Tuesday, December 29, 2020

And a Rocking New Year

This JBL Pulse 4 another awesome item that was intended for feature in my Holiday Gift Guide, but again, it arrived just a few days late. With every shipping carrier facing record delivery volumes, it is completely understandable. 

 No matter what the occasion, this is still a super cool gift. And how that the holidays are over, it's even more acceptable to get yourself gifts and not feel guilty. Think of it as an investment in yourself. A tool for achieving your resolutions, whatever they may be.

My primary resolution happens to be fitness related, so I can totally excuse this as an asset in that goal. Workouts are always more effective, and certainly more fun, when set to music.

Of course, I don't actually need an excuse. I will unashamedly be using this epic Wireless Bluetooth Speaker for much more fun pursuits, as well. 

Music is pretty much my biggest passion. With concerts being impossible until who knows when, home listening is important than ever. Being able to rock out to the songs I love is so important to me. Stellar quality and fun, fabulous lights from a speaker that is waterproof, is not quite necessary, but I still going to act like it is.

While you should absolutely not be hosting any physical gatherings this New Year's Eve (or any time, really, until it's safe), this is still an iconic choice for any New Year's Eve fun. Whether you still party over video call, or if it's just you and your significant other and/or kids, or pets, or even solo.

It's also a perfect addition to all your social stories. And it's made to last, so when it is safe to have parties again, you will already be set. 

No matter what the new year brings you, I wish you health and happiness. And compassion. We all need to get through this together. Be safe.

*Although I received this product at no cost to facilitate a review, all opinions are 100% my own.*

Friday, December 18, 2020

Holiday Gift Guide - Visible Vibrations

If you know anything about me, you'll know that I am majorly passionate about music. And not only do I love the music itself, but I love all the experiences that go along with it. Live performances, music videos, band interviews, and merchandise.

I kind of get obsessive about merchandise, in fact. I love being able to show my interest through my clothes and accessories. It helps me feel like I am expressing my true self. And it is just really fun to collect. Some people collect figurines or baseball cards, I collect brand merchandise.

I especially focus on collecting for my favorite brand, My Chemical Romance. I have albums, clothing (so much clothing), action figures, collectible masks, box sets, magazines and so much more. I recently added another stellar piece to my collection.

I got this fantastic My Chemical Romance Poster from Visible Vibrations. Visible Vibrations is an online music collectors superstore. They have a large selection of rare, vintage memorabilia, like exclusive posters and photos and old ticket stubs, t-shirts, buttons, key chains, toys and more.

The poster is really cool, because it is limited to 200 copies. Mine is #157/200. I really love owning something that is limited. There is an exclusivity to it that just makes the item feel so much more valuable.

There is another variant of the My Chemical Romance poster that I have my eye on, for sure. But I did a little (more like a lot) of looking around and there are so many other things that I would love to have as well. There are some other super cool band posters, from some of my other favorites, like Linkin Park, The Used, Fall Out Boy, Queen, and so many others. 

If you have any music fan or memorabilia collector on your holiday list this year, I highly recommend Visible Vibrations. The selection is fantastic. Really cool stuff you won't find anywhere else. It's really nice to get a gift that you know the giver got just for you. Something they chose because they know you would appreciate it, and that they sought out for you. Gifts like these, like the ones from Visible Vibrations, are memorable and extraordinary. So much more than just a box a chocolate from a mass retailer shelf.

I hope you all have a safe, magical an musical holiday season.

*Although I received this item at no cost, to facilitate a review, all opinions are 100% my own.*

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Holiday Gift Guide - Peanuts 70th Anniversary

Times may change, but there are some holiday traditions that never do. Watching A Charlie Brown Christmas is one of the things that has stayed with me all throughout my own childhood all the way up into motherhood. Now my oldest child is a teenager and my youngest is 9 going on 19, but we still watch it every year (multiple times).

Peanuts specials actually play a huge part in our traditions for every holiday, with Thanksgiving and Halloween being most notable. I actually have come to refer to Halloween time on as "Peanuts season". I love that these stories really stand the test of time. They are more than just nostalgia (although they are that too, of course). They are still relevant themes that remind us what the holidays are really about.

