June 22, 2008

Captain Sher

We went on a catamaran ride the other day to Molokini which is a small island formed from a volcano crater near Maui. The Captain was kind enough to let me steer the catamaran for a little while :)





Had a blast snorkeling and seeing some colorful sea life. A honu (sea turtle) swam right underneath me. It was just amazing. It was almost surreal to swim amongst the fish.



Even when you weren't in the water, you were able to see the sealife. The water was so clear.



The ride was was a ton of fun. It was so nice on the way to Molokini, we were able to raise the sails and sail most of the way there. The way back to Maui was a little rough, kind of like a roller coaster ride and was totally fun. I was totally soaked from the ride. It was blast for several of the family. Unfortunately, it wasn't that great for all. Some in our group weren't feeling so great when the ride was rough. But mother nature decided to give us some large swells and windy weather so there really wasn't much we could do about that. All in all this was a really fun excursion.

June 20, 2008

Flying through the air

Today we went ziplining. What an awesome experience. It was so totally fun. I was a little anxious, but after the first one it was an absolute blast and I couldn't wait to go on the next zipline.

We are geared up and ready to go!



Here I go (Mr. Bear took this picture while he was zipping right next to me):



There goes Mr. Bear and his cousin:



Look at my in-laws go:



The family with the guides:



We survived and had an awesome time!!

June 18, 2008

Maui Sunset

Aloha! I leave you with a picture of our first Maui Sunset:



Need I say more :)

June 17, 2008

Leaving on a jet plane

I am off to the beautiful Maui!! I'll be gone for two whole wonderful weeks. I will try to come by if possible.

Aloha!!

June 16, 2008

Trial and Error

Sometimes I can be an indecisive bear. Despite all the research I do, I have a difficult time making a decision when it comes to making purchases. Last, week I purchased a new digital camera, the Canon A590 IS. In my research, it received great reviews and had a lot of great features. I started taking some photos and realized that I really wanted a little more out of a camera. If I was going to upgrade, I wanted more zoom and some better image quality. Although the Canon A590 IS was a great camera, it didn't offer me what I truly wanted. So I went back to the drawing board and did a little more research and came across this:



The Canon SX100. This camera has 8 megapixels and offers a 10X optical zoom! It also has some manual features, which although I am not ready for a digital SLR, this would be a great way to learn to use some manual camera features. So, I decide to check it out in the store and I was really impressed by it. It had received decent reviews and seemed to better offer me what I wanted. Because it has more features, it cost more than the Canon A590 IS, but combined with a coupon and sale price I was still able to stay within my budget of under $200 (I got a really great deal and got it for just a little more than the 590 IS). I have been using it all weekend taking many shots of Chase Monster and random things and I am pretty pleased with this camera. Mr. Bear is also pretty impressed with it, it does so much more than our OG point and shoot Canon. It offers me more of what I want for not a whole lot more money. Now I am fully equipped to take some great photos in Hawaii!! One more day!!

June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day



I am fortunate enough to have 3 fathers. My daddy, my father-in-law, and my step-father-in-law. All three are wonderful men.

I am a total daddy's girl. I always have been. My daddy is a wonderful and kind man, I have never know anyone quite like him. He is an amazing father and a great person, I only hope that I make him proud and that I can be as kind and thoughtful as he is to others.

Mr. Bear has two fathers who have been very important men in his life. On top of that, they are really good friends, how often is it that your father and step-father work together and actually get along. It is really a wonderful thing. In fact at our wedding, they both escorted my mother-in-law down the aisle. That was an awesome testament to how wonderful they both are.

Happy Father's Day to all the wonderful dads out there!

June 14, 2008

CVS Deals: week of 6/9/08

Here are my CVS deals for the week.

Check out more CVS Superstars at The "Cents"ible Sawyer.



CVS Transaction #1

3 Honey Nut Cheerios (we are stocked up with cereal for a while now)
2 Nature Valley Granola Bars (I eat these every day as a snack so this is an awesome deal for me to stock up on!)
2 Fiber One Bars

Total Retail value: $21.00 (the ad said 3 for $10, but the sign in my CVS had a mis-print and said 3 for $9 so they had to give me that price, everything for a little cheaper! Wohoo!)
Tax: $0
Manufacturer Coupons: $4.50
CVS Coupon: $4.00
ECB used: $10.00

Total OOP (out of pocket): $2.10
ECB (Extra Care Bucks) earned: $10.00 (overage of $8.90!!)



