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We've all got that stuff around that we wish would just spontaneously combust.  We no longer have any need/use/want for it, and yet it lingers; cluttering, bothering, haunting

My old, slower-than-molasses-in-January laptop, for example, has stalked me from Texas to Oklahoma to Texas again and now to Colorado.  Lord almighty, I'm seriously considering filing a restraining order.  Leave me alone Dell, please just leave me alone.

Over this next month, I've offered to help my parents sort through their closets and expel some of those unwanted items that have lingered for years – a way of earning my keep while Husband is tied up in another month of training until the big move.  

Seeing as how I'm already going through the process, I thought I'd share some valuable, supernatural-stuff-fighting information with y'all and save you a bit of time, space and sanity (and maybe even make you a little bit of money too). 

I ain't afraid of no ghosts.

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Article publié pour la première fois le 26/10/2010

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Siam Park is famous for its unique attractions that are designed to please all tourists, regardless of their age. As soon as you step into this incredible fun place located in Tenerife, the Canary Islands, you will never want to return home!

The first thing that catches the visitors’ eyes is the outstanding white sandy beach and the excitement that can be seen on the people’s faces. Surfers will certainly enjoy the huge wave pool located in the vicinity of the Wave Palace, while those who want to become surfers will be pleased to find out that Siam Park features a surf school. And where could you possibly learn more things about surf than in the largest water park from Europe, best known for the highest waves ever generated by a wave pool (about three meters high)?

Siam Park at AttractionTix is also known for its unique sculptures that represent mythical creatures, but also for the wide range of animals such as seahorses, monkeys or elephants, which have inspired the building process.

Other main attractions of Siam Park are its outstanding slides such as Jungle Snakes, The Naga Racer or The Dragon. Jungle Snakes consists of four winding slides that will certainly provide loads of fun for both children and adults. However, if you think you deserve something more thrilling, you can try experiencing another famous attraction called The Giant, which basically consists of two identical bowls where you’ll get to experience the force of a cyclone, thanks to the powerful centrifugal force.

Besides, you can have a great time drifting along the Mai Thai River and enjoying the amazing sights of the park, including the stunning aquarium, the waterfalls and the exotic islands.

In case you decide to take a break from the adrenaline pumping attractions and spend some quality moments with your friends or relatives, you can visit one of the restaurants and bars featured by Siam Park. The Tea House is located in the vicinity of the Sea Lion’s lake, and is a good choice whenever you want to have a snack or drink good tea or coffee. Besides, at the Beach Club Restaurant you have the opportunity to try some amazing dishes designed to please all tastes.

Once you visit this water park, you will certainly like to buy some souvenirs for your friends or relatives. Luckily for you, Siam Park features a floating market inspired from the Thai villages, where you can find a wide array of special gifts and many other items such as sunglasses or sun creams. What’s great about this floating market is that it was constructed with traditional Thai materials, such as bamboo.

Siam Park is one of the most appealing water parks, and its unique features turn it into a perfect holiday destination. Tourists will have the time of their life by discovering all the attractions from this park. Check out other great holiday destinations at AttractionTix.

Article publié pour la première fois le 04/04/2013

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The Big Deal About Debt

I’m feeling a little fancy today.  Why, I might even quote a little bit of iambic pentameter.

  

Go with me to a notary, seal me there 

Your single bond; and, in a merry sport, 

If you repay me not on such a day,

In such a place, such sum or sums as are 

Express’d in the condition, let the forfeit

Be nominated for an equal pound

Of your fair flesh, to be cut off and taken

In what part of your body pleaseth me.

 

  

Merchant of Venice, William Shakespeare

Act I, Scene III, ll. 140-146 pp. 7-18 

  

Have you ever taken money from a loan shark where you put a pound of your own flesh up as collateral so that your BFF could woo his lady fair (see the plot for the Merchant of Venice)?  The girl in me is thinking, “oh my, how romantic,” the rational human being in me is thinking, “wow, that’s pretty messed up.”

 

The truth is that many people will go into debt over far less noble things than love: TV’s, sofas, cars, all with low, low financing now available!

