Thursday, October 16, 2014

Three Tips to Find Free Money

“Nothing is ever really free”, I’m sure it’s been said many times over. However, if things aren’t free, they can atleast be found for cheap sometimes.

Yeah, I found this pic & doctored it...who doesn't love money for TP?

In preparing for a wedding, transitioning to an apartment in a few months & having a life that is no longer solely focused on myself, I’ve been on the hunt for ways to get a few extra bucks here & there. Believe it or not, there were a few. Some methods you may consider as slightly out there, but having worked some of them for quite a while, I feel confident in sharing them & perhaps helping you make a little extra bank.  

(Full disclosure: I get nothing monetary from anyone about this post. Just so you know.)

1. Surveys on Valued Opinions: I have found Valued Opinions to be a great website to take surveys through and earn gift cards with. A friend introduced me to the site in college & I have gained many amazon gift cards through the past few years.  The site works simply- you sign up, fill in some demographic information & the site will automatically send you emails when you have an available survey. Each survey varies in the value, but generally for every ten minutes it’s predicted to take, you earn $1 in credit. Once you reach $20 or more in credits, you can start looking at rewards, such as a $20 Amazon gift card, $20 Visa gift card, etc. The cards are sent through email so you usually get them pretty quickly (within a few minutes of redeeming on the website). Even though the Amazon gift card requires a little more credits for the gift card- 22 in credit for a $20 card- it’s been a major help in ordering Christmas and birthday gifts for family & friends, along with a great way to find new music & purchasing it through the Amazon music store.  
At this point, I’m almost to $40 towards a Visa gift card, which I’m going to keep adding to & put towards our honeymoon when it needs to be paid off. Take a few minutes a day or every other day or so & you can start racking up credits pretty quickly.

Mickey Money = the best reward money
2.  Disney Visa Cards: As a Dis nerd, you would probably guess that I do indeed have a Disney Visa Card. Besides the cute Mickey Mouse that’s on the card that starts conversations when I shop with it, the card gives you 1% back on your purchases for use on Disney trips & swag (the card with a yearly fee has 2% back). As a Visa card holder, there are discounts in certain stores (Disney Stores included), some restaurants on Disney properties & most of the Disney resort discounts are released to card holders a few days in advance of general public. Did I mention they have also have a special meet & greet for cardholders only, in Disney World & Disneyland, where they give you the actual 5x7 of the print (hello, $15 photo)?  And if you’re lucky when you apply, sometimes you can get the offer of a free $50 gift card once you begin using the card.  
Last time we visited the parks, between the $50 sign up gift card & a $20 reward credit, we had an extra $70 to spend on our trip. I’m up to $15 back currently & looking forward to some good reward credit, especially since we’ll be putting much of our trip on the card & then paying it right off. If you are a Disney fan & like traveling to the parks, I highly suggest this card.

This isn't my jar, but mine is similar- this one I found here
3. Collecting Change:  This may not be free, persay, but hear me out. By using more cash recently & collecting all the loose change that comes along, there’s been almost $30 added to the money being saved for the honeymoon. This process may be slow, but it’s worth it in the long run- I figure we’ll be close enough $100 by the honeymoon & with a bank that has a change counting machine for free use, it’s a great way to save. Did I mention using a cute jar also helps decorate a room?

I know there are many more ways folks can find some free money in life- do you have any suggestions? I’m always open to them & I'm sure any other folks would love to hear your ideas as well. 


Monday, October 13, 2014

Quick Guide: Top 5 Disney Blogs

I will make a promise before this post gets too far: I promise this will not become a 100% Disney blog.  

That being said, you may recall in my catch up post, I mentioned becoming a huge Dis nerd in the last year or two.  This nerdiness encompasses the history of the company, parks, & films, the specific worlds created through various art styles & music- I love it all, especially the tiny details.

Knowing this love, if may not surprise you to find out that one of my favorite things is planning a trip to Walt Disney World.  I’m sure it won’t be too surprising to find out that Losson & I are visiting Mickey (and Rapunzel!) for our honeymoon next summer & (coincidentally - not really, totally planned- ) for my birthday.

This will be our third trip to the parks as a couple (Loss proposed in the Magic Kingdom- that story will for sure be coming soon) & I’ve spent much time researching online, asking many random questions to the Disney resort line & conferring with others who have been to WDW more recently. Oh, and I may have 8 or 10 Pinterest boards on the different parks, foods, attractions, films & characters.

