Saving Money = Sunshine

I don’t know about you but I love shopping. My mom and I love shopping together. It’s our thing.

This blog is about seeing the sunshine — seeing God’s blessings and the positive things in life. And finding a great sale or saving money when buying something I love, that’s sunshine. It’s not as bright as spotting dolphins in the ocean, but it’s sunshine nonetheless.

Do you go shopping on Black Friday? Personally, it’s a little too crazy out there for me. But for those of you who love a good deal and are ready to start your Christmas shopping, this post is for you.

I thought I would share some of the deals I’ve found for this Thanksgiving season with ya’ll. I hope you can find some great deals and save some money! These links are affiliate links, which means I get a percentage of compensation if a sale is made. It doesn’t cost you any extra, but it does mean you get to support my blog while Christmas shopping and saving money. It’s a win-win really.

Black Friday Deals

Let’s talk Dayspring. It’s one of my all-time favorite companies. First of all, I can’t get enough of their greeting cards. And then there’s the home decor. It’s beautiful and a great way to incorporate scripture into your home.

Right now, everything at Dayspring is 30% off. Everything! Woo! They have been marking things down early, so let me share some of my favorites with you!

Bless This Home Wall Art – $17.99 (Usually $44.99)

Bless This Home Wall Art

For I Know the Plans I Have For You Bangle – $19.99 (Usually $44.99)

Silver Bangle

God’s Heart for You Necklace – $14.99 (Usually $34.99)

God's Heart Necklace

Wooden Chalkboard Cross – $6.99 (Usually $21.99) — Now that’s cheap!

Chalkboard Cross

Daily Grace Small Vase – $9.99 (Usually $25)

Grace Vase

Speaking of vases, there are two more from Dayspring that I LOVE. They are both on clearance and under 10 bucks!

Vintage Glass Vase — $4.99 (Usually $12.99) — 5 Bucks! Awesome!

Purple Vintage Vase

Beautiful In Its Time Vintage Vase — $8.50 (Usually $16.99) *My mom already bought me this for Christmas. Thanks mama!

Vintage Glass Vase

These are just the products I like best. This isn’t even all of the deals going on at Dayspring. You can see more early Black Friday deals here or check out their clearance section here.

And if you buy something, be sure to use this code 30FRIDAY14. This coupon code is good toward the entire store including clearance items. However, it excludes Markdown Specials. This code is valid through Dec. 1.

Now, let’s talk Amazon. We do a lot of shopping at Amazon, because you can get practically anything there. They have some big Black Friday deals going on.

Know anyone who would like some of the latest movies on DVD or Blu-Ray? Movies and TV Shows are up to 58% off at Amazon.

A Charlie Brown Christmas – Shh! I might get this as a stocking stuffer for Travis! He loves Charlie Brown!

They have up to 50% off on all NFL Clothing. I know a lot of my family would love a Colts shirt! Amazon has all sorts of deals so be sure to check them out.

Finally, let’s talk Shutterfly. I’m getting a lot of our Christmas presents from this company. And I got all our Christmas cards from here.

You can save 50% on holiday cards.

Save 40% on calendars — I always get at least two calendars from Shutterfly.

You can save up to 50% on photo books — I’m buying two this year!

And 50% on home decor — Yes please!

I know there are tons of deals out there, but these are the ones I want to take advantage of!

Happy shopping friends! Let me know what you bought!

Exploring the Western Caribbean

I told you last week about our time on the Carnival Sunshine cruise ship, but I didn’t tell you about our destinations and our adventures.

Our first stop was Cozumel, Mexico.

We walked around the little shops at the port, trying not to make contact with the Mexicans nagging us to come in their shops. “Free Tequila shots!” one yelled from a jewelry store. After purchasing a few post cards, we went to meet our group for our excursion. We booked a dolphin excursion with Carnival.

We were able to get in the water with dolphins. The dolphin kissed our cheeks. We were able to give the dolphin a kiss, pet them, dance with them while holding their fins, and feed them. It was fun, and we both enjoyed it. Dolphins are so cool. The only bad part of this excursion is that you aren’t allowed to take a camera. They don’t want cameras in the water with the dolphins. You aren’t allowed to have any jewelry or glasses or hats or anything to keep the dolphins safe. I really wanted photos of our experience, but the photos they took there for you were WAY too expensive. It was ridiculous. And Travis and I both agreed they would actually make a lot more money if they lowered their prices because more people would be likely to purchase the photos.

