Monday, March 30, 2015

Las Vegas Road Trip Prep- Car Preparation

Okay, so after we make this vacation I may need to seek therapy services. I may go crazy from being in a car for 28 hours one way!

The Hubby has always wanted to make the trip, so before we get old, we are going to cross it off our bucket list. Since we are driving our own car, we have been getting it ready to drive.

I got the oil changed and tires were balanced and rotated. We cleaned out the car over the weekend and now I just need to vacuum it out.

I have also made an emergency car kit. The Hubby looked at me like I was crazy, but you just never know!

My emergency car kit includes:
  • Antifreeze/Coolant
  • Brake Fluid
  • Tire Gauge
  • Jumper Cables
  • Paper Towels
  • Toilet Paper
  • Baby Wipes
  • Plastic Sacks
  • Band-Aids
  • Tylenol
  • Car Jack
  • Tire Wrench
  • Spare Tire
I'm sure there is a ton of other stuff you could include, but these are the basics that I did!

Until next time,

Kara

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Disappointed....

Indiana is where I grew up. Indiana is known for basketball, growing corn, and having crazy weather.

The Indiana Senate and House both passed a legislation bill, SB101. This bill would allow business owners to say no to providing services for same-sex couples. The House passed the bill 63-31 on March 23rd. 

According to the Indy Star Press, Governor Pence stated, "The legislation, SB 101, is about respecting and reassuring Hoosiers that their religious freedoms are intact," he said. "I strongly support the legislation and applaud the members of the General Assembly for their work on this important issue. I look forward to signing the bill when it reaches my desk."

I am so disappointed that Governor Pence is leading Indiana back in time and into discrimination.

I feel like voters often turn a blind eye to individual candidates in the election and just vote straight party. We now need to look at what our elected officials are doing to represent voters.... are we okay with discriminating against others for any reason? 

Will we return to discriminating against women? African-Americans? Buddhists? Muslim? Catholics? Red-heads? Will segregation make a comeback?  

Yes those are extreme examples, but not so far off the mark. I thought progress was moving toward acceptance, tolerance, and equality.

I just do not understand why the representatives feel like it is okay to hide behind their religious belief systems. One should not pick and choose which parts of their religion they want to acknowledge.

People will always have different opinions.That is their right and it is one thing that makes us who we are as a country, but to have a law saying it is okay to discriminate is not the answer to anything. 

You are making excuses for people to hate others and cutting off another groups rights. We are setting our children up to continue the hate that was started years ago when it was men vs. women or black vs. white. 

We need to teach acceptance, love, courage, sympathy, empathy, and friendship to our children.

I am so disappointed in the Indiana State Government. I hope this legislation is not a true representation of the people who live here in Indiana.

I am truly saddened on how this legislation could negatively effect potential economic growth from future businesses, people choosing to move to our state, and the national perception of Indiana.  

This is a time for Indiana voters to take a look in the mirror and re-evaluate who you chose to represent you and the state of Indiana.

"When you judge others, you do not define them, you define yourself."-Earl Nightingale

Until next time,

Kara





Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Happy Hump Day!

Happy Hump Day!

One of our all time favorite TV shows was Breaking Bad on AMC. 

I found this cool image the other day while looking for Breaking Bad quotes.


If you haven't seen the series, you better start now! You would be truly missing out. 

We are currently watching the Better Call Saul spin-off series. I will say I was skeptical over the new series after the first episode, but we stuck with it. We really are enjoying it! I think Saul is so funny and clever.

You better catch up!

Until next time,

Kara



Monday, March 23, 2015

Las Vegas Road Trip 2015 Prep- Snacks

We are in full swing Las Vegas Road Trip preparation around our house! 28 hours in a car will be interesting to say the least....

I have been making lists of everything I need. We don't really want to spend a lot of money on our way there on food, so I have been buying snacks.

I have been preparing for our upcoming vacation for over a month. I have checked the sale ads each week to stock up on snacks and meals for the trip. 

We have a selection of chips, crackers, candy bars, beef jerky, chex mix and peanut butter. I will buy stuff for turkey and ham sandwiches, cheese cubes and grapes when it gets closer to time.

I stocked up on bottled Pepsi products when Kroger had them on sale for $1.88 per 6-pack. This way we won't have to splurge on soda for our hotel room when we are on the trip. You will pay more for one 20 oz. bottle then I did for six 24 oz. bottles. It's crazy!

I will also have frozen water to keep the cooler cold and that way you can drink it as it thaws and some Gatorade.