CVS Transaction #2

1 Dove lotion
1 Gas-X

Total Retail value: $14.68 (fortunately they still let me use the $3 off $15 coupon even though my total was slightly under)
Tax: $0.44
Manufacturer Coupons: $4.00
CVS Coupon: $3.00
ECB used: $5.00

Total OOP (out of pocket): $3.12
ECB (Extra Care Bucks) earned: $3.00



CVS Transaction #3

1 Dove lotion
1 twin pack of Dove deoderant

Total Retail value: $15.48
Tax: $0.19
Manufacturer Coupons: $2.50
CVS Coupon: $3.00
ECB used: $10.00

Total OOP (out of pocket): $0.17
ECB (Extra Care Bucks) earned: $6.00

Grand Total:

Total Retail Value: $51.16
Total ECBs Spent: $25.00

Total OOP: $5.39
Total ECBs* Earned: $9.00

What a great week, I only spent $5.39 oop and once again I am ahead with ECBs. However, I used my ECBs to buy Father's Day cards, so I will have to start over with earning my ECB. And sadly the $3 off $15 coupons expire. I will be gone for two weeks so when I get back I will see what other CVS deals I can find.

* Extra Care Bucks (ECB) are coupons that print at the end of a receipt. They are like gift certificates that you can use toward your next purchase. CVS will have certain advertised items that earn you ECBs.

For more information on ECBs and how to shop CVS check out the following blog resources:
CVS 101 by Money Saving Mom
CVS: How to Save by The New Frugal Mom
How to work the CVS deals by The Be Thrify Like Us

June 13, 2008

Trash the Dress

Many brides contemplate what to do with their dress after the wedding is said and done. A year later and my dress is still dirty and hanging in a garment bag in our bedroom. I figured that it was time to do something about it. What better than to Trash the Dress. Trash the dress photo sessions are photo sessions where you can get down and dirty in your wedding dress. It is a new trend among brides and wedding photographers, there was even an article on it in the New York Times. You really don't have to trash your dress, but you can get creative, anything goes during this photo shoot, since you are no longer worried about getting your dress all dirty.

A couple of weeks ago, I participated in a Trash the Dress Photo Shoot. There were 15 brides/models and more than a dozen photographers who made their way to the Santa Fe Dam in Irwindale, CA to participate in this shoot. We had our hair done by Albert Vergara from Lunch Salon in Sierra Madre, CA and make-up done by Lori Truman from Mobile Beauty Makeup in Upland, CA. It was tons of fun and a great excuse to wear my beautiful wedding dress one more time. I really didn't do anything awful to trash or ruin my dress. Many of the brides took wonderful photos in the water, but I was not willing to go that far. I simply love my dress a little too much (plus I promised Mr. Bear that I would not totally trash my dress). Many of the other brides/models bought alternative dresses for this shoot, I was too cheap and stuck with the only wedding dress I had. I know it might be a little silly but when else am I going to have the opportunity to wear my wedding dress again, at least I can say I got 2 uses out of my dress. I guess I am also a little bit of an attention whore :)

Some brides/models shoot with props and get creative. The extent of my creativity was to grab Mr. Bear's cowboy hat and some fishnet stockings. And I, of course, had to wear the red shoes I wore for my wedding (I love those shoes!). It was really a ton of fun to work with different photographers and not to worry about my dress so much. Here are a few sneak peaks that I have seen so far. I shot with many different photographers and this is just some photos from two of them so far. I can't wait to check out the rest. As you can see my dress was not that trashed.

By Purely Captivating Photography By Janet



By Eternally Yours Photography





June 12, 2008

June 11, 2008

Welcome Baby DJ!!!



Welcome to the world DJ! Congrats to the new mom and dad!!

My new toy

Look at what I bought!