This year is the 70th anniversary of Peanuts, and in celebration of that, the most beloved holiday album of all time is getting a re-release in a CD and vinyl form. I have only recently begun collecting vinyl, but I already love it. There is something so satisfying about holding the large album in your hand and they look so nice on the shelf. It just makes me feel more connected to the music. Plus, the pressing is green. How cool is that? I love colored vinyl.

Of course, in addition to the vinyl and CD, the soundtrack is also available for streaming on various sites, like Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube and more. As wonderful as the nostalgia of a hard copy is, the convenience of streaming is so great. Another way to help transition our old classics into timeless traditions. Though we still use CDs (and vinyl, of course) in our household, we still stream constantly, especially in the car. My son loves this album and has it on Spotify daily.

I know you will all be excited to stream this iconic soundtrack, as well. But as an extra treat, I've been allowed to host a giveaway. One winner will receive a DC copy of the soundtrack. Enter below for your chance to win. Good luck!

*Although I received this product at no cost, to facilitate a review, all opinions are 100% my own.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Holiday Gift Guide - Janie's Cakes

The holidays this year are going to be a lot different than many previous years. This pandemic has affected us all, in so many ways, and it continues to make its mark on us, by changing how we can celebrate. It is going to be hard, of course. Maybe physically, definitely emotionally, but there will be challenges that are unique to this year.

That doesn't mean, however, that we cannot celebrate, or that the holidays will be any less special than they always are. We just have to adjust and keep a proper perspective. But the holidays are not canceled. And just because we have to find a more socially distant way to spend time with our loved ones, doesn't mean we won't be with them in the way that really matters.

One thing that we always do is bake. We bake a ton of treats and then we go and deliver them to our relatives and friends that are near by. It is still safe to do that! Just instead of greeting them with a hug or going inside to chat for a bit, you can leave them outside the door. And just because you don't chat face to face doesn't mean you can't video chat with them and have just as meaningful of an interaction.

If you do not want to deliver home made baked goods, or have people further away and don't want to ship them, there are other ways to send home made goodness to the people you care about. Janie's Cakes is a great way. I had one of her amazing cakes on Thanksgiving (yes, Keto had to wait a few days). It was literally, no exaggeration, the best pound cake I have ever had.

We had the Italian Jane, which is Vanilla pound cake, filled with Italian buttercream, and topped with toasted pecans. So incredible.

It was decadent, but still somehow light enough that you could have a large piece and not feel like it was too sweet. Although, perhaps from a weight aspect, that is a drawback. If it is, that is the only one you'll find with this cake. It was divine. 

If you looking for a food gift to send, or a dessert for your own family gathering (immediate family, your own household, please, so we can beat this), I cannot recommend something higher than a cake (or 5) from Janie's Cakes. There will be one of these cakes on my holiday table every year form now on.

That is one thing to try to keep in mind throughout all this. While having to make changes may seem inconvenience, you may end up finding something that becomes a new tradition. Familiarity is great, of course, but change can be good sometimes, even if it comes from something that isn't good. Growth can be an amazing gift too.

Stay healthy, safe, socially distant, and stay thankful. The holidays will still be happy.

*Although I received this product at no cost to facilitate a review, all opinions are 100% my own.*

Fun Holiday Recipes from Marc Zboch and More

It seems like every year, around the holidays, is always when I decide to start wanting to try new things. I start to get curious and feel creatively charged, like I can unlock all the secrets of the universe if I just find the best vegetable dip or specialty cookie recipe. I kind of want to question why I get that rush of ambition only near the holidays. But better than questioning it is just embracing it and enjoying all the experience and new favorite recipes that it brings me.

This year is a little different, of course, but I am still starting to feel drawn to find new creations. I have already found a couple that I am really excited about. Apple Pie is an absolute staple of the holidays, so, naturally, I wanted to find a recipe that still includes that, while taking it to new, more interesting, heights. This Salted Carmel Apple Pie Recipe seems to take the cake, or pie.(HaHa, pie. Get t? My bad puns are so funny, right?)

Okay, so next I really wanted to find a nice Chipotle Sweet Potato recipe, but I already pretty much have that down, and all the recipes I looked at didn't seem to be as good, and they seemed to be needlessly complicated. I am all for extra effort, but I don't want added work when it is not necessary. But, I digress. I guess I just wanted to pat myself on the back for already be good at Chipotle Sweet Potatoes.

