Travel Made Cheaper with Groupon

OK, y’all, so I only JUST got back from a short vacation (about which more later!), and I’m already wishing I had known what I am about to share with you before I planned it!
I don’t know about you but when it comes to traveling, I am always looking for hotel deals.  Ever since I first discovered Hotwire several years ago, I have made it my business to find the best hotel deals I can.  That’s especially important when our whole family travels together, because the days are long gone when we could cram all the kids in one room.  We need three rooms these days and you can imagine how quickly that adds up.
So I have various sites I frequent, but one thing I had never thought of was Groupon.
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I’m assuming you’ve heard of Groupon (who hasn’t?).  I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve never used it even though I’m usually pretty savvy about all things online and saving money.  I had some kinds of vague idea about two-for-one deals, but I had no idea that Grouon also had a large coupon code site.  Anyway, if you aren’t familiar, Groupon offers savings at over 9,000 retailers! There are over 70,000 coupons, promo codes and deals to choose from.
Here’s how it works.  Say you want to plan a trip and you generally reserve your lodgings through Orbitz.com (which is my usual favorite).
orbitz.com with Orbitz Promo Code Discounts & Coupon Codes
Don’t go straight to Orbitz–instead, click here.  That will take you directly to the Groupon page for Orbitz where you will find many coupon codes (including one for 15% off most hotels which would have saved me some money last weekend!).
I’ve already mentioned I’m a Hotwire fan.  Take a look here at the available deals.  Travelocity and Expedia are just a couple more of the many travel sites offering deals through Groupon.
I’m focusing on travel sites in this post because that’s where my mind is at the moment and because that’s what historically I’ve been most likely to search for coupons for, but Groupon offers deals for places like Walgreens and Target that it would never have even occurred to me to search for (until now).
Groupon is easy and free (and because I am a US Family Guide blogger, they are compensating ME for telling YOU how to save money–so we are all winning here!).  Check them out and if you have any other great ways to save money shopping online, please tell me in the comments.

Photo Books from AdoramaPix (SPONSORED)

I’m here today to give my honest review of the AdoramaPix photobook I told you about several weeks ago.  I worry that you won’t trust a review that is as glowing as the one I am about to write.  But I assure you that even though I received this product ($50 value!) for free, I am giving you my honest opinion, as always.

So the way this works is, you head over to the AdoramaPix Website and select the type of book you want.  There a variety of designs and templates depending on what kind of book you want to make.  Are you commemorating a special occasion? Collecting vacation photos? Making a gift book for someone special? The design I chose was specifically for highlighting iPhone pictures.

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Yes, y’all, I made my very own coffee table book and I could not love this thing more.  And it was so easy.  The hardest part was figuring out which pictures to use.  The second hardest part was laying them out.  There are tutorials on the site to explain how the process works–for that matter, you can let the program lay them out at random.  You can even import a layout from your own program if that sort of thing makes sense to you.  It’s not something I have any experience with so I let the program do it for me and then moved them around until I got them where I wanted them.

My book is incredible.  Does that sound vain? You would never believe I took the pictures with an iPhone.

I waited too long to post this review so the coupon code I had to offer has expired.  HOWEVER, AdoramaPix is always running specials, and they have sales going on for the rest of the month.  And I don’t know if y’all remember, but I also ordered some metal prints from them that were incredible.  So don’t limit yourself to the photobook.

Here are more pictures but they don’t do it justice.  The colors are beautiful.

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Do yourself a favor and take a look at the AdoramaPix website and be sure to let me know if you buy anything!

FREE 12×8 Canvas Print: Sponsored

Just jumping off of politics for a minute to offer you a fun deal for Christmas.  Obviously, this is a sponsored post and I will be receiving a free product in exchange for my participation which I will review honestly after I receive it.

If you would like to take advantage of this FREE 12×8 Canvas Print, all you need to do is to click the website link, upload your favorite picture, choose 12×8″ canvas, and enter the voucher code from the website in the basket.   Give it as a Christmas gift, or keep it for yourself (that’s what I am going to do!).

Be aware that you will have to pay shipping on your otherwise free purchase.  Please share the offer with your friends and let me know what you think of The AMAZING FREE CANVAS FOR AMERICA CAMPAIGN.

Adoramapix Offer (Sponsored)

Y’all may remember that not long ago I shared a review of some items I received from AdoramaPix.  If you didn’t read it, here’s the summary:  I loved them.

Now I have another opportunity (because I’m a U.S. Family Guide Blogger) to sample another of their products and share my thoughts with you.  As usual, this opportunity for me includes one for you as well:  a coupon that you can use to order the same item I’ll get for free (in exchange for my HONEST opinion).