During this excursion, we also got to go snorkeling. We swam with sting rays and lots of big and little fish. It freaked me out a little, but it was great practice for something we’d do later at another port. Our excursion also included food and drinks, so we were able to enjoy a meal while we watched dolphins. And since the drinks were included we tried lots of alcoholic drinks that we wouldn’t want to spend money on. Let me just say I don’t see how anyone would ever want to drink a Long Island Iced Tea. Yuck!

After the excursion, we headed back to the port where we bought a smoothie that was delicious! We lounged in a hammock on the beach and soaked up the sun before heading back to the cruise ship.

Cozumel

Our next stop was my favorite. Belize. We didn’t have any excursions planned. We got off the ship and started to walk. We found a company selling excursions to go snorkeling and enjoy time on a small island. We were hesitant, but decided to go for it. And I’m so glad we did! Exotic Eco Adventures took us on a small boat out to a very small island — 1.5 acres! It was so neat! We snorkeled for about an hour first. Good thing I got practice in Cozumel! I wasn’t freaked out or uncomfortable once we got going, and I really enjoyed it. We saw lots of the reef and lots of fish.

When we got back to the island, we had time to lay out and swim. Of course, I chose to lay out and get some sun and Travis chose to get back in the water and snorkel closer to the beach. I love that we can both do our own thing and still enjoy it. We got food on the island, one local guy selling food for everyone. It was delicious! I got chicken kebabs and Travis got lobster tail. They made sure we got back to the mainland in time. We had just enough time to walk around the shops and find a Christmas ornament to represent our vacation. We also got a coconut and I got to try the milk for the first time. It was not for me, but Travis enjoyed it.

Belize

Coconut Milk

Next stop — Isla Roatan, Honduras. Also known as Mahogany Bay. Travis and I split up for this port. He had just been certified as a scuba diver and really wanted to do some underwater adventuring while we were in the Caribbean. I do not like scuba diving, and I am not and never will be certified. So he booked an excursion through Carnival to go scuba diving, and he loved it. I think it was his favorite part of the whole trip. He saw a lobster, an eel, a sea turtle, and a whole lot of fish while he was down there. While he did that, I booked an excursion through Island Marketing to have a spa day. We were both nervous to split up, but once I was at the spa I was fine. I got to spend two hours pool side, and I literally had the pool all to myself. Then they came and got me and took me to this little cabin on the island. I had an exfoliating scrub treatment, a body mask/wrap treatment, a scalp massage, and then a full body massage. It was heaven. Afterward, I went to a restaurant at the resort and had a yummy lunch complete with a brownie. Travis and I met back up in the late afternoon to explore the shops near the port. We bought a decorative cross made of different colored wood to hang in our house. I love it.

Roatan

So this might be the longest post ever… Sorry! Our last stop was Costa Maya, Mexico. We walked around the shops, but it felt like every store had the exact same wares. Also, the people there were very “Come to my store,” “Give you good price,” “Good deal for you!” It was a little much for me. They had a pool and lounge chairs at the port to use for free. We took advantage of that. We played football with a friend we made, and I got to read my book.

Costa Maya

And lastly, a video for your viewing pleasure.

Those were our stops during our vacation! Have you been to any of these places?

If you are planning a trip to any of these places or going on a cruise and you have questions, please feel free to leave a comment.

Favorite Friday: Shazzy Fitness + Giveaway

Favorite Friday Logo

(This is a sponsored post. However, all of these words are my own, and I wouldn’t write about something unless it really is one of my favorite things. This post includes affiliate links. Thanks for supporting my blog. See my full disclosure policy here.)

I try to stay fit. Sometimes. It’s hard to stay in shape, but I love having a variety of workouts to choose from each day so I don’t get bored. I run on a treadmill, I walk around my neighborhood, I do sit ups, I swing a kettlebell, I go swimming in the summer. But one of my favorite ways to work out is by dancing. I have all the Zumba DVDs, and I enjoy them. But after awhile, it gets old. The same songs over and over, the same cues, the same moves, the same people on my screen. So sometimes it’s nice to get a new workout DVD!

I recently got this new Christian hip hop dance workout DVD called Shazzy Fitness.

You know how I’ve been telling you guys all about Allume? Well, while I was there I got to meet Kristy and Apollo. Kristy is the CEO and founder of Shazzy Fitness, and Apollo is one of the choreographers. So what is Shazzy Fitness? It’s new workout DVDs that are full of hip hop moves and Christian beats.

The DVD I have is called “A Time to Dance” — it’s a little more fast paced than the other DVD called “In the Beginning,” which is more for beginners. My DVD is split into several chapters. They have a section called “Favorite Moves.” I suggest checking this out first and learning some of the moves they will be doing throughout the workouts. Each move is split into it’s own section so you can watch it over and over until you have it down. Or you can play them all together.

