Gifting. And a giveaway!

It's no secret I adore gifts. Not JUST receiving them either, I love that giddy feeling of watching someone open a gift that I perfectly picked out. No really, I'm THAT girl who's like CMON RIP THE PAPER ... FASTER! Sorry guys, it's my love language. I can't help it, right?!

With that being said, last year after the lung fiasco, and everything else I had put my mother through, I was determined to pick out a Mother's Day gift that meant a little bit more than just a bouquet of flowers.  I think it's safe to say I did alright. So much so, that a day hasn't gone by that my mom and I don't wear them. 

I scooped up a set of dual-birthstone rings from Meadowbelle Market's etsy shop. One for mama, and one for myself, with our two birthstones adorning them. They're petite, they're simple, and most of all, they're perfect. 

When I posted a picture of another ring on Instagram this weekend, I was flooded with questions about the birthstone ring, and I'm excited to let you all know the lovely ladies over at Meadowbelle Market have graciously offered up a dual birthstone ring for one of you lucky readers to win! 

Meadowbelle Market offers both silver and gold options, and have even recently introduced an engagement ring line! The giveaway will end this coming Friday - don't miss out on scoring one of these awesome rings for yourself or to gift to a loved one!

As an added bonus, as if the ladies over at Meadowbelle haven't been kind enough, they've also offered up a coupon code valid through Sunday (March 30th), simply enter "hellomisschelsea" to receive 10% off your any purchase in their Etsy shop!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


King George.

Live music is my lifeblood.

I've seen every one from Def Leppard to Britney Spears, Eagles to Ricky Martin, Billy Ray Cyrus to The Fray, Bruno Mars to Carrie Underwood.... and when I found out George Strait was going on tour for the last time I knew seeing him was a MUST.

Lucky for me, he was going to be in Louisville, just a couple hours south of Indy! And double whammy, my awesome mama had scooped up tickets when they went on sale while I was gallivanting around Australia back in November.

When March finally rolled around, we loaded into the car and headed southbound one Friday after work for a weekend of gambling, good music, and girl time.

I'm glad I've got a mother and a cousin's-wife (not to be confused with sister-wife) who love country music as much as this girl... they're some of the best concert mate's around! 

They had the stage in the very middle of the place, and Jorge spent a little time on each side, which was awesome because everyone got a little piece of the action!

I think my exact words after the first encore were "I forgot how many hits he has had!", for an old boy he sure put on a helluva show. And the little Tom Petty diddy he threw out at the very end of course tied the love knot for me. If this truly was his last tour ever, I'll be disappointed I only saw him once, but I'm glad I had that opportunity!

We stayed at the casino, so I'll let you all guess how much time I logged at the roulette tables. I only walked away about $20 down at the end though, thankfully. Here's to hoping my Vegas trip in a few weeks will have better odds.

After the St. Paddy's stress working all week, driving down to Louisville, the concert on Friday night, gambling in every minute of free time I could find, shopping all over Bardstown Rd and the outlet malls, I can only tell you how wiped out I was when we got back into town. All in favor of extending weekends by adding an additional Sunday say AYE. Aye.



While I am totally on board the statement necklace bandwagon, there's just something about a dainty piece of metal gracing your collarbones that has had me scaling it back lately. 

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Monday Randoms

I think today's post is expected to be all things green, "lucky" and booze-fueled. But, as anyone who's lingered around these parts for the past 5 years knows, St Paddy's is far from my favorite holiday, and I'll be glad (and much less stressed at work) to see it go on it's merry way!

A quick rundown of things on my mind on this not-so-sunny Indianapolis Monday morning:

-That jet is still missing. STILL. I feel like I am watching a Dan Brown book unfold in real time. STILL fascinated in all things related to it, as well.

-Funny to think this exact time last year I had a hole in my lung that refused to heal. I do remember having an incredibly tasty green milkshake from the hospital cafeteria though, I wouldn't mind another of those.

