8/16/19

3 Ways To Make Extra Money


In an effort to pay down debt, you are considering getting a side hustle to make extra money. You don't have open availability, so you need something flexible that will allow you the ability to use your home as a home base.

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When looking for extra cash, the more flexible, the better. Trying to line up a way to help your family with rising costs without daycare or other expenses eating into your bottom line isn't always easy. There are some options that you may not have considered. While they all may have an initial cost associated with them (think of it as an investment), the amount is almost always worth it. Look into one of these three options and hopefully one works for your situation.

1. Consider Real Estate

Real estate is a tricky business to break into, especially if you have limited time. However, there are some things that you may be able to do part-time. Look into getting your home inspection license. A home inspector checks out a home before a buyer makes the final decision to purchase it. These inspectors document everything that may be wrong with the house, so the buyer is fully informed before coming to a final decision. The report is then presented to the buyer, and recommendations are given. This job would afford you to schedule your work, even on the evenings and weekends.

2. Make and Sell Crafts Online

If you are a crafty person, you may find great success in making original creations and selling them online. Sites like Pinterest are replete with people's wishes for homemade decore and gifts. The truth is, many of these people are not crafty. Therefore, there is a definite market, and the more you can create, the broader the appeal of your product. Check out a website like WAHAdventures.com to get some ideas on where to sell your product.

3. Transcription From Home

While voice to text software is becoming popular in some professions, there is no replacement for a transcriptionist. Digital audio transcription is a service that is provided online to businesses like medical providers, facilities and law firms. The only startup equipment needed is a foot pedal that allows you to advance through the audio while being able to maintain a steady typing speed. If you can type pretty fast (75 WPD and up) and have good accuracy in doing so (80% or greater), you may want to explore the options available.

One of these three options may help you earn a decent amount of extra money. You may wind up making it more of a full-time venture if you find something you enjoy enough.

Cowboy Joel and the Wild Wild West Book Spotlight & Book Tour Giveaway


This morning, we have a children's book in our book spotlight. Check out Cowboy Joel and the Wild Wild West, learn about the family of authors--and be sure to enter for a chance to win a prize in the book tour giveaway at the end of this post.


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8/12/19

How to Make Your Next Party a Success


Parties are a lot of fun, but they can be stressful to host or organize. They can be demanding and hectic in terms of the logistics, financing and coordinating the invitations. If you are looking to host a successful party without being too extravagant, here are a few things you need to do. 

Set the Date Early Enough
Choose the date in advance to give yourself ample time to invite the guests in good time and make the necessary arrangements. While choosing the date, put into consideration the weather, especially if you’re having an outdoor event. You should also find out if there are other events happening on the same date that may involve you or your guests. Choosing the date early will also give your guests enough time to plan for your party.

Decide the Type of Party You Want to Host

The party could be a birthday, a get-together, a cocktail or any other celebration. If it’s a surprise party, then you need to plan with your guests to pull off the best surprise to your loved one. Cooperate parties might require some special branding and arrangements to fit the theme of the company. Notify your guests if there is a specific dress code required.

Work with a Budget
Financing a party is a major aspect that needs to be given first priority. You need to decide the amount of money you are willing and able to spend on the occasion. The budget determines how big the party is. For proper planning, you need to set out the amount of money to spend in categories such as food and drinks, decorations, and entertainment. With a budget, it will be easy to come up with creative solutions to your party requirements.

Make a Guest List
You need to choose who you are inviting. Your budget will play a key role in determining the number of guests to invite. If you are planning to hold the party indoors, you need to consider the number of people who can comfortably fit at the venue. The kind of people you invite also determines how great the party is going to be. Don’t ruin the party by inviting people who are socially incompatible. This might make interactions more challenging and awkward.

Choose the Location
With the number of guests in mind, it is now time to choose a suitable venue. If you only have a few people to invite, then you can hold your party in your house. However, if the event is big, you need to explore other options like a garden or park. You should also consider the limitations of each option. For instance, if you are having a party in a garden, you should look at how the food and drinks will be served. The setting should also be ideal to accommodate different weather conditions. If you are planning to have dinner or a buffet, you must provide enough seats for your guests.

Have Enough Food and Drinks
Planning early will enable you to ask for support where you fall short. For instance, if there is going to be alcohol, you can ask the guests to bring a bottle of wine or beers. You can then arrange for a signature drink, like champagne, and something for the non-drinkers.