That being said, I’m not going to outline trip planning for you; I simply want to share some sources I look to often when planning & also keeping up to speed on what’s currently is going on in the parks.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Fall Break Goals: How Did it Go?

 This week off from work wound up being not quite what I had planned, but it worked out even better than I had predicted.So how did my goals work out? Pretty well, I must say.

1) Hanging out with my mom                                    Result: So Accomplished!

Myself, Granny & Mom

It worked out that my Uncle Jerry (Mom's forever bachelor, only sibling) needed to have his gall bladder taken out early in the week, so I jumped on the train up to keep Granny company while Mom held down the fort on surgery day with Jerry.

The whole 3+ hour drive down, Mom and I discussed reception plans, ceremony shoes & more. While Jerry was in the hospital, simply waiting for the surgery to happen, us three ladies got to hang out & do a little shopping together which was an extra fun thing I had not planned but am so blessed we got to do. Definitely one of the best unplanned half of a week a girl could have.

Uncle Jerry & Granny, not long after he go back from the hospital
2) Work on Wedding Stuff                                 Result: Check Some of It Off the List
 Losson & I met with the photographer finally & I got a notebook going for all of our details finally. And then my mother asked if I was planning on using all of the ink in the printer...I didn't use the whole thing...yet. It feels good to finally get things written down on paper.

I'm pretending to really be organized!
3)  Exercising & Eating Healthier                         Result: ...Eh....

My granny is an amazing cook. I asked her to make a cake. Mom and I got to walk a day or two. You can imagine how things went with this.

4) Sleeping a Lot                                                    Result: Oh Yes I Did.

There's no photographic proof of this, but oh buddy, did I ever sleep in. Even until 11:30 one morning. It was beautiful. Naps have been had. I will miss them when I go back to work tomorrow, I am sure.

5) Gilmore Girls Binge Watching     Result: Season 2, Episode 11 is where I'm at 

"The Bracebridge Dinner" Episode...oh the feels!
 Saturday was Gilmore Girls viewing day, 9 AM- 11 PM, with a few snacks & a DIY project while watching happened.  It was a beautiful day & I even dreamed of Stars Hollow that night.

6) Time Spent with Losson                                   Result: Had a Great Time!

Loss & I had an awesome date night the first Friday of Fall Break & spent most of Friday together as well. I have to admit that I missed him some while I was out of town, but getting to spend some sweet time together makes me a happy girl. I sure do love my time with him.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Goals for Fall Break

Oh, that glorious time of the year is here- Fall Break! Working in the local school system, we get an entire week off to refresh, re-energize & help us make it through the year. As you can tell, I am one who is highly supportive of this week off & am looking forward to being super productive (or atleast sincerely wanting to be!).  

With so much going on right now in life, it would be a shame for me to waste this precious time, particularly since I tend to be more productive when I’m on a limited schedule (funny how that works, huh?) . That being said, I figured I’d share some of my to do list for the break & later on post how I actually did with it. Knowing you guys will see it might (hopefully) make me more accountable & will make me think a little more about what I’m doing (or not).  So here are some of the areas I’m wanting to address with my time off....

(Mom & I during the scavenger hunt to the my engagement at Disney World)
  1. Hanging out with my mom is on the top of my list. She’s going to be involved in point 2 & 3, I’m sure & I’ll be glad to get some time together. Even though I still happen to live at home, life can get so busy that I barely see my parents, so some quality time will be nice. 

(My wedding Pinterest of a few...)
  1. Wedding planning is number 2 on the list, mainly for my sanity. As much as I can get accomplished this fall is great, as it won’t be on the docket to do come next May when life is extra crazy, a few weeks before the ceremony. My goals for this week include booking a photographer, looking at the budget some more & fully wrapping my head around all of the ideas I want to implement (especially DIYs) & making a list of supplies, quantity, etc. 

    (Found this on Pinterest, through
  1. Working out- ugh.This is obviously not my favorite thing & I’m having a hard time making myself fully get into the habit of it. This is clearly a problem, seeing as my wedding dress is currently too small & I proclaimed that I could get into it for the wedding no problem. Well, it might be a problem- atleast it is for me right now. I’ve always had a hard time with exercising & weight & really liking food, so this is something I need to seriously attack right now & get situated in before I turn the next corner into life in an apartment & with Losson.  This will definitely be something I’m sure I cover more on here in the future & would be truly greatful if you offered me any advice on.

(My fall break to a T.)

