Category Archives: misc.

Must Have Apps for the Holiday Season

Even though the Holidays are upon us, that doesn’t mean that we as tech savvy humans will be spending less time on our smart phones.  Whether you’re looking for new recipes or trying to avoid talking to your nosy cousin, you will need some helpful, attention getting apps on your phone.  Here are my favorites!

If you don’t have Pinterest by now, where have you been for the last five years? 😀 Pinterest is a hub where anyone can create and share ideas.  From unique recipes, to how-tos on how to roast a turkey, to step by step guides on making slime for kids, Pinterest is an app so many of us can get lost in.  It’s also filled with gift ideas, so it’s one to keep on your phone year round!

You can get Pinterest HERE for iOS, and HERE for Android.

 

If you’ve stayed too long at your host’s house because you’re having so much fun, or you’ve decided that you just can’t bear to hear any more of your uncle’s grossly over exaggerated stories, Hotel Tonight is the app you need.  This app is designed specifically for finding you a hotel room on short notice.  It aggregates nearby hotels at the best prices, and has a simple to use interface.  I have used this app myself and I had no issues at all upon checking in to the hotel.  You can look at amenities and hotel ratings before you book, and there are often coupon codes available.

You can get Hotel Tonight HERE for iOS, and HERE for Android.

 

Speaking of coupon codes; you know you need to shop this next few weeks, so why not make the most of your money?  Retail Me Not is amazing for finding coupons and deals for your favorite stores and restaurants.  You can find coupon codes to use online, or those for in store use.  Users can also vote on whether or not a certain coupon code worked for them, so you won’t have to waste your time trying codes and seeing if one works.  Black Friday sales can be found here too.

You can get Retail Me Not HERE for iOS, and HERE for Android.

 

I haven’t yet met a person young or old who wasn’t fascinated with this app! Think of a character from anything–movie, book, television show.  Akinator the Genie will ask you questions until he figures out who or what you are thinking about.  This app is playable by even younger children, because most can answer yes or no questions about their favorite characters.  Once you try it, you will try more and more because you realllly want to stump him 🙂

You can get Akinator HERE for iOS and HERE for Android.

**Note–another fun game you can ask questions is Ask Bongo.  The game has two versions but it’s better if you pay to Ask Bongo!

I hope this guide will help you get through the season with minimal stress and maximum enjoyment! Let me know some of your must have apps in the comments.

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The Promise of Music for Future Generations

I have never met a single person in my 32 years that claims to not like music.  It seems to be a universal theme that can unite us all–though we might like different types, we all like the sound of music.

For as long as humans have been walking the Earth and creating things, there has been music.  Of course, the first instruments were our bodies; singing and humming with our mouths, clapping with our hands and tapping out a beat with our feet.  As we progressed as a species, we learned to use the objects in the natural world to make more sounds and put them together, from drums made from animal skins, to seed filled shakers, to flutes carved from tree branches.

Though making music is decidedly more technical now (for the most part), one benefit of the advent of the electronic world and connectivity of the internet is that we can experience and share more than just the music we have in our area or have grown up with.  The biggest hit of the summer was a Reggaeton worldwide smash, “Despacito.”  How many of us have gone deeper into exploring Latin music because of how much we loved this song?

Even though it’s true much music now is made with sound boards, electronic drums, and synthesized beats, there are still those creative souls who love to use simple, acoustic instruments to give us stripped down songs.  Singer songwriters such as Ed Sheeran have risen to the top of the charts with many heartfelt hits.

Music is struggling to be kept in our schools, but I can still see its’ promise in younger generations.  For example, recently my high school alma mater resurrected its’ band program after years of it being defunct due to lack of funding.  The band is small and full of novices, but they are learning, and the community loves to see and hear their presence at football games and parades.

My own nine year old son takes weekly guitar lessons, and he seems to be showing some natural skill, according to his teacher.  He loves modern day artists like Green Day along with older ones such as Bon Jovi.