 

 

Why We Accumulate Debt

  • Impatience & the Lure of Instant Gratification  
  • Achievement of Goals
  • Lack of Understanding About Debt Usage
  • It’s Easy!

You want something.  You want it now.  You don’t have the money for it.  Someone offers you the money for it as long as you promise to pay them back plus a little extra for their trouble. 

If there were no lenders there would be no debtors.  That is not to say that all debt is necessarily bad (though some do feel that way).  A mortgage, for example, might be the only way for a family to realize their dream of home ownership. 

Easy accessibility and high availability of credit and debt can seduce the rich and poor alike into paying interest on purchases for which they might otherwise be able to simply save. 

Fifty years ago, psychologists played a cunning trick on a bunch of American four-year-olds. They were given a marshmallow and told that if they waited for 20 minutes before eating it, they could have another one. Most cracked within seconds, but about one in three held out and – with suitably smug expressions, no doubt – got two sickly confections when the experimenter came back into the room.

Their careers have been tracked to the present day, and the goody two-shoes among them (I am sure I would have scoffed the sweet at once) seemed to be healthier, to do better at school, and to have more controlled and perhaps happier lives than those who gave in.  

Steve Jones, Telegraph.co.uk

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Article publié pour la première fois le 20/09/2010

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30 Day Shredding

The following is a documentation of pain, suffering, and a woman doing a ridiculous amount of jumping jacks, also known as The 30 Day Shred DVD by Jillian Michaels.  But seriously, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: DVD’s are a great way to workout on a budget.  If you don’t have the cash for a gym membership, try taking 10 bucks to Wal-Mart and seeing what you can find. 


  


Day 1 – Starting on Level 2 because I like to overestimate how fit I am.  This DVD is only 20 minutes and I was sweating by minute 10.  My arms are shaking as I’m typing even though my improvised weights were 1lb bottles of shampoo and conditioner.  I’m going to PUMP you up.


Day 2 – I’m a little sore from yesterday, so that’s why I think I did worse today.  Jillian isn’t sweating because she doesn’t do any of the moves.  I don’t even want a six pack like hers.  Jillian has no friends.


Day 3 – My calves really really hurt.  I look like an absolute idiot when I do, anything, but especially the jumpy-twisters.  At least I was able to keep on moving the whole time today. 


Day 4 – The 20 minutes aren’t getting any shorter.  I finally got up the nerve to try the non-modified moves.  Thank God no one is here to watch me; except for God, and I think he’s entertained.


Day 5 – Alright, I confess, I skipped on the weekend.  Don’t worry, I’ll do my full 30.  My shampoo weight is getting lighter than the conditioner.  I hope I don’t turn out lopsided.  The workout is getting easier and I do notice that my posture is getting better.


Day 6 – Today I found the first legitimate thing I don’t like about this DVD: you can’t fast forward Jillian’s non-motivational intro.  This was a major pain when my computer shut down for automatic updates in the middle of my workout.  In good news, I’m definitely noticing that I’m more toned in my thighs and stomach.


Day 7 – As with any workout video, I’m so tired of hearing the same commentary over and over.  Today I turned down the volume and put some music on in the background; made a huge difference in how fast the workout went.  I also had a big ‘ah ha!’ moment when I realized the workout is actually 30 minutes (5 warm-up, 5 cool-down)!  I’m so smart.


Day 8 – Blah.  Today went fine.  Still a little sore in my arms, still dripping with sweat by the time I’m finished.  Just blah.  Only 7 more days until I bump it up to level 3; any change is welcome (though I know I’ll regret saying that).


Day 9 – Today is Friday and I only got halfway through the DVD.  I’m pooped, just pooped I tell you.  You wanna know something else?  I’m not doing the video this weekend either!  HA!


Day 10I’m getting a little burnt out on this workout, but that tends to be my feeling toward any workout video.  That’s not to say that I’m not getting any results, because I have been pleased with how I’m feeling/looking.  I would just recommend alternating this DVD with a different workout, or finding a workout buddy who is really good at guilt trips.


Day 11 My arms are so strong.  I can now lift my shampoo/conditioner weights the entire time without crying. 