I keep hoping that I won't forget anything important!

Until next time,

Kara


Warren Buffet Financial Quotes

One of the most influential people of our time is Warren Buffet. He is a mega investor whose legacy could take care of several generations of his family without a blink of an eye. 

Here are several quotes by Warren Buffet: 



He is the type of investor that my husband and I hope to be. He is successful, but still grounded when it comes to his lifestyle.

Hopefully you can get inspired to do some investing of your own!

Until next time,

Kara



Picture accreditation from ohmyread.com

Friday, March 20, 2015

Happy March Madness 1st Friday!

Can we say March Madness?!? Between the NCAA tournament and Indiana crazy weather, I can officially say March Madness is in full swing!

Did you watch any of the games yesterday? Well I can say that my bracket, plus a lot of other brackets have suffered...but I love a good underdog story!



My team plays today, let's go Louisville! I'm supporting my team at work today.



The Hubby and I have continued to go bowling once or twice a week. We are going to take our bowling balls on vacation to Las Vegas. The Gold Coast has a 70 lane bowling alley! It should be a great time!


video

I heard a song on the radio from the 50 Shades of Gray soundtrack, it's such a good song!

I hope you have a great weekend and enjoy some basketball!

Until next time,

Kara

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Happy Hump Day!

It's Wednesday, we all need that pick-me-up! You have to love Michael Scott and his encouragements. 

Push through the rest of the work week!


Until next time,

Kara



Picture source www.episodeguidetv.com 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

5 Financial Strategies for the Everyday Person

My husband and I both are looking toward the future. We would like to retire at a decent age without the worry of what ifs. Too many people do not plan for their future and are only looking a day at a time.

I truly believe it is important for our generation to take an active role in their futures and planning their retirements. Too many people counted on Social Security in order to live in retirement. We may not have any of those benefits when we get to the retirement age. Taking control of your finances is a lifestyle choice. It's just like eating healthy and working out. You have to make an effort in order to see results.

I believe that anyone, no matter what your social and financial status is, can start with some basic strategies. 

1. Set Financial Goals
Too many people are living pay check to pay check these days. I know that every family's situation is different, but you need to set a goal to reach toward. Otherwise, it is too easy to make excuses for why you aren't putting that $20.00 back that you could be saving or splurging on a new TV when you already have a  working one.

Set a goal so that you have an incentive to reach it. Maybe you want to save $2,000 in order to start an investment in the stock market. Perhaps, you would like to pay for your next car in cash instead of taking a loan out. 

Little goals can help you feel good about reaching them and help you look forward to your long term goals.

2. Make Sacrifices 
People who are rich aren't always born with a silver spoon in their mouth. Many people start from the ground floor and work their way up. Along the way you must make sacrifices in order to reach your short-term and long-term goals.

For example, I got my first car when I was 16 years old. It finally was biting the dust when I was about 25. I only work about 3 miles from our home, so there was no way I was going to buy a new car. I found a car I loved at a used car lot, but it had hail damage. The car ran great, it was a luxury brand and it was well taken care of. I got a great deal because most people aren't willing to sacrifice the looks of the car. I don't care what my car looks like, it does it's job!

Maybe your sacrifice is staying in a smaller house with your family because you are close to paying it off or going without name brand foods and drinks because you can save money on groceries. 

Little things add up, so do not discount yourself by saying your only saving "x" amount a month. Changing several little things each day, week and month will add up over time. Then you will begin to not even have to think about where to save money. It will become like second nature.

3. Pay off Debt
One goal I set for myself was paying off my student loan before we got married. When I graduated college, I got my first real job. The first year I worked, I really only spent money on gas and my student loan. I got that $8,500 paid off in less than 12 months. 

I was so proud of myself and I was happy that we could start our marriage off with only one piece of debt, my husband's car.

Then it became out next goal to pay off his car. We paid extra on it each month. Not only does this take years off the loan, it saves you money in interest accruing on the loan.

You don't have to go to the extreme of paying things off in a year, but if you make the effort at all it will help you save money in the long run. 

4. Save Money
This seems easy, but we all know that person with the attitude "if they have it, they spend it." You should try to put a little money back each month. This would help with an emergency fund and for accomplishing your short and long-term goals. 

Even if you can put back $20.00 a month,  you will start to accumulate some money over time. A little bit of savings is better than none at all.

5. Quit Playing the Victim
Quit blaming others, the government or economy for everything. We each have choices and we each have complications in life. Don't just blame others and say "poor me". Try and do something about your situation, just don't settle. 

