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Holiday Guide 2018 – Luv Saving Money

We Received a Package From Santa

I received a packagefromsanta for review purposes. Any opinions expressed are my own. 

My 9 year old son still believe in Santa. Every year I wonder how much longer I have to keep that magic alive. If he approaches me about it, I will, of course, tell him.  I also have a 5 year old that believes. My two oldest are 14 and 16 and stopped believing around 8 or 9.

We have been getting the Package from Santa along with the custom phone call and video every year for the past several years and my little ones honestly look forward to it.  I got one review package that I ordered for my daughter as I wasn’t sure if my 9 year old would still be interested.  He told me he wondered when his would come from Santa, so, I needed to order him one.

What I really like about is the high quality letters, the personalization available, and the phone call and video choice.  Each kid could get a phone call and they will all be different if I so choose.

There are different packages available.  I got the Silver package to review which includes:

-Personalized Letter from Santa
-Santa’s Special North Pole Return Address Label
-Genuine North Pole Stamp
– 90-day money-back guarantee
-FREE Personalized VIDEO
– FREE Personalized PHONE CALL from Santa
– FREE Personalized printable NICE LIST GUIDE

It comes in an eye-catching Christmasy envelope addressed to your child, if you so choose.  When my son’s came in he said “finally, Santa got my letter out” lol


I love the personal touches.  When you create the letter you can include things like achievements, things they need to work on, that special think on their wish list, etc.

Every year I think, this will be it, I’ll only have one more believer in the house after this year.  I always said that if they still believed by age 10 I would tell them.  Next year he will be 10 so I think it will be time.

Give your kids a Christmas EXPERIENCE they will never forget! BBB A+ rated delivers a personalized Santa LETTER, VIDEO (starring your child), PHONE CALL and printable NICE LIST GUIDE w/ every package! SAVE 25% w/ FAM2060 coupon code at check out!   you’ll need to order soon!

Winter is Coming Giveaway Hop: Younique with Trisha

I’m a little bit of a make up junky.  While I don’t do my make up every day, when I do, I go all out.  Primer, contour, concealer, shadow, you name it.  Honestly there was a time in my life where I would not have left the house without make up on.  I truly enjoy doing my make up I just don’t have the time and energy I used to.  That doesn’t mean I don’t still enjoy make up when I have the chance.

Over the years I’ve tried a lot of make up brands. There are some I wouldn’t give you 2 cents for and there are others that work well for me and I feel are worth every penny. Younique is one that is worth every penny.  It works even better when you have an awesome consultant like Trisha Koutoufaris.  She is the one that introduced me to Younique and helped me pick out the product that sold me on the brand, the Younique liquid mineral foundation.

The Younique liquid mineral foundation is still one of my favorite foundations ever. Their concealers is honestly one of the best concealers I’ve ever used too.  I’ve tried a lot of brands from drugstore brands to department store and other high end brands but Younique is definitely in my top 5 of beauty brands!

You definitely have to follow Trisha’s Younique group page: Grab Your Glam VIP to know about deals, monthly kudos, and more.  The December Kudos is an amazing value and I just might have to grab it!

Or browse all the awesome products on her site when you check out you might have to select Trisha Koutoufaris as your consultant, I had to.  This lady is a super mom.  4 kids, works concession stands at fair in the family business, Younique super star, and more.  If you’ve been thinking about becoming a Younique representative she is the one to help.


1 US winner will win a

Younique Epic mascara and

a lip gloss

US only

Younique Prize Package from Trisha



Holly Jolly Giveaway Hop: Estarer SLR/DLSR Camera Bag

I received the mentioned product at no cost in order to complete this post. Any opinions expressed are my own. This page does contain affiliate links.

Welcome to the Holly Jolly Giveaway Hop on!

Several years ago now I invested in a Canon Rebel DSLR camera.  It’s earned it’s keep around here from family pictures to blog pictures.  I had bought a small camera bag but it was very small and I couldn’t always take all the lens or attachments I’d like to.

When Estarer contacted me to review their SLR/DSLR camera bag I thought why not? This bag is made like a backpack making it easy to take your camera with you on vacation, on hikes, to events, and more.  Adjustable velcro compartments ensure there is a space for all your lenses and attachments.

You can see there are still plenty of compartments left for me to fill up

There’s even extra spaces to keep things like your laptop or tablet so you can work while on-the-go.  There are smaller zipper pouches for memory cards or business cards.


laptop or tablet compartment

When I initially received it I was a little confused on how to set it up.  After looking at the picture on Amazon I realized that really I can set it up any way I want to. I started adjusting and readjusting each velcro compartment until I had a compartment for each of  my attachments I’d like to take with me.  There’s even plenty of space for more.  I guess I need more lenses and attachments lol.

