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!

The 39 Steps – Carrollwood Players

A man with a boring life meets a woman with a thick accent who says she’s a spy. When he takes her home, she is murdered. Soon, a mysterious organization called “The 39 Steps” is hot on the man’s trail in a nationwide manhunt that climaxes in a death-defying finale! A riotous blend of virtuoso performances and wildly inventive stagecraft, The 39 Steps amounts to an unforgettable evening of pure pleasure!

Don’t miss this madcap Hitchcock spoof with one actor playing the hero, one actress playing ALL of his femme fatales, and one actor and one actress playing ALL of the 150+ other characters!

8 Performances – June 17th through July 2nd, 2016

Performances are Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m. and Sunday afternoons at 3 p.m.

Season Ticket Holders ONLY may reserve seating in advance.
By phone: 813-265-4000 (message line)
By email:

Prepaid Groups of 10 or more are eligible for discounts and reserved seating. Book your group today!
By phone: 813-265-4000 (message line)
By email:

General Admission Tickets are available online with no transaction fees.


Jim Moss as Richard Hannay
Joie Marsh as Annabella, Margaret, and Pamela
Jeff Roush and Trish Farber as EVERYONE ELSE

Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens


Elegies for Angels, Punks, and Raging Queens is a celebration of living through the stories of those who have died. This unique musical, where actors play 5-6 characters a piece, is told by the individuals who have had their lives forever represented as a panel on an AIDS quilt. Through the use of poetry, comedy, music and drama, this one-of-a-kind musical shows us that we have to breathe in every second of life, and enjoy every simple moment that we have.


Crimes of the Heart – Production Photos

Crimes of the Heart – Headshots

Character Headshots



Crimes of the Heart – Publicity Photos


Carrollwood Players Theatre Presents
Crimes of the Heart by Beth Henley
Directed by Robin New
Produced by Marc S. Sanders
Tickets on sale now:

The Magrath sisters have gathered in their Mississippi hometown to await news of VINTAGE 143 low MBtheir grandfather, who is living out his last hours in the hospital. Lenny, the oldest sister, is unmarried at thirty and facing diminishing marital prospects; Meg, the middle sister is back after a failed singing career; while Babe, the youngest, is out on bail after having shot her husband. Their troubles, grave and yet hilarious, are highlighted by their priggish cousin, Chick, and by the awkward young lawyer who tries to keep Babe out of jail while falling in love with her.. 11 Performances – April 8th through April 30th, 2016

96Performances are Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m. and Sunday afternoons at 3 p.m.

Season Ticket Holders ONLY may reserve seating in advance.
By phone: 813-265-4000 (message line)
By email:


Prepaid Groups of 10 or more are eligible for discounts and reserved seating. Book your groupGRAIN 0111 today!
By phone: 813-265-4000 (message line)
By email:

General Admission Tickets are available online with no transaction fees.


The role of…..will be played byGRAIN 0119
Babe McGrath – Casey Adam
Doc Porter – Ryan Belock
Lenny McGrath – Mary Jordan
Chick Boyle – Georgia Kosloski
Barnette Lloyd – Constantine Kyriakou
Meg McGrath – Joie Marsh


Almost, Maine – February 2016



Production Dates: February 26-28, 2016
Almost, Maine is a play by John Cariani, comprising nine short plays that explore love and loss in a remote, mythical almost-town called Almost, Maine.ST. PETERSBURG, FL—The Grand Central Stage Theater Company will premiere its first staged production with the play, Almost, Maine. The upstart theater company hopes to make a mark in St. Pete’s growing theater community with writer John Cariani’s tale that takes place on a cold, clear, moonless Friday night in the middle of winter. Yet all is not quite what it seems in the remote, mythical town of Almost, Maine. As the northern lights hover in the star-filled sky above, residents of Almost find themselves falling in and out of love in unexpected and often hilarious ways. Knees are bruised; hearts are broken. Love is lost, found, and confounded. But the bruises heal and the hearts mend – almost.

The New York Times called the play, “a whimsical approach to the joys and perils of romance (where) magical happenings bloom beneath the snowdrifts,” in one of the many favorable reviews.
“Sweet, poignant and witty,” said The New York Daily News.
“John Cariani aims for the heart by way of the funny bone,” – The Star Ledger.
Almost, Maine is directed by the trio, Karleigh Chase, Michele Young and Jamie LaBudde, who make certain you’re in for a good time with an experienced crew of talented actors, many of whom are from The Andi Matheny Acting Studio.

Tickets are $20 at the door.
Performances are Friday and Saturday, Feb. 26 and 27th at 8:00 pm, and a matinee on Sunday February 28th at 3:00 pm.
For ticket reservations or information, call: 813-956-1186
The theater is located at the Andi Matheny Acting Studios, 2260 1st Avenue South (at 23rd Street), St. Petersburg, FL 33712

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An Actor’s Reprieve

David Mao

Reprieve, according to Merriam-Webster, reprieve is

“to delay the punishment of (someone, such as a prisoner who is sentenced to death). : to prevent (something) from being closed, destroyed, etc.”

Pretty strong words, I’m not sure I would say that pursuing an acting career is punishment but there is something to be said about those periods of auditions, callbacks, and cattle calls that end with no work, that feel like it.

In early December, I made the decision to take a break. December is crazy time, I was taking an acting class, carpooling the children to school, keeping up on my Mommy duties, and caregiving. This does not even include the incessant business that occurs during the holidays of finding the time to shop for family and friends, attend parties, concerts and those Christmas cards that must arrive by New Year’s Eve.

By taking a break, I mean, not auditioning. As an Artist, you can never take a complete break from your passion. I continued to watch plays, TV, write, read (Oh, how I love to read) and learn more about photography. The auditioning aspect of the job is what tends to drain you over time because of the rejections. I know you are not to take it personally, but after awhile of not getting a role, you can’t help it, you do start to question yourself.

Mark Ruffalo said he had 600 auditions before success. On AMC’s roundtable, you hear some of the most talented actors in the business discuss those dark days, months, and sometimes even years of not getting a role. During these times, these interviews and expressions from other Artists is what keeps you going. You see, even those with overwhelming talent find it hard.

The break has been beautiful, I focused on my family and the holiday ritual. I focused on my photography, continuing to take classes and learning to work with Photoshop. I read and also watched a lot of new programming that I normally don’t have as much time for. I read, read and read: relished in having the time to.

As soon as January hit, I was ready to get back out there. Went on my first audition and loved the opportunity to read with other actors, to connect, to play, to breathe. I’ve signed up for an actor’s workshop that will consist of meditating and writing. I’m helping fellow artist’s with staged readings, alerting them of casting calls, and monthly meetings to touch base and help each other thrive when those “down time” arrive and stay for a little while.

I have also decided to keep a regimen with my photography by joining a weekly challenge. The assignment will keep me behind the camera so that I can grow as a photographer and view the world from a different perspective.

No matter how crazy all of this gets, there really is nothing else I’d rather do.

Happy New Year,


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
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