But, I still wanted a potato recipe. I love to experiment with potatoes. So many possibilities. And, since I love everything rich, creamy and too high in calories, I wanted something decadent. I decided on Potatoes Au Gratin. There were so many recipes to choose from, but this one was very simple and I loved the option of choosing gruyere cheese and red potatoes, instead of the usual russet.

They came out so good, you have no idea. Just so rich and comforting, like something your grandma would make at Sunday dinner. These are truly ideal for any holiday dinner. They would pair extremely well with ham, though they would be good with turkey, roast, and other meats too. And of course, they are wonderful for those who do not eat meat. They are certainly enough of a start to be the main dish.

When I first set out to do a holiday recipe round-up, I wanted to include at least one Keto recipe, since I am supposed to be staying on track. But who am I kidding? It's the holidays, I won't be on track. However, I was thrilled when I did happen upon an interesting recipe and it just so happened to be Keto.

This wonderful tea based drink, called a Marc Thomas, is a recipe from Marc Zboch He came up with it through his travels through the Caribbean, specifically Grenada and Northern India. The recipe is super simple, almost ridiculously so, and it is adventurous, due to the exotic (to me) nature of it's origin, and it is also extremely comforting. It is perfect for cozy winter nights by the fire.

So, me and my temporary determination have a lot of cooking (and eating) to do, but I would love to hear about your favorite holiday recipes. Whether they are traditions you've had for years, or something new you just discovered. It is so wonderful how food is something we can all bond over. Until next time, stay safe, happy and full.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Finding Fitness and a New Normal

There is so much chaos and unrest in the world right now. So much is happening, but at the same time it can feel like everything is on pause. It is such a strange situation. It is so hard to know how to navigate your daily life and what the best method is for creating a new normal. And even the act of creating a new normal can be a tough thing to grasp mentally. It is understandable to just want to "get by" until things get back to actual normal, but with no expectation of how long that could be, it is not going to be entirely possible to stay in limbo.

Many things have had to take a back burner during these stressful times. In particular, in my case at least, is fitness. The last thing I wanted to do is stress my body in addition to my mind. The fact that it was more challenging to even access in light of social distance was a great excuse, but really had no bearing on my own reluctance to seek out exercise endeavors.

If that is one of the factors for you, however, there are many ways around that. And while it was nice (nicer than the alternative) to get an escape from reality during the early months of this pandemic, now I just can't keep ignoring the pull (or push rather, I am certainly not drawn to this, I have to give myself a shove) to work on my health and my body. My state is, ignorantly, in stage 3, so fitness facilities are open. Still, I feel it unwise to patronize them. And, it is also less convenient than just working out at home.

There are only 2 real drawback to working out at home, in my opinion. The first is, since you are not in a space dedicated solely to fitness, it is easier to cut the time short, or to make excuses to put it off. However, it does eliminate some excuses as well, like "by the time I drive each way, I won't have enough time to workout to make it worth while" and "I can't leave the kids "or pets, etc)". The other drawback, and the more valid one, is the lack of equipment that being at home presents.

Not everyone has the space or the finances to fill their home with workout machines. Thankfully there are some options that are small and quite affordable compared to large machines, like the BP5. It is a system of go anywhere workout bars. It's a resistance band workout method. Not only is it easy to store out of the way when not in use, it can travel. Not everyone works out only at home. And some people split time at more than one residence. The BP5 is great for work or vacation. It is so easy to use and does not require a power source or anything to be assembled.

So there are always excuses and there are always solutions that counter those excuses. And it is great to do that. Setting and reaching goals is awesome, and having the right tools makes all the difference, but no matter what, just do what you need to do to get through it and live the best life you can right now, instead of waiting for something else.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Things to Know About Scalp Micropigmentation in Los Angeles


Sometimes, the alternative to getting bald is to wear a wig or buy shampoos that promise hair growth in the soonest possible time. However, these so-called "solutions" are temporary, and not all shampoos can deliver what they are promising to their customers. You can know more tips on how you can avoid hair loss in this page here.

