I like saving money. I really do. You are looking at a woman who actually looks forward to Black Friday. It’s the highlight of my year. Why? Because things are on sale. What I hate, and I’ll probably write more about it later on, is how Black Friday is moving outside of the store shopping and no longer on Friday. That’s just not right.

Regardless, I love saving money. I was on Pinterest one day and I found a page that discussed all of these different ways for people to earn a little bit of money over the weekend. Some read “$250 in a weekend”, some were “Extra $5000 in a year”. I read them all.

Yes, I know they were more likely to be click-bait then anything substantial, but I did and I still do read them. However, I have learned something about myself regarding these various side hustles. One: I’m not good at them. The majority of the sites and things they listed, were things I frankly was just too lazy to go about doing or had a bit to much risk. I wanted a sure thing, not a possibility of making money, but also a possibility of losing money. If I want to lose money, I’d do lotto tickets. I know what my odds are going in. Doesn’t stop me, but the excitement!

Sorry. Let’s get back on track. So one that the majority of these list had was Ibotta. Now if you’ve heard of Ibotta great. Those who haven’t. It’s alright. When I first discovered it, I was like. Is this another Ebates.com thing? I tried it, didn’t work for me. Too complicated. Ibotta on the other hand, I liked.

I was always into couponing. In college, I actually bought the newspaper so that I could coupon. Those Extreme Couponing shows were like my crack and I wanted to be just like them. Even though I never could. Just wasn’t as skilled or as dedicated to it. Then everything started to turn digital and most of the coupons I was saving were expiring and it became more of a headache than anything else. So I stopped.

Then I discovered Ibotta. This is basically an app that has coupons in them. You download the app. Log in. You can even use your Facebook account and it’ll link you with your friends who are also on Ibotta. You then pick whichever stores they have, and they have a lot, and start looking to save. They have a wide range of stores and coupons. My favorites are the blanket $0.25 off anything. Yes. that’s a free quarter just for taking a picture of your receipt after shopping. They have a whole bunch more. $1.00 off any soy milk, etc. They also have several brand specific coupons. I’m still kicking myself for missing the $4.00 Neutrogena coupon. That was good money I missed considering that’s my make-up brand!

What makes Ibotta great, is that this isn’t money you save at the register. This means, if you want to buy a 2 for $3.00 soy milk. That means, they are $1.50 each. Usually, companies don’t let you mix and match coupons. This is why Ibotta is amazing, because while it is couponing, it’s more of an immediate rebate system. So you can use the $1.00 off any Soy milk and get that money back. Meaning, in the end, you only really spent $0.50 for a bottle of Soy milk!

Think of the savings!

Then if you are someone who shops the brands, they do special bonuses where if you buy certain items, they’ll give you a free $1.00 or more. I know, you might not think this is a lot. But in one month, I made over $30.00 from these rebates alone. The most common one I use are the rebates for H.E.B. For those of you who are not from Texas, that’s our local Texas grocery store. That’s not to say Kroger, Randalls, Walmart, Amazon, and Itunes are not on the site. They are. Some are just flat 5% of your purchase. Again, it might not be much, but it does add up. I made more money then I care to admit, using a 10% off purchase from Joann Fabrics.

I’m not saying, if you use this app, you’ll pay off all your loans. It’s good, but not that good. However, an extra $10-20 a month just for buying what you usually buy and then uploading your receipt? It’s not hard.

Yes, it does take time to look through the coupons. But I’ll get a bit nasty with y’all and say. You can easily do that while you’re on the Can. It’s not hard and it can be done quickly. It’s easy. That’s what I am really trying to get across. I use it mainly for grocery shopping. However, if you are more of the mobile shopper, there are dozens of possibilities you can use. Imagine getting 5% back on a hundred dollar purchase you were already going to get?

Now, Ibotta does have some catches. The main one is that you have a week from the date of the receipt to upload it. I make a habit of doing my uploading on the same day, or within 2 days. Otherwise, I’ll forget about it or just throw away the receipt. The other is the minimum limit to transfer money. It’s $20.00. It’s up to you decide if that’s too much or not. I think is a nice goal for each month to try to make. Some months I’m good. Some I’m not. The money just rolls over.

It’s easy to link your bank account, or if you are like me and are hesitant to link your bank account. You can use Venmo or convert it into a gift card to a number of different stores.