To ensure that future generations are able to study music, funding is needed in early elementary levels to include arts programs in as many schools as possible. As students progress in their training and might want to study music at the college level, scholarships such as those offered by John Jesensky give kids a chance to chase their dreams and passions.

Thanks to such generous donors as John Ross Jesenky and many others, the promise of music will be in the world for generations to come.

7 Tips For A Stress-Free Moving Day

Found a new house? Moving to a new home can be exciting, a fresh start with a world of possibilities opening up before you, but the actual packing and moving part can be a huge headache if you don’t take the time to plan for it correctly. There’s so much to do and think about when you’re moving from one house to another, and it’s easy to get bogged down in the details and do things on autopilot when there might be simpler, smarter, more efficient ways that will cut down on the stress and labor involved. If you’re looking at moving soon, here’s a few things to keep in mind that can help make your moving day as smooth and enjoyable as it can be!

 

  1. Do a pre-move. Before the actual moving starts, clean up the kitchen and bathrooms in your new home and stock them with some essentials: toilet paper, a shower curtain, a bath mat, paper towels, garbage bags, cleaning supplies. Also, pack an overnight bag of the things you need to feel normal, like if you were going away for a weekend trip. Every family member should have their own personal bag packed up like this. With these things set up and ready, you’ll feel much more comfortable and prepared in your new place to stop and take a break for self-care when you need to, and you won’t have to scramble to search through your packed boxes or rush to the store to get basic supplies.

 

  1. Go label crazy. Label the tops and sides of boxes. Label what’s in them, and what room they should go in. Color code them. The more you label, the better the chance nothing will get misplaced and everything will end up where it’s supposed to be. Nobody who has moved was ever sorry that they labeled things too much.

 

  1. Who needs bubble wrap? Popping the bubble wrap may be the best part of moving as far as the kids are concerned, but you can save on wrap and pack more efficiently by using your clothing to cushion the fragile items you’re packing. You can even stuff stemware or other small breakable items in your socks to keep them secured.

 

  1. Before moving day comes purge day. Before you start packing everything up and hauling it to your new home, get rid of absolutely everything you don’t want to start spending the rest of your life with. Clothes that don’t fit? Toys the kids don’t play with anymore? Busted furniture? Appliances you haven’t used in years? Donate them if they’re in good shape and throw out everything that’s junk. Motivate yourself by scheduling a garbage or donation pickup. The less you have to pack, the easier your move will be, and the less clutter you’ll have at your new place.

 

  1. Seek professional help. It’s tempting to think you can save money by calling in favors, renting a van, and doing all the moving yourself with the help of your friends and family, but hiring a moving company to do the heavy lifting and driving for you can make a world of difference when it comes to having an easy moving day. A reputable company with lots of experience will know exactly what they’re doing and can blow your mind with how fast they’ll get everything moved, and when you factor in all the time and costs you’ll have to cover if you move yourself, it can make good money sense too.

 

  1. Take lots of pictures. Before the moving starts and everything gets packed up, your camera can be your best friend. Take pictures of how the cords on your electronics are set up. Take pictures of your most valuable belongings in case anything gets lost or damaged and you need to file an insurance claim. Take pictures of your most important documents and paperwork in case they get misplaced.

 

  1. Don’t fill up your fridge. Moving perishable food? That’s the last thing you need to deal with! You don’t want to have to throw away perfectly good food either, so for the last week or two before you move, try to stop buying food that needs to be refrigerated when you go to the grocery store.

 

The internet is full of great tricks for finding creative ways to pack things, so if you take the time to research you can find all kinds of other ingenious ways to make your move cheaper, safer, and more efficient. The main thing is to make a plan and a checklist and keep yourself organized so you can deal with the mishaps and unexpected surprises of moving day with grace and confidence. Once you’re in your new home, all the trouble will have been worth it!

