National Coffee Day...is TODAY!

Yep, that's right. Today is National Coffee Day 2011! Althought some places said it's International Coffee Day 2011. Not sure many are celebrating - although Caribou is offering buy one get one free, 7-11 was offering free coffee until 11am, and Krispy Kreme offered some sort of free coffee as well. The Washington Post Blog had a little snippet here.

I'm not sure that Americans need a "special day" to drink coffee, right? Most people that drink coffee have it most days and those that don't aren't going to drink it on this nominally special day. But hey, since I drink coffee most days, might as well celebrate...

In honor of NCD (that's what celebrators call it nowadays obviously) here are some places where I have enjoyed a memorable cup of coffee (that I can remember)...

Costa Rica - enjoyed coffee at a hotel, bought 2 lbs of coffee in a market in San Jose, and 3 years later enjoyed Costa Rican coffee on my Honeymoon in Papagayo...

- big tea drinkers/producers but I enjoyed both in Nairobi...

- strong and sweet, almost syrup-like sometimes! Gives you enough caffeine for 3-4 days. My friend Thony said he doesn't like to drink it everyday or else he gets a little crazy and then gets headaches.

Go celebrate. Drink some coffee. Most of you already have and/or were already planning on getting your second or third cup today probably. I might go enjoy one cup today, since I've noticed that two cups gives me a headache! At least at Starbucks...

Let Me Explain Myself When I Say "I Coupon..."

First of all, I am sorry to not have posted for a while...I guess with all the busyness of my photography website and placing ads and such, I forgot! But here we are, with a post that's sure to please.

So I have been couponing for our family of 2 since the summer. At first it was just a little, now it's a lot more. Once you start, it is just as they say and it is difficult to compell yourself to buy something at full price, even when you actually need it! Most of me just wants to go print an online coupon or wait until there's a sale, but oh well.

I considered starting a coupon blog, but am not sure I will yet - should I?! There aren't many male couponers out there as you probably thought - I am reminded by the female cashiers EVERY TIME I check out! For now I will show one of them success stories from Tuesday. So first here's the list of what I got and I'll explain WHY and HOW MUCH I PAID below!

9 Boxes of the largest size of Honey Nut Cheerios (21.6 oz) - $5.93/each retail
4 Bengay Pain Relieving Cream (2 oz) - $5.49/each retail
4 small bags of cat treats - $1.49/each retail
1 Publix Premium Honey Wheat Bread - $1.89 retail
1 Safety Matches (10 count, 32 per box) - $1.15 retail
1 Cantaloupe - $2.99 retail
1 Mission Fajita (Package of 20) - $2.69 retail
1 Family Size Box of Kleenex Tissues - $2.49 retail
1 "Body Puff" aka Loufa for my lovely wife - $1.69 retail
Ok so all of that and I was actually charge twice for the matches, but it wasn't worth going back for the $1.15 and here's why:
Total cost of all items at retail:
TOTAL = $93.20
So...what did I pay?!? Well You'll be glad to know that with the sale prices of a few of the items and over $55 worth of coupons I paid $11.62. Now the items I need to explain...
Cat Treats - they were completely free. The coupon was for one free Crave Cat Treats (I had 4 of them) and I take Christina on cat walks - not the dangerous kind, just the ones around our neighborhood to search for strays for her to love on since I am allergic and would die in an apartment with an animal I'm allergic to!
Bengay - I had a $5 manufacturer coupon and a $2 Publix coupon - so yes, I actually made money off of "buying" them. $1.49 each. You didn't know you could?! Check your store's coupon policy. I have "bought" only packs of gum and walked out with more money than I walked in with. Worth it.

Well this is my fun one. I had a rain check from a week or two before when the item was actually on sale for $2.99. Silly Publix had a $2 off only that size that expired 9/30, so of course most bought it for $0.99 - great deal. However I had coupons giving me an additional $0.33 of each, making them $0.67! But they were out of stock every time I went. So I got a rain check - another thing you should do! Then this past weekend I found new Cheerio's coupons which would give me $0.50 off each box up to 8 boxes. So I ended up getting 6 boxes for $0.49 and the other 3 for $0.67. Wow! Since Christina and I PLOW through cereal like it's our job, we will have no trouble finishing them.

So there you have it. Now, whether "couponing is cool again" is true or not, I'm still siding with it's not so "cool," but it is definitely WORTH IT! Start couponing. You won't regret it. Where do you get coupons? I buy 4 Sunday newspapers at $1.25 each so that factors in $5 a week on getting coupons. I also print from online sources like Target (an accepted competitor at my Publix), Coupons.com, Red Plum, and Smartsource. Follow some blogs of local coupon fanatics in your area and it will be super helpful. Sometimes it's hard to find someone close, for instance some of the blogs I check out are in Georgia and that means I often go to the store and the item is not on sale or not the same price. I have another great shopping trip coming up for cereal, I might be getting it for free...if they don't run out!

