Photo Tour: Flying First Class

I got the opportunity to fly home from Seattle first class on Alaska Airlines.

There’s a nice, big console in between each seat.

The seats were wide enough that I sat cross-legged just fine.Image

Prior to coach boarding, we got a glass of cold water and snack mix.

Classical music could be heard through the plane’s PA system.

I informed the man next to me that it was my first time in first class and hoped he wouldn’t be annoyed by my taking pictures.

The flight attendant addressed me by name every time we interacted, which was a nice touch.

She asked me if it was warm in the cabin. I replied, “A little, but I’ll just turn on this,” referring to the twisty air directors on the roof.

She responded, “No, I’ll lower the cabin temperature for you.” Now that’s service!

After the remaining passengers boarded, we took off.

Tacoma, Washington

Tacoma, Washington


There were two windows for each window seat.

Once electronic devices were allowed, they gave us these tablet-type devices from which I could pick current tv shows, movies, music, and even things to entertain kids.

They came with noise-canceling headphones that I got to keep!Image

Drinks were free – I ordered a vodka Coke Zero.


About 2 hours into the flight, the glass began to freeze.

Ice Crystals

I ate a turkey breast sandwich for my meal. Not sliced turkey breast, but an actual thick turkey breast!

My sides were orzo and a slice of a tomato, and I ate chocolates for dessert.

This was served on a table cloth with real flatware including a knife!Image

We flew over some beautiful, snowy scenery.Image

As we flew over the plains, the landscape drastically changed.

Wind Power

Wind Power

After dessert, coffee and warm mixed nuts were served.Image

I finally made it to Dallas!

It was a great experience, but also a little shocking to see how different coach and first class flying experiences can be.

Next time I fly it will be difficult to sit in my tiny, coach seat with a crying baby behind me and a coughing man seated next to me. I’ll see the first class cabin and remember that I had it good once…


New Year’s Cruise to Central America

We sailed into 2013 aboard the Crown Princess. We stopped in Honduras, Belize, and Mexico. It was the best New Year’s Eve of our lives… so far!


We’ve been blessed to be able to set aside money each month in a vacation fund.  When it got big enough, we were able to pay for a cruise with going into debt! Budgeting and using coupons for buying groceries lets us travel within our means.



Ever have one of those days where you come home early, stop and buy bread that’s discounted because it expires today, but it doesn’t matter because you plan to eat it all in one sitting? Yeah, me neither.

UNREAL Candy Review


Who doesn’t love chocolate?

I have met one person in my life who actually did not like the taste of chocolate.

(I always thought he needed his head examined.)

BzzAgent was fab enough to send me a coupon for a free UNREAL candy bar of my choice,

as well as a bunch of BOGO coupons to keep for myself pass along to my besties!

Because I adore Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups,

I went to my nearest CVS and got UNREAL’s version

called “UNREAL77 Peanut Butter Cups UNJUNKED.”

The UNJUNKED brand has:

  • no artificials

  • no hydrogenateds

  • no corn syrups

  • no preservatives

  • no GMOs (Genetically-Modified Organisms)

This particular package has:

  • 3g of fiber

  • 5g of protein

  • 115mg of sodium

  • 12g of fat

  • 11g of sugar

  • 190 calories

They come fresh out of the package,

not in any kind of wrapping.

Though this chocolate was sweet,

I don’t think it was sweet enough.

It tasted a little bitter –

more dark chocolate-y than milk chocolate.

I suppose that’s because all the horrible chemically things

candy makers usually put in chocolate are absent in this brand.


The peanut butter on the inside was divine –

very soft and moist, not dry and crumbly like in a Reese’s.

But if you asked me if I’d rather eat healthy chocolate

or a bad-for-you Reese’s…

I’d choose Reese’s because of the difference in the chocolate tastes.

I think I need to try the other types that this brand offers:

  • Chocolate candy shell peanuts (think peanut M&Ms)
  • Chocolate candy shell (M&Ms)
  • Chocolate caramel nougat (think Milky Way)
  • Chocolate caramel peanuts nougat (think Snickers)


I think I’ll try Chocolate Caramel Nougat next because I sure do like my Milky Ways.

UNREAL has a limited release right now.

