Best Black Friday Deals On Work-From-Home Courses!

Happy Thanksgiving and Black Friday, Side Hustle Moms!

I know we are all busy scurrying the web for the best deals today, but why not take a minute to invest in YOU and your dream work-from-home career? I have found some amazing discounts on killer courses that will kick-start your new job, including:

1. Transcribe Anywhere: Learn how to become a transcriptionist from a 30-year instructor, PLUS get job leads when you complete the course with Transcribe Anywhere! Use code BESTSALE to receive $150 off the General Transcription, Legal Transcription, General Transcription: Theory and Practice, and/or Legal Transcription: Theory and Practice. Click here to sign up.

2. SmugMug: Are you a photographer who not only takes stunning pictures, but dreams of one day selling them? That day is today, friend, as you can set up your own online gallery and store with SmugMug for 40% off now through Cyber Monday. Click here to sign up.

3. SkillShare: Do you want to grow your website, learn Facebook ads or how to grow your Instagram? Maybe you just want to learn a new hobby? No matter your answer, now is the time to say YES, as Skillshare (which offers thousands of video courses) is offering a generous 40% off UNLIMITED courses for the year! Click here to sign up.

Please Note: This post may contain affiliate linking. While these links don’t cost extra for you to use, a percentage of all sales made through these links will help fund future Side Hustle Mom content.

Santa Fe Travel Guide - Where To Spend and Where To Save

Please Note: This post may contain affiliate linking. While these links don’t cost extra for you to use, a percentage of all sales made through these links will help fund future Side Hustle Mom content.

I love Santa Fe.

I love the culture, architecture, food, colors, people... and I really love that I have a cousin who lives there so that we get to go visit every so often! 

Santa Fe is one of those of unique places that is as charming as it is quirky, and as cutting-edge as it is classic, which makes it all the more enjoyable for every member of the family! 

My family and I have visited Santa Fe the last two summers, and while I am nowhere close to being an expert, I have picked up a few tips and saving tricks that I hope will benefit others as well. 

Without further ado, here is my Santa Fe Travel Guide: When to Spend and When to Save.

Santa Fe Travel Guide.png

Getting there: Save 

The drive from Denver to Santa Fe is a mere 6 hours, so getting there for us is fairly easy and inexpensive; however, if you are traveling from a further distance, you may want to save valuable time by flying in to either Santa Fe Regional Airport (SAF) or Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ). As I have talked about before, my husband, boys, and I love to travel (and fly several times a year), and are always looking at different ways to save, which is why we:

1.) Chose a credit card designated for travel points

2.) Do a lot of price comparing through third-party travel sites

Now, to expand on each point:

The Best Rewards Credit Card

I have said it before and I will say it again: I am a huge fan/follower/advocate of Dave Ramsey, BUT... the one rule of his that we do not follow is not having credit cards... I know, I know; that is probably his biggest rule of all, but here is the thing: We use our credit card the same way we'd use a debit card and basically charge all of our bills/expenses to it. Here is the kicker, though: The credit card is linked to our bank account, so we literally pay of it off 2-3 times per month and NEVER put anything on there that we cannot afford or immediately pay back. 

(I cannot stress this enough: If you charge things and are not able to pay it off right away, DO NOT DO IT! You are just acquiring high interest rates/debt and will not reap the rewards of the card.)

That being said, we are able to earn quite a few points each month through our handy dandy Chase Sapphire Preferred card! 

With a million travel-related credit cards out there, why did we decide to go with this one? After my husband did a lot of research (and I mean A LOT of research), he found that we would earn points for each dollar spent AND receive 25% more points when redeemed for travel! So far this year, my husband and I have taken an anniversary trip to Las Vegas (our roundtrip airfare on Southwest and room at Planet Hollywood both covered by points), and used our points to cover the airfare for next month's trip to Disney World. 

All of this being said, if you plan to pay off your credit card at the end of each month, travel rewards cards are definitely the way to go (especially Chase Sapphire)! 

