kreme Rewards Members can receive a FREE Hershey’s Gold Doughnut – limit one free doughnut per member!

This doughnut is topped with pieces of a Hershey’s Gold bar and a salted caramel icing so it has a salty sweet flavor!

20 February 2018

Auntie Anne’s: FREE Original or Cinnamon Pretzel (March 3rd)

Auntie Anne's Pretzels
On March 3rd, Auntie Anne’s will be celebrating their 30th birthday!

If you have an Auntie Anne’s nearby, click HERE and RSVP for their Free Pretzel Party. If they get 1 million RSVP’s, all who responded will score a FREE Original or Cinnamon pretzel on March 3rd from 10AM-2PM.

Walgreens: 75% Off Wood Photo Panels + FREE Store Pick-up

Through today, February 20th, Walgreens is offering 75% off Wood Photo Panels when you use promo code FEBDECOR at checkout AND choose FREE same-day pickup at your local Walgreens store!

19 February 2018

Starbucks: 20% off Warm Sandwiches (inside Target)

Through March 4th, Starbucks CafĂ© inside Target is offering 20% off Starbucks Warm Sandwiches with this new Cartwheel offer.

Shutterfly: FREE Mug, Puzzle, Reusable Shopping & Notepad (Just pay S/H)

Today, February 19th only, Shutterfly.com is offering up to FOUR Free Custom Photo Gifts when you use promo code SPRINGONIT at checkout.
Note that products selected must be different and you will need to pay shipping for each item.

Choose from:

  • One 11oz White Mug (regularly $16.99)
  • One Puzzle (regularly $29.99)
  • One Reusable Shopping Bag (regularly $16.99)
  • One Notepad (regularly $14.99)

RECALL ALERT: Gravy Train, Kibbles ‘N Bits & More

On February 16th, the J.M. Smucker Company issued a voluntary recall of select Gravy TrainKibbles ‘N BitsOl’ Roy, and Skippy canned/wet dog food because they may contain pentobarbital (a short-acting barbiturate). A full list of affected products can be found HERE.
The FDA determined that the levels found that the levels in the samples tested were not high enough to pose a pet health risk. However, the presence of any level of pentobarbital does not meet the J.M. Smucker Company’s quality standards so they issued the voluntary recall.

Pizza Hut: 50% off Regular Menu-Priced Pizzas

Through February 25th, Pizza Hut is offering 50% off Regular Menu-Priced Pizzas when you order online – NO promo code needed! 

18 February 2018

Costco Store Guide (Updated 02/2018)

When it comes to grocery shopping, I always prefer to buy local when I can. The produce is fresher than what’s in stores and you support your local farmer... BUT you obviously can’t buy everything from your local farmer. There are many specialty items that can really add up when shopping at your average grocery store.

Is it worth it to keep your Costco Membership when you already use coupons to get things for FREE?
Yes, it is. It costs my family $55 a year, but look what we can still get with it.

: Great prices and they have a 90 day return policy no matter what!

The Return Policy
Costco will “guarantee your satisfaction on every product with a full refund.” This means you can return anything for any reason! - EXCEPT for trade show items.

Yes, I've had trouble returning trade show items - even with a receipt. The food items are only sold at Costco for a few days before traveling to another Costco to be demostrated... so it is NOT in their computer inventory.

Clothing and/or Accessories: 
It is hard to beat Costco’s price for name brand jeans!

Gifts/Gift Baskets
: Gift cards - Need I say more?

Gas Prices: Lowest price in town! Always.
Prescriptions: Costco usually has the lowest price for prescriptions!

Food Court: You seriously can't go wrong with a Hot Dog AND Soda for $1.50 + tax :)
Our favorite is the Fruit Smoothie ($2.99) and Churro ($1). *drools*
Click HERE to download Costco's Inventory Price List (Updated 02/2017); Prices vary by region.
Thank you, Queen Bee Coupons :)

What I Buy at Costco ; As well as the items I listed above 

Image result for costco treasure hunt

Moist Flushable Wipes

Cheese – Zac buys the huge Kirkland Shredded and/or Block Cheese.