-I mentioned something on Instagram a few weeks ago about my cousin finding out she had breast cancer but I, as terrible as it sounds, try my best to not dwell on it. I'm just over cancer attacking my family. I'm sure this comes across as calloused but I struggle to elaborate on it, except to say there's no doubt in my mind that she will kick cancer's ass.

-On that same note, Make A Wish foundation threw Olivia a party yesterday afternoon at Dave&Busters. She had an absolute blast playing all of the games and winning tickets. I am so thankful for everyone who showed up to celebrate with her. Her "wish" was to go to Disney, so they will be Florida-bound in a few weeks.

-This is getting sort of doom&gloom, no? I'm in one of those reflective moods this morning. Apologies are in order, I suppose.

-Since I spent last St Paddys with a chest tube, IV and a million monitors I thought I'd actually go out and celebrate this year. It was a good time, but I still am not sold on this holiday ha. I am glad to report I haven't been cursed by the Blarney Stone apparently though, there hasn't been a #popgoesmylung round2

-I met my high school best friend for dinner one night last week. We hadn't hung out in prob 4-5 years, at least. It was so nice realizing how little had changed though. Just minutes after sitting down we were chatting and laughing like a day hadn't gone by.

-I watched all of Season2 of Revenge on the flight to Australia, and recently started watching Season1 on Netflix. Funny how much more makes sense now that I'm starting at the beginning HA! Needless to say, I'm hooked.

-My first "work trip" is rapidly approaching (as in NEXT WEEK), and I'm not really sure what to expect. I haven't heard any word on accommodations or anything yet, so that isn't helping the situation either!




I realized this morning that I started this blog five years ago.


If I was one of those people who made 5-year plans I could probably kick back and laugh at how not on-track my life is now compared to what I envisioned back then.

But I'm not, so I'll spare you that shred of boring. I would write about graduating college, projects I started, stuff I baked, trips I took. No one commented except my best friend, Jenn.

No one knew about my blog, because it seemed weird. Bloggers are weird, right? Geeky little chicks that hang out in the corner of the library on their Macbooks, documenting the world around them.

Fast forward five years, people recognize me in public because of my social media "presence". I use that term loosely, because let's face it - I'm totally 'little fish', but it's still so funny to me.

The other weekend, I was at my nieces birthday party and a friend of my brothers approached me and started talking to me about how funny the stuff I tweeted was. I'll run into people who will call me "Miss Chelsea", or friends will bring up stuff amidst conversation that I blogged about months ago.

There's been a whole lotta comedy, a fair share of serious talk here, and of course a decent dose of drama.

There's been new loves, new houses, graduations, job offers, escapades and adventures, babies, and break-ups.

I've made a handful of awesome friends from this little corner of the internet. I can keep my family and friends I don't see nearly enough up to date on my shenanigans. I can entertain randoms, and probably a stalker here and there.

I rarely call myself a "blogger" because I just don't feel like I fit that bill, but I am glad I've been documenting and sharing this little life of mine for the past half of a decade. It's been a fun ride, kiddos.

I'm eager to see what kind of stories I get to share in the next fiver!



Traveling on the cheap: The flights.

I get asked nearly daily about finding/booking trips.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I don't have access to some top secret travel booking cult, or anything like that. What I do have is a lot of time invested into what I like to call "the hunt".

Now, there are two types of 'deal hunting' I've mastered. The wanderer and the determined.

If you're like me most of the time; have minimal obligations, a boatload of Paid Time Off, and an aching wanderlust... here's my best advice:

Let someone else do the hard work for you!
As I've mentioned before on the blog, I have a separate GMail account just for shopping and email blasts (it's always fun to watch the doubt in sales associates' eyes when you tell them Chelsea Likes To Shop at GMail is your address of choice). This is optional, but it's my own sense of sanity having things organized and separate.

My 'fun' email account regularly looks like this:

You know how I got the wild idea that I wanted should go to Dublin? Hostelworld.

There are a TON of sites that will send you email blasts with a list of great deals, notifications on locations you've requested, cheap flights from your home airport, whatever you want I can almost guarantee there is a site for it.