Back to School Made Simple with Kids Email

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With school coming into session again, it’s the best time to help your child get organized to get off to a great start.  As my child is getting older and starting to tackle tougher subjects in school, we’ve found that sometimes he needs more help than he can get at school–we often have to sign up for websites and apps that help him learn.  Since I don’t want a ton of extra emails clogging up my inbox, it’s a perfect opportunity to let him gain a little independence with his very own email address from Kids Email.

Kids Email is an extraordinary email service for kids and tweens to get them started with the ins and outs of sending and receiving email.  Your child can register for their own personal email address, which you as a parent can have complete control over.  You can manage settings such as content filtering, sender blocking, and removing images from the emails your child receives.  You can even intercept emails to your own inbox to go over them first and then release them to be sent to your child’s inbox.

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My favorite thing about Kids Email is that they are now available on the go! Your child can access their email from any device, including Android, iOS, and Kindle.  I know this is something right up the alley for my almost 9 year old, who spends a lot of time with his iPod touch.

I also like that the interface is completely customizable depending on your child’s personal taste.  Make the inbox look the way they want it to look and then change it when you get tired of it!

There are so many reasons my son and I love using Kids Email, but I know most parents will want to check out the features for themselves.  The first month of Kids Email is completely free for you to try, and prices start as low as $2.99 a month after that.  Help your child’s school year be the best it can be with a little help from Kids Email!

Campus Book Rentals–Making Students and Kids Smile

When I was in college, everybody would line up at one of our two tiny bookstores on campus and practically kill each other in a mad rush to get to the limited number of used books we needed for our classes.  Even when we did find them, buying used textbooks instead of brand new ones only saved on average about $15 per book.  If you haven’t had the need to buy a college textbook, you will probably be shocked to learn that the majority of them can cost upwards of $100.  When you have 5 or 6 courses you need books for, it’s not unusual to spend $800 or more on one semester’s books.

Needless to say, I totally wish I would have known about renting textbooks while I was in college!  You pay a MUCH lower fee, and then you don’t have to worry about selling back your books at the end of the semester.  Oh yeah, did I mention most of the time when you try to sell your book back to the store, they won’t take it because a new edition will be coming out for the next year?!  ARGGGGGGHHHHHH.

So, today I’d like to share with you the awesome Campus Book Rentals.  What are the benefits for you?  Check it out:

-save 40-90% off of bookstore prices

-free shipping both ways

-you can highlight in the textbooks

-flexible renting periods

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Let me give you an example of how much you can save by renting a book instead of buying it!

Taking Psych 101?  The book you need will probably be something like this:

http://www.campusbookrentals.com/textbook/psychology/myers-david-g/worth-publishers-incorporated/9781429261784

As you can see, the cost to rent that book for one semester is only $32.26!! Or, you can buy it on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/1429261781/ref=sr_1_2_olp?ie=UTF8&qid=1386818352&sr=8-2&keywords=psychology+david+myers&condition=new

For upwards of $150.  I wasn’t a math major (I was Criminal Justice, with a double minor in English and Spanish, if you were wondering.  I know you were.), but I’m pretty sure that’s a huge percentage difference.  Yeah…I think that’s a no-brainer.

Need more info?  Here’s a video telling you more!

Campus Book Rentals has also started a new program called RentBack, where you can make money by lending your fellow students your own textbooks!  This is awesome because using RentBack can make you 2-4 times more money than you would get by just selling your books back to the bookstore at the end of the semester.

Check it out:


But, I still haven’t gotten to the best thing about using Campus Book Rentals.  For every book rental, Campus Book Rentals will make a donation to Operation Smile!  Operation Smile is an awesome organization that performs life changing cleft lip surgeries on children whose families could not otherwise afford it.

So, saving money on books you need and helping change children’s lives in the process?  It’s a win-win situation!  Check out Campus Book Rentals for all your textbook needs.

*DISCLAIMER:  I was compensated for this post by Campus Book Rentals, but I fully stand behind the company and would not endorse any service I wouldn’t use myself.  My thoughts and the text are my own.

