Redbox 12 Days of Deals!!! (Day 9) and Redbox 411

I am a definite fan of Redbox.  I love the concept of being able to rent movies on the cheap at locations that are essentially like movie vending machines all over town.  Redbox has a plethora of locations in my city and surrounding area, and you can find Redbox locations at places like Wal-Mart, CVS, Walgreens, and Ruler Foods.  All you need is a credit card to rent a regular DVD, Blue Ray DVD, or game.  They typically send receipts via e-mail, and if you rent regularly, then they often send you promo codes (that you use before putting in your payment information) to get a free rental on a particular day or rent 1, get 1 free.  I signed up to get notices by text to be in the loop, and they are doing a fun 12 days of deals promotion currently that I want to give a shout-out to.

It is now Day 9 of the 12 Days of Deals (I am slightly behind promoting it, but I still want to get the word out).  All you have to do is reply NICE for a promo code rental discount to 727272.  You can text DAILY thru 12/10/14.  Since I have done it, I have gotten promo codes for 75 cents off, 50 cents off, and rent one & get one free.  While Redbox did raise their prices recently from $1.20 to $1.50 for regular DVD’s (and I believe Blu-Ray movies are now $2 and games are slightly higher, too), however, this Christmas deal promotion is pretty sweet.

“Don’t let your friends & family miss out on the 12 Days of Deals fun! Click to share via Facebook or email: http://m.rbx.me/12dd” (promo quoted from Redbox).

Starbucks and Starfield: The Perfect Combination (I checked out Starbucks NEW Chestnut Praline Latte)!

I recently heard that Starbucks has a NEW seasonal drink, the Chestnut Praline Latte.  I was intrigued and eager to check it out.  While uncertain if I have ever had pralines before  (yeah, maybe I have led a sheltered life), but I was game to give it a try.  Call me a fan of Starbucks, which would be a true understatement.  So, I got a Chestnut Praline Latte on my drive back home from visiting my family for Thanksgiving.

It seemed appropriate to pair the latte with a cd from one of my favorite bands, Starfield, a Canadian praise and worship band with a slight rock edge, who is not very well known in the United States.  A quick side note: I once road-tripped to support Starfield years ago when they were nominated for rock/contemporary album of the year at the Dove (GMA) Awards for Christian artists.  I did a lot of music promotion “back in the day,” and I was always going to concerts and volunteering at promotional tables for Christian radio in multiple cities.  I’m kind of surprised Starfield still flies under the radar today, but sometimes that can be kind of cool to me.  I’m definitely are not one who is into something because other people are; while sometimes I can be influenced,  I think it’s important to follow your own drumbeat, too. But, since I am going on a tangent, I’ll get back to my story.

So, I sipped my Chestnut Praline Latte and listened to songs like “Everything is Beautiful” (which is an AMAZING song to listen to when you are feeling down), and “Love is the Reversal”, which I can listen to on repeat and never get sick of it.  I pondered deep thoughts with songs lyrics like “Yeah I believe our secret longings Tell us that we’re not at home. But grace reclaims what the world disowns” and “Yeah, nothing here’s as good as it should be ‘Cause this is the rehearsal” (song “Love is the reversal” on “Beauty in the Broken” cd by Starfield, copyright 2006).  While I must say that the Chestnut Praline Latte is not one of my favorite Starbucks drink, it is worth checking out at least once.  As their seasonal drinks typically go, you can only get them for a very limited time, so check it out before it’s gone.  And, if you couldn’t already pick up my extremely subtle plug for the band Starfield, you may want to check them out if you are looking for a new band.  Some of their older cds are harder to find in Christian bookstores, but you can find them on Spotify and see what you think.  You can also check out some more info on them on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starfield_(band)).  I highly recommend their debut album “Starfield” (with has probably their best known song, “Filled With Your Glory”) that came out in 2004, as well as the more slight rock edged “Beauty in the Broken” from 2006.