Just in time for our Hawaii vacation (6 days!!). I found it for a great price at Circuit City, plus I also received an additional 8% discount by purchasing online through the AAA website! My frugality is paying off, although I really didn't need a new digital camera. My old digital camera, bought 5 years ago, is a Canon Powershot S110 Digital Elph, with only a measly 2.1 megapixels, still works wonderfully. In true SherTheBear fashion, I had done a lot of research before buying my first digital camera. I made charts and lists comparing and contrasting different cameras before narrowing it down to that one (you can ask Mr. Bear and my former roommate, HB). I didn't go quite that far on the research front this time around. I still did my research since it has been 5 years since I purchased a digital camera. I would have loved to get an Digital SLR camera, but that was way out of my price range at this time, plus I am photographically challenged. The Canon Powershot A590 IS has received many very good reviews from various online resources such as from CNet.com, DigitalCameraReview.com, Amazon.com, and many other websites. In this price range, this camera seemed to offer the most and provide great looking photos. Plus, I love Canons, they have never done me wrong. I can't wait to take some great photos. Wohoo!

June 10, 2008

One week until paradise



One more week until Mr. Bear and I leave for beautiful Hawaii! Mr. Bear and I will be in Hawaii for TWO WHOLE WEEKS!!! I am so excited, I can't wait.

The first week, we will be on the island of Maui with Mr. Bear's step-family. We are celebrating Mr. Bear's step-dad's parent's 60th anniversary (does that make sense?). Basically, the entire family is traveling to Maui to celebrate. We have a few activities planned while there: luau, zipline, and relaxing on the beach. Mr. Bear will also golf one day. I am so looking forward to a vacation and where better than Hawaii!

We figured that since we were already in Hawaii, that we would spend a second week and fly over to Oahu to visit a friend there. He had offered for us to come and stay at his home at our wedding, so we figured we would take him up on the offer. It didn't cost much more for an inter-island flight and since we will be staying with him, we don't have to worry about a hotel. So not a whole lot of extra money being spent. Plus, we can buy groceries and cook instead of eating out all the time. It is not often that we have the opportunity to go to Hawaii for TWO WEEKS.

June 9, 2008

In bloom

My garden is starting to look good and I am very excited about it. Some of my new plants have flowers blooming. Here is one of my purple day lilies:



Isn't it beautiful. Too bad day lilies only bloom for one day, but there have been several blooms so it seems that they are doing well and acclimating to their new home.

I am especially happy that one of the plants I planted last year survived despite my neglect. I have my first gardenia bloom:



I absolutely love gardenias, they are so fragrant. They also remind me of my childhood. Growing up we had gardenias growing right outside our front door. I love their smell and I am very sentimental about them. I can't wait to see more blossoms from my gardenia bushes. I have 3 of them (I lost one due to neglect) and I see buds on 2 of them so I think they will be blooming soon! I am so excited.

June 6, 2008

My CVS deals

I am continuing on my quest to be a CVS Superstar. Check out more CVS Superstars at The "Cents"ible Sawyer.

Here are my CVS deals for the week:



CVS Transaction #1

2 Mennen Speed Stick deoderant (B1G1)
1 CVS Bandages
4 Bumblebee Tuna
1 CVS eye makeup remover
2 Dawn dishsoap

Total Retail value: $14.91 (fortunately they still let me use the $3 off $15 coupon even though my total was slightly under)
Tax: $0
Manufacturer Coupons: $0.50
CVS Coupon: $5.00
ECB used: $9.38

Total OOP (out of pocket): $0.03
ECB (Extra Care Bucks) earned: $2.99



CVS Transaction #2 and 3

1 Bounty paper towel
1 Charmin toilet paper
1 CVS eye makeup remover

Total Retail value: $15.97
Tax: $0.54
Manufacturer Coupons: $0.50
CVS Coupon: $5.00
ECB used: $4.00

Total OOP (out of pocket): $7.01

2 Charmin toilet paper
1 CVS cleansing towlettes

Total Retail value: $15.27
Tax: $0.49
Manufacturer Coupons: $0.25
CVS Coupon: $5.00
ECB used: $3.99

Total OOP (out of pocket): $6.52
ECB earned: $15.00

Grand Total:

Total Retail Value: $46.15
Total ECBs Spent: $17.37

Total OOP: $13.56
Total ECBs* Earned: $17.99

I think I did pretty well. I got $17.99 in ECBs and only spent $13.56 out of pocket so I am ahead $4.43 this week! Not too bad. We really needed some toilet paper so it was wonderful to stock up and get some ECBs!