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: Belinda Boring

Hey yall!  Today I’m happy to spotlight author Belinda Boring and some of her works.

About the Author

A homesick Aussie living amongst the cactus and mountains of Arizona, Belinda Boring is a self proclaimed addict of romance and all things swoon worthy. When she’s not devouring her latest read, you can find her celebrating her passion for books on her blog The Bookish Snob.

With all that excitement, it wasn’t long before she began writing, pouring her imagination and creativity into the stories she dreams. Whether urban fantasy, paranormal romance or romance in general, Belinda strives to share great plots with heart and characters that you can’t help but connect with. Of course, she wouldn’t be Belinda without adding heroes she hopes will curl your toes.

Surrounded by a supportive cast of family, friends and the man she gives her heart and soul to, Belinda is living the good life. Happy reading!

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Pinterest

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Some of Belinda’s books include:

FIND ALL OF BELINDA’S BOOKS:

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7 Groups of People Who Should Use Book Wholesalers

Buying books wholesale is one of the best kept secrets in the world of book buying. While many people love reading from a hard copy book, they are often under the misconception that their favorite titles have to be expensively priced and hard to get a hold of. By going through bulk book distributors, many different book buyers gain the freedom to buy the books they love at more affordable rates. The following categories of book lovers are just a few who could benefit from purchasing bulk books for sale through book wholesalers.

1. Bloggers
For bloggers who love reading, buying books in bulk quantity is a great way to bring in more viewers. There is nothing blog followers love more than a good giveaway. For a blog post about a favorite book title you might consider giving away free copies, or passing on the savings to fellow bloggers who are interested in the same book titles as you.

2. Booksellers
In order to survive in the book selling world, booksellers must find the best deals on the most popular titles. Ordering bulk books for sale is a great way to reduce your cost per copy while still getting the books your customers demand.

3. Book Clubs
Many individuals love the community feeling a book club brings, but dislike the high prices of books at local bookstores. To avoid the high costs of the titles your group wants to read, everyone can pitch in and get copies through a wholesale distributor. This makes a book club more affordable and exciting, as you can order the best new titles.

4. Classrooms
As an educator, it can be difficult to get your students interested in old, torn-up books. If you think purchasing a new classroom book set with book titles the kids love is too expensive, think again. When you find bulk books for sale through a wholesale distributor, the price of each copy goes down.

5. Daycares
Story time and reading time are great activities for daycare children of most any age. While kids may love and enjoy reading the stories, they are not always the easiest on the books themselves. Buying books in bulk can give you back-up copies of the books your daycare students love most of all, preventing heartbreak at worn and torn copies.

6. Health Facilities
From hospital rooms to doctors office waiting areas, books are a great way to keep patients occupied while recovering or waiting for service. For large offices or hospitals, bulk books can be distributed evenly throughout the departments. This spreads the book love all around while reducing the cost of purchase on each book.

7. Libraries
As new book titles are released, the demand from a library’s readership can get very high on particularly popular items. Buying books in bulk will allow more library patrons to check out the materials they are looking for and reduce long waiting lists on popular items.
These are just a few categories of people who may use book wholesalers to provide convenient and cost effective books for all of their book buying needs. If you are looking to save money on in-demand book titles, buying in bulk can save you a lot of money in the long run.

How A Journal Can Change Your Outlook On Life

Keeping an old-fashioned journal is a great way to document your life; using a pen, paper or pencil guarantees that your journal won’t ever be lost due to a computer glitch. Technology has taken over our daily lives, and people often forget that journals can be physically written out on paper. When you write out your journal, you have a record of your thoughts and feelings that lasts forever; physical journals last even when your cloud storage is erased and your computer has died.

Keeping a hand-written journal can enhance your life in the following ways:

  • Relieve Stress

In society today, people are expected to consistently stay on the move. As soon as a person wakes up, they keep active until they fall asleep; life is a flurry of work, family, commuting, cooking and cleaning. 

