Photo by Pixabay on

As I lay on my soft blanket, surrounded by fragrant green grass,

I see beautiful white cotton billow in front of my eyes.

The white marshmallow puffs float across the sky,

leaving trails to follow in all different shapes and sizes.

As thunder approaches,

the clouds change colors and swarm together,

to mask the beautiful blue sky.

Photo by Alex Conchillos on

It reminds me of how my life has struggles

that darken my days and torment my nights,

only to bring in the bluest skies and fluffy white clouds

to engulf me in what is and can be good in my life.

Photo by king Siberia on

Apps That Pay You Back In Cash

January is here and the credit card bills are starting to come in, rapid fire. All those Christmas gifts purchased, time spent with family sometimes involved gas money or an airline ticket, all of it is coming in and it can be daunting for several months after.

Well, if you are willing to take a little time before, during or after you shop in the new year, these apps will let you earn your rebate and get it back in cash. Most also have a gift card option of some sort, but if you’re like me, green is what you want so you can pay your bills and call it a day.


Okay, so I am totally loving using ibotta to earn cash back on groceries and other restaurant and retail shops.

This app is super simple to use. You find the store you are shopping at and then you scroll through the products that have a rebate available. Tag the items that interest you and when you shop you scan the barcode with your phone to make sure you have chosen the right product. After you checkout, scan your receipt and all of the items you have chosen should be seen. If something didn’t tag, no worries, you are able to go back and select it and that is all you do. After you have $20 in rewards, you can have your money sent to your PayPal account. Presently, I have earned $252.45 in rebates through ibotta. During the holidays, I took advantage of using this app on top of other discounts at retail stores and even online only stores.

ibotta also offers you opportunities to earn individual and team bonuses. Your team consists of friends who also use ibotta. If you would like to be a part of my team use the referral code qcfxkog when you sign up and I will also earn a referral bonus that will help me earn cash for the new year. Once you sign up you can also earn referral bonuses by inviting friends to join your team.


Ebates is super handy during the holidays and especially when you are purchasing a big ticket item online. Although they are known for online rebates, there are some brick and mortar stores that let you receive those rebates through Ebates if you link your credit card and  once you have done that it will automatically appear in your Ebates account after a few days.

The important thing to know about Ebates is that you must use the link they provide you to the store to earn the rebate. They payout every three months and you have to have a cash back balance of $5.00 or more. The money is also sent to your PayPal account.

I’ve earned $70.61 in cashbacks with Ebates. Remember, the key is to check your Ebates app for potential rebates on big ticket items, the savings can be substantial and most times combined with other offers.

Sometimes, your purchase through their link will not show up in your account. In those rare cases, you are able to ask ebates to track that purchase and they will follow up with the company and keep in touch with you via email about the progress. The wait can be long but if they are able to get the rebate, so worth it.

Ebates also offer a “Refer a Friend” bonus. If you would like help me earn a bonus just click on the hyperlink, which is contained on the highlighted Ebates.

Checkout 51

This app works a lot like ibotta but the platform is different. The products are not broken down by stores and sometimes when scrolling through you will notice that some products can only be purchased at a specific store that is mentioned next to the item,  to earn the rebate.

The savings can be substantial and unlike the other two apps I have discussed, Checkout 51 actually sends out a check with your rebate amount after you have earned $20.00 or more. I have earned $26.20 through Checkout 51. Checkout 51 also offers contests and bonuses on occasion to help you earn. Click the hyperlink to download the app for Checkout 51.

Hope these apps save you money. They have been very helpful to me and require very little of my time.

What are some of your favorite money-saving apps? Share in the comments below.

Now, let’s go save!

Photo by Olga DeLawrence on Unsplash

What Mid-Forties Feel Like

Last month was my birthday, I am officially in my mid-forties. Here are some of the things I’ve pondered . . . .

Last month was my birthday, I am officially in my mid-forties. Here are some of the things I’ve pondered:


According to my last check-up all is good. I am at a healthy weight and all my lab results also got a thumbs up. With that said, I have noticed that keeping the weight off is not as easy as it was even a year ago. The other thing I noticed is that cardio just doesn’t cut it anymore. If I want to see a change, I have to definitely implement strength training and that is as fun as having my teeth pulled or a cavity filled, you choose.