Treat Your Guests to Valet Parking Services
One of the easiest ways to give your party a touch of class is hiring valet services for your guests. Since you can’t handle everything on your own, delegating parking duties to professionals would be a wise move to keep your occasion organized. It will also make your guests feel special.

Follow the tips above to make your next party grand.

8/9/19

5 Things to Teach Your Teen About Cars and Driving


You’ll want your teenagers to drive, since there are so many clear benefits for them and for you. You will no longer have to drive them around, they can give you a ride when it’s needed, and they’ll be taking an additional step on the journey towards adulthood. It can be a positive experience for everyone involved. But only if your teenager is responsible, and plays by the guidelines and rules that you’ve told them. Below, we take a look at a few things you’ll want to make sure that they know.


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It’s a Responsibility

Driving means freedom, sure, but it’s also a responsibility, and that’s something that everyone who gets behind the wheel needs to understand. They’re getting in the driver’s seat of a heavy, powerful machine that, used correctly, can bring a lot of good things: but in the wrong hands, it can cause damage. To make sure that your child doesn’t act silly when they’re driving, and that they understand the magnitude of the responsibility, you’ll need to educate them about what it means to be a responsible driver. If they’re smart and well-behaved children usually, then they’ll likely be fine anyway, but it doesn’t hurt to reinforce the message.

Basic Maintenance
The more than your teenager understands about their vehicle, the safer they’ll be on the road. This is because they’ll be able to detect when something isn’t quite right, and when their car needs to be seen to by a professional. Make sure you run through some of the warning signs that the car needs to be serviced -- the earlier a problem is fixed, the less damage it can do. You may also want to show them how to perform basic car maintenance, including changing a tire, oil, and windscreen wipers.

Things Can Go Wrong

You should hope for the best, but expect the worse. When it comes to driving, there’s no reason to believe that your teenager will be involved in an incident on the road, but the fact of the matter is that they do happen. As such, in order to be prepared, it’s important that they’re aware of what to do after getting in a car accident. This will ensure that they take all the correct steps that’ll limit the financial and medical consequences of the incident.

Friends and Influences
Your teenager might be responsible and trustworthy, but it’s not just your child that you need to be concerned about: there’s also the matter of their friends. Strange things can happen when groups of teenagers get together, and before your teenager knows it, he or she could find themselves in a peer pressure situation. And when that happens behind the wheel of a vehicle, things can go wrong. As such, it’s important that you tell your child not to be coerced into doing something they wouldn’t do if they were by themselves.

If you lay down the rules early on, then it’ll be much more likely that your teenager learns sound driving behavior before anything goes wrong.


8/8/19

Book Review & Book Tour Giveaway for 120 Days by Ronald L. Ruiz


I love crime fiction novels. A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to read and review Life Long by Ronald L. Ruiz. Having loved his writing style and thought provoking, real world fiction--I was excited to review his 120 Days.  Read my thoughts on 120 Days, learn about the author & enter for a chance to win a prize in the book tour giveaway at the end of this post.


Book Title:  120 Days by Ronald L. Ruiz
Category:  Adult Fiction, 318 pages
Genre:  Legal thriller, crime fiction, literary fiction
Publisher:  Amika Press
Release date:   May 22, 2019

About the Book
BARBARA BLAKE is a bright, young, attractive, and ambitious defense attorney. Alejandro Soto, an inmate already serving two life sentences for the brutal murder of a drug dealer and the man’s mother, is on trial for a third murder, one he did not commit but that could well result in the Death Penalty. When Blake and Soto meet in the San Cristobal, California courtroom, they begin a 120-day journey that will invariably alter both of their lives. Together, they spiral ever more deeply into the dark heart of a quintessentially American story of sex and love, truth and lies, justice and prejudice, crime and punishment, and, ultimately, life and death.

My Review

120 Days Takes a Realistic Look at Society and Justice. This novel struck a chord quickly. Barbara expressed in the very early chapters as she defended an accused child molester, that, no matter how well she defended her client, the jurors were bound by society's views to convict him. Prejudices, societal pressures, misconceptions make it difficult or even impossible for the unbiased interpretation of facts. This theme carries through the novel and offers a thought-provoking journey for readers as they move through a legal thriller that exposes realities that most fail to see or are unwilling to admit.

