Black Friday Pointers and Planning

Pete and I are “those” people. The ones who are waiting on Black Friday lines wrapped around the stores. Stalking online ads as soon as they appear. Developing a strategy and plan for the day. Yup, that’s us and we love it! Call us crazy but we save hundreds every year shopping this way.

Right after Thanksgiving our Black Friday extravaganza begins. A lot of prep goes into this and I thought why not share my pointers for effectively planning out your experience. Hope these guidelines help your shopping be as smooth and stress free as possible.

1. Once you wake up, drive to buy a newspaper

As soon as I wake up on Thanksgiving morning, I drive over to Wawa to pick up a newspaper for those Black Friday ads!  I’ve already started my Black Friday planning using this website, but I’m the type of person who likes to have the actual ad in hand to circle items, make lists, and be able to show the employees what I’m looking for.

2. Make an actual paper list

Once I find everything I’m looking for in the ads, I make a list on paper for what we needed in each store, the order we will be visiting the stores, and a general plan for the day. Be sure to build in time to eat and rest!

3. Bring comfort items for time spent waiting in line

Since we’re going to be on line outside for quite some time, I pack a few different items.

First, we pack fold up chairs, like the one shown below, to sit in while waiting in line outdoors. While you’re waiting for a store to actually open, the line is at a standstill. Thus, you can comfortably sit while waiting.

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We also keep water bottles in the car to stay hydrated.

Also, for my amusement when waiting on lines, I pack magazines for both of us. Last year when I was waiting in long lines to check out, I brought a book and it was the best idea ever. Having some reading material keeps your mind off the fact that you’re going to be in line for hours.

4. If possible, bring a laptop

Last year I had an interesting realization- most of the same Black Friday deals that are in store are also online. When I got home last year, discouraged that I didn’t get everything I need, I jumped on the computer just out of curiosity. I was shocked to realize I could order the products still needed at the same wonderful Black Friday prices.

Many stores, including Dick’s Sporting Goods, Target, and Walmart, are available to shop online most of Thanksgiving Day. If I have my laptop, I can do some shopping right from the computer and hopefully eliminate some stores we have to go to.

5. Pack a change of clothes

If you’re like us and are starting your shopping directly from Thanksgiving dinner, it’s definitely a good idea to bring a change of clothes. I wouldn’t want to wear my cute Thanksgiving clothes and heels while scrambling around stores. Plus, with that much shopping and standing in line, I’m packing for comfort.

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Jeans, Uggs, a sweatshirt, and a North Face coat will keep me warm outside as well as comfortable the entire time.

6. It is not a day for browsing

I remember last year I was waiting online to buy a camera. The line was CRAZY long so the woman in front of me and I got to talking. She was explaining that she wanted to buy a camera, not even an advertised one, just a camera in general. She had lots of cameras in mind and wanted to just play around with them and check out their features.

The whole time I’m thinking, “Are you kidding me? Are you seeing this line?” It’s not a day for that. It’s a day to get to the front of the line, say “I want this,” pay and get out!

7. Expect madness

Last but not least, be prepared for absolute chaos. If you’re prepared for this, the less chances are that it will be stressful for you.

*I know many people are opposed to Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping. Please remember to give thanks for all you are grateful for. Enjoy your holiday, and your Black Friday!*

How are you spending your Thanksgiving?

Going out for Black Friday? Add in your own pointers in the comment section!

Corn Casserole

One of my high school friends, Stephanie, has an incredible cooking blog called Stephanie Cooks. What I love most about the blog is her recipes are what I consider “real.” Just your normal, everyday recipes that you would make for your family when you get home from work.

When deciding what to bring to Thanksgiving this year, I went to her blog for some inspiration. I’ve seen her write about this Corn Casserole for a few Thanksgivings and even Easters and decided it’s about time I try it. I made this over the weekend to try it out for Thursday and LOVED it. If you’re looking for a Thanksgiving side dish, look no further my friends! This corn casserole will disappear before you can say “turkey”!

Cast of Characters
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 (8 3/4-ounce) can whole-kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (8 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
  • 1 (8 1/2-ounce) package corn muffin mix
  • 1 (8-ounce) carton sour cream
  • Cooking spray

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Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Then, mix the first 6 ingredients in a bowl.

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Grease the bottom of a baking dish (8×8 would work well) with cooking spray. Pour the combined ingredients into the dish.

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Bake for 45 minutes.