There are two 10-minute workouts on this DVD — Freedom and Triumph. I love that they are only 10 minutes, so I can do this quickly before jumping in the shower and getting on with my day. Or if I have more time and want more of a workout, I can do all the workouts.

The first chapter to each of these workouts is kind of like a warm up song where you can learn some of the moves. Then, you do a new song where Apollo walks you through the moves as you go. The last song on each workout is just the music and moves — no cues. I love how they have them all separate so that I can do the second song over and over until I’ve really got the moves down. Then once I know the dance, I can just do the last song over and over. Like my own little living room dance party!

Shazzy Fitness also includes a bonus workout. This one is pretty fast, so I plan to get really good at these moves before moving to that one. The DVD also includes a snip-it about their message, intros to each of the instructors, and outtakes.

Here’s why this new workout DVD is one of my favorite things:

  • The dancers on the DVD represent all shapes, sizes, colors and ages. On Shazzy Fitness, everyone can be themselves.
  • The music used on these DVDs is Christian hip hop music. I hadn’t heard of any of the artists before, but I’m already enjoying these songs.
  • Shazzy Fitness is based out of Atlanta, GA — Represent! And even cooler, Apollo is from Indiana, my home state!
  • The Shazzy message is about finding your spiritual purpose. “You can’t step into your destiny without stepping out on faith.” — Shazzy Fitness
  • I love how they came up with the name:

The Hebrew prophet Daniel is a model of the power of faith. Despite dire circumstances, Daniel never let fear override his commitment to God. Daniel’s Babylonian name was Belteshazzar. If Daniel were alive today, his hip hop nickname just might be “Shazzy.”

They are talking about Daniel, the one who was thrown into the lion’s den for praying to God. But the lions didn’t maul him to death. God had closed their mouths and protected Daniel. Check out the book of Daniel for more on this story.

OK, so do you want a sneak peek into what these workouts look like? Check this video out:

Shape what the Father gave you! Love it!

Here’s the more exciting part! Shazzy Fitness is sponsoring a giveaway for ya’ll! You can win the workout DVD, “A Time to Dance” so you can praise Jesus while getting fit right in your own living room!

The giveaway ends Friday, Nov. 28, at 12 a.m., EST. There are three ways to enter this giveaway: Like Seeing Sunshine on Facebook, Like Shazzy Fitness on Facebook, and/or Follow Shazzy Fitness on Twitter. This giveaway is open to all US residents. There is no purchase necessary and odds are based on the total number of entries. A winner will be chosen by random and will have 48 hours to claim their prize. My opinions are my own and are not influenced by any form of compensation. Facebook and Twitter are in no way associated with this giveaway. By providing your information in this form, you are providing your information to me and Shazzy Fitness alone. We do not share or sell information and will use any information only for the purpose of contacting the winner.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

To order the DVDs, visit the Shazzy Fitness website. Hello Christmas presents!

Shazzy Fitness DVDs

Seeing Sunshine on the Sunshine

I told you my husband and I were going “unplugged” for a week on my Facebook page. We unplugged because we were going to be out in the middle of the ocean. And we’d be too busy snorkeling, kissing dolphins, eating lobster tail and drinking coconut milk straight from the coconut.

We went on a Western Caribbean cruise on-board the Carnival Sunshine. And it was awesome. And it was awesome that the ship just happened to be called Sunshine. Believe me, I was seeing all the sunshine during this vacation!

Carnival Cruise 2014

The ship was huge, as I knew it would be. We stayed on Deck 8 in an inside cabin, which means we didn’t have any windows. It was wonderful! I love sleeping in pitch black darkness. At home, I’ll often sleep with a small pillow over my head to keep the light out. I did not need that pillow on the cruise because our room was so dark. We would wake up and we wouldn’t know if it was 3 a.m., 8 a.m., or noon!

We had two days at sea. We went to a couple entertaining shows with music and dancing. I love watching the dancing and seeing the costumes. I went to a Latin show and a Rock N’ Roll show. Both were really good!

Live Show

We loved going to the Comedy Club on-board. It was my favorite thing to do on the ship and they had several shows each night. They also had other shows throughout the week, interactive shows such as the hypnotist. Travis volunteered to go on stage and be hypnotized!

Hypnotized

We also loved the Hasbro Game Show. I wish we could have got on stage to play! And it was hilarious watching the Love and Marriage Show. We would have liked to have gotten on stage for that one too!

Are you hungry? You are about to be.