***For those who are curious what is in Starbucks new Chestnut Praline Latte, here is that info courtesy of http://www.starbucks.com: “Espresso, steamed milk, and flavors of caramelized chestnuts and spices. Topped with whipped cream and spiced praline crumbs.”

 

 

 

 

Love is elusive

Feeling forlorn

and forsaken.

Love is

elusive,

a mist that seems to

vanish

or a shimmering beautiful mirage.

Looking for substance

and commitment,

I find

lack.

Lack of love.

Friendship love abounds,

but my heart

longs for romantic love,

hand holding,

kissing,

sunsets,

and shared magical moments.

Commitment

is a beautiful word,

but I wonder

if I am the only one

who thinks that is true?

Seeking a man

who will commit to me

in spite of fear

and who thinks that I

am amazing in spite of all my faults

is my most vulnerable and cherished hope.

Love and commitment meet.

 

 

My Article was Published in “Empowered” (an online Magazine)!!!

Original Sunset Photography by Julie A. Smith
I submitted an article in September to the Christian online magazine, “Empowered.”  It was accepted!!!  My friend Melissa writes for them, and she recommended me.  It is a blessing, especially since I have wanted to be published in a Christian women’s magazine, but the ones that I have found don’t take unsolicited writing.  I have my blog, but it is incredibly exciting to get published on a wider scale.  I would love to have more opportunities for my writing to be published in the future.  As rain falls beautifully ending a drought, I earnestly hope that my writing both on my blog and my personal poetry will be reinvigorated and inspired again, ending a dry spell for me with both my motivation and inspiration that has been lacking.  It was extremely encouraging to have my article published, and I have received promising feedback from the small number of family and friends that I have told thus far.  It was so affirming to see my article referenced on the cover of “Empowered” with the caption “Finding your path.”  It was also empowering (yes, I am doing a play on words with the magazine title) for me as a writer to type up my credentials and biography and submit a professional picture (actually taken at a previous staff expo for my current job that has nothing to do with writing).  While there was a slight editing mistake in the article (i.e. I never actually bought a Siberian husky  when I was younger, because the dog sold at the pet shop before I could buy it), I am so thrilled with the article overall.  However. I have to fight my inner critic and own self doubts when reading my own work or thinking that I should have edited more before submission, even though I spent hours on the article.  I sincerely hope you have a moment to check out my article.  It is in the October/November/December issue of “Empowered” on the topic of careers that was published mid-end last month.  My article is on page 23-24 and is entitled, “Finding Your Path When your Career Path is Different than you Dreamed.”

Starbucks 2014 Happy Hour Edition (May 1-10, 2014 from 3-5 pm)

Starbucks Happy Hour is back for Half off Frappuccino blended beverages from May 1-10, 2014 from 3-5 pm.  Woohoo!  I’m definitely behind the times promoting this awesome special due to the busyness of my life of late (re: an exciting new car purchase and some vacation time largely without internet), so my apologies to all the people who have scrolled through my old Happy Hour blog posts trying to figure out the date for the Starbucks 2014 Happy Hour Frappuccino special.

But an exciting new twist this year is for My Starbucks Rewards Members!  If you are a My Starbucks Rewards Member, then you can get an extra hour of Frappuccino Half off Happy Hour from 5-6 pm during May 6-10, 2014.  This is great for working people who would largely miss this amazing promotion if not for the extra hour.  Since I am a big fan of Starbucks, especially of their frappuccino blended drinks,  I have a Starbucks gold card, but you can also register ANY Starbucks gift card that you have and become a My Starbucks Rewards member.  Then you can use the gift card (and reload it) and receive the aforementioned special during the alloted time period.  Please see the Starbucks website for Starbucks Rewards member information for this free program which has some cool perks, or if you want any other info about the Half off Happy Hour for Frappuccinos.  Enjoy!

http://www.starbucks.com/

 

 

 

Week in Review: Fab Lab visit, Kickball game, and an Amazing Omelet!