  1. Sleep. I like naps & my favorite moment of the day is when you lay down to go to bed in that first moment; your muscles relax & even the most uncomfortable mattress gives you a feeling of being able to rest, away from the world. Frankly, this makes me very happy & one of my fave things to do on a lazy Saturday, after a busy week, is lay in bed for a while after I wake up, perhaps with a cup of coffee & my ipad & some chill music, just relaxing….ahh so nice.
         Of course, noting how little time a week can be if you let it just fly by & do nothing, it’s going to be important to get my rest but also make sure to take the time to wake up before it’s too crazy late (I mainly allow waking up at noon on Saturdays, perhaps once a month). So the motto for Fall Break is “Sleep but get stuff done!”.

(Now that's some great bantering & lady power!)
  1. There’s one more thing I am planning on indulging in for this gorgeous week of off time in the fall: binge watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix!  I started my watching last night & clipped off the first 4 episodes, leaving 6 seasons & 16 episodes left. GG was one of my favorite shows when it originally aired & then also aired on ABC Family for a while as well. I love the relationships that the show explored & can’t wait to revisit those years in Stars Hollow, particularity the latter seasons where I did not get the opportunity to watch as much, so my recollection of the show becomes somewhat spotty. 

(We both really like the fall)
  1. Losson is not on fall break with school, yet a goal of mine is to have a date night or two. We tend to usually watch Sci-Fi Saturday Night on ME-TV & enjoy our weekly dose of Batman (1966 version), WonderWoman & Star Trek (original, of course), but I’m looking forward to a date that I’ve been promised on Sunday afternoon to check out a yummy restaurant downtown & maybe even something else fun along the way. Regardless, Loss works a lot at work & also on school & I know it’s for our future but it would be nice to get to have fun one day, during the day, and enjoy our time together that we normally do not have.

         If you need me next week, look for me doing one of these things (well, if I’m sleeping, just wait til I wake up). I’ll report back & share how I did on on making things happen during the week….I can almost guarantee some extra hours of sleep & Gilmore Girls will be happening, as will hopefully some extra miles logged walking/jogging.

        Thanks for stopping by & feel free to comment with any advice or suggestions on how to get these things done- it’s all definitely appreciated!


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Five Fact Catch Up

So since it's been a while since I've ventured to these parts & so much has changed- that being said I figured that I’d put up some facts about what’s currently going in my life so you can get some frame of reference…

(Walt's Window,  after Loss proposed... one of my fave pics from the trip)

  1. Since last writing, I have turned into an utter Disney Nerd! I’m loving being a Dis Nerd, as I call it. I was generously given the opportunity to travel to Walt Disney World with Losson & his family during winter break, arriving New Years day 2013. After all the planning & excitement, I fell back in love with the place, & on a level that wasn’t quite the same as when I visited as a younger child. Being able to go & explore with someone I love made it almost a new experience & one that I hope we can continue to repeat time & time again. Learning the history of classic Disney attractions, the imagineers who thought up so much of the attractions & technology in the parks, & the optimism of Walt Disney himself are just a few of the things that keep me going back to books, podcasts & any other Disney related thing that I can get my hands on. I am so thankful for that trip for igniting my passion & allowing it to be something Losson & I can share together. There will definitely be more on this topic in the future, don’t worry.

(These colors are our wedding colors)
   2. To tie in with the Disney nerdery, wedding details must be shared! We are having purple, pink, yellow, basically the color palette from “Tangled” as our wedding colors & a Main Street USA themed reception. Getting to collect items from our trips to the parks, antiquing and more make this girl quite happy; growing the Disney collection & using the items in our reception is proving to be fun already (and a good excuse to buy a few things we’ve found along the way).
(My kind of festival: not one you camp at!)
3. I still love music. A lot. Obviously, since this was a music based blog, that is something that’s always meant a lot to me, but since I’ve been working in schools, during the school year, shows don’t happen very much for me. We do have a nice venue here in Chattanooga, Track 29, but I won’t lie- most weeknights I’m crashed out by 10:30 pm.  This summer, Losson & I did trek with my family to Louisville to attend the Forecastle Festival. It was my 3rd year & the festival is one of my favorites around, hands down. This year we got the opportunity to see Jenny Lewis, Outkast, TuneYards, Band of Horses & plenty of more awesome folks on the weekend long line up. If we can afford it, you better believe we will be back for 2015 and seeing all the folks on the great line up & the interesting folks who come out to the festival from all across the southeast. 

