Monday, March 18, 2019

Tips for Improving Your Credit

Did you know that over 30% of Americans has bad credit? Regretfully, I am one of them. If you are too, I feel your pain. Clearly, I am not the credit guru to be taking all your advice from, but I do have a few tips that might help make the burden a little less heavy.

First and foremost, don't panic. It's not something to take lightly, obviously. But getting upset and stressing yourself our over it is not going to accomplish anything. In fact, that kind of stress and panic could be counter productive. If you believe it is hopeless, you likely won't even bother trying. It's not hopeless. Stay calm and handle it.

Next, know why your score is low. Check your credit report. You can request a free copy of your credit report from each of the 3 major credit reporting agencies (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax) once per 12 months. These are credit reports and do not include your credit score, but that is easy to find online (for free) many places.

Once you know what you supposedly owe, you can dispute the debts. There are sites you can use to contest the validity of a debt. Many people are reported as owing debts they never should have owed. This could be from mistaken identity or identity theft (simple ID theft, like an ex roommate or something ordering Columbia House [throwback, right?] in your name.) You can even contest debts that were your own.

This is because old debts are often sold for pennies on the hundred. That is why you got offers to settle for much less than you owe, because the original lender wrote your debt off. They sold it to someone for, say, $2. Anything above that $2 is all profit for the agency that bought it. Often when a company sells the debt, they don't send all the records/proof, whatever. When you contest the debt, the debt-holder has to prove how you acquired the debt. If they can't produce proof, the debt is removed.

For the debts you cannot have removed, try to negotiate. As I said, if the debt has been sold off, anything over what they pad for a debt is profit. So if you owed $600, the agency my offer you to pay it off for $450 (you get letters n the mail) but you could likely negotiate down even further. Because making $300 is better than never getting paid anything, which is what happens a lot of the time.

Another way is to build new credit. That is clearly difficult to do when your credit is low, but it's not impossible. There are bad credit loans out there. Knowing your options is very important. Having bad credit is hard. I's unpleasant, but it does not devalue you. Don't allow yourself to be taken advantage of or treated with disrespect because of it. Use all the resources available to you. Be confident. Be in control. You've got this.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Wonder Park in Theaters Today! Win a Prize Pack

*This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Review Wire Media for Paramount.*

Here in Central Florida, Spring Break kicked off today. If, like me, you are looking for a fun, wholesome way to keep your kids entertained during the break, I've found just the thing. Wonder Park debuted in theaters today.

Wonder Park tells the story of a magnificent amusement park where the imagination of a wildly creative girl named June comes alive. The movie is rated PG and stars Jennifer Garner, Matthew Broderick, John Oliver, Mila Kunis, Kenan Thompson, Ken Jeong, Norbert Leo Butz, Brianna Denski and Ken Hudson Campbell.

If you are as excited about Wonder Park as we are, enter below for your chance to win a Wonder Park prize pack (containing Wonder Park sweatshirt (random size), Wonder Park tumbler, Wonder Park sunglasses, and Wonder Park cinch sack).

Five Feet Apart In Theaters March 15th - Win a Prize Pack

*This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Review Wire Media for Lionsgate.*

So, I am a huge fan of Riverdale. I really like more teenager targeted shows and movies, plus I have a total crush on Cole Sprouce. So you can imagine how excited I was to find out that Cole (along with Haley Lu Richardson) was starring in the new movie Five Feet Apart. And even though they are both in their mid twenties, they are playing 17 year olds.

Stella Grant (Haley Lu Richardson) is every bit a seventeen-year-old… she’s attached to her laptop and loves her best friends. But unlike most teenagers, she spends much of her time living in a hospital as a cystic fibrosis patient. Her life is full of routines, boundaries and self-control – all of which is put to the test when she meets an impossibly charming fellow patient named Will Newman (Cole Sprouse).

There’s an instant flirtation, though restrictions dictate that they must maintain a safe distance between them. As their connection intensifies, so does the temptation to throw the rules out the window and embrace that attraction. Further complicating matters is Will’s potentially dangerous rebellion against his ongoing medical treatment. Stella gradually inspires Will to live life to the fullest, but can she ultimately save the person she loves when even a single touch is off limits?