Day 12 No new developments today, so I will share a workout story: The only time I have ever been consistent enough at lifting weights to build muscle, I got confused about the exercise and built the wrong muscle.  It takes some time to get rid of Popeye forearms, just FYI.  The end.


Day 13 I had to take it easy on the knee-involved exercises today but was dripping with sweat by the end, as usual.  I’m not a sissy, you’re a sissy.


Day 14 Yes, I took a 4 day weekend.  BUT, it was to prepare for today: my first day of Level 3, and I must say it wasn’t as painful as I expected.  My favorite part of today: NO MORE LEVEL 2!!!


Day 15 Today I am sore in brand new places.  The cardio on Level 3 is about the same as Level 2, but the arm work is much harder.  I never could have just jumped straight to Level 3 with my spaghetti arms.


Day 16 I just realized it really doesn’t matter if I do the video or not, how are you gonna know?  It took me 16 days to figure this out.  Whatever, I did it today anyways.  I don’t care if you believe me.


Day 17 – Took one extra day off to drive up to Colorado for a family visit.  You wanna give me a hard time about it?  Try working out at altitude, I needed the rest.  


Day 18  A few hours after completing Day 18, I got the flu and took the rest of the week off.  This is rapidly turning into the 60 Day Shred.


Day 19 – Back on track, back to my arms hurting, back to Jillian smugly telling me that I want a six pack.  I really really can’t wait to just go for a run.  


Day 20  I had heard that Jillian doesn’t want to have kids because it would “ruin her body.”  You know what?  It’s true.  Take from that what you will.


Day 21  Maybe I’m just reaching a mental break, but I’m beginning to feel that Level 3 goes by faster than Level 2. 


Day 22  I am absolutely stronger, but my energy has not been as high as working out usually gets it.  I wonder if it’s because I haven’t done very much lifting before.  I’m pooped. 


Day 23– I think I saw a little six pack this morning.  A very very little six pack, but woo hoo!


Day 24 – The 30 Day Shred is even harder after a sleepless night of camping.  Though, it is a comfort to know I could have fought off any bears that may have bothered us; or at least done more sit-ups than them. 


Day 25 – Now I know why I haven’t done this workout on a weekend up until this point: it’s stupid.  Worth it, however, now only 5 days left.  Ending on a Friday will be glorious.  Maybe I will make Husband throw me a party. 


Day 26 – Tomorrow I’m challenging Husband to the Shred.  Let’s see who wins…


Day 27 – Husband is a chicken and I am almost done.  Thank goodness.


Day 28 – 28 days later and I am still dripping sweat.  I blame Oklahoma. 


Day 29 – Only ONE MORE DAY.  I’m so tired of this.


Day 30 – Chant this rhythmically: done, done, done, done, done, done done.


 


 

Article publié pour la première fois le 23/06/2010

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Yard Saling Without a Yard

As my more recent posts have shown, I am a big fan of yard sales. Not only are they a wonderful world of unknown shopping delights, they are also a great way to accomplish two tasks that most of us sometimes need a little help with: decluttering our living spaces and making money. Now, despite my great love of all things yard sale, let me confess my own dirty little secret: I have not held a yard sale in almost ten years. I know, I’m terrible. But, before those chants of “hypocrite” swell to a roar out there in cyberspace, let me explain myself.

For the past six years I have lived in an apartment. But that’s not all, those apartments I’ve lived in have never been on the ground floor. For those of you out there who haven’t done the math yet, let me do it for you. It’s been almost logistically impossible for me to go out and have my own yard sale. Sure, I could have teamed up with a home-owning friend but the thought of dragging all of my unwanted junk to someone else’s house was just too much for me. Being held hostage by my living situation, I had to get creative. How can you have a yard sale without actually having a yard sale? Enter God’s gift to the weak, the oppressed, and the lazy– the Internet. Instead of having a physical yard sale, I’ve been having a virtual yard sale. So, here are my tips to selling your unwanted stuff without having to tape up “For Sale” signs and haggling with grumpy shoppers.