Some of my favorites:
Airfare Watch Dog, CheapAir, OneTravel, Kayak.

I get emails from them saying "Hey you can fly from Indy to Las Vegas for $250rt in March" and I go 'oh, perfect, let's go visit Vegas!'

Which brings me to the second line of defense: 
IPhone Apps.

I especially enjoy Kayak. I have the app on my phone and have set up notifications for places I'd like to visit, and it tells me when prices drop:
Since I have no specific time I want to travel, and no specific destination I need to go, it's fun to see where I can get on the cheap.

Another app I love is SkyScanner (which I've praised before on the blog, so I won't repeat myself)

Use flexibility to your advantage!
(This applies to everyone, even if you NEED to be somewhere on specific days, for a wedding or work trip, or Spring Break, or whatever)
Don't always try to do Saturday to Saturday weeks, or Thursday to Sunday long weekends... you're going to pay more! Do a Friday night to a Monday night, or a Tuesday to Tuesday trip. Sure it might not always be ideal. But having more cash in my pocket is ALWAYS ideal in my mind!

I've noticed it's over $200 cheaper to fly to Dublin in the middle of the week, rather than weekends.

I use both SkyScanner and Kayak to peruse whole months for the lowest prices. Southwest has the Calendar, almost every airline has a "flexible dates" option that will let you browse +/- 3 days from the dates you input.

Check frequently. 
Airfare seems to change ALL THE TIME. Sure, there are tons of rumors about booking at 2pm on Tuesdays, or 7 weeks out, or clearing your internet cache before searching, etc, etc.

I haven't really found ANY of these to be true.

I never ever ever book airfare when I first search. I search multiple sites.  I search different combinations of days. I search surrounding airports (mostly for cities like New York, I wouldnt recommend flying into like San Francisco if you're visiting a cousin in San Diego or something).

Two words: Hacker Fares
One way trips are becoming more prevalent. Termed 'hacker fares' in the airline industry, don't feel obligated to fly round-trip with a specific airline. Sometimes a different airline just offers a return flight more accommodating to your schedule, sometimes the price is just WAY better. Unfortunately, almost every airline except southwest seems to be a tad more expensive on one-way fares, but that doesn't mean you still can't score a great deal, or a better flight. I've bailed on round-trips that had long layovers, or wacky connections, and paid nearly the same cost to book two one-ways with reasonable times and routes.

Be creative.
I'm in the process of planning a trip to Thailand. You know which airport I'm looking to fly out of? Anything but Indianapolis pretty much.
Because airlines have affiliates. No airline flies direct from Indy to Bangkok. So if I flight search, it's guaranteed I'll have a connecting flight (typically JFK, ORD, LAX, etc). If American Airlines flies me to JFK than booking it in one fell swoop will put me on an American (or one of their affiliate airlines) flight to Bangkok. And that isn't always the cheapest option. Same thing with my hairbrained idea to go to Dublin.

When booking our Australia airfare, we found that flying out of LAX was always the cheapest route to Sydney (it was around $1300 at the time). If I looked at IND>SYD it would connect me in LAX, but it would be like $1800. And I knew I could find flights for MUCH cheaper than $500rt to LAX. So we booked our LAX>SYD airfare with Qantas, and I found $150 one-way's on another airline a few months later. Saving myself a few hundred dollars.  (If you are doing this, make sure to give yourself plenty of time between flights to ensure you can accommodate customs, minor delays, etc, without stressing!)

When you finally decide to book, the choice is yours. Book directly through the airline, or book through the third-party site (Kayak, Travelocity, wherever). I generally go directly with the airline, I've had to change and cancel flights before, and it seems a tad easier when dealing directly with the airline instead of a third party. But that's just my own two cents.

Good luck, and happy travels! I'd love to hear any other tips/insight you've got! 

(I figured I should mention that I am not affiliated/sponsored by any of the aforementioned companies, I simply love their services! )

To read up on my other Traveling on the Cheap tips, click here!