Epic teenage love with a huge (literally life or death) obstacle? Sign me up. I can't wait to see this movie. It drops in theaters today! If the movie alone is not enough to satisfy your need for Five Feet Apart, you can also enter to win a Five Feet Apart book, tote bag and PopSockets.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Personal Injury - You're Not Alone

I don't know how many of you know, but my husband got injured at work. Actually he's been seriously injured at work twice, both requiring a surgery on top of physical therapy and such. But the second time it was more serious. He injured cervical disks, causing them to apply pressure to his spinal cord.

While he had a fusion done, his mobility and endurance has been forever impaired. And he is at increased risk of re-injury. That makes his line of work dangerous for him. And the job that allowed him to get hurt in this way (by having him preform unsafe tasks, after he told them what he thought would happen and after others had gotten injured from the same task) refused to allow him to return to his job.

So he was out of work, with less ability to get a job in his area of expertise because of the limitations he contracted from that job. Not only that, but the company just gets to keep subjecting the other employees to those conditions. We decided to reach out to an attorney, because we knew it was unjust.

He does have a case, and the attorney is working on a suit. While money does not make up for anything that happened to him, it will help with the our bills, while he works on getting into a new field of employment. And more importantly than that, the company needed to face some sort of consequences for their disregard for employee safety. While just writing a check may not be the justice the deserve, it will hopefully make them realize that they need to change some things, lest they get sued again.

It is so important, when you are injured, whether it be in an auto accident, at work, due to medical negligence, slip & fall or another capacity where it was caused by someone else's actions or inaction, that you contact an attorney. The firm we used handles primarily workman's comp cases, but Kinney, Fernandez & Boire handle a myriad or personal injury cases. They also have six offices in Florida, so it should be fairly easy to find a convenient location.

The most important step is to get informed. To reach out to an attorney, find out what your options are, and don't let people get away with causing injury to you or anyone. Also, your attorneys will explain this, I'm sure, but don't settle for whatever crumbs they offer right off the bat. In my husbands case, his attorney made the first offer, as I assume is customary, and the first counter offer was appallingly low in comparison.

It made us so mad, not just because it is an insult to him and his suffering, but because there are so many people that are in need and vulnerable. Some people would just take anything, just to keep surviving, and that is so heartbreaking. And as horrible as it is, the guilty parties usually care at all about the victims. They don't want to actually make it right, they just want to get away as unscathed as possible. The only way to really make them feel it is to make them pay for it literally.

Learning To Let Go

This year, my husband and I will be celebrating our tenth year of marriage together. While we are still happy and very much in love, things have not always been easy. In fact, it has been very hard at times. I am sure that all marriages are like that. Nothing truly meaningful in life is without challenges. It fighting and overcoming these challenges that make life so satisfying.

Still, sometimes you can be fighting for the wrong things. Sometimes you maybe made a mistake and are so afraid of failing that you stick with it instead of trying to let it go, admit you were wrong, and move forward. When you know you have truly given your heart and soul and did everything you can to keep it together, there is no shame in admitting that it's just not meant to be. In fact, there is quite a strength and a freedom in that.

I know too many people that stayed in bad situations for too long, thinking that they just needed to work harder, give more of themselves, deal with the unhappiness. That is not the case. If you find yourself in a situation like that, it is perfectly acceptable to think of your own well-being and mental health and to take the steps necessary to take care of yourself.

And, when relationships get that way, it is not just harmful to you and your happiness, it affects your partner as well. Being with someone who is not happy being with you can be very psychologically damaging. And if there are children, it affects them also.

A lot of people "stay together for the kids", but if you are unhappy, kids can sense it. If you are being passive aggressive toward their other parent, it can give them an unfair prejudice against their parent, or make them feel bad about themselves (for being like that parent). Not to mention if you are actually getting into dramatic arguments or something; those can be very traumatizing.

Whatever the reason, if you are in a marriage that is no longer happy, healthy, and safe, it is time to think about letting it go. Of course that is sad to think about. Of course it is something not to be taken lightly, but if you are considering divorce, it would definitely be beneficial to get some information about it.

In fact, I've looked in to a local marital & family law practice, just to have a resource in case someone I know should be struggling with this situation again. (I've known a few amazing women who have been in DV situations.) But Quinn & Lynch, P.A. handles more than just divorce, they handle domestic violence, child custody, child support, visitation, and more.

If you feel like any of these situations might apply to you, don't just "deal with it". It's okay to admit to yourself (and each other) that things have changed or that you want to at least consider the options. Talk to someone together. Just do something. Pretending that there is not a problem is no way to fix a problem.