Pawn your stuff. That’s right folks, they aren’t just for degenerates and underwater gamblers anymore. With the recent success of various reality television shows featuring pawn shops, it’s easy to see that these shops have come out of the dark and into the light of legitimacy. Pawn shops are a quick and easy way to sell your items with little to no fuss. Of course, there are some things to be wary of. If the item you are trying to sell is in high demand, a pawn shop offers a way to make some good money. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true so don’t expect to sell all of your items at top dollar.

Consignment shops. The idea of a consignment shop is something that might be new to some people. These are shops where the store sells your stuff for you and then takes a cut from the final sale price as a commission. This is a great option for those of us who hate the haggling game. As the seller, you never have to advertise or deal with shoppers. Of course, such luxury comes at a price and the amount you take home in your pocket will probably be less than if you put in the legwork of salesmanship yourself.

Sell your stuff online. The internet is full of places you can sell your stuff. Ebay is probably the most well known of the online auction sites, but if you look around, there are others as well. Personally, I like to sell my stuff through Amazon.com. Like a consignment shop, Amazon let’s you have a more hands-off approach to selling your things. People shopping on the website look up what they want to buy and then they have the option of purchasing used from you. Its a great system and a great way to parse down your stuff.

What yard sale alternatives have you used? Which options work best for you?

Article publié pour la première fois le 20/08/2012

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Who doesn’t love Disneyland? You know, besides the Nazis and Satan himself. Everyone loves Disneyland. Even people who say they don’t like Disneyland, secretly like Disneyland. What’s not to like?! It is a magical place, and even more so for kids. I think every child remembers their first trip to Disneyland as nothing short of a mind-blowing experience. The rides, characters, experiences, sights, and smells all combine to add up to more than the individual parts. Disneyland is quite simply amazing.

Okay, now that we’ve established the obvious, taking your family to Disneyland can be less than magical for your wallet. Disneyland has recently upped ticket prices once again and unfortunately, it’s not getting cheaper to visit ol’ Walt’s dreamland. So this begs the question: how can you save money visiting Disneyland? Here is part one of our tips to help you experience the happiest place on Earth without sending you directly to the poorhouse.

Search for discount tickets, but don’t expect much. Let’s get this out of the way first. It seems like the most obvious place to save on a trip to Disneyland is by finding a deal on the entrance ticket. Unfortunately, Disney is not one for giving big discounts in this area. It you are military (or know someone who’s in the military and owes you a favor) you can find some deep discounts on admission. Ditto for Southern California residents; Disney frequently has deals for locals. As for everyone else, we’ll have to settle for the small discounts you may find online or through AAA. One small tip is to look on Craigslist or eBay for people’s multi-day passes that still have time left on them. Sometimes you can grab a day or two of admission below the gate-price. Of course, if you buy tickets for multiple days of admission, your price per day goes down. Long story short, don’t expect to save a ton at the gate. This should provide some motivation to look for other ways to save money.

Stay near the park. If you are traveling to Southern California to visit Disneyland, plan to stay near the park. This is especially true if you are bringing young ones to visit with you. By having your base of operations close by, you can utilize your hotel room to save you money. It would be nice to stay at a Disney hotel; they are close and very convenient, but unfortunately you pay through the nose for that convenience. Look to stay somewhere within walking distance or a hotel that has shuttle service to the Magic Kingdom. By staying close to the park, you can save money in other areas.

Try to eat big meals outside of the park. Here is where staying outside of the park can save you big bucks. For some reason Mickey and his pals charge $15 for a $4 hamburger. Food is notoriously expensive in the park itself. You have two options then when it comes to eating: suck it up and try to not let the cost ruin your fun, or stay close enough to the park that you can leave and eat something in your room. The savings only increase the more people you are paying to feed. Also, bring snacks into the park. Plan to carry a bag and load it up with snacks you and your family love to eat. You’ll need the energy for all the walking you’ll be doing and a few cents worth of pretzels is easier to swallow than a $7 turkey leg. You may still have to spring for a few churros while you’re strolling through the park (it’s just part of the Disneyland experience) but you’ll buy less and you’ll save money.

So there is part one of our tips to save at Disneyland. In our next post, we’ll look at how to avoid screaming kids in the souvenir shop.

Article publié pour la première fois le 16/09/2013

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