Nobody ever got anywhere by wallowing in self-pity. You pick yourself up and try to solve the problem.

I am not saying that I am this know-it-all guru when it comes to money, but my husband and I do really well for ourselves considering what we each do for a living. We will never be rich by him being a teacher and me being an office manager. We are striving to try and set ourselves up by planning other income sources for our future. 

Every family should try to set themselves up the best they can because you never know what our futures hold. You can only count on yourself. We cannot rely on the government for our future plans. We have to be proactive!

Just a few changes here and there can add up! It will be hard at first, but it will pay off to be dedicated. Choosing to be smart with money is a lifestyle commitment. 

Until next time,

Kara



Picture accreditation from www.unboxedthoughts.com

Friday, March 13, 2015

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday!

We haven't had a ton going on this week. It has finally gotten above 32 degrees in Indiana. I swear it hits 40 and it feels like summer. Varsity basketball is officially over, so it is kind of nice having no planned events going on!



I got my first 200 in bowling! We bought me a new ball that hooks some. I am still trying to get used to it, but we all start somewhere!




I have a recent obsession with Jamberry nails. They are vinyl stickers with designs on them for your finger or toe nails. They are pretty simple to put on and look like you went and got a manicure. I like getting my nails done, but I do not like what it costs to do that. This is a more cost efficient way to do that!



I bought Mockingjay Part 1 on DVD last Friday when it came out. I was so excited! I cannot wait until November when the final movie comes out!



I had been looking for some app to put our vacation pictures to with music so I would have a fun way to look at them. I found FLIPAGRAM last night. It looks like such a fun app! 

I cant wait for our vacation, I can officially say now we go on vacation this month! The countdown is on. I just used the pictures I had on my iPhone to put together this test FLIPAGRAM.


video

I hope you have a great weekend!

Until next time,

Kara

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Recent Song Obsessions!

I feel like I'm the type of person who goes on song kicks. I get obsessed about certain songs new or old and just listen to them over and over.

Here are a few of my recent song obsessions!

1. Asking Alexandria: "Moving On"



2. Boyce Avenue: cover of "Faithfully"



3. Colbie Caillat: "I Never Told You"



4. Glee Cast Version: "Shake It Out"



5. Foster the People: "Pumped Up Kicks"



6. Kid Rock & Sheryl Crow: "Picture"



Have a great day!

Until next time,

Kara



*I do not own the rights to any of these YouTube videos.*

Monday, March 9, 2015

Las Vegas on a Budget

When people think of Las Vegas, they think of glitz, glamour, luxury hotels and money. Las Vegas is all those things, but you do not have to have a lot of money to enjoy a vacation there. The first time my husband and I went to Las Vegas was a few weeks before our senior year of college.

Believe me, back then we had very little money to spend, but we were able to go on vacation and have a great time! With a little thought and planning, you can have a great time on a little budget!


Flights or Travel
Getting to Las Vegas will always be one of the most expensive parts of your vacation. Flights are expensive, but make sure to check out some of the smaller airlines, like Southwest, Frontier or Allegiant. They are smaller and cut back some of the “extras” but it does take some of the cost out. 

Airline credit cards will sometimes offer deals if you spend “x” amount of money you will earn so many flyer credits. We actually used the Frontier Airlines credit card to get two free flights last time! Just make sure if you do a credit card deal that you pay your monthly balance off each month. It does no good to save money and get a good deal if you accumulate debt.

Hotels
There are so many great hotels in Las Vegas. Each hotel is themed differently and has something unique to offer. 

Word of advice, do your research before you just book a hotel. You can check travel websites to get pricing, but also go to the website for the hotel. Sometimes the hotels run promotions on their websites for their hotel rooms. 

Downtown Las Vegas hotels will be less expensive than hotels on the Strip because of the popularity of being in the middle of all the action. 

Look at going on vacation during the week. People from all over the would come to Las Vegas to party on the weekends, so hotels raise the weekend room rates. To get the best deals check for Monday-Thursday! Also the summer months are cheaper, because you are in the desert and it is hot. We went in July one year and it was 110. If you want to save money, book in their off season!

Entertainment
Entertainment is available on every corner of Las Vegas. This is where you can get a lot of free fun. Each hotel usually offers something unique about it. 

The Bellagio has its famous fountain show, it’s free and a must see for Las Vegas. You can also view the Bellagio Conservatory. It is a beautiful green house with flowers, butterflies and flower sculptures. 