Although I have maintained my weight, my clothes don’t fit like they used to, every thing is a little tighter.  Which of course leads me to even a bigger mystery, the mystery of the distribution of chubbiness.

Back fat, I mean really, why does that exist? Some people say you are wearing the wrong size bra but all I know is that it has magically appeared and taken permanent residence.

Not sure what to call it so I’m going to say side fat. It’s on your hip, you can pinch it. Something that was never there before is there now. Why does it exist? What is its purpose? Is there a higher meaning? Maybe it is there just so you have to buy wider pants; either way, UGH!

Deep down in my core, I know what I have to do to get rid of it: eliminate processed sugar and add strength training to my weekly workout routine. The latter is painful because I dislike strength but I can say with 100% certainty that I love processed sugar. Cookies, cakes, ice cream, all of it! Why is the universe taking away the answer to any surprise stress situations? I have started to buy fruit and dwindle the treats from my pantry. So hard when Halloween is around the corner and sets off the trifecta of holiday sugar: Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.


Nothing has taken over so much of my time and energy as caring for my Mother. My Mom has gone from being an independent individual to two hospital visits and rehabilitation. It has led to many moments of stress and fear. Helping her adjust to her limited mobility has been hard. Nothing prepares you for that moment when the woman that gave you life and took care of you is the one needing care now. The road has been rocky, and there have been many a days where I meditate and pray for her to be well, be happy and free from suffering. This transition has been scary but just like anything unknown in life, the path is here for a reason and the new dynamic of the relationship we forge will lead to more care and love.

Being a Mom of two middle school aged children has been very interesting. I love that my kids still talk to me, I mean really talk to me. There are days when feelings overwhelm them but the fact that they know I am there and still ask for my opinion has been great. Do they know it all, of course. Hopefully they just realize that a second pair of eyes will always be an asset.


I have taken a challenge this year that has been hard. I started 2017 with the intention of meditating and journaling to help out with my stress. It took me a bit of time to really find my groove with meditation. I tried everything and what seems to fit is two wonderful apps that let me meditate on the go.

Buddhify and Insight Timer – these two apps have been so wonderful for me.  A great feature of Insight Timer is that it allows you to see how many people meditated with you, so many people out there being mindful makes me happy. Buddhify categorizes the meditations into different groups so that you can listen to whatever you fancy at the time.

Self-help audiobooks – another great resource for me is OverDrive. This app has partnered with my local public library and lets me access audiobooks that I can listen to in the car. Some of my favorite books have been The Book of Joy, Exponential Living and Big Magic. I’ve had so many “A-HA” moments while driving, it really has become one of my favorite things to do.

Does this mean I’m a Zen master? Let’s just say I woke up before 6 am this morning because I couldn’t sleep, had a mini-breakdown using Word with my son last night and lost the document, and after taking the kids to school this morning I dropped an entire cup of hot coffee on me. All I can say is, there are more moments of mindfulness in my life now and I know it’s a work in progress.


For the first time in a long time, the kids are in the same school which means I have an even amount of downtime. I was hoping to get a part time job or work on my photography. My Mother’s transition means I need to dedicate some of that time to her appointments. In between that, carpooling, and my household duties, my creative work has been put on the back burner.

Finding the balance of working on what I love is hard. Instead of acting in shows, I try to see a show. I carry my camera with me so I can take stock photography until I can start to work on my headshot photography again. As for blogging, I try to get it in when I can, that means using the WordPress app in my daughter’s orthodontic office and editing my blog pics on the go.

I try to dedicate all my focus and energy on the kids when they get home from school and I’m hoping to implement some time for outings with friends, I miss that aspect of my life soooo much.


So it’s true, you are a little softer. Not in a bad way, just in a different way. I don’t mind my laugh lines or crow’s feet, it just means I have laughed a lot in my life. I find that I’m thankful for the little things even more now. The stuff that used to bother me or that I would worry about what other people thought of my appearance, don’t even concern me anymore. As they say, it’s amazing how little people really think about you and what you think they are thinking about you.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m the first one admiring the youthful glow of women who don’t seem to age, but it’s not something that I worry about so much. I moisturize and try to nourish my body with the food it needs. At the end of the day, that is all you can do. As an actress, aging can be difficult but you are also given the opportunity to embody characters with an amazing amount of layers and depth. There is nothing more interesting than who you are, so go find and be it.