  1. Pinterest is one of my favorite things around. I’ve got more boards than I care to mention on the site & can be found spending time being OCD over their order & appearance much more than I am OCD about anything else. Besides the predictable 10+ Disney related boards (the different parks across the world, dining, resorts, films, etc.), cats are my most pinned to board (currently at 700+ pins…) & different foods, desserts & drinks cover a good chunk of it, alongside future casa & crafty ideas & art. If any of this sounds interesting to you, feel free to follow me on Pinterest & you can also thereby make me feel extra special by making me feel as if I may be ‘internet cool’, as far as the website goes. Everybody’s got their something, right? 

(Loss & I both agree we kinda like baby Spencer)
  1. Another thing I’ve come to lovely lately is babies. In August, Losson’s brother’s baby was born & I fell in love. Getting to hold that sweet baby for a while & just snuggle makes me a very happy aunt. This addition to the family has also helped me realize that I’m not quite ready for a kiddo of my own but it’s giving me good training in infant snuggling, holding & even diaper changing. I’ll be ready in a few years...after a few more romantic trips to Disney and weekend jaunts all over the south. 

    Have a good one!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Time to Shake It Up!

Hello from Conglomeration Fabrication! It’s been a while but I, Jenny, am back and (perhaps) even better than before!

(One of the engagement shoot photos that are amazing, I must say.)

Much has happened since I last posted on New Year’s Eve going into 2010- I finished my undergraduate and graduate degrees (masters in special education woo!), have been working a happy job in the local school system as an assistant & even found the love of my life, which has lead me to create this current incarnation of this blog.

(WDW trip, Jan. 2013)

Having met Losson & knowing that we’ve been brought together for a reason, we are currently (well, moreso me, my mom & his mom) planning for a simple DIY wedding next June & also starting to horde collect items to put in our future apartment together. Of course, my Suzy Homemaker gene is kicking into overdrive & I can’t wait til it’s time to move in, get a home set up & really start our life together.  

(Did I mention he proposed in front of Cinderella's Castle, & more importantly, the Partners Statue of Walt & Mickey?)

Realizing we have so much going on & I’m working so much for these future events & projects, I’ve decided to try & take on this blogging thing again.  Previously, the format of Conglom Fab was music and the scene I was in during my undergraduate years in Murfreesboro (man, were they fun), yet when trying to think of a new blog name, Conglomeration Fabrication still just stuck. I feel like it describes a bit of anything & everything curated together, and, well, this blog is still covering anything & everything, just the updated version from my current life.

That being said, I look forward to filling these blog pages with DIY projects, interior design, wedding craziness & honeymoon planning, weekend adventures, things I love, trying to make myself get in the habit of exercising, people I love, & maybe even a post or two about how my attempts at budgeting paychecks are going. Basically, I’ll be covering life & the attempts to get it really moving & shaking at the age of 27.

Thanks for coming by & starting back on the journey with me!


Thursday, December 31, 2009

One more for this decade: Best Shows of 2009

So why not post a top 10 list? Here ya top 10 shows of 2009, in no order, all of them taking place in Murfreesboro or Nashville. Here's to the past year of amazing music and to 2010 being a year of a new scene, new tunes and new friends.  Hope you all have a great start to the new year and stay healthy, safe and happy!

1.       Jay Z at Vanderbilt: This was only my second time seeing hip hop live and the first time seeing such a big act in an arena setting. This one was only about a month ago, but it definitely was one of the best shows I’ve seen in years; I still stand behind the thought that everyone needs to see this man put on a show- he knows how to do it  (catch the original review of the show here).

2.       The Decemberists at the Ryman: I’d been saying for a while that the next venue the Decemberists needed to tackle in Nashville was the Ryman, and tackle it they did. Going into the show I wasn’t too sure what to expect from the “Hazards of Love” album being played the whole way through, but within a song or two, I was floored. Seeing the storyline performed by the band and extra characters of Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) and Becky Stark, it was amazing. Seeing the whole album performed live literally brought it to life and made me want to return for more listens afterwards. Plus the final song made me cry, granted I have a tendency to cry at the drop of the hat, it was an experience.  
After the intermission the band returned to play what could be called a greatest hits set, complete with much banter about summoning the ghosts of the Ryman and the invitation to the masses to join the band onstage to sing the chorus of “Sons and Daughters”: “Let all the bombs fade away”. It was amazing, to say the least.  I’ll even go as far as to say it was better than the first time I saw the band a few years back at City Hall.