Modern life is stressful; if you dedicate a couple of minutes to yourself every day, you can collect your thoughts and calm your mind. Writing is a great way to relax and express your feelings on paper. A couple of minutes of calm can do wonders for your stress levels.

  • Stay Inspired

Brilliant ideas and deep thoughts have the tendency to come out of nowhere; if you don’t write your ideas down as soon as you have them, you run the risk of getting distracted and forgetting them. If you keep a journal with you, you can quickly jot down your best ideas right after you have them. Even a sentence or two in your Moleskine journal can help you expound on deep thoughts later.

  • Express Your Ideas With No Judgment

Journals are a great place to write whatever you want. No one will ever see your work unless you give them permission to read it; therefore, you can write whatever you please. A journal is like a sacred spot where you can express your deepest feelings without fear of what others will say. When you get your ideas out on paper, you bring a sense of clarity and focus to your life; tons of people have had life-changing epiphanies while writing out their thoughts.

Writing in a journal is one of the best ways to express yourself; when you use a journal for expression, you don’t have to worry about what others will say about your thoughts. This freedom gives you the ability to explore ideas and thoughts that you regularly wouldn’t; oftentimes, this can change your life.

It’s Prom Season–Find Your Perfect Dress!

Would I go back to high school? NO, absolutely not!  But I would, however, love another chance to go to prom so I could rock a dress like the ones found on jenjenhouse.com!

I myself am a girly girl, and anything pink and flowy is right up my alley.  These are some of the girly choices I would pick:

I love the criss cross waist detail.  This dress would be perfectly accessorized with sparkly earrings that have a bit of a drop.  The v-neck also would feature a necklace beautifully.

I absolutely ADORE the corset detailing on this dress!  If you want to stand out from the rest of the satin-clad prom goers, this gown is the way to go.  The back even has the lace up look that corsets are so well known for.  I’m not sure if I would go this bright pink, but the beauty of shopping on JenJenHouse is that most dresses are available in a variety of colors!

Maybe your personal style is a little less princess-y, and more classic.  Here is what I would recommend:

This has all the elements of that fashion mainstay, the little black dress…but it’s still flirty and fun.  Best of all, you will be able to move and dance at your prom!

I speak from personal experience when I tell you that having to shop for a flattering gown as a plus size girl is somewhat of a challenge.  JenJenHouse has got you!  Here are a couple I loved:

This dress has sparkle detail (a must for me, if you haven’t noticed), and the empire waist drops down to flowing ruffles that will help hide anything you want to hide!

This gown pushes up your girls and then helps hide any belly bulges with a strategically placed bow 😉

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No matter what your prom style, you will love the selection and prices found at JenJenHouse!

Just to make the experience easier on you, JenJenHouse is also your one stop shop for accessories and shoes!  Shop today to get the jump on all your prom needs, and get the worry out of the way.

GIVEAWAY: The Monuments Men Movie Swag!

Hey yall!  Today we have a swag giveaway for a great film being released tomorrow, February 7–The Monuments Men.  The film stars Matt Damon, George Clooney, and Bill Murray among others.  And best of all–it’s based on a book by Robert M. Edsel.

About the Movie:

Based on the true story of the greatest treasure hunt in history, The Monuments Men focuses on an unlikely World War II platoon, tasked by FDR with going into Germany to rescue artistic masterpieces from Nazi thieves and returning them to their rightful owners. It would be an impossible mission: with the art trapped behind enemy lines, and with the German army under orders to destroy everything as the Reich fell, how could these guys — seven museum directors, curators, and art historians, all more familiar with Michelangelo than the M-1 — possibly hope to succeed? But as the Monuments Men, as they were called, found themselves in a race against time to avoid the destruction of 1000 years of culture, they would risk their lives to protect and defend mankind’s greatest achievements.

 

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One commenter will win a movie swag pack including a t-shirt, poster, and bookmarks.

Let me know if you plan on seeing this!