If you are interested in trying it out, use my referral code: IUOATOP

Yes. I do get some money if you use my code. I’m not ashamed of that. I will admit, that over the last two years of using Ibotta, I have made over $200.00. (Total, not each year and just from savings, not from Referral. I said it wasn’t a lot but that’s still $200 more dollars than I had before.) However, what’s great about this is that not only do I get money, but so do you. By using my code, you get $10.00 bonus for signing up. Yes. That’s $10 free dollars just for using this code to sign up with Ibotta. Even if you don’t use it religiously or ever, it would be nice just to get a free $10.00 right?

This is something that I’ve found that works and is legit. There is no sneaking rules or regulation. It’s easy to transfer the money into Venmo and then send it into my bank account. No additional fees required.

If you are interested in Ibotta and would like to ask me specific questions or if you’ve used Ibotta and have your own opinion. Please let me know in the comment section below. I’d love to hear from you all.

Pineapple Almond Cake

I’ve said I liked to bake in My 10 Things About Me post. Now here’s the proof. I had to bake a dessert for this school function. Yes, I had to bring something. If anyone said academics was the limits of the skills that a teacher needs to have, well frankly, they were mistaken. When it came time to think of a dessert, I had one in mind that I knew that people would like.

I wish I could say that I was like the Pioneer Woman and made everything from scratch. I’m not. I’m sure you can modify this cake and make it from scratch.

I did not.

You can even easily modify it to make it more healthier.

I did not.

I used the quick and easy way. I am in no way a chef. If anyone has ever since the Pinterest fails. I’m sure my creations would end up right up there. I do like to think I’m a cook. My food might not look award winning or the best, but it sure as hell will taste delicious.

I made 2 cakes. So all of that is double the ingredients.



1 box yellow cake (Plus the ingredients listed to make said cake. Mine included the use of 3 eggs, 1/2 C oil & 1 C water.)

2 mini cans of pineapple juice


I pint heavy cream

1 C sugar

1 tsp Vanilla extract (or to taste, I usually use a bit more since I do like the vanilla flavoring.)

Sliced Almonds

This is about 1 cup-ish

When it comes to backing, I’m hard press to actually follow the amounts. I’ve thought about becoming a chef but I quickly realized that if I did that I would lose the fun of it as I have indulged in my fair taste of Hell’s Kitchen and know that the life of a chef is stressful. I don’t want that. I’ll stick to teaching.

Whenever I start a new recipe, I always follow the ish amounts. If it said it required 2 cups of flour. I put 2 cups-ish. That’s assuming I use a measuring cup at all. I know. I know. That’s not very professional, but I’m not one. I do this for fun and I have a skill. With the exception of baked fruit pies, I have yet to mess up any type of dessert. I say that honestly and not to toot my own horn. I once made creme brulee and I got three marriage proposals. I knew they were joking, but apparently it was that good.

Regardless, when it comes time to make this recipe, I wish I could take credit for creating it. I can’t. This is actually my aunt’s recipe and she makes it double tiered with a layers of strawberries in between. I would have done that, but I forgot to buy strawberries. So we will just have to do without.

Part One:

The first part is easy. Make a yellow cake. Just follow the instructions on the box on how to mix it and how to bake it. Nothing to creative. I wish I could say there was.

Once you finish baking it and you’ve pulled the cake out of the oven. Start making small incision with a knife over different parts of the cake. I did this while it was still in the pan. Let it cool for about 5 to 10 minutes.

Part Two:

Once it’s cooled a bit, open the can of pineapple juice. Pour the juice evenly over the cake slowly. Allow the cake time to absorb the juice before you pour another layer. I repeated this about three times or until all the juice was gone.

Afterwards, allow the cake to sit until it is completely cooled down. You can even refrigerate it and finish it off in the morning.

What it should look like when out of the pan. I let it sit in the Pineapple juice for about an hour before flipping it. It came out near perfect.

Part Three:

Take the cooled down cake out and place it on a plate. Now comes time to make the whip cream topping.

Heavy Whipping Cream in a bowl. Use a handheld or a standing mixer. If you are trying to do this by hand, it’ll take a while.

You can just buy the store bought whip cream if you are short on time, however, I like making mine. I comes out tasting heavier and in my opinion is even better than the store bought. However, if you lack baking skills and just wanted to make something that will impress, using the store bought is perfectly fine. It’ll just be a little lighter.

To make the whip cream: Pour the heavy whipping cream into a large bowl. Then pour in the vanilla flavouring. Get a handheld mixer and as you have it going on the highest speed start to slowly pour the sugar into the mix. Most recipes will say it’ll only take a minute or two. They are lying. This takes about 10-15 minutes of standing there, mixing it together. You will notice that it will start to form stiff peaks. I like my whip cream a bit heavy, so I make sure to over beak it, but stop when you feel like consistency is right for you. Keep going, it will eventually get stiffer. If you noticed that it’s not, add a little bit more sugar. It should work then.