You can give AdoramaPix a try now, or maybe you want to wait until I post my review.  The offer will be available for awhile.

So here’s the scoop (what the company wants me to share with you):

Your memories deserve more than a lifeless screen! Breathe life into your photos and turn them into beautiful keepsake photo books that will last for generations. AdoramaPix’s custom books are high quality and display your images in rich detail. Choose from gorgeous linen, hardcover and leather covers as well as 6 stunning paper finishes. Stop swiping and start printing your family memories with AdoramaPix photo books!

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I’m pretty excited about this offer because 1) I already have experience with this company and am confident I will like the product and 2) Like many of you, I’m sure, I have a bunch of pictures on my computer which I have never printed out and am never likely to without an excuse like this one!

Here’s the offer for my readers:

15% off photo books. Use code: PhotoBook15. Sale ends 11/05/2016 11:59 PM EST

Shop Here: AdoramaPix PhotoBook Offer

Check back in a few weeks to here what I thought about my photobook!

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Adorama Pix: SPONSORED Review

Y’all, I am late doing this review and I feel really bad about it, because I LOVE this service and these products and I will definitely be spending my own money here in the future.

So, yeah, to get business out of the way, this IS a sponsored review, which means that U.S. Family Guide hooked me up with this sweet deal: to get free pictures from Adorama Pix in exchange for my honest review.

So here’s what this company does:

AdoramaPix helps people turn their digital photographs from abstract computer files into beautiful keepsakes designed to last a lifetime. Their contemporary metal prints capture memories in rich color and vibrant detail. Because your images are infused right into the metal, and not painted on the surface, their metal prints are extremely durable. Not only will your metal image be water and weather proof, but scratch resistant as well. You can even clean it with glass cleaner. Your memories deserve to live in true, archival luxury with AdoramaPix metal prints.

You can find all the fun gift ideas HERE:
http://www.adoramapix.com/app/home/

As I said, I am late doing this, which means you only have a few days to save:

My readers get to save! 25% off Hexagon #Metal Prints! Use promo code: PXHEXMTL25 expires 06/ 15 /2016

Luckily, I know from experience that there are many other offers if you register on the site, which is the first step of the process.  It’s any easy process, too, and the only thing that made it take any time at all is deciding which options to choose.  There are shapes, sizes, and finishes to pick from, as well as display options.  I was supposed to try the new hexagon print, which can be used to make cool displays like this one:

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I still had money to spend after I picked my hexagon, so I also got a basic square picture and one with a cool silvery finish (which I thought matched the non-digital old picture which I had scanned).

The hardest part for me was picking the right pictures.  They need to be of a certain quality to work well, and the tool on the website rejected my first few choices.  Someone who is more tech-savvy would probably know in advance what would be the best pictures to use.

Anyway, here’s what I got back (super quickly, by the way) along with a complimentary cloth to keep them nice and shiny.  The hexagon print is meant for hanging on the wall but the other two came with features so they can stand for display.

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This is the old photo.  Keep in mind that this is a photo of a photo (which itself was made by scanning a fire-damaged 35 mm print that was about 15 years old).  The perspective is also skewed because the back of this has a fold out stand that I did not want to fold back in all the way! Anyway, the silvery finish is perfect; in person, it masks the imperfections of the photo and gives it an old-timey feeling.

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This iPhone photo taken at close range turned out the be the best of the lot according to the online tool.  And I do love this picture of William at 13! This one came with a little strip of wood to stand it up in.

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Finally, my hexagon print! I love this picture of downtown Knoxville, and I can envision this as the center of a display of lots of other Knoxville pictures.

I spent $55 (including shipping) for the three pictures above, the hexagon being the most expensive.  You can get a nice picture from Adorama Pix for $12, and I think that’s a deal.

Remember, you have four days to save using my coupon!  If you do give Adorama a try, please let me know what you think.

SPONSORED Offer from AdoramaPix

So no sooner do I finish all those reviews do I see another offer from US Family Guide that I am so excited about that I am jumping right back on the reviewing treadmill.  Check this out, y’all:

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Does that look cool, or what?

Now, y’all know I like to take pictures.  And in exchange for agreeing to review this project, I’m going to be able to get one of my own pictures made into a hexagon print.  I can see already the problem is going to be picking which picture.  Anyway, here’s the scoop:

AdoramaPix helps people turn their digital photographs from abstract computer files into beautiful keepsakes designed to last a lifetime. Their contemporary metal prints capture memories in rich color and vibrant detail. Because your images are infused right into the metal, and not painted on the surface, their metal prints are extremely durable. Not only will your metal image be water and weather proof, but scratch resistant as well. You can even clean it with glass cleaner. Your memories deserve to live in true, archival luxury with AdoramaPix metal prints.