Utilize Price Comparison Sites

You probably know this trick already, but price comparison sites like Booking.com can be a huge asset when it comes to getting the best deal. Since they cover hundreds of thousands of destinations and work with countless airlines/hotels/car rental companies, you can easily compare airlines, prices, and arrival times to make sure you are getting the best deal. 

Booking.com

Accommodations: Spend

Now, when I say spend, I don't mean you need to be paying $250+ for a hotel...

...but, in a unique town like Santa Fe, I think it is both fun and important to nix the generic hotel chain for something a bit more authentic. 

Don't get me wrong; when we went to my cousin's graduation last summer, we stayed at a chain motel that was very clean and comfortable, but after booking a country casita from Airbnb on our last trip, I don't think I can go back! 

Santa Fe is famous for its stucco siding, clay roofs, and colorful desert setting, which -- for a city girl like me -- is an absolute treat to experience, which is why I whole-heartedly endorse skipping the hotel and opting for your own New Mexican home! From cozy casitas to charming adobe style homes, there is no shortage of unique places to stay in Santa Fe. 

Believe it or not, renting a home in Santa Fe is incredibly affordable, with some casitas costing a mere $49/night (meaning you do not necessarily have to spend more to get more)! 

The place my family and I stayed was on a working horse ranch, and had a living room, 2 bedrooms, a loft with two beds (which the boys LOVED), a full kitchen, and a gorgeous bathroom. The cost for the entire house was $149/night (which, split between my folks, brother, and myself was next-to-nothing) and the experience was priceless. 

 Can I move here?! 

Can I move here?! 

Santa Fe Airbnb
 The stable was right outside our front door! 

The stable was right outside our front door! 

 Our host was so sweet and gracious, and brought out the miniature horse for the boys to pet! 

Our host was so sweet and gracious, and brought out the miniature horse for the boys to pet! 

 If you need a great place to stay in Santa Fe, shoot me a message and I'll give you the info on where we stayed. 

If you need a great place to stay in Santa Fe, shoot me a message and I'll give you the info on where we stayed. 

If you have never used Airbnb, you are in luck, as my reader's can receive $40 off their first stay by using this link to book! 

Food: Spend

Repeat after me: When I go to Santa Fe, I solemnly swear to skip the fast food joints and only eat at local restaurants. 

Good? Good. 

New Mexico is home to my favorite foods ever, like green chile (What can I say? I'm a Colorado girl!), Huevos Rancheros, and breakfast burritos, so whenever I go, you better believe that I will splurge in terms of both carbs and cash! 

Obviously, smothered burritos and homemade sopapillas are not going to set you back a bunch, but I still recommend setting money aside just for food. 

 Breakfast at the incredible San Marcos Cafe & Feed Store: Christmas-style Huevos Rancheros (what else?) and coffee.

Breakfast at the incredible San Marcos Cafe & Feed Store: Christmas-style Huevos Rancheros (what else?) and coffee.

Entertainment: Save

One of my very favorite things to do in Santa Fe is to just walk around and enjoy the art and architecture of this beautiful area, which costs a whopping $0. However, there are a bunch of other really awesome things to do around Santa Fe, like art museums, history museums, and other special events, so be sure to look ahead of time for potential deals and promotions. 

Another way to save on Santa Fe attractions? 

Groupon

I use Groupon for EVERYTHING (please tell me I'm not the only one), so you better believe I use it for food and entertainment whenever we travel. 

As of this publication, Groupon has Santa Fe deals for such things as:

  • Wine Tasting for Two or Four with Syrah Wine to Take Home at Vivac Winery (Up to 48% Off)
  • Luxury Spa Packages at The Spa at Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado (Up to 49% Off)

  • Visit for Two or Four Adults at IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (Up to 52% Off)

  • Hot-Air-Balloon Ride for Two or Four from Air Carriage Hot Air Balloon Rides (Up to 48% Off)

Obviously the deals on Groupon are always changing, so be sure to check before you go!