* Extra Care Bucks (ECB) are coupons that print at the end of a receipt. They are like gift certificates that you can use toward your next purchase. CVS will have certain advertised items that earn you ECBs.

For more information on ECBs and how to shop CVS check out the following blog resources:
CVS 101 by Money Saving Mom
CVS: How to Save by The New Frugal Mom
How to work the CVS deals by The Be Thrify Like Us

June 5, 2008

Think good thoughts


A good friend of our was in a bad accident on Sunday. His legs were badly burned and he has been in the hospital. This morning, he is going in for surgery; skin grafting on both legs from the thigh. Please think good thoughts for a successful surgery and speedy recovery.

Chris, we are thinking of you!! Get well soon!

Pooh's Thoughtful Thursday: Be Patient

"If the person you are talking to doesn't appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear."

- Winnie the Pooh

June 4, 2008

28 lbs of love



My Chase Monster went to the vet yesterday for his annual check up and vaccines. As they do every year, they weigh him. The last few years he has lost weight so I was curious to see how much he weighed this year. I also noticed a chart in the vet's office that gave average weights for different breeds. Chase Monster is a Norwegian Forest cat and they range from 13-24 lbs, last year he was 24 lbs, at the high end of the average.

Chase Monster came in at 28 lbs!!! He gain 4 lbs since last year! That is a lot of weight for a cat. Other than the weight, he is a healthy cat. Chase is going to be 12 years old in October, so he is not a young cat and this heavy weight gain is not a good thing for him. I don't know how this happened, I haven't been feeding him anything different or any more food. He is on weight management food and actually receives very little. This is worrisome to me and I want to be a good kitty mommy so after talking to the vet, Chase Monster has been prescribed diet cat food. I hope it helps him lose some weight. On a positive note, he was a very good monster at the vet.

Photo Source

June 3, 2008

Happy 35th Anniversary Mama and Papa Bear



Today my parents celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary! They are so cute together and so in love. I am so fortunate to have such loving and great parents. I only hope that Mr. Bear and I can follow in their footsteps towards a long, loving, and happy marriage.

I love you mom and dad!! Here is to many more anniversaries to come!

June 2, 2008

How my garden grows

Or doesn’t grow….

Last year with the help of my mother-in-law, I started to garden. I planted several plants in front of our house. Apparently I didn't do very well. I had a few casualties due to my neglect. This spring, my garden consisted of a ton of weeds, about 3 ft tall, and some dead plants. I guess I should have spent more than a month out of the year tending to my garden. I have learned from my bad ways and I have turned a new leaf, so to speak.

I've spent the past several weekends weeding and cleaning up my garden. Underneath the awful and invasive weeds, I was able to save a few plants that I planted last year. I planted a few new plants that I will attempt to better care for. I am more determined to have some pretty flowers grow this time around and I will hopefully be better at maintaining my garden, meaning that I will have to tend to it more than just once a year.

In my research fashion, I have been doing my research and I devised a garden plan this time around. I've tried to select flower and plants that will do well in the area that I have to grow my garden (the west side of the house). I hope this time around I can do a better job at keeping my plants alive.



My moms (Mama Bear and my mother-in-law) both have green thumbs. Mama Bear can grow anything and everything. The last time I was at her house, she sent me home with some flowers to plant since she is able to grow so many. I came home with a few geraniums and an orchid. Now I have killed many orchids, so I hope that I can get this right. Mama Bear claims that the plants she gave me are easy to care for, only time will tell. I do have an orchid that I received as a birthday gift in my office at work and so far so good. (But then again my student was the one who regularly watered and took care of it for me.) Somehow I am not sure that I got the green thumb gene. I’m working on it, this overachiever will not accept failure!

I would really love to have some beautiful flowers in my garden. Hopefully, I can follow in the footsteps of my mommies who both have green thumbs. Grow, garden, grow!!!!