You can find all the fun gift ideas HERE:
http://www.adoramapix.com/app/home/

My readers get to save! 25% off Hexagon #Metal Prints! Use promo code: PXHEXMTL25 expires 06/ 15 /2016

Doesn’t that sound neat?  Check back soon for my review.

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SPONSORED: Bulu Box Review

Surprise, surprise! It’s another sponsored review post from me.  I know these disclosures can get boring, but ethics require I let you know that I received the following product for free in return for my honest review.

This time I am going to write about my experience with Bulu Box, another one of those fun (and inexpensive) monthly subscription boxes that keep springing up.  If you like packages and surprises, you will like this one.  Here’s the official blurb:

The perfect partner in the pursuit of a healthier you, Bulu Box is like having a personal trainer and a nutritionist as a best friend. Each month, a box of healthy discoveries is shipped right to your door for just $10. You learn about that month’s 4-5 premium samples, try each one and see what fits into your individual healthy lifestyle. For sharing your opinions on each month’s samples through a quick survey, we will give you 50 Rewards Points (that’s $5!) to use in our shop to get more of your favorites.

Don’t laugh, but one of the things I loved about Bulu Box was . . . well . . . the BOX.

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I mean, I got a little uplift just from reading all the slogans on the box.  Seriously.

Then there was the fun of opening the box to see the surprises inside.  And they were surprising! With the other subscription boxes I’ve shared with you, at least I knew I’d find coffee, or tea, or hot sauce.  With Bulu Box there is a lot more variety.

For some reason I neglected to photograph the contents of my third box, but these two pictures will give you an idea:

As you can see, these are health-related samples:  some are performance-oriented (I shared these with Teddy), some are snacks (Lorelei taste-tested these), and some are vitamins/supplements (which I kept for myself!).

Some we liked, some we didn’t, but that’s really going to be up to the individual, plus your samples won’t necessarily be the same as the ones I received.  You can order full sizes of anything you liked directly from Bulu Box.  And reviewing your samples gets you points (lots of points, and it’s relatively easy to get them) to redeem for free or reduced-price products).

Ultimately, I won’t be renewing my subscription, because the only products I found personally compelling were the supplements, yet when you only get a pill or two it’s really impossible to tell whether they had any effect.  Still, if you have the disposable income to take a chance on a supplement or other product introduced in your Bulu Box, it’s a great way to learn about what’s out there.

If that sounds like you, feel free to take advantage of this special offer for my readers:

Get a 3 Month Subscription for just $15 (regularly $30)! at Bulu Box – Use code WOWZA
Or you can access the offer at this link.
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HOT Sponsored Review of Monthly Pepper Box

Back again with another review for US Family Guide.  Monthly Pepper Box (to which I was given a three-month subscription in exchange for my honest review) is NOT a box full of pepper shakers or a box full of jalapenos and habaneros!  Rather each box contains three bottles of what I would call hot sauce.

This service will normally run you $20 per month, but with this special link, you can get 10% off your three-month subscription.  Here’s the company spiel:  Your best friend in the pursuit of all things hot sauce, Monthly Pepper Box is like having a miniature hot sauce festival delivered to your door every month. Each month discover savory gems of artisan hot sauces. Every box, you’ll get 3 bottles of succulent heat ranging from a “Low Burn” to “Call the Fire Department” from hot sauce companies you’ve never heard of.

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For me one of the most fun aspects of this particular subscription service is seeing the creative names and labels on the sauces I’ve received so far.  This month’s shipment of High River Sauces included Tears of the Sun, Hellacious Hot Sauce, and Foo Foo Mama Choo.  Their ingredients were as individual as their names–of course they all include peppers of one kind or another, but you will also see mango, papya, peach, agava, lime, and ginger in the ingredient list which is helpfully included in each shipment along with a description of each variety.  Last month’s selections included two Captain Assjack selections (Minorcan Ghost and Minorcan Gold) and one from Frankie Flamingo & Company (Flamingo Fire).  I can’t wait to see what they send me this month!

A note on customer service:  I didn’t even notice this because who looks at this kind of thing, but the Flamingo Fire in the first box was past its expiration date.  The folks at Monthly Pepper Box were extremely apologetic about this, and a replacement bottle was shipped out the same week.  In addition to the original email apologizing for the error, I received at least two updates regarding how the company was working to correct the situation.  I don’t know about you, but I find it easy to forgive mistakes when a company provides that kind of follow up.