This past week was a unique one in ways which were fun.  On Palm Sunday I visited the C-U Community Fab Lab, which may perhaps fly under the radar as an innovative place to visit and merge technology and your creative side.  It’s a free community place where you can utilize a laser and an open source computer program to create your own key chain, make a magnet, or do more intensive things such as 3D printing and creation of your own designs.  It appeals to various ages, and while the young boy next to me seemed to do slightly better with his project than I did, with the help of three awesome volunteers I was able to solve some issues I was having and emerged victorious with a pretty blue heart key chain with my initial inside that I created.  I even got a pretty purple key ring to go with it!  See my photo below and the website links (including Flickr group for project ideas) if you are interested in learning more about the Fab Lab +/or visiting.

http://cucfablab.org/book/about-us

https://www.flickr.com/groups/1847246@N22/pool

Heart Keychain that I made at the Fab Lab!  (Photo and design by Julie A. Smith)

Heart Key chain that I made at the Fab Lab! (Photo and design by Julie A. Smith)

Next was an amazing omelet that I made heavy on the cheese which turned out good.  I’m not Betty Crocker or Rachel Ray, but that’s ok.  I get excited when I cook something and it turns out well, because my forte is in areas other than cooking.  So I was definitely proud of my omelet!  Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo to illustrate, because I ate the omelet exceedingly fast and was not thinking of photo-journaling.

Finally was the fun kickball game that was competitive and took me back to childhood.  It was between my small group and another small group from my church (note: our huge small group had actually split several months ago into 2 groups due to our size, but we still regularly get together for social outings).  Honestly, I don’t think I have played kickball since grade school, and I found my self asking questions as the game went on, such as “do you have to wait till the ball is kicked before you run from your base?”  However, unfortunately, I got out immediately three times when I kicked.  My balls always seemed to fly high, and the other team were stars at catching them.  My team was great at that, too, but we were vastly outnumbered, and I think that made a difference in our loss.  But fun was had by all it seemed, and I was happy that ONE TIME I ACTUALLY GOT ON BASE!  I DIDN”T EVEN GET OUT UNTIL RUNNING TO THIRD BASE!  I have always appreciated the saying, “it is not whether you win or lose, it is how you play the game.”  It was a ton of fun.  See photos below to illustrate.

Small group Kickball! (My team)

Small group Kickball! Fun times! (My team)

 

Kate and me (Small group Kickball)!

Kate and me (Small group Kickball)!

 

Our tough picture! (Small group Kickball! My team)

Our tough picture! (Small group Kickball! My team)

Finally, while there were some not fun issues to the week (re: multiple doctor’s visits & health issues, etcetera),  but the week was good overall.  Now I’m looking forward to Easter Sunday and my Dad visiting.  We’ll get to attend church together and have quality father-daughter time.  Sweet!

Inspiring Thoughts on Confidence by Joyce Meyer

I read an inspiring daily devotional from Joyce Meyer today about confidence.  Here is an excerpt that particularly stood out to me and was helpful:

What is confidence? I believe confidence is all about being positive concerning what you can do and not worrying over what you can’t do. Confident people do not concentrate on their weaknesses; they develop and maximize their strengths.

Let’s say you are not a “numbers” kind of person. On a scale of 1 to 10, you might be a 3. You could obsess about your inability to “do the math.” You could buy Math for Dummies and take a class at the community college. But your math obsession could eat up time that could be devoted to stuff you’re an 8 or a 10 at—like teaching God’s Word, creative writing, or rallying support for charity. In other words, you might rob time and effort from the 10s in your life just to bring a lowly 3 up to a mediocre 5. When you look at it this way, it’s easy to see where you need to invest your efforts.  (Quote by Joyce Meyer from her online daily devotional 4/2/14, http://www.joycemeyer.org/Articles/Devotional.aspx)