Readers will Connect Deeply to Ruiz' Characters. My reality is far removed from Alejandro Soto's: a convicted murderer facing new charges--claiming innocence. In spite of that, I found myself fully connected to Soto and Blake as their relationship grew and the storyline developed. Ruiz doesn't shield the darkness and broken pieces of his characters. Neither character is perfect--but, readers will grow to see them in different lights--and root for love, hope, and redemption.

120 Day is a Page Turner. While courtroom dramas are not action-packed adventures, this novel is still a page-turner. Readers will be drawn to follow the characters and their stories to resolution. Ruiz' character and plot development keep the story moving evenly and strongly from beginning to end.

Would I Recommend 120 Days by Ronald L. Ruiz? 120 Days offers a thought-provoking, real-world look at the realities of society impacting our justice system. If you enjoy crime fiction with social commentary, realism--and strong characters--I highly recommend this author and both 120 Days and Life Long.

Praise for 120 Days

"​There is a human element here that is only found in top-tiered crime fiction, and this book is filled with it. I adore all of the major bestselling authors of this genre and have finally found a new favorite that, in my opinion, belongs in the same league. A truly brilliant novel. An exceptional writer. Highly recommended."
- Readers' Favorite Reviews


Buy the Book

Meet the Author
Ronald L. Ruiz is a retired attorney whose entire career was spent in criminal law as a deputy District Attorney, a District Attorney, a Defense Attorney and a Public Defender. 
Connect with the Author: Website ~ Facebook

Enter the Giveaway

Ends August 30, 2019


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8/6/19

6 Ways to Save Money While Traveling


The main reason we hear people give for the lack of travel in their life is how expensive it can be, especially with kids in tow. Well we have great news for you – it doesn’t have to be expensive! If you know the right tips and tricks, you can travel anywhere in the world on a budget.

Check out these great tips for saving money while traveling, and start planning your next vacation!


1. Stay Flexible with Your Dates

When it comes to buying plane tickets, prices tend to vary drastically. When booking your flight, you will be able to see that the prices may be higher or lower on different days. If you are able to remain flexible with the dates of your flight, you can find the best deal! Just pick a week or month that you would like to travel, and see how prices on different days compare.

2. Avoid Hotels

Hotels are one of main ways that traveling becomes very expensive very fast. There are many other ways you can find great accommodations at much lower pricing in the area you would like to travel to. Try looking online at:
  • · Local hostels
  • · VRBO
  • · AirBnb
  • · HomeAway
These are great alternatives to a traditional hotel room, and often more spacious and comfortable.

3. Cook During Your Vacation

Eating out is a great part of any vacation. Getting to enjoy a different area or cultures staple foods is essential to many travelers. If you are attempting a budget vacation, consider picking only one or two highly rated places to eat out. Book accommodations with a kitchen so that you can cook and keep snacks for the remainder of your stay.

If you do not want to miss out on experiencing the local food, find a cookbook and a local farmers market. You can make a fun adventure out of creating those dishes yourself!

4. Find Free Activities and Events

We think the best part of planning any vacation is seeing what kind of fun things there are to do wherever you are going!

When you are taking this important vacation planning step, make sure to keep an eye out for anything that says FREE. This will help you pack your vacation full of awesome experiences without breaking the bank.

5. Avoid Taxis and Ubers

Sometimes, it is just not feasible to get everywhere by walking when you are on vacation. Make sure to do your research on public transportation in the area before your visit. If you are traveling to a city with poor public transportation, or want to explore surrounding areas, you will likely need a car.

Taxi and Uber prices vary and are highly unreliable, especially when trying to plan a budget for your vacation. We suggest hiring a car service to take care of your transportation needs. There are loads of ways to find cheap car rentals deals, either online or from the airport you land at. Many give you a flat rate quoted price for your entire trip. This makes planning and budgeting a breeze!

6. Use Calling and Texting Apps

If you are traveling internationally, you will run into international calling fees that are exorbitant. While it is possible to purchase calling cards, you can easily get around this problem by using the beautiful invention of the internet. There are plenty of apps that allow you to call or text your loved ones back home when you are connected to wifi.

Consider downloading these apps:

  • · Skype
  • · WhatsApp
  • · Google Hangout
  • · Viber

When you are not connected to the internet, we strongly suggest you avoid using your phone at all costs. International data charges are no joke, and if you are traveling on a budget it will be a particularly scary sight to see.

When traveling with kids, it’s best to have a contact method. Keep costs low by getting a local SIM card for your mobile or getting a roaming package from your service provider.