Which brings me back to domestic violence. If you are in a situation like that, please, seek help. I have been there. I know it is not easy. I know you feel like you can't do it or you are still in love or whatever else you tell yourself. But it is unsafe and you do deserve better and you can get out and you can be happy. Put yourself first. Love yourself. Take care of yourself. But get help if you need it. Help is out there. You don't have to do it alone.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Heat Things Up with the LG Combination Double Wall Oven

*The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service.*

It's time to heat things up, literally. Spring cleaning is upon us, and with that come remodeling and upgrading. Out with the old, in with the gorgeous new LG Combination Double Wall Oven. What better way to refresh your kitchen then to style it with a beautiful, superbly functional, appliance?

The LG Black Stainless Steel Series brings unmatched luster to kitchen spaces. It elevates the traditional stainless steel look that has become so standard in today's homes with a satin-smooth, warm, and sophisticated finish unlike any other. This allows you to create a timeless expression that pairs beautifully with any style or color of surrounding cabinetry.

Of course, style is very important in an appliance, since it's part of your home decor, but, even more important, is how it preforms. Obviously, the LG Combination Double Wall Oven it is stellar in that respect as well. LG’s convection technology evenly distributes continual precise heat so food is delicious on the inside, and crisp on the outside.

The real show-stopper is the the time saving aspect. With LG's TurboCook™ Speed Oven you get the hustle of a microwave with the quality you expect from a convection oven. Bake whole chickens, potatoes, pizzas and more—no preheating required. With speeds 2 to 4 times faster than a traditional oven, you’ll have more cooking flexibility and more time to enjoy your meal.

I am all about saving time, especially when it comes to cooking. There have been times on school nights where I just don't have the time to make the meal I wanted to make, and if this oven can help me overcome that obstacle, that alone is enough reason to upgrade.

As if that was not reason enough, right now, at Best Buy, you can save $500 on a 5-Piece LG Kitchen Package. The offer is valid though March 6th. Get the best appliances, with the best service, for the best price, at Best Buy.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Looking Your Best

As I try to balance life, motherhood, depression, work and everything in between, I have also been thinking a lot about looking my best. That is obviously something with a lot of room for interpretation, since everyone sees beauty differently.

While I face natural obstacles in my struggle to look good, I also face self-imposed obstacles. The biggest of these is my apathy, caused by the depression. It's hard to look your best when you can't even motivate yourself to wash your face or put on real pants. I'm trying to work on that.

I think another way we struggle to look and feel our best is because we have impossibly high standards, cultivated through the media standard of beauty. And it isn't just in movies, magazines and ads anymore, it's "regular" people all over Instagram and Youtube trying to show you how "easy" it is to look like a model every day. That's not realistic.

So we feel like if we can't do our makeup that perfectly, why bother at all. If we can't be a size 2, why even try to stay fit or dress cute. Forget about going to the beach. Selfies? No way! That's how I feel, anyway. But it's not right.

You don't have to dress in a cop top and mini skirt (but you totally should if that is your style) to look your best, but you should find something that you genuinely think is cute, and rock it. Be it a runway dress, a cute sundress or some distressed jeans and a vintage tee. No need to be fancy, but don't hide yourself away in a sack and let apathy take your style.

Eat healthy. I know, it's hard. And I am the last person to tell anyone how to eat. I need to take my own advice. But I don't mean diet (though that can be okay too, when done correctly), I just mean eat well. That includes not starving yourself. Skip the 1200 calorie frap and have an iced coffee with stevia instead. Swap the rice for cauliflower. Eat veggies with your steak. Drink lots of water. You will feel better and therefore look better. You will not believe the difference drinking enough water can make. It makes your skin look more hydrated and luminous.

Smile! It sounds cliche, but really, just be comfortable in your own skin, and let the world know that you are with a big, beautiful, smile. All of these "tips" are just ways to take care of yourself. Taking care of yourself and truly loving yourself for what you are and what you can be is the most beautiful thing of all. Negativity and self-doubt are ugly. Never hate who you are.

You can still want to make a change, and that is okay. For example, I do still want to get liposuction one day, and I've considered CO2 Laser Treatment. I even looked up the best plastic surgeon Tampa has to offer. The bottom line is that I know getting work done won't make me love myself until I already love myself. And that is when you truly look your best.