Mid-forties has been interesting, can’t wait to see where it continues to move me down this journey called life.

What do you ponder about, don’t hesitate to share it in the comments.

Keep on!

Acting Out Mama!

Holmes’ Humidifer – Yes, Please!

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It’s funny how life works. I never knew what a humidifier was as a child. The tried and true way of decongesting a child who couldn’t breathe was a steamy bathroom. As a Mom of two in this day and age, I can honestly say we would have had to renovate the bathroom by now, if I truly used it everytime the children were stuffy or suffered from croup.

Through out the last 12 years, I have purchased many, many different types of humidifiers and vaporizers. The vaporizers were just too hot, I live in Florida and the last thing you want is more heat in the house. The first couple of humidifiers I bought, required a filter that would absolutely disgust me when I had to clean them. They were gunky and brown and it just would drive me crazy thinking that I was most probably circulating that through the room along with humidified air.

Several years ago, I noticed in a Target flyer, a humidifier by Holmes
that was shaped like a cube.

I loved that there were many different colors and they didn’t stick out like a sore thumb. I decided to head on over and check them out. The price was right at the time and the biggest draw for me was that they did not require a filter. My dreams of not having to clean one of those again was fulfilled. What can I say, I don’t always dream big.

The clean up on the system is super easy and the light hum was the best bonus ever. Some of my old humidifiers were so noisy, I felt like they were preparing for take-off.

The only thing that I wish was different is the on-off switch is lit and it is a pretty strong light. One of my children has to sleep in complete darkness, so the light was a distraction and everytime she needs to use it, it’s a battle.

In conclusion, I would buy this product again, in a heartbeat. Nice looking, no filter and quiet. I really can’t ask for more from a humidifier.

Acting Out Mama!

Chinese Take Out Food Craving

What can I say, I absolutely love Chinese take out food.

I love the faded out pictures of the super quick food.

I love how there is also no true acknowledgement of other customers in the restaurant. A quick look up at you and then right back down to your phone.

I love the super ornate faux marble counters and large mirror. The door is usually propped open so you can hear the shoppers pounding the pavement of the strip mall and the cars humming by.

Some days it is exactly what the soul needs. It doesn’t even bother you that an hour after eating your favorite item from the menu, you are hungry again.

You are content.

Acting Out Mama!

Photo by Jacky Tan on Unsplash

Fitbit Love

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What can I say, I could ask for anything this Christmas and of course, I opted for something that most people would think is insane: a Fitbit Charge.

I have been fluctuating by 2-3 lbs pretty much for the past several years. I noticed that once I hit the big 4-0, I just couldn’t keep it off for good.

A couple of my friends were discussing their fitbits on their Facebook pages and I decided to do a little research. The research didn’t give me more than the facts that it acts like a pedometer and tracks your sleeping pattern.

When I got it, I couldn’t believe how much more it really does.

Counting Steps

One of the main things that Fitbit does is track your steps.  Skeptics will always ask, “But how accurate is it, really?” The website will tell you that they are working on making it as accurate as possible all the time.

I found that at times it will understep count and to be honest, I’m okay with that. I would be upset if it over counted and it made me feel like I was doing better than I was.

A couple of things to keep in mind: if it is on your wrist and you are pushing a shopping cart or riding a bike, it will not accurately log your steps. The actual natural motion of your arm is what does and while doing those activities your arm is static. I always opt for wearing the wristband on my tennis shoe at those moments so I get accurate steps.

Fitbit has many products, and they can be worn in many different places. I preferred the Charge because it acts like a watch and gives me the benefit of seeing my step count without having to look at a computer or mobile phone.

Sleep Patterns

Keeping track of my sleep patterns was another benefit that I absolutely love. Since I got married, my Husband always pointed out that I snore quite regularly. I started to wonder if the snoring was waking me up at night and if I should go see a Doctor about it. After going to the Doctor they weren’t really that concerned so I was excited to see what Fitbit would show me.