Don’t forget to check out the pyramid at the Luxor, the lions at MGM, statues at Caesars Palace, pirate show at TI, the volcano at the Mirage and more! All those are free and that is not even admiring each hotels architecture, décor and casino designs.

Food and Drinks
Las Vegas is huge and there is a different restaurant, bar or café at every turn. If you plan accordingly you can eat like a king or queen. 

I can’t say this enough about eating in Vegas, coupons, coupons, coupons! Don’t eat without one. There are so many places that put out coupons to bring you in to eat. 

Alcohol can be expensive, don’t buy the $12 rum and Coke’s at the bar. When you are walking through the casinos keep an eye out for cocktail waitresses. If you see one taking drink orders sit down in that area and wave her over. Put in a $5.00 bill in the machine and take your time. You can sit down play a few spins and get a drink for a simple $1 tip. 

The first time we went to Vegas, we did this a lot. It was August, so it was hot outside. We would walk to each hotel find a waitress, order a drink or two, rest in the AC for a few and move on.

Coupons
We have come a long way from being those poor college students, however, that doesn’t mean we don’t still use coupons. This is how we still do our vacations to Las Vegas cheap. 

Some good places to look for coupons would be the American Casino Guide, the Las Vegas advisor, Groupon, MYVEGAS, and online websites. 

If you have never been before I recommend the American Casino Guide. It provides a lot of coupon deals for first time players at the casinos. You may get a free gift, free slot play or maybe even a free meal. You will also find coupons for places to eat, match plays, free slots play or free drinks. 

Groupon has discount show tickets, tours, and spa deals. 

The Las Vegas Advisor is more expensive than the ACG but it does offer different coupons and casino offers. 

MYVEGAS is an app for your mobile phone and Facebook. You play the slot machine or blackjack games and earn loyalty coins. You can spend these coins on rewards in Las Vegas. It’s completely free and we are seeing two Cirque du Soleil shows for FREE on our upcoming Vegas trip.


With any vacation you choose to make it or break it. If you want to have fun you could go out to Vegas with just a little money and make it fun, you just have to choose to. 

With a few of my tips, you might be able to save a little more money here and there and use it for your next trip!

Until next time,

Kara

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Book Recommendations for the Spring


I have said many times, I am a self professed nerd. I love to read! Here are some reads that I enjoyed.

The Selection Series by Kiera Cass


I really enjoyed this Young Adult Fiction trilogy. It was an easy and entertaining to read. It reminds me of the reality TV shows we enjoy so much like the Bachelor. I always love a good competition!


Barnes and Noble describes the book as:


For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon. But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.
Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself—and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

This Young Adult Fiction book included action, mystery, romance and drama. It was a great read! It's the first in the series of four books.

Barnes and Noble describes the book as:
In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one…except the "thing" inside her
When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch.
Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she's special, says she's one of them. The orphaned duke takes her in from the gas lit streets, against the wishes of his band of misfits. And Finley thinks she might finally be a part of something, finally fit in—until a criminal mastermind known as the Machinist threatens to tear the group apart….

The Iron Fey Series by Julie Kagawa
The Iron King book cover initially caught my eye and that's why I decided to try to read it. I was in-between other book series and nothing was available to be checked out from the library at the time. I surprisingly enjoyed this book! It's the first in the set of four.
Barnes and Noble describes the book as:
MEGHAN CHASE HAS A SECRET DESTINY—ONE SHE COULD NEVER HAVE IMAGINED…
Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school…or at home.
When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change. But she could never have guessed the truth.

For Meghan is the daughter of a mythical faery king…and a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

The Black Dagger Brotherhood Series by J.R. Ward




I am still in the process of reading this series, but I really like it. I tend to always like vampire books, but this includes mystery, action and romance. I came across this series after trying to find a book series like Sookie Stackhouse and everywhere I looked online pointed to this series. I agree! It's a great read!
Barnes and Noble describes the first book, Dark Lover as:
The only purebred vampire left on the planet and the leader of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Wrath has a score to settle with the slayers who killed his parents centuries ago. But when his most trusted fighter is killed—orphaning a half-breed daughter unaware of her heritage or her fate—Wrath must put down his dagger and usher the beautiful female into another world.
Racked by a restlessness in her body that wasn’t there before, Beth Randall is helpless against the dangerously sexy man who comes to her at night with shadows in his eyes. His tales of the Brotherhood and blood frighten her. Yet his touch ignites a dawning new hunger—one that threatens to consume them both....
I hope you can curl up and enjoy a good read!
Until next time,
Kara