Now, I am probably not the best person to review these sauces because I have a very low tolerance for hot and spicy things.  But my spice-loving oldest son who loves to cook with hot sauces was very excited about them.  What I appreciate about them is the variety, which honestly I didn’t even realize existed! I am looking forward to experimenting with them more (I’m making chili tonight) especially when it’s warm enough to start grilling again.

The value and variety of these boxes are undeniable; my one question would be whether a monthly subscription is necessary.  I mean, how much hot sauce can a family use?  But that’s probably a matter of personal taste, and a three-month subscription will stock up your kitchen with a nice variety of sauces to use.

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A Club for Tea Lovers: SPONSORED

So maybe coffee is not for you. (I suppose people like that exist, hard as it might be for me to understand it!)  Well, I had the opportunity to enjoy a free three month subscription to a club for tea lovers recently.  My honest review follows.

We actually drink a fair amount of tea around here in addition to coffee.  William especially likes to start his morning with “strong black tea” and we all enjoy relaxing cups of chamomile or blends meant to promote sleep and relaxation.

Simple Loose Leaf shipments include at least four samples of various kinds of tea each month, and a three-month subscription will only set you back $17 each month (plus I’m going to share a coupon with you if you keep reading).

Notice I said “loose leaf.”  Most of us are used to our tea coming in little tea bags.  I remember when I first got married my mother-in-law gave me a tea ball for brewing loose tea and I didn’t know what it was for!    Of course the nice things about loose leaf tea is that you can experiment with how much you want to use to make a brew that’s right for you.  And the nice folks at Single Loose Leaf kindly provide you with reusable bags so that you will be ready to brew your first cup as soon as you open your box.

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I’ve received two boxes so far, each with five varieties of tea:  Citrus Hibiscus Herbal, Cranberry Citrus Herbal, Ginger Peach Rooibos, Pumpkin Spice Rooibos, Jade Oolong, Japanese Sencha Saga, Lavender Sencha Green, Kenilworth Ceylon Black, Ceylon Supreme, and Bird Nest Pu’er.  You can see there is something for every palate!   Herbal teas are my favorites, but the only one here that is a bit . . . unusual . . . is the Bird Nest, which is fermented.

Each shipment comes with a card describing each tea and offering suggestions for proper brewing, as well as a discount good for future purchases.

Personally,  I think this club is a great value for tea lovers.  It would make a special gift for anyone you know who enjoys tea.  And unlike the coffee club in my last review, you don’t need any specialized equipment to brew the perfect cup.

My readers get to save! 25% off Gift Membership or Ongoing Subscription signup – Use code: 25HOLIDAY
http://usfamilycoupons.com/coupon.php?regionid=75&bid=12278&dealid=2122

 

SPONSORED: Coobie Bra Review

Awhile back I posted some info on Coobie Seamless Bras.  As a blogger for US Family Guide I occasionally get free stuff in exchange for my honest opinion on said stuff.

Usually my honest opinion ends up being more or less positive, but I’m not a fan of the Coobie Bra I received.

Coobie Seamless Bras are marketed as comfortable, ffordable, stylish, and seamless.  They come in two sizes (32A through 36D and 28 – 42D), 10+ styles and 50+ fashion colors and patterns.

You aren’t going to see any pictures of me in any bra EVER, so here’s the picture they gave me to show you:

The one I received had lace on the top, and that was the first problem, because it almost immediately got a pull in it.  That could have been a one-time glitch, but it does make me concerned for the quality and lasting power of this bra.

It was pretty, and felt comfortable enough, once I got it on.  That was the hard part, because it’s a pull-on bra (obviously), and those are difficult to deal with for well-endowed ladies.  And these bras are light and thin, so it got all rolled up while I was trying to get it on (I’m sure you have experienced this and understand what I mean).  With a thinker sports bra it’s easy enough to cope with this but it was hard to deal with given the sheerness of the material.

Granted, one-size-fits-all never really seems to fit when you are at the top of said size range.  I could see this being a nice bra, a cute bra, if you are smaller than a D-cup.  But it’s not for me.

I also got a Violet Love Headband to try.  These are advertised as “no-slip no-headache headbands that are perfect to wear for yoga, pilates, or just as a stylish accessory.” I like my headband, which I have been wearing to hold back my hair when I go to the gym, and I have received compliments on it. (Again, that is NOT a picture of me!)

If you want to give either item a try for yourselves, I have the following promotion for my readers: Save 30% on any order of Coobie Seamless Bras or Violet Love Headbands at www.shopcoobie.com and www.violetloveheadbands.com
Use Promotion code: USFG30