There are two setting for you to choose from for sleep sensitvity: normal or sensitive. I personally use normal but tried sensitve for one night and the pattern was super crazy. I learned that I move my left arm a lot while I sleep.

Below is a graph example that gives me my results from sleeping.

sleep pattern

Not too restless last night, I exercised like crazy so I usually sleep pretty soundly.

Call Notification and Silent Alarm

Another fun feature is the call notification. There have been many, many times when I have had my phone tucked away in my purse and it’s starts to ring. My purse is a disaster area so it never fails that I scrounge for it and miss the call. With the call notification feature, I can see who is calling on my wrist and then decide if that person is worth the effort. Sad, but true.

The silent alarm in another feature I take advantage of. You can set your fitbit to vibrate at specific times. Because you wear it to bed for monitoring sleep, it makes an excellent non-noisy alarm. I have never slept through it so it works like a charm. You can set the alarm for anything you want, I personally like to use it as a wake me up alarm.

Fitbit Website

The website it really what brings everything together. I am such a graph freak. If you can place any information in a graph format, I am all over it. I love the tiles that keep me updated, with how many calories I have burned, how many steps I have taken and how many calories I have consumed. When I was researching fitness devices, everyone pretty much said that Fitbit was the best designed site and provided so much useful information (and GRAPHS!).

Another item, that costs extra but I totally love, is the Fitbit Premium membership. The membership basically provides you with a Fitbit Trainer that helps you meet your goals by taking account what you have done fitness wise, and coming up with a fitness plan.  I originally signed up for the trainer aspect but have fallen in love with the food report, I am totally aware of what I am eating too much of and too little of as I log in all my food intake. Fitbit offers you a free trial period of the premium membership, I would recommend doing that after you have about 12 weeks of logged activity to really see how awesome the graphs are.

Fitbit App

What can I say about the Fitbit App. Everything is with you all the time. The Fitbit App is probably what I use the most. In it I am able to track any walking or running I do, everything I eat, and I accept and participate in challenges with other Fitbit users.

Food Log

The food log is a wonderful feature on the site and the app. Because like many others, my smartphone is always with me  I log in my food intake on it the most. The food log already has preloaded choices that Fitbit provides and users have submitted to Fitbit by taking pictures of the product and sending them to add to their database. The log function also lets you scan a proof of purchase so that it can find it for you and all you have to do is choose the serving you had. Because you provided Fitbit with your weight, height and goals you have set for yourself, the food log lets you know if you are below, on or above your food intake for the day.

Exercise Log

The exercise log, does a wonderful job of keeping track of all your active minutes through out the day. The app has a built in GPS that will keep track of your active walking or running minutes. Unfortunately, it doesn’t keep track of other activities, like gym classes and other gym equipment you use. I find that the best way to keep track of this is to log that information into another app that shares the information with Fitbit.

The app is My Fitness Pal. A link below will take you to more information on that app, I use the free version.  I am able to keep track of the classes I take, the gym equipment I use, and all the strength training I do (reps and lbs I use).


This feature is one of many of my Fitbit Friends favorite. Fitbit provides you with many challenges to keep you motivated and to let your competitive side make you get up and go. There are different challenges you can choose from and then you invite your friends to participate. Your friends usually have their daily step goal visible so you can choose friends who are trying to meet step goals that correspond with yours or you can choose friends that are well above you so that you get yourself moving. The challenges let you taunt and cheer your friends, send messages and before you know it you are making new friends and getting fit at the same time.


Another fun feature is that Fitbit rewards you with badges on your journey. There are badges for completing daily milestones and then there are badges for taking steps that accumulate over time. A little way to reward you for taking care of yourself.


I love my fitbit and would buy another in a heartbeat. Make sure to do your research, some of the fitbits do not  monitor sleep and just recently they released a fitbit that does monitor your heart rate, a more accurate way of keeping track of calories burned.

Remember, if you click on any of the pics; it will take you to Amazon. These links help me support this website.

Thank you and enjoy your fitbit as much as I do.

Acting Out Mama!

An Ode to Whirley Pop

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An Ode to Whirley Pop

Oh Whirley Pop, you came into my life when my Air Popper died,

Popcorn is my favorite snack, and you of course know, I have never lied.