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At this point, you can slice and serve as cornbread. However, Steph suggests (and I must agree) mashing it up. Use a spoon to mash up the ingredients until they are the consistency of mashed potatoes. *Note: when I first started mashing, there was some creaminess from the corn inside. This doesn’t mean it is not cooked thoroughly. When you start mixing, the cream is absorbed by the muffin mixture.*

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For such a delicious recipe it really is that easy! I plan on doubling the recipe for Thanksgiving and cooking in a 9×13 baking dish.

Enjoy!

Dolphin Watching

{Fashion Post}

My favorite time spent in Tampa was hands down while we were at Clearwater Beach.

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It was an overcast day, which made the normal 80 degree temps drop down a bit. But that didn’t stop us from searching for dolphins!

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A light cotton cardigan added just the right amount of warmth.

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The hat kept my hair in check when the wind wanted to do otherwise.

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Even though this wouldn’t typically be a November outfit being I live in New Jersey, I loved how the muted tones seemed to transition effortlessly into autumn.

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Ahh…missing the shore already!

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How do you transition pieces from summer to fall? Or even fall into winter?

 

 

Tampa Day 2: Causeway Sunset

On Sunday morning, we woke up to a discussion of bagels for breakfast. All being from New Jersey, we’re pretty big on good bagels. Turns out the only place you could get bagels nearby in Tampa is a food store…so Pete’s mom bought some from Publix.

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They were actually more like Thomas’s bagel thins! Got the job done, but definitely no comparison to NJ bagels, just like the pizza!

After breakfast, Pete’s parents, Pete, and I all went for about a 2 mile walk.

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Worst picture ever taken by Pete. However, it was so nice to get shorts on and to have nice enough weather to exercise outdoors.

Walking worked up a sweat, especially since it was about 80 degrees outside. No better place to cool off than the pool.

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I mean honestly, how awesome is this pool and lanai? Lucky ducks! Pool time consisted of timed competitions completing a lap. Pete’s dad shocked us all with a time of 12.15. No one came close to beating it!

Later on, we drove over to “the causeway.” This is basically a strip of land/bridge leading to Clearwater beach where people watch the sunset. You can drive your car right on the sand and park with a perfect view of the ocean.

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When we arrived, we walked around for a bit and headed over the bridge. There, we got some beautiful views and nice family pics.

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When the sun started dropping, we found a spot on a bench to watch it set.

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I’ve seen sunsets before, but never actually sat there and watched each moment of the descent- it was quite lovely.

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What a spectacular way to end our last full day in Tampa!

The following day was spent relaxing, taking walks, and just spending our last few hours together before heading home at 3:30.  It was such a great mini vacay and I’m really happy we got to see Pete’s family!

Have you ever been to Tampa before? What did you do while you were there?

Tampa Day 1: Clearwater Beach

A few months ago, Pete’s parents moved to Tampa, Florida. His brother Derek has already lived there for several years and now their parents do as well! We started planning our trip to visit them pretty much right when they closed on their house and have been looking forward to it ever since. Pete and I flew out Friday after work and arrived in Tampa late Friday night. We arrived to Pete’s parent’s house around 10:30.

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Luckily, his brother and two daughters came over and we got to spend some time with them despite the lateness. We were up till almost 2 am! Finally, sleep kicked in but we were excited for the day ahead. Unfortunately when we woke up the weather wasn’t the best…cloudy with some intermittent showers. That didn’t stop us from planning a great day though!

First, we headed over to Clearwater Beach.

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The beach was absolutely beautiful.

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Smooth white sand, quiet, clean…just breathtaking.

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We took a lot of great pictures with the family…

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…and also got to see some dolphins!

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Hard to tell in the picture but they were everywhere, just darting up and down in the water. So cool to see that up close.

After exploring on the beach for awhile, we walked over to Hooters for lunch. We had a great seat in the outdoor section with a view of the water and some palm trees.

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Pete and I split wings and fries for lunch.

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The wings were really good coated in a Thai Chili sauce. Spicy!

After lunch, we drove over to a place called Celebration Station. A go-kart rematch was in order from the last time Pete visited. What cracks me up is the relationship between Pete, his dad, and his brother- they were trash talking the whole way there about who was going to spin out who!

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Poor Lexi, Pete’s niece, was the one who ended up getting spun out first!

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Not to worry though- Derek, Pete’s brother, got their dad in the second round!

After go-karts, we all went back to Derek’s for some drinks and pizza.

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I gotta tell ya, Florida pizza ain’t got nothing on New Jersey pizza!

It was such a great first day and really nice to spend time with the family. See you tomorrow with a Day 2 recap!

Have you ever seen dolphins up close?