3.       Heypenny at Next Big Nashville, Mercy Lounge: I think if you read my review of the show, you can get the jist of how much this performance was one of my favorites.  I've talked quite a bit about it before, so I’ll spare a repeat. I do, also, stand by the statement that they are the best live Nashville band. So there.

4.       Lucero at Next Big Nashville, Cannery Ballroom: I know it’s probably not fair to split up NBN shows, but specific ones just stood out, so here’s the second of NBN that I loved, Lucero. I’ve been waiting to see the band play, having missed their live show 3 or 4 times I was pumped to see them finally. Of course, they didn’t disappoint. They played for 3 hours and didn’t let on any sense of being tired. Just read the review for a full rundown of the awesomeness here.

5.       Glossary, HP Witchcraft, Henry Daggs & Soul Mama at Temptation Club, Murfreesboro: Ok, so I may be a little biased seeing as this was my going away party a few weeks back and I did happen to book the bands, but it was an amazing show and everyone who played made this girl so very happy. Besides that, how many people can say they have seen Glossary and HP Witchcraft  at Temptaiton Club? Yeah, not many besides the 80 or so people who showed up. If you don’t know who these folks are, don’t worry: you eventually will.

6.       The Only Sons, And the Money Notes, The Orange Opera & Lauderdale, The Boro Bar & Grill: I admittedly only went to this show to see the Only Sons play (aka Ribbonpigeon), plus it was something to do on a week night, if I recall correctly, yet the line up wound up being one of the best ones I’ve seen in Murfreesboro all of this year (scene politics aside, it’s easy to say the town is in somewhat of a music scene-lull at the moment, with a few exceptions).  I hadn’t heard the other bands besides TOS, seeing as it was a really well put together tour of And the Moneynotes & Orange Opera (who seem to have played everywhere in this town with so many stickers everywhere). They all put on awesome sets and I don’t remember the hairy details, but I do know that their stuff was good enough everyone should check them out- and I’m still waiting for the Moneynotes to come back to town.

7.       Caitlin Rose, 1970’s Night at Nashville Cream’s 8 off 8th, Mercy Lounge: The bloggers brag a little bit about their series of covers in the 2009 music wrap up issue of the Nashville Scene, which was what actually got me really thinking about this list (so props to you all), and I have to say that the 1970’s cover night was the best by far (fine, I only went to two of them, but the 70’s were just more sincere). The costumes were killer all around and the performance from Caitlin Rose was the best I have ever seen from her. Fleetwood Mac and Neil Young covers (the latter with her father) helped point out where her influences lie and how much she knows about music history. There's a video of the amazing performance Ms. Rose did with her father, so watch it here.

            Did I mention the girl played 3 songs and it made my top shows of the year? Yeah. It was that good.

8.       Kindercastle, Dent May and the Winter Sounds, Mercy Lounge: Going into this show, I thought Dent May was headlining. Well, he didn’t and it’s pretty nice I dug Kindercastle (RIP, amigos). Let me restate that: I’ve been into Dent May since I first heard about him and picked up his album not long after it’s release this summer. I was way excited to hear that he was going to be in town, let alone playing, arguably, my favorite venue in Nashville.

9.       Har Mar Superstar, Exit-In: I found out fairly last minute (about a week before the show) that Har Mar was going to be in Nashville again, and after the first show I was determined to get there. The first time around was at the same venue, not knowing exactly what I was in for. By the time the show was over and Har Mar was performing half his set off the show, I spent quite a bit of time near the back of the venue, farther away than the length of his mic cord (if you haven’t ever seen Har Mar Superstar, he disrobes throughout the set and hangs out in the crowd, making sure everyone is into the tunes, especially those who look bored). All in all, it just turns into a big dance party and, well, it’s kind of obvious those are my jam. You can check out the full review here and a few shots that I got at the show here. Let’s just say I’m counting down the days til Mr. HMSS comes back to town and I can dance again (Original review here).
10. Happy Birthday Amy and Cheer Up Charlie Daniels, Next Big Nashville, Foobar: This show was one of the best because of many different factors, along with the music. It was packed out with awesome friends I had made throughout the year in Nashville, along with being nice and cozy in Foobar's back room, plus I really wanted to see HBA play again and couldn't wait to check out Cheer Up Charlie Daniels. There were a few more bands playing that night, but given the night, only those two were mainly checked out, but I know a great time was had by all at this last minute venue addition to NBN (You can read the show review here).