Part Four:

Now comes the decoration. I like to pipe, but using a knife and spoon works just as well. Make sure that the cake is fully covered with the whip cream. If you like a lot of frosting on your cake, do not be afraid to pile it high. Perfect cakes are non-existent, there are only perfect cakes for you.

Once covered, sprinkle the almonds on top. IF Allergic: Skip this step. Feel free to add any fruit on top. Strawberries go great with this and I’ve been thinking of crushing pineapples mixed with sweetened coconut slices on top, to give it a pina-colada flavour. I might try that out next time and let ya’ll know. This cake is a perfect cake for a summer party or a brunch. It’s light and airy and the fruity tropical flavours will spice up any party.

When all is said and done, your cake should look something like this:

This is how it looks without the almonds.

So this was my end product. I hope that it taste as good as it looks. Honestly, I’m excite to have people try it. Baking truly is something that I love to do. It’s just hard when I’m single and there really isn’t such a thing as baking for one. Since I’m trying to lose weight, it means even less of an opportunity to actually bake.

If you all have tried to make this cake, or if you made it and added your own spin to it, please let me know about it in the comment section below. I’d love to hear how it turned out.


I’m an avid reader. I’ve had, for the past three years made a resolution to attempt to read a book every week for a year. For three years I have failed. The main issue I originally was that frankly I could never keep track of which books I read when.

Reading is something that I am passionate about. I have a saying to anyone who hates reading. “You just haven’t found the right book yet.”

Everyone has that one book, that one book that allowed them to dive head first into a million and one adventures. Some were forgettable, most are not. My family are not avid book reader. I was always that kid that would rather stay inside and read rather than play.


Because like any avid reader, I rather have the adventure in my head. I’ll admit it. When I find a good book, I’ll binge it. The first one, was the Harry Potter and the Half-blood prince. I read it in 16 hours straight. With potty breaks of course. My parents thought I was insane to read that much. Even went as far as to say it wasn’t healthy. They’ve never understood my love for the Potter books.

It’s been years since it’s release, but I still binge the occasional book. I’ll admit, I’m not entirely sure how I ended up on Goodreads. I might have seen some friends use it or it might have been a Pinterest post. Regardless, it is by far one of my favourite Apps/Websites. For those of you who have never heard of this site, it is a giant forum all about books.

People have the ability to rate books out of 5 stars and even give them reviews. One cool feature, when linked to your Facebook account, will list all the books your friends are reading as well. When you finish a book, you can record it and then give a review. Say what was good, what was bad and what was just in the middle.

I’ve read great books and I’ve read some stinkers, however I do recognize that most authors work hard on their novels. I might not like the ultimate ending, and that fine. I’ve had series where I loved how it was going and then they did one thing and it left a bad taste in my mouth and frankly destroyed the series for me. For others, it might keep them and that’s fine. I’m not the be all end all critic. I’m not talking Harry Potter, of course. Still one of the greatest series. However, Goodreads does give me the opportunity to set others know how I felt about the book. If you like the series and are devastated that it’s over, or are waiting for the next book to be published, they’ll even give some suggestions on books you might be interested in reading. Some you might pick, some you won’t. However, it might give some ideas of where to head off to your next new adventure.

However, the fact remain, and this is something I really love about Goodreads, is that every year, (and in March, it’s not too late), you can submit a reading goal. I know one of the most used New Year resolutions, behind losing weight, is to find time to read more. This give you a mini goal and keeps honest about the books. It also gives you a percentage towards your goal. It’s a little nice to see the percentage grow every time you add another book.

It also allows you to change. If you’re like me, your first year you might get a bit ambitious. I know I was. My goal was a 100 books. I failed. Epically. I know surprising. So I tried to lower the following year to 70. I had friends who did it.

I have no freaking idea how. I failed again. Epically. I barely broke 20 books. For some of you, who are reading this, you might be impressed. I wasn’t. So last year I made it 52. The idea. One a week. I also failed. Now this time it wasn’t so bad. I discovered Audible.com.

I loved it. Yes, paperback books are still my favourite but this was not a bad alternative. In fact, I’ll be writing a post on Audible soon. However, I found that an audiobook, when read right, was perfect for my lifestyle. I could listen to it in the car, when I cleaning or even going for a run. (Yes, I made the weight-loss resolution as well. I’m down 10 lbs since December and I still have about 40+ to go.)

