Tag Archives: family

Ebates…A Way to Make Money While Doing Your Holiday Shopping

Thanksgiving just came and left.  There were so many things to be grateful for, especially my wonderful family. 

Even my sister from San Diego (www.sandwichemporium.com) and my cousin from the Philippines were able to celebrate the festivities with us.

During the visit my cousin told me about a wonderful site called Ebates.com.  It is a shopping portal that gives you cash back for shopping at major retailers like Toys R Us, Macys, Dell Computer, Target to name a few.

Since this is now the gift giving season of Christmas and Hanukkah, discovering this site was such a blessing.  I am planning to buy gifts for those I love, so why not make and save a few extra bucks while buying the items I was already going to purchase?

So far I have made $41 cash back from items that I bought in the last couple of days.

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

 There are still a few people on my Christmas list so I know I will be going back to Ebates again!

Soon there will be presents under our Christmas tree from Santa Claus and the family!

Happy Holidays!

(Note: Ebates did not ask me to mention them in my blog.  I added them on because I think it’s great to get cash back!)

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back




Holiday Cocktail Lounge in New York City Closes After 47 Years

(Note: Last week I mentioned how my sister Angela, of www.applelopez.com, came to Connecticut.  New York City is less than 2 hours away and we spent the day just walking around our old home.  In the 1990s and early 2000 my sister and I lived in New York and it will always hold a special place in our hearts. )


In the late 1990s I was first introduced to the “Holiday Cocktail Lounge” in the East Village of New York City.  The 1990s was still a time when the East Village was rough around the edges because it was not gentrified.  It had a seedy coolness about it.

Along side of the druggies, you would see artists, ravers, families, bankers, marketers, college students of all walks of life and ethnicities. It was such a refreshing mixing bowl.

The Holiday Cocktail Lounge was so unique because it did not care about it’s appearances.  There was a juke box in the corner and age old booths and bar seats.

When I use to go there the owner, Stefan Lutak, was the bartender, the busser, cashier and everything.  He was grouchy, but he served the cheapest and best drinks.  The Johnny Walker Black on the rocks was just $2.50 when other places were selling it at that time for at least $7.00.  You felt you were in a real New York institution. 

I introduced Michael, my husband, to the “Holiday Cocktail Lounge” during our first date in 2001.  He said he knew I was “the one” because I took him to a dive instead of one of the trendier Soho or Meat Packing District establishment. 

Michael also got a chance to get serviced by the original owner Stefan.  We already moved out of New York City when Stefan died in 2009.  Michael and I both feel so blessed that we got a chance to be in the “Holiday Cocktail Lounge” when it was just a bear bones place.  Michael also felt so fortunate that he got to live in the East Village when it still was interesting.

In the year 2000 and beyond the East Village became more mainstream and gentrified.   Many of the divey bars closed its doors and it was replaced with trendy and hip watering holes.

During our visit to New York we were eagerly going to the “Holiday Cocktail Lounge” for a drink and to reminisce over the olden days.  We were so sad when we saw a sign outside saying it was closed for good.  The closing  of this New York institution marks the true end of an era.


“Holiday Cocktail Lounge” you were one of a kind!  We miss you!

Visiting the Big Apple, New York City, with My Sister Apple

(Note: I am still trying to figure out what direction to take my blog.  I feel like for over 9 months I blogged daily.  It was like creating a baby, and now I want to see what the next chapter will be.

Please feel free and look around my blog.  Make yourself at home because “mi casa, su casa”!

Below I have reprinted a blog post from my sister Angela Lopez (aka Apple Lopez) blog at www.applelopez.com.)

An Afternoon in Alphabet City NYC (by Apple Lopez)

My original plan was to take my sister to Manhattan, lunch at Gramercy Tavern (I wanted to dine at restaurants that I went to when I was a student in the city in the 90’s), visit shops that they do not have in San Diego…namely Uniqlo & Isabel Marant & Mariebelle Fine Chocolates) then have a glass of wine at more nostalgia 90’s restaurants Il Tre Merli or Lucky Strikewith friends. If I was lucky, I was hoping to find a sample sale.

Plans changed and my brother in law, Michael, and nephews Massimo (age 5) and Rocco (age 2) joined us. We ate at the park and wandered around the East Village and Alphabet City. A totally different experience from the original shopping trip, but even more fun since the boys were just beaming with excitement.

Photo Jun 18, 9 17 02 AM

Michael discovered Sunny and Annie’s on Yelp. Located in a nondescript building, it is a no frills convenience store/deli with interesting sandwich creations. I enjoyed the Pho sandwich ($7.99) which uses generous portions of roast beef (not Vietnamese cold cuts), basil, cilantro, bean sprouts, hoisin sauce, and sriracha.



Pho Sandwich

The boys then had a classic NY cheese pizza which the pizza guy smartly cut into kid size bites.



A glimpse of Katz Deli– I love their fries

I may have missed the clothing stores, but we made it to Mariebelle which was the most important store for me since online shipping for a hot chocolate powder is $30. Mariebelle has the richest thickest most decadent hot chocolate similar to Starbuck’s now defunct “drinkable dessert” Chantico(which I wish they would bring back).



I have the best brother in law, who is totally game. On the drive home, we were talking about our favorite cheesecake, Junior’sin Brooklyn and how we like it better than the branch in Grand Central station. He immediately drove to Brooklyn. I love that the cakes are dense and slightly sour. A pleasant surprise, their rugelach is light and delicious.

Cheesecake and rugelach…what a great way to end our daytrip.

Inspiring Quotation of the Week on Marriage

My favorite quote of the weeks is…..



Michael and I when we first met in 2001, NYC.

Michael and I on our wedding day, 2005.

Michael and I today!

Have a great day!

Death and Deciding to Go on Vacation

I have a friend who died last week at the young age of 40 years old.


We first met when I was in 3rd grade.  For many years we were not in touch, but in the last couple of years Facebook reconnected us and a friendship was born again.

When someone passes away it is only natural to remember the past.  I kept on thinking how when I was in 3rd grade, and my friend was in 4th grade, our whole lives were in front of us.  You don’t think that you will be dying so young and having to say goodbye to all your friends and family.

My friend’s death has made me reflect on my life right now.  We work so hard, we try to be frugal and we are saving for the future, but  I was reminded once again how we also have to enjoy life today.  We need to seize the moment and grab opportunities.

Thank you Kirk for being a friend.  Thank you for making me realize that our family needs a vacation.  Have a safe trip to heaven!  I hope to see you there many, many years from now.

For our annual vacation 2012 we have decided to go to Italy!  Now I am going mad and obsessing about finding some cheap fares.  If you have any tips please pass them on!


Flying with the kids may be scary, but we are looking forward to it.


Thank you for letting me share and have a great day!