Since you're reading all my my math and couponing story, take a minute to head over to my wife's blog, it's not about couponing and doesn't have math and it's awesome and she will be a famous blogger.

Happy Thursday!


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New Domain! BrettBeckerPhotography.com

As you may have noticed in my previous two posts, I started watermarking with "Brett Becker Photography" and some of the new BIG NEWS is I also registered my domain name http://www.brettbeckerphotography.com/ - don't get too excited just yet! It will bring you right back here! But there are some exciting things in the process and will hopefully be unveiled soon. So in the meantime, take a look around and enjoy all the photos I have on this blog already!

But it means there are two ways to get here for now:

In the meantime, here is a photo of my parents from a family wedding last year (such a good looking couple, right?!):

I'll tell you this...since I am now editing with Adobe Lightroom 3, Blogger does NOT do my photos justice. I think they look so much better before they get loaded and compressed into Blogger! But that's okay, I realize that Google is high-powered and all, but not enough to put full-size, all-the-millions-of-pixels-photos on my blog time and time again. There's only so much space I guess!

3 for 3 this week (Monday-Wednesday posting) - not bad!


South Beach Miami - Paying to Park...for the Homeless

With all that's going on in South Beach, Miami, it was actually really refreshing to see this! There is SO much money, fame, greed, and waste going on that you wouldn't expect to find a program that provides something for free and even more so you wouldn't expect them to actually forward 100% of the money raised! This parking lot is on Commerce Street in between Washington Avenue and Alton Road - a little west of Collins Road (A1A).

Check out these signs for the full info...

Curb Your Dog! But more importantly, a program that helps change lives...
You Don't Have To Feed The Meters To Park Here.
But The Change You Put In Them Will Change Lives.

By placing your spare change in our donation meters, you are helping change lives. 100% of the monies collected in these meters fund housing and indoor meal programs for people experiencing homelessness.

Miami-Dade Count Homeless Trust

FREE CALL - Homeless Helpline

 I think these are some of the coolest looking parking meters around. I have taken a bunch of photos of viewers (you know, those things that are like "binoculars" or a "telescope" so you can see the view of the beach or city in a little more detail?!) - well maybe I will have to do some parking meters now! Who knew that they varied from place to place. 

Here is the website for Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust if your curiosity has been sparked. There are definitely a lot of homeless down here in Florida. Having lived in New York, Massachusetts, California, Virginia, and now Florida, there are homeless everywhere and we are all aware. But at least next time you are parking your Lamborghini in South Beach or Miami, you can give to the homeless pretty darn easily. 

I know Hollywood, FL has a homeless shelter and ministry called the Homeless Voice - and they help feed, clothe, house, and provide job training for those who are homeless. But there are usually great people doing great things almost everywhere!


A New Camera, A New Photographer, A Not-so-New Model!


It has come - the time to upgrade to a new camera. It is an exciting time! There is some more news that will be coming along with it (good news of course), but it's not quite at sharable status yet. So stay tuned! But in the meantime, I enjoyed taking my Canon 7D out for a "get to know you date" with my lifetime date (aka wife) to get to know how to use the 7D a little better - and of course enjoy time with my wife. Having my Rebel XTi for 4 1/2 years had me so used to the settings, how to change things quickly and make them the way I wanted, I was so used to the weight and size, and everything changes with the 7D. In order to do the very same things, I had to read the owner's manual...the OWNER'S MANUAL! You think, "Who even reads those anymore??" Well, I read a lot of it. It's very informative and a good reminder of settings, but more importantly I needed to actually LEARN how to change the settings quickly, rather than the slow way which I had figured out easily.

Short story long, here are some photos I took of my beautiful wife Christina - we went down to South Beach Miami (look for my next post) and walked around for the day. It was 95 degrees...and humid of course. So it's not a photographer's dream to be sweaty and trying not to drip all over his camera, nor is it fun for a model who is also sweating. These shots were taken after cooling down for a good half hour or so in a coffee shop, enjoying cold drinks and VERY cold a/c (Florida knows how to keep things cool!), so we weren't too bad by now!

Since we were both pretty unfamiliar with South Beach - as far as finding cool spots to take photos - I tried to keep my eyes peeled for some good ones. I definitely like this one we found (above). This is along the sidewalk that follows the beach - I wouldn't really classify it as a boardwalk. But this short wall added some cool dimension to the photo and elevated my beautiful subject, which also helped remove the people walking and cars behind her.

Here's my new photographer! Christina now tells me this is her camera (the XTi). It mostly is, unless I need a backup! I'm so excited to help teach her how to use it at a more advanced level, since she already knows the basics. She'll be a pro in no time.
I don't think I can pick a favorite between this photo and the first on this post. She is SO beautiful! Stay tuned for a post about South Beach!


Some Magazine-Like Photography: From New York

So here they are - a few of the "model-y" shots.
Erin is a GREAT model, huh?! Let me know if you have any favorites - use the comment box!

 Have a great weekend! New posts will be coming soon...that's a GUARANTEE!! Good news is coming too...