You can currently find the brand at CVS/pharmacy, Walgreens, Staples, Michael’s, Ralph’s, Kroger, Food4Less, Fred Meyer, Rite Aid, Big Y, Wegmans, Tedeschi Food Shops and BJ’s.

Guess Where I’ve Been?

Magic Kingdom!

That’s right. Only the happiest place on Earth: Walt Disney World!

I went to Orlando on business (first time to say that)

to attend a psychology convention.

I knew I would be attending this convention about a year in advance.

This allowed me to save $100 each month to pay cash for everything.

I was there for 5 days and my entire vacation cost me only $750.

Here’s how I did it:


I bought my airline tickets 7 months in advance to get the lowest cost.

I traveled non-stop on Spirit Airlines,

an absolutely no-frills airline

(read: pay for your carry on).

To save money, I did not pick my seats (an extra $10 each way)

and purchased my luggage fees in advance.

My options for each way were to purchase the advanced purchase carry-on: $30,

or the advanced purchase checked bag: $28.

Trying to save $4 (round-trip) I checked my bag.

Total airline cost: $229.58

I rigorously stalked the daily deals sites (Groupon, Living Social, etc.) for Orlando deals.

From these sites I purchased a car service to pick me up from the airport for $39

and a shuttle van to take me back for $17.

During my time in Orlando, I purchased

an unlimited ride 5 day trolley pass from the I-Ride Trolley for $8.

Very safe trolley mainly used by tourists


I took a cab twice totaling $24.

Total ground transportation: $88 + tip


The whole reason of traveling was to attend a convention.

$70 for students

Conference bags filled with SWAG


As a firm practitioner of the always-searching-for-better-deals science,

upon my web browsing I found that

if you go to any of the Disney theme parks after 4pm,

admission price is reduced from $89 to only $52.

However, you must purchase this ticket in advance.

A great deal since it is open until 11pm,

giving you 7 hours of child-like romping.


I split a hotel with three other women from my grad program.

They stayed one day longer than I did.

To keep my bags in the room longer for my evening flight,

I paid for an additional night.

My portion: $101.50.

This comes out to $20.30 a night!


I had a food budget of $200 for my trip,

divided out to $40 per day.

The hotel had free breakfast

which allotted me $20 for each lunch and dinner.

I stuck with my budget and even came home with $80 left!

If you are wanting to plan a vacation

but are afraid of the cost,

do what I did.

1. budget airline. Why pay $100 extra for free pretzels?

2. split hotel with friends/budget hotel. I usually go for inside doors for safety.

3. use daily deals sites for savings. The sites are great for hotels, ground transfers, and restaurants.

Country Reception

I was fortunate enough to go to my cousin-in-law’s wedding reception this weekend at the Orr Family Farm in Oklahoma City.

Entrance to the barn dance

Table centerpiece

Decor on one wall


There was lots of pie-eating,

a table decked with homemade ice cream,

a coffee-smoothie bar (I had a chai tea mixed with vanilla ice cream!),

and a table with dispensers of tea and lemonade.

The pie selection for the taste-testing competition, judged by the bride and groom

My entrant

After doing some two-steppin’,

guests could walk around the grounds outside

and visit the farm animals in the petting zoo

or get lost in the human labyrinth.

Congratulations to the Bride and Groom!

“Supportive” Ammunition

Alex asked me to stop by a sporting good’s store

to pick up a box of

12 gauge target load shotgun shells.

That was the end of his instructions,

meaning I could pick any box, right?

Shotgun shells


Little did I know that even the shells were pink!



I think he’s a bit embarrassed to take them target shooting,

but now he’s supported breast cancer research

and learned to be more specific next time.

Cheese and Bread Feast

I promise I do not work for Central Market.

Nor do they endorse this blog.

It is just a new found obsession.

Alex’s parents were here last week.

We needed to run by Central Market on our way to dinner to pick up a gift.

In the midst of taste-testing everything, we decided to forego our initial plans of dining at Pappadeaux for picking out fun cheeses and breads and bring them home.

And bring them home we did!