I was hesitant to buy you because you seemed so contrite,

But after filling you with corn and a bit of coconut oil, it was love at first bite.

Yes, it is work to crank for three minutes and to wait for the corn to pop,

But the payoff is crunchy big popcorn with no microwave bag residuals and the taste is top!

Start your love affair with Whirley Pop!

Acting Out Mama!

HMDX Neutron – Rocks!

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HMDX Neutron

In the last couple of months, my children (8 and 10 years old) have become music fanatics.

Their passion for music led to MP3 players and for Easter this year they received the best gift ever: Bluetooth Wireless Suction Speakers by HMDX called Neutron. Below I will explain why we love them so much.

Wireless and AUX line

Fortunately for us, the MP3s we own have Bluetooth so we took less than 2 minutes to pair the device to the speaker. It was super easy and of course, we do not need to pair it every time we use them because the device and speaker find each other.

We still have devices that do not have Bluetooth capability so the AUX line is a wonderful backup. AUX cord is not included, you are going to have to spring for one if you don’t have one hanging around the house.

The best part and I think the major reason the Easter Bunny gave the kiddies these speakers is its capability of working wireless for up to 30 feet. This way, the kids leave their MP3 player in their rooms and just carry the speaker into the bathroom for shower time. Most MP3s are not waterproof so the fact that they remain away from any wet areas means less, “Whoops, I dropped water on my MP3, Mommy.”

Suction Cup Speaker

So much fun and here is why:

This definitely is the toy like feature that the kiddies enjoy.


I admit, this function will not be used much since my children do not have smartphones. Basically, if a call comes in while you are listening to music through the speaker, the music will pause and the Neutron becomes a hands free speaker.

Splash Friendly

Please understand, “splash friendly” does not mean you can take this puppy for a swim. Avoid submerging.

Micro – USB Charging

The speaker includes a cord with a Micro USB on one side and USB on the other for charging with your computer. Wall adapter is not included so you would have to purchase one if you don’t have one around. Because so many devices use Micro USBs, we have plenty of extras at home. This comes in super handy when the children are like, “Mommy I can’t find my cord to charge my speaker,” or, “What cord?”

One charge will give you 4 hours of play time wirelessly or 12 hours with your aux cord.

Where to Buy

You can buy the HMDX Neutron at Bed Bath and Beyond and just recently, I have also found them on Amazon.

Hope you enjoy your speaker as much as we have enjoyed ours.

BTW, I found the sound to be impressive from such a small device.

Acting Out Mama!

Little Girl Growing Up

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First things first, my daughter is 10 years old and I am in absolute denial. I have a severe case of wanting her to be 6 years old again and it didn’t become evident until we went Halloween costume shopping last year.

As we walked into the store, her eyes were drawn to the costumes where the girls were young but standing with one hand on their hip and looking very mature. I had to put my foot down on some of her choices and really was quite flabbergasted by what people consider okay for a child to wear. I tried really hard for her to turn her attention towards the cute costumes that were much too young for her. A Mother behind me with much older kids was watching me and when we made eye contact she said, “Oh boy, you are in serious denial.” She was right, but I am happy to say that my daughter and I compromised and I was quite okay with the final costume: age appropriate but not adult looking. I never forgot what that Mom said and continued to think about it for awhile.

At  my daughter’s 10 year Wellness visit the Pediatrician asked me if I had, had the talk with her about her changing body and getting her period. I was floored and admitted right away that I hadn’t done that yet. She told me that girls are developing earlier and recommended a book that discussed puberty and did it really well. She couldn’t remember the name but said it was by American Girl. That evening I immediately got to searching for it on Amazon and ordered it.

When I got the book, I absolutely loved it. It is wonderfully written and very informative. I decided that three times a week I would read a chapter with her before bedtime and that way she could ask questions.

The book not only discusses the changes that the entire body goes through during puberty but also educates them about how and why you should take care during these trying times.

I can’t believe I am admitting this, but even I learned some things along the way.

So, does that mean that I am no longer in denial? No way, but hopefully the book and  my own daughter, will help me accept it with time.

Acting Out Mama!

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