We loved all the food on the ship. We ate at different places for lunch each day. Sometimes we were off the ship, but when we were on the ship we ate at the buffet, Guy’s Hamburger place and the Mexican place! Every night we ate in the dining room for a three-course meal. We sat at shared tables so we got to meet lots of new people. Once, we ate at a table by ourselves too. We really enjoyed meeting a couple from Missouri and a mom and son duo from North Carolina. In fact, we met the four of them during our very first night on the ship and we spent our last night on the ship with them too.

My favorite foods were the chocolate melting cake (duh), the Caesar salad, grilled chicken, pasta, tacos, ice cream, cookies, shrimp, strawberry soup …

Travis’ favorites were the lobster tail, filet mignon, tiramisu, baked alaska, hamburgers, tacos, cappuccino pie, apple pie, sushi …

Food on the Cruise

Chocolate Melting Cake

Travis was really good at making the perfect ice cream cone! I had no idea he had such skills!

Ice Cream

Here are more pictures of us on our cruise!

On the Cruise

I enjoyed coming to our room each evening to find a new towel animal friend on our bed. My favorite was the elephant. One morning, we went upstairs to eat breakfast and there were towel creations all over the deck. Big alligators, monkeys hanging everywhere, and herds of dinosaurs all over the deck. It was so cute!

Towel Creations

This is just a recap of our time on the Sunshine ship. I haven’t even touched on all the places we stopped and all the adventures we had, but you can check out that post here.

Currently {Vol. 8}

It’s been about a month since I’ve wrote a Currently post, so I think it’s time. Especially since you haven’t heard from me in over a week. Remember how I said my husband and I were going “unplugged” and wouldn’t be using our phones or internet for a week? Well, that was because we were going on a vacation! We weren’t using the internet because we were out in the middle of the ocean on a cruise ship! I’ll write a separate post recapping our trip soon!

And just so you don’t miss it, I have a giveaway coming Friday! So be sure to stop by and enter!

(This post includes affiliate links. Thanks for supporting my blog!)

Currently Vol. 8

Here’s what I’m up to currently

Thinking about: In my strive for hospitality, I’ve decided to invite Travis’ platoon over for a meal. This is Marne Week, so lots of sports activities and fun events are taking place for the soldiers and their families. So it’s the perfect week for us to have everyone over for Taco Night. I went grocery shopping to get all the onions, tomatoes, taco seasonings, etc. I have no idea how many people will show up, so I really hope I have enough food!

Reading: I could talk about books forever. On the cruise, I read Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist. I loved it! Definitely recommend it! I just finished Tables in the Wilderness by Preston Yancy. I got both of those books at Allume and got to hear both of those authors speak! Now, I’m finishing Sacred Marriage. I just have a couple chapters left, and then I get to pick a new book out of my pile of Allume books.

Praying about: Honestly, I was really worried that something bad would happen while we were on our cruise. Not necessarily to us. I was more worried something would happen to a family member or friend while we were gone, and we wouldn’t know about it or be able to get home. Living away from home and knowing something could happen to one of my family members without me there freaks me out. So knowing I would be in a place where they wouldn’t be able to call me really freaked me out. I prayed a whole heck of a lot that God would protect my family while I was gone. That He would keep them healthy. So when I got home and everything was normal and everyone was OK, it was such a relief. So currently, I’m praying a lot of thank you’s. He protected them. He kept them healthy. I’m so thankful for that — so thankful that just writing this is making me cry!

Listening to: Viva a La Playa. It’s this song Travis has been listening to nonstop for the past two weeks. He made a video of all our vacation footage and put that song on there, so I’ve been hearing a lot of it. I’ll share that video with ya’ll in my cruise recap post!

Watching: We had lots of shows to catch up on when we got home. The last show we need to watch to be caught up is Red Band Society. I enjoy that show! I really loved watching the three part series of Chicago Fire, Law and Order: SVU, and Chicago PD. That was so good!

Eating: Healthy. Or trying to. I felt like all we did on our cruise was eat. I had the chocolate melting cake basically every single night. And the two times we got room service I got cookies or chocolate cake. No joke. So I’m trying to get back into eating healthy. I had a salad for lunch yesterday and we had salmon, rice, and steamed squash for supper. Hopefully we can keep that up.

Working on: Christmas presents. I know, I know… Thanksgiving isn’t even here yet. But I like to get started on presents early. I’ve been making lists of who we are getting gifts for and what we want to get them. And we’ve been getting started on purchasing or making those gifts. And it’s so fun! I would love to be able to win the lottery and only be able to use it for gifts for others. That would be fun!

 What have you been up to currently?