Manila and Indian mangos

Pomegranate-Plumcots, Sugarplums, and Apricots

Parmesan Sourdough and more of that Prosciutto-filled Sourdough

Cinnamon-savory rotisserie chicken, Rye bread, and Garlic pita chips

Aged White Cheddar with Peppercorn and Garlic-Parmesan olive oil

Alex’s slice of Parmesan bread topped with Feta and Spinach spread, rotisserie chicken, Aged White Cheddar, and Gouda

The delicious feast!

Buon appetito!

Cereal Haul and Too Many Times to CVS

I went to CVS twice last week.

2 Colgate toothpastes on sale for $2.50 each from $3.79 each.

4 Covergirl eye shadows for $3.99.

Rimmel Fix and Perfect primer for $7.79.

I forgot my covergirl coupons at home. L

The eye shadow color “fig” was on clearance for $1.99 and did not count toward the “buy $15 of Covergirl, get $5 ecb” deal.

I used 2 Colgate coupons for .50 off each.

Used a CVS coupon printed at the coupon machine for $4 off of $20.

Used 2 $5 ECB printed off from the coupon machine.

Used $11 ecb from past receipts to pay.

Total before: $31.33

Total after sales, coupons, and ECB’s: .75 plus tax

ECB’s earned for next time: $3 from buying the toothpaste

I went in on a later date with my $3 ecb and bought 2 additional eye shadow palettes (not pictured) for $2.99 each on sale from $5.99 each.

I also got a candy bar (not pictured) for .75 on sale from $1.19.

I used a $3/2 covergirl coupon and $3 ECB.

Total before: $13.17

Total after sales, coupons, and ECBs: .73 plus tax

ECB’s earned for next time: only .75 for buying the candy bar.

The associate told me that sale items won’t count for the Covergirl $5 ECB.

So I grabbed two more eye shadows (not pictured) that I KNOW are full price.

2 for $3.99 each.

I used another $3/2 covergirl coupon, plus the .75 ECB I just received.

Total before: $7.98

Total after coupon and ECB: $4.23 plus tax.

ECB’s earned for next time: $5 for finally buying $15 of not-on-sale Covergirl.

Now I have 8 eye shadows…

I was fortunate enough to shop at Homeland during a trip to Oklahoma over the weekend.

Upon my return, I also went Walmart to get some cheap makeup remover and to Albertsons to take advantage of a bogo sale.

Homeland honorable mentions:

Dr. Pepper Ten 12 pack on sale for $3.75 from $4.79.

Used $1 off coupon that was doubled.

Paid $1.75

Tidy cats 20lb litter on sale for $7.59 from $8.19.

Used $1 off coupon that was doubled.

Paid $5.59

2 Kellogg’s Frosted Mini Wheats on sale for $2.34 from $4.69.

Used $1/2 coupon that was doubled.

Paid $1.34 each.

2 Kellogg’s Raisin Brans on sale for $2.19 from $4.39.

Used two .70 off coupons, one doubled (limit 1 of same coupon can double).

Paid .79 for 1st box, $1.49 for 2nd box.

Kellogg’ Krave cereal on sale for $2.19 from $4.39.

Used .70 off coupon that was doubled.

Paid .79.

Yakisoba Noodles on sale for $1 from $1.15.

Used a .50 off coupon that was doubled.


Crystal Light Mocktail mixes on sale for $2.50 from $3.69.

Used $1 off coupon that was doubled.

Paid .50.

2 Nestle Girl Scouts candy bars (eaten already) for .87 each.

Used .75/2 coupon that was doubled.

Paid .12 each.

Bounty Regular single roll towel for $1.79.

Used $1 off coupon that was doubled.

Made .21!

Covergirl pencil sharpener for $2.49.

Used $1 off coupon that was doubled.

Paid .49.

U by Kotex pantiliners for $1.29.

Used $1 off coupon that was doubled to $1.29.


Lady Speed Stick deodorant for $2.09.

Used $1 off coupon that was doubled.

Paid .09.

Albertsons honorable mentions:

6 Quaker cereals on sale for $3.79 each from $4.69 each.

Surprise! One (maple and brown sugar Life is on sale for $2) on sale.

BOGO sale took off $15.16.

Paid .96 each.

Walmart honorable mentions:

Almay makeup remover pads for $1.14.

Used $1 off coupon.

Paid .14.

Stayfree pads pricematched to CVS ad for $2.

Used $2 off coupon.


Total spent: $50.85

Total saved: $115.16