Even if you don’t own a DLSR/SLR camera I think this would be good for on-the-go for kids’ toy collections, use it as a laptop bag and keep your charging cords, digital camera, mouse, etc in there or whatever other reason you can think of.

You can find this Estarer DLSR/SLR camera bag on Amazon


1 US reader will win the same DLSR/SLR camera bag I received

Holly Jolly Giveaway Hop: Estarer Camera bag


Now check out these other great blogs for even more giveaways!

MamatheFox and all participating blogs are not held responsible for sponsors who fail to fulfill their prize obligations.

Holiday HoHoHo Giveaway Hop: RawSpiceBar

I received the below mentioned product at no cost in order to complete this post. Any opinions expressed are my own. Prize is sponsored by RawSpiceBar. This post does contain affiliate links.  I will get a small commission from sales made through this post. 


Thanksgiving day is almost here!  If you’re like me you’ve been working on baking pies or other desserts for the big holiday meal.  Or maybe you started baking Christmas cookies already?  I haven’t started my Christmas cookies yet but by the time this post is live I’ll have baked a few pies already.  I’m hosting dinner this year and I think I’ll be cooking for about 22 people. Give or take 1 or 2.  Sometimes I don’t know who is showing up lol.  I’m so thankful to have the space to do it though.  With my mom and all my grandparents no longer with us I’m the oldest female left on my side of the family so people tend to look to me for holiday dinners.  Honestly, as much work as it is I actually get a sense of fulfillment doing it. But I digress.

With all the baking that might be happening it might be helpful to have a RawSpiceBar subscription.  You can get a 2,3, 6, or 12 spice subscription that can be shipped every month, every 3 months, or every 6 months.  You can choose the spices you want or choose a pre-selected seasonal group of spices.  You  can also gift spice subscriptions to that baker or host in your family.

RawSpiceBar has really revamped its website and its spices.  Giving more spice options, more subscriptions options, better containers, and the ability to buy your favorite spices in the shop anytime without a subscription.

If you have a RawSpiceBar spice subscription years ago you’d remember them coming in resealable envelopes.  You didn’t get a choice of spice but they had different themes for each month.  I definitely like the spice tins better for freshness, storage, and aesthetic purposes.  I love that I have a choice of getting a pre-selected group of spices or choosing my own.  I decided to choose my own and get a few spices I knew for sure I would use and get a little adventurous and try some new ones.  I’ve always wanted to try Saffron but it’s usually so expensive in the store that I don’t buy it.  Much more affordable way to try it here and they give you just enough to try it in a couple recipes.  One thing that hasn’t changed is the high quality, freshly ground spices RawSpiceBar offers.

I used the pumpkin pie spice for my pies.  The nice part is instead of needing: ginger, cloves, nutmeg, etc it’s all together in this nice blend.  I only needed one spice container!  I used 3 teaspoons for two pies worth of filling.  And I still have enough left to make about 4 more pies if I wanted to.


It’s a fresh, finely ground spice mix with a wonderful scent.  Would be amazing in pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin mousse, and whatever else pumpkin spice you like to make.

I plan on using the Gingerbreads spice when the kids and I make our ninjabread men lol.  I got Ninjabread cookie cutters a few years ago and they were a big hit.  A fun twist on a classic.


See the spice subscriptions, gift subscriptions, and single spice that RawSpiceBar offers on their website:

Coupon Codes!

For a limited time save 50% off spice subscriptions with code: 50PERCENTSPICES

Save $5 on Spice Set Gifts with code: GIFTSPICES


1 US Luv Saving Money winner will win a

6 spice RawSpiceBar subscription

(ARV $36)

RawSpiceBar Subscription


When An Introvert With Anxiety & Depression Hosts Thanksgiving

You’re invited to Thanksgiving dinner.  You ask the host/hostess what you can bring and they say “nothing” or “Just yourself”.  There might be several reasons for that .  Maybe they really have everything covered, maybe enough people have offered that there is really nothing else to divvy out. Or maybe your hostess is an introvert with  anxiety issues and feels inadequate if she asks or thinks of a several reason it might inconvenience you if she asks you to bring something.

I’m that Introvert Thanksgiving hostess with anxiety and depression and I want to tell you why I volunteer and why sometimes I don’t really mean “nothing”.


Why do I do it? 

First of all I like to host Thanksgiving dinner at my home.  It’s my safe place.  I don’t have to leave my house.  I don’t have to feel like I need to find an excuse to leave because I’m mentally drained or overwhelmed at another place.  I know everyone that will come through the door here.  I don’t have to worry about being around several people I don’t know.