You can count them into you reading lists. I don’t agree that there is a difference if you read verse listen. I know people who like one more then other and I know people, who like me, are fine either. The major issue I had, was that I had no time to read. While I might want to read, there were a dozen other things I needed to do. This helped. It also worked great whenever I had a long drive to do. You SHOULDN’T read while driving, so this was a happy medium.

So, while my goal had been 52 books, I only read 30. While my account say 29. I finished a book and forgot to log it in before New Years, so I made this year 53, since I added it afterwards. I’m hoping this year goes well. I will say, my book a week worked well for about a month, now it’s slowed down. Life got busy. I’m hoping that with Spring break just around the corner, I’ll be able to make up for lost books. Then summer will be my next big binge. Gotta make use of the holidays.

If you have used Goodreads, let me know how you like in the comment section below. If you’ve never used this before and are interested to try, let me know what you think. If you’ve listed a reading challenge, let me know what’s your goal. I’d like to hear.

Merlin- Poop Station

So anyone who has every been owned by a cat knows that the worst part of being owned is having to clean the litter box. It’s never fun and always smell. All of those litters that say no smell. They lie. They do mask it, at least until it comes time to clean.

However, when I see this sweet face. I do it. I’ll be the first to admit it. He has me wrapped around his little paw.

I’ve had Merlin since he was 8 weeks old and I’ve tried pretty much all the different types of litter boxes out there because Merlin is a digger. That means, he likes to dig in the litter box as if it was a sandbox. Because he does this, it causes him to kick the litter up and about. I’ve tried boxes, I’ve tried self-cleaning, I’ve tried litter in furniture. I’ve tried pretty much all of it. So I’ve thought about mentioning some of what I have tried and letting you know my opinion on them.

The Traditional

The standard litter box and litter. Not bad. I liked it and used it for a good couple of years. I’ve placed inside cat litter furniture as seen below. Yes, I did spend that much money on it. It didn’t work because Merlin started to kick the freshly peed clumps outside of the box and it just went down hill from there. He, as a digger, would also kick the litter out of the box and trail it all over the apartment. Every single time. I would sweep, and he would do it again seconds later. It was infuriating and an obviously loosing battle that took me a few years to realize.

The Self-Cleaning

I liked this one. The I had spend hours looking into the different types of self-cleaning litter before I decided on this one. The PetSafe ScoopFree Ultra Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box, Covered, Automatic with Disposable Tray. Litter duty was amazing. It was once every 3-weeks, and it was super easy. The down fall was that if you waited longer than 3-weeks, the smell started to get really bad. The device itself was easily to use and even easier to set up. The price was a bit high, but for convience sake, I was willing to risk it.

Now the problems I found with it, was that Merlin the mole would dig and kick out a lot of the crystals. Some were pee stained crystal so EWW. Then there was the dust. There was a lot of dust. The final piece was the price. The monthly changing of the litter tray was about $15-18 a month. I’d save a bit by buying a 3 month supply. However, rarely did it ever last 3 months. I would end up spending $45 dollars every 2 months for litter alone. It finally got to the point where that was just to much and I needed to search for an alternate way of dealing with Merlin’s bathroom habits.

The Igloo

The Igloo is what I’ve moved to next. The self-cleaning required little work, however my little mole was still leaving litter crystals all over the apartment. The cleaner rake also started to make a loud grinding sound everything it moved. I got used to it, but occasionally it would surprise me. So I decided to try an alternative method. I stumbled upon the Igloo( AKA Pidan) by accident. I was looking into other types of boxes when I saw it.

What caught me attention was the promise of no more loose litter. Now forgive me for not believing it. However, after a couple of weeks of using it. I’m a believer. It has a nice grate step that gets most of the litter crystals that stick’s to Merlin’s paw. What isn’t caught there is then caught on the mat. With it’s dome shape, Merlin can dig to his heart’s content and I don’t have to worry about litter flying everywhere. Now it’s not perfect. I very much doubt anything can or will be, but there has been a significant amount less of loose litter crystals.

It’s sleek design is actually a little smaller than the self-cleaning and it looks nice and neat. I like it. Merlin seems to take to it. I’m sure he’s trilled at the fact that I no longer shout at him for digging in his litter box.

These are the three ways I’ve tried to handle the litter box. If you’ve tried one and would like to leave your thoughts, please do. Or, if you’ve used something else please let me know in the comment section below!