Black Friday on a Budget

One year during college (I think it was 2009), a few friends and I decided to experience our first Black Friday madness. We headed out to Cabazon Outlets around 11 p.m. on Thanksgiving and quickly realized we were about 5 hours too late. Parking was non-existent (nearby homes were selling spots on their driveway for $20!); the swarms of pushy people exasperated my anxiety of being in crowded spaces; the lines went out the door and the line we so happened to wait in had people in front of us smoking so many cigarettes that I later threw up from the nausea; and the cherry on top: I walked out with two pairs of jeans that were basically forced purchases to justify our trip out. NEVER.AGAIN.

With the convenience of online sales these days, I think most people can agree that shopping from home in your sweats is way more thrilling than any trip to the mall. Because let’s face it, way less rational thinking goes into clicking “add to cart” than  watching your total skyrocket at the cashier. (Why is it easier for me to say, “Actually, I changed my mind, I’m not going to buy that.” to a human being than convince myself of it when I’m checking out online?!) But when my inbox and Instagram feed started getting filled with teasers and sale announcements last week, I was in a much different mindset. Now that we’re living in a new state and adjusting to this monumental life change, we on a budget.

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You want to know see my wild purchases?

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  • Face wash / BeautyCounter. The lightest, cleanest option I’ve found at a great price point. My beautiful friend Justine Campbell introduced me to it and I’ve loved every product!
  • Foundation / Crunchi. Obviously, another clean, non-toxic product that I’ve used this entire year and it’s ah-mazing. It smells ridiculously good, free of all the cancer-causing, hormone-disrupting, junk AND it works better than any other conventional product I’ve ever tried. (I stopped using my current bottle every day just to stretch it until Black Friday. Mama lookin’ real natural at work these days)
  • Cleaning solution / Branch Basics. I’ve read about how this is the only product you’ll need for any household need — I’ve been itching to try it so the 20% off finally convinced me to try it.
  • A sweater and jumpsuit (okay so that wasn’t a need to have…I’m actually proud that only one blogger I follow influenced me to make a purchase. And how much does that look remind you of Julia Roberts in My Best Friend’s Wedding?)

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  • Laundry detergent / dropps. If you have a few minutes and want a good laugh, click the link and watch the intro video. I already had a favorite natural, eco-friendly detergent but this video suckered me in and now I love these pods.
  • 10 pack of classes at my favorite barre studio that beat using ClassPass

Exciting stuff, right?! I needed to buy/refill all of these items but figured I should wait to see if BFCM would bring any good deals. So now, eight years later from my first (traumatic) experience, Steven still shudders at the words Black Friday and I try to suppress his PTSD with extra tight snuggles in the warmth of our bed as we drift off to sleep knowing we have all we need. Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 

Xo, Tay


A Texan Thanksgiving

A Texan Thanksgiving

I’ve been very blessed with a work schedule that allows for every Friday off. Typically goes like this:

  • Sleep in (8 a.m.)
  • Go workout
  • Walk Amber
  • Clean the house
  • Catch up with a loved one (Dona my first Friday and my Daddy this past Friday)
  • Run some errands

…all before Steven gets home. By Saturday, I’m already feeling at a loss of things to do and always ask Steven, “So what are we doing today?!”. Poor guy works 6 of the 7 days so he certainly does not share the same enthusiasm (but he’s a trooper so he goes along with whatever I come up with).

It was the most beautiful day. The clouds were gone and the sun was beaming down! So we took Amber for a hike through yet another river (I swear we have a completely different dog in Texas) and tried to soak in the sun all morning.

My co-worker/boss, Brittney, texted me asking what we were up to for the day and asked if we wanted to hang out. She starts telling me of all these free events happening around town. Tiny homes + free tacos. Jazz music + free BBQ. We decided to go for it all and have  an afternoon filled with as much free food as we could get our hands on. Our first stop: Lockhart. 20+ miles out of Austin. We get there — no tacos. Just tiny homes and chips. We get our fill, hop back in the car and head back into town to get that free BBQ. We roll in, Steven & Britt go to use the restroom, I make small chat with these two guys who said the BBQ was gone within the first hour of the event and realize we are 0-2. Austin has so many cool events and happenin’s and yet we kept missing each one by a SMIDGE! We decided to cut our losses and go find food that would definitely be available … a restaurant. Britt asks us, “Do y’all like Mexican food?” We pretty much laughed and explained that CA is basically Mexico when it comes to food. She took us to her favorite place, Matt’s El Rancho, where the server asked if we’d like a “bob” to start. Looking absolutely dumbfounded, she explains that it’s basically guac, ground beef and melted cheese. That’s all we needed to hear before we said, “heck yeah!” It did not disappoint! The night went on for hours as we laughed, continued eating and quickly realizing Britt & I were kindred spirits. Steven later told her husband that he hung out with two of me all day. What a lucky guy!

Britt & Grant invited us to their Friendsgiving the following night and I wasn’t sure if Steven would be down for it but he happily agreed. We have two friends here (the Popes who came from Redlands) so we were definitely in need of expanding our friend base. Never have I realized how Californian I was until tonight. With each person who arrived, there was another meat, sausage, queso that I had never seen before. And what did I bring? Spinach (spanakopita). I clearly did not know my audience but they all liked it!

There was “swamp sausage” (basically cajun style rice mixed into the sausage), steak, BBQ chicken, another something sausage with cheese and jalapeños, risotto, green bean casserole, fried turkey that was caught the day prior by the dude who brought it. Oh my goodness – it was amazing. It was like popcorn chicken but with the freshest turkey you’d ever tasted. The Martin’s were amazing hosts and we were so grateful to be included! Back at home, we’d do Friendsgiving every year and I did my best to fight off feelings of loneliness and distance this time around so I was really touched to be in the company of friends — even if there weren’t ours!

Steven and I talked about our first Texan Thanksgiving the whole way home. We would never have known any of this if it weren’t for Britt and absolutely soaked in every second of it! Steven’s ready to go huntin’ with the boys and I…I’m still holding out for some freshly caught fish!