Fresh Fruits and/or Vegetables (In season only)

Printer Ink – Refill your empty cartridges from $7

Frozen Foods - Tilapia, Potstickers, Ravioli, Orange Chicken

Bread, Muffins, Cookies

Organic Kirkland Signature Orange Juice

Organic Lemonade

Organic Kirkland Signature Milk 

Rotisserie chicken
Great quick, healthy, cheap dinner idea for only $4.99

Asterisk Stock Up!

While most items don’t have a star in the upper right-hand corner, there are always a few that do in the store.  It means what you see in front of you is the last of it. 

In particular, look for:

Prices that end in 97¢: These have been marked down from the regular priced items, which end in 99¢
Odd pricing, such as 79¢, 49¢, or 89¢: Costco got a deal from the manufacturer.
88¢ or .00 endings: Manager markdowns.

Travel Deals ; Vacation Time!

Being a Costco Member has its perks... like discounted vacation packages.
CostcoTravel.com offers deals on flight and hotel packages, cruises and rental cars for destinations from Las Vegas to Hawaii and Europe.

We save up to $100 every time we a rent car through Costco :)

Coupon Policy
Image result for costco coupons

Costco Wholesale does not accept general manufacturer coupons. They have their own coupons and promotional offers, which are distributed to members in the mail or generally available at customer service.

FREE Lunch?! ; Weekend Demos

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Thursday through Sunday is when the foot traffic is heaviest. Manufacturers are more likely to be on hand sampling out their product. 

Treasure Hunt? 
Costco doesn’t mark its aisles because store employees change the format often to highlight new or seasonal products. It also prompts people to sometimes look a little harder for things that they want, and find something they didn’t come in for. :/

A former co-worker of mine once told me, "Whenever I go to Costco, I never grab a shopping cart. I only buy things I can carry out with my arms." Smart.


Image result for costco alcohol
Some states require alcohol to be sold in the same manner everywhere - meaning that member-based shopping clubs like Costco have to open up their booze racks to everybody.
Nonmembers, of course, still get the same low prices.
If you have any suggestions that I might have missed, please leave a comment and I’ll add it to the list. Remember though, not every store will carry the same product – and many products will vary by season.

CVS Pharmacy Store Guide (Updated 02/2018)

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The Saving Asian is here to answer all your questions about how to shop at CVS/Pharmacy :) 

Extra Care ;  Your Store Loyalty Card

It's FREE to sign up in stores. This is your KEY to saving $$$ at CVS/Pharmacy. It also allows you to score all the sale prices and promotional Extra Care Buck offers!
Be sure to scan your CVS card or enter your phone number at the red ExtraCare Coupon Center (found at the front of the store) to see what CVS store coupons print for out that you can also combine with manufacturer’s coupons!
Extra Care Bucks ;  CVS Cash
You will notice in the weekly CVS ad if you will be receiving ECB on the purchased item; it will print at the end of your receipt in a form of a coupon.
You’ll also earn 2% back on your purchases (exclusions apply) that will accumulate quarterly and print out at the bottom of your receipt, at the ExtraCare Coupon Center OR through CVS.com in January, April, July and October.

If you do not spend $50 in qualifying purchases or do not otherwise reach a minimum of $1 in ExtraBucks Rewards by the end of an earning period, you will not receive rewards and will not have your earnings carried over. You must collect your quarterly ExtraBucks Rewards, which will be rounded down to the nearest dollar, during the 45-day period following the earnings period.

Once you start getting the hang of CVS, you’ll be able to “roll” your Extra Care Bucks and start to profit from all the deals!
Transaction 1:
Buy (1) Huggies . $8.99 - Get $3 ECB
Pay $8.99
Get $3 ECB
$5.99 for Huggies (after ECB)

Transaction 2:
Buy (2) Doritos for $4  - Get $2 ECB
Use $3 ECB (from Huggies transaction)
Pay $1 out of pocket; Get $2 ECB
$1.00 Moneymaker

98% Rule with ExtraBucks Reward

Image result for extrabucks rewards

Every week, CVS releases new promotions where you will earn ExtraBucks Rewards (which are almost like cash or store credit) for making a qualifying purchase. Although this may vary, you generally only need to reach 98% in order for the ExtraBucks to print. 