I’m in a position where I’m going to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family so I may as well do it where I feel comfortable.  It helps that we have a big enough house to host everyone.  Even at that, it’s not always easy. We usually have a minimum of 16 people here and we’ve had up to 23 for Thanksgiving.  I still get drained with all the socializing, requests, work,  did I mention socializing?  I have to smile when I really just want to run up to my room, be by myself, and close the door to recharge.  If I don’t find some time to recharge, you’ll see it on my face.  You’ll hear it in my voice.  My patience, my socializing energy, will be depleted at some point.  Don’t get mad at me if I disappear for 15 minutes. Rather, you should be happy I did because I was refilling that well so I can carry-on and not be a crabby hostess.

I host it at my house because I feel like I have some control of the situation.  More so than if I was somewhere else.  Because, well, it’s my home, my safe place.

I get overwhelmed fairly easily.  Having too much on my to-do list can make me shut down and not want to do any of it. If I host it I can plan ahead and do things on my time until Thanksgiving.  Make pies today, tomorrow make deviled eggs, etc.  I can set the time. Certain times of the day I function better than others.

But why would I say “nothing” when you ask what to bring?  When you ask if you can help why do I say “I got it” if I get overwhelmed so easy?!

I know people like me are complicated. For that you’d have to understand the anxiety and depression part.  When my anxiety and depression is bad it can say ugly things to me.  Things like:

  • “Your house isn’t clean enough, you should have spent more time cleaning”
  • “Don’t tell them you need help, they’ll think you can’t  handle it”
  • “Why did you tell them to bring scalloped potatoes when you’re already making mashed potatoes that was really stupid”.
  • “What if I tell them nothing but realize later I needed something?  That’s too short of notice for them”
  • “I know they’re having a harder time financially I just want them to enjoy and not worry about anything. I can afford to do everything. OH? but wait, what if they think I’m doing that to be a snob?! Like what if they think I don’t like their pies or their mac n’ cheese or what if they think I don’t even want them here?!!!”

I wish I could say I’m exaggerating but there’s probably uglier things than that my mind has said to me because of anxiety.  It’s just easier for me to say “nothing” than deal with the negative chatter in my head.   The same goes for when people ask what they can do to help.  So I just do it all.

@pleasantandy has a lot of anxiety quips I can relate to

So what can a guest do to help?

  • Don’t point out  negatives.  If there’s not enough forks just use a spoon or wash a couple forks to reuse.  If you see the sink is overflowing with dishes just start doing them.  If you know the hostess forgot the green bean casserole in the kitchen just go get it and bring it in.
  • Don’t point out that the hostess forgot something.  Chances are your  anxiety-ridden, depressed Thanksgiving host is probably already thinking she didn’t make enough, her house isn’t clean enough, she probably forgot something, something probably doesn’t taste right, or it’s not as good as someone else’s.  About two years ago I ended up running out of forks.  I had people keep asking where the forks were.  And it was a running joke, still a joke.  While I try to laugh about it it made me feel like I failed.   You know what i did?  I bought another set of flatware and have a hoarders stash of forks now because I’m worried that will happen again.  I still beat myself up about that.  About forks! FORKS! Even I know how ridiculous that sounds and how trivial it really is in the grand scheme but this is anxiety.

Another year I made a whole spread for Thanksgiving. Hosted 23 people at my house.  I made several pies from scratch, homemade mashed potatoes and gravy, delegated some sides to some people to bring, stocked up on a variety of drinks (because I was worried someone wouldn’t like  something or couldn’t have something).  I was proud of myself then someone askes “Where are the deviled eggs?”  I realized I didn’t make any. Several people agreed we usually have deviled eggs.  All the work I did, everything I planned seemed like nothing because that was now the focus.  How could I have forgot to make deviled eggs? Why didn’t I think of that!?  That’s what people were looking forward to, now they’re disappointed.  This is what anxiety sounds like.  It’s not usually rational.

  • A compliment can go a long way:  No your host/hostess with anxiety isn’t mad at your or ignoring you.  They’re either recharging or just taking in the conversation.  Or they’re lost in a world of worry or feeling overwhelmed.  A simple, “thank you for hosting dinner” or a comment like “This is a really nice spread, I know it was a lot of work”  Can really change the negative mindset of the anxiety monster.
  • Don’t Overstay:  Trust me I’m happy you’re here.  I enjoyed spending time together on Thanksgiving but I need recharge time otherwise I just become mush and not much of a hostess anymore.
  • Don’t say things like “just try to be more positive” or “you’re being ridiculous”: Really there are a number of things like that that don’t help.  If a person could just be “happy”.  If a person could just shift their mind and “be positive” they wouldn’t need medication, counseling, they wouldn’t be writing posts like this, and there wouldn’t be so many people turning to suicide.  Instead  help your friend or family member by using the happiness you have to encourage them.  Don’t point out negatives, don’t remind them that they are negative.  If you have enough light, shine it on those who don’t don’t make their world darker by pointing out their negatives.