Happy saving and happier travels, friends! If you have been to Santa Fe, I would love to hear about your favorite things to see, do, and eat. Please share your recommendations in the comments! 

Santa Fe_.png

Side Hustle Mom Around the Web!

Please excuse the deafening silence around here, folks! 

Last weekend, we traveled out-of-state to attend my cousin's gorgeous wedding, and returned home to smoky skies (from the CA wildfires) and death by allergies. 

I have a few cool articles coming atcha next week, but wanted to pop in to say hi and share a few cool SHM links! 

Last week, I shared my tips for 7 Easy Side Hustles For Stay-At-Home Moms over on Mile High Mamas! We discuss everything from paper deliveries (don't knock it, folks; it's a quiet car, hot coffee, and YOUR choice of music!) to Gigwalk to teaching online, so check it out! 

I'm quoted over on Flexjobs' (AKA the "leading job search site specializing in the best remote, part-time, freelance, and flexible jobs available") list of The Best and Worst Things About Working from Home! AHHHH!!! 

Finally, I am humbled to have been included in a round up for The Fox Den's What Does A Healthy Marriage Look Like? Twenty-One Wives Share. Granted, Brandon and I have only been married for 5 years and our marriage is by no means perfect, but I was thankful to have the opportunity to talk about how we are beating the 50% divorce rate! 

That does it for now! Brandon is out playing baseball with our boys, so I am going to try to hustle a bit more before they get home :) 

How to Throw a Fun and Inexpensive Cookie Decorating Party For Kids!

I love me a good kids party! Don't you?

I am constantly scouring Pinterest and the web for fun and cute party and playdate ideas, which is how I originally ran across my beloved Jenny Keller and her incredible parties/dessert tables. I try channeling my inner Jenny Cookies whenever I get a chance and though it never turns out quite the same as one of her fabulous parties, it's still fun and gives me a chance to entertain and be creative.

Jenny is always throwing the cutest holiday parties for her friends and family, which inspired me to throw TWO Halloween cookie decorating party for Jackson and his friends! I am a notorious hoarder collector of all things holiday clearance, so when I opened up my seasonal box in early October, I knew I HAD to do something with all the half-off cookie cutters, cupcake liners, etc., that I purchased for 50% off November 1, 2014.

That's when it hit me -- Jackson would host his first ever cookie decorating party! Here's how I he did it...

How to Host a (1).png

A week before the party, Jackson and I spent an entire morning rolling, cutting, and baking our sugar cookies (this is the awesome recipe I always use) and then popped them in the freezer. Whenever I am throwing a party or having company for dinner, I like to do as much of the work ahead of time as possible to make the day before/morning of much less stressful. Later that same day, we made our way to the Dollar Tree to pick up disposable table clothes, plates, cups, etc. 


The day before the party, I whipped up a batch of Jenny's fabulous buttercream frosting, covered it, and let it set in the refrigerator overnight. I also drafted the help of my husband to line the floor with a disposable table cloth and did a dry run through of how I planned to set up the table the next morning. 

Here's how it looked:

For each place setting, I had a plate with 3 cookies, goody bags with an adorable "design-a-mask" inside, a cup full of the buttercream icing, and 3 Halloween cupcake liners to hold the kid's toppings.

At the center of the table, I set out bowls full of candy corn, gummies, and teddy graham crackers for the kids to use for decorations. 

Once the kids arrived, played for a bit, and refused to take a group picture (gotta love toddlers!), we began the decorating!

The kids made a huge mess and consumed tons of sugar while the moms all got to visit and drink coffee -- so all in all, the party was a huge success :) I think that some of the kids were still too little to get into the decorating (Jackson for one was WAY more interested in the eating than the decorating), but I am already planning the next party in my head... Christmas! Valentines! Easter! The cookie decorating possibilities are truly endless!