Spend $30 on Baby Products to get a $10 ExtraBucks Reward - you actually only need to spend $29.40 to get the reward.
Beauty Club ;  CVS Cash

Image result for cvs beauty
When you sign up for the CVS Beauty Club and spend $50 on qualifying beauty purchases, you’ll automatically receive a FREE $5 ExtraBucks after checkout!
You’ll also receive a 10% off Beauty Shopping pass after enrollment, a $3 ExtraBuck on your Birthday, exclusive coupons, and more!
Extra Care Coupons ; CVS Coupon

Have you ever noticed the tall red machine when you walk into CVS? That's where you go to get your CVS coupons - other than through e-mails.

What's the best thing about using CVS coupons? It can be "stacked" meaning you can use one CVS coupon and one Manufacturer coupon for the item being purchased. DOUBLE the savings :)

When using ECB at checkout, make sure your total is over the ECB amount.
You will not get cash back.
Example: You have a $10 ECB but your purchase is only $8, you will not get back the $2 in ECB.
It dies and goes to ECB heaven.

CVS Coupon Policy ; Click HERE to print out the Coupon Policy

1 Manufacturer & 1 CVS Coupon allowed per item.
B1G1 Offers: You are allowed to use a B1G1 FREE Manufacturer's coupon to get both for FREE or you can use (2) $ off coupons.
Reserve the right to limit quantities.
Does NOT accept competitors coupons or match competitors sale prices.
CVS Advisor Panel ; Free Extrabucks!!!
Be sure to sign up for their FREE program called the CVS Advisor Panel.
CVS will email you online surveys and research studies throughout the year to gather your input about CVS stores, products and services.

Complete the surveys and you will snag printable CVS ExtraBucks typically valued from $3 to $15!

100% Satisfaction Guarantee
Image result for cvs satisfaction guaranteed
All CVS/pharmacy Brand products (such as Gold Emblem, Just the Basics, etc) are 100% satisfaction guaranteed or you’ll get your money back.
 If you’re dissatisfied for ANY reason, you can return the product (opened or unopened) along with your receipt or invoice to any CVS/pharmacy store.

ExtraCare Pharmacy & Health Rewards
Image result for extrabucks rewards payout
You can earn “credits” for your prescription purchases and refills with the ExtraCare Pharmacy & Health Rewards program. For every 10 credits you earn, you’ll get a $5 ExtraBucks Rewards and it will be issued approximately one week after every 10 credits have been earned. 
Image result for cvs pharmacy prescription

CVS Health acquired Target’s Pharmacy back in 2015, you can now fill your CVS/Pharmacy needs at your local Target. The ExtraCare Pharmacy & Health Rewards program gives you the option of a $5 Target merchandise coupon OR a $5 ExtraBucks Reward each time you earn 10 credits.
Customer Service Hotline ;
Problems, Suggestions or Comments?!
If you have an issue with a cashier, ask to speak with the store manager. If you are unable to resolve the issue with the manager, note the manager’s name and the time the incident occurred and then call Customer Service.

The phone number is 1-800-SHOP-CVS or 1-800-746-7287 or send an email.

Target Store Guide (Updated 02/2018)

Target has quite a few “rules” when it comes to using coupons, but it's nothing to worry about :)
 I highly recommend getting familiar with its Corporate Coupon Policy and Price Matching Policy. Be sure to print them and bring it with you in case you ever run into any problems while checking out.

Target Cartwheel ;

Target offers high value store coupons via their FREE Cartwheel Savings App!
Click HERE to sign in and/or register for a Cartwheel account via Facebook or email address. Add the offers you want and have the cashier scan the barcode ; all offers will be applied to the transaction. Each Cartwheel offer may be used for up to a maximum of 4 qualifying items per offer per transaction, unless otherwise noted.

While shopping in-store, you can even scan the barcode of items that you’re interested in buying with the Target App to see if an offer is available for that item. 

NOTE: Target Cartwheel offers are deducted after all Target store coupons but before manufacturer’s coupons. 

Clearance ; Image result for target clearance endcaps

Most Target stores follow a schedule where they mark down certain departments for clearance on specific days. The markdown schedule may vary by store, so ask your local store about their schedule. 

Monday: Electronics, Kids’ & Baby Clothing, Stationery/Office Supplies
Tuesday: Women’s and Juniors Clothing, Domestics
Wednesday: Men’s Clothing, Food, Health & Beauty, Lawn & Garden, Furniture, Laundry
Thursday: Toys, Pets, Housewares, Lingerie/ Sleepwear, Athletic Apparel, Shoes, Sporting Goods, Paper Goods, Decor, Luggage
Friday: Auto, Scarves, Cosmetics, Jewelry, Hardware

Browse the shelves at the ends of the aisles (not those located down the main walking aisles) that have red “Clearance” signs. They're often filled with various items that have been marked down from 15% to 70% off.

Image result for target clearance

Clearance items offer the best bargains as long as you know what you’re looking for. Items will first get marked down by 15% or 30%, then to 50% off, and finally to 70% or 90% off. These items will have a red “clearance” sticker that shows the original price, the new price, the 9 digit DCPI item number and the percentage of the markdown in the top right-hand corner.

Check the small number in the upper right corner of the price tag. If it says “50”, it’s been marked to 50% off, if it says “70”, it’s been marked down to 70% off, etc. The only exception is holiday or seasonal merchandise, which can go as high as 90% off (in those cases, the code will be “90” in the corner).

Rumor has it that if the price tag ends in a $0.06 or $0.08, the item will be priced down again as long as there is inventory in the store and will stay on clearance for 1-2 weeks or while supplies last. However, if a price tag ends in $0.04, it is final clearance and won’t be marked down again.

Target RedCard ;

Target’s REDcard is an easy way to save on every single Target purchase. It offers 5% off at the register on your entire bill, FREE shipping on every order at Target.com and an extra 30 days to return items.

Don’t like the idea of having a credit card? Consider signing up for the Debit card instead of the credit version for the same perks, no annual fee and no credit check required. The Debit card is tied to your existing checking account so you can also withdraw up to $40 at checkout in-store.

1-Year Satisfaction Guarantee on Target Brand Items ;

Target Brands
If you’re not satisfied with any Target Owned Brand item (ie: Archer Farms, Mossimo, up & up, Xhilaration, Market Pantry), you can return it within one year with a receipt for an exchange or a full refund. 

If you don’t have a receipt, they can look up your information using your government-issued photo ID (such as a driver’s license) or the method of payment used to the Guest Service desk within the return window allowed for that item.

Target Price Matching Policy ;

If you find a current lower price within 14 days after purchase, just bring in your receipt or method of payment and Target will adjust your payment to the lower price.
NOTE: You cannot price match while using a Cartwheel offers, Target Gift Card offers, Registry completion coupons and Target coupons.
Target will price match a total of 27 online competitors ; plus price match both Target store AND online at Target.com (excluding clearance and other promotions). Copies, photos, print outs, or anything other than the original advertisement will not be accepted.
Target will honor any local retailer’s price in a printed ad.

The following exclusions apply:
- Early bird, door busters or other special limited time, limited quantity sales
- Membership club or loyalty programs (no BJs, Costco etc that require a club or loyalty card)
- Coupon-required advertised offers (ie: items advertised with a price AFTER an in-store coupon)
- Prices advertised as a percent off or $ off or BOGO sales
- Items advertised as Clearance or closeout
- Going-out-of-business liquidations
- Expired Ads

Reusable Bag ;

Bring your reusable bag(s) to get $0.05 off (each bag) your purchase :)

17 February 2018

Amazon: FREE Black Panther Volume 1 Comic eBook (Regularly $9)

Amazon.com is offering Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Vol. 1 Kindle Edition eBook for FREE (regularly $8.99)!

Papa John's: ANY Large or Pan Pizza . $10

Dual Layer Pepperoni on Large or Pan Crust

Through February 19th, 
Papa John’s is offering ANY Large or Pan Pizza for $10 when you use promo code ANYPIZZA at checkout!

This promo code even works on the dual layer pepperoni and specialty pizzas!
Other Papa John’s codes:
  • Use code P2DUA for Large/Pan Dual Layer Pepperoni Pizza for $10 (expires 4/1)
  • Use code 25DISC for 25% off regular menu price orders
  • Use code BOGO18 for Buy 1 at Regular Menu Price, Get 1 FREE

Frontier Airline: Select One-Way Flights . $29 (Select Cities)

Through February 18th, 
Frontier Airlines is offering select one-way flights for just $29 (or $20 for Discount Den members)! 

These prices are valid for Tuesday and Wednesday non-stop domestic travel and require a 7-day advance purchase.