It's alarming for many people to wake up one day, look into the mirror, and see a patch of the scalp that does not have any hair strands on it. This means that they are getting older or have some unknown medical condition that needs treatment right away.

If you are one of the people who want to hide a thinning hairline or a balding head, then scalp micropigmentation may be the right solution for you. Of course, there are other restoration techniques but camouflaging your head is way better than buying expensive shampoo every week or getting into expensive treatments like hair transplants. 

What is Scalp Micropigmentation? 

If you want to know more about hair restoration history, delving into SMP may be the first step you want to make. Although getting tattoos has been around for more than 5,000 years, scalp tattooing is a new process in the modern world. 

Of course, other people don't call it scalp tattoos or camouflage. SMP is a different procedure than simple traditional tattoos. Most of the practitioners involved in scalp micropigmentation use microneedles, and they have a set level of penetration to create small dots that is similar to that of stubble growth. 

For many men, the age of 35 is often when they first see signs of hair loss. In the early stages of this alarming process, SMP can make the head appear like it's full of hair strands. While many people may understand the concept of tattoos and how it can relate to the scalp, the fact remains that the SMP process is much more compared to what you see is happening in an ink parlor in Los Angeles. 

Benefits to Consider 

If you are still in the stages of worrying about baldness and researching how you can prevent this, then rest assured that you are not alone in this journey. Other people are also frantically exploring how they can create an illusion that they still have thick hair. 

Whether you have a medical condition or baldness in your genes, SMP remains one of the best options for you in the early stages. You can visit a Los Angeles clinic for the scalp micropigmentation process and see other clients' results. Fortunately, for many men and women, the benefits go way beyond the usual "nipping." 

Combination with Other Haircuts 

Many men can benefit from the camouflage as they can always request signature haircuts from their barbers. They can search for hairstyles that will suit them best, get a robotic hair restoration, and the results will astonish them. Others may prefer the "just shaved" look, and this is the ideal style for those who are looking to have SMP and make their head appear fuller. 

Affordable Option 

The treatment doesn't cost an arm and a leg. It's very affordable and budget-friendly for people who didn't consider getting it in the first place. You can visit a Los Angeles scalp micropigmentation clinic and compare prices if you are tight on your budget. However, it is essential to note that the most expensive is always the best. There are cost-effective options out there that can give you the results that you want in a maximum of three sessions. The touch-ups may also be required every five years so you can save more money in the process. 

You Can Get Back to Work as Soon As Possible 

Many people fear that getting the hair tattoos will need about a week and another day for recovery. The good news is that the process may only last from 2 to 4 hours, depending on the area that needs to be covered. Follow-up treatments may only happen twice, and the healing period may only take 24 hours. 

You can report back to work and reduce your downtime with the scalp micropigmentation treatment, and your colleagues may even be surprised by your new look. The process is also painless, and you may be healed even before you know it, so this is why the process is prevalent for many people. 

The Results are Very Realistic 

The best technicians out there will match your current hair color and suggest other hues that match your skin tone. The results will look more natural, and you can go back to your usual routines without feeling conscious. Experts who are practicing SMP for a long time know how to mimic the natural look of hair strands, and the specialized ink will also contribute significantly to a more natural-looking scalp.

Immediate Improvements 

Buying shampoo and hoping that your hair strands will go back to their average volume will take a lot of time. Before you know it, a good patch of the scalp is already showing, and you may be more conscious as a result. When you get SMP treatment, rest assured that you can see the results and the dot colors even after just a single session. Your head will look fuller, and it won't take months before you see improvements of the scalp that has hair loss. Know more about managing hair loss here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Management_of_hair_loss

The benefits that you can get with SMP are numerous, and the results speak for themselves. Other options may only stop hair loss, or some shampoos may be ineffective, but SMP will give you a fuller look every single time. 

If you decide to go for a close trim and certain spots are more obviously thinner than the others, then this is a process that's right for you. Make sure to choose practitioners who use high-definition techniques like scalp camouflaging to hide the balding spots effectively. The right people for the job will make the process a more pleasurable experience.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

FALLing for Summer Styles

So it is officially October. I would love to be able to tell you about all the cute fall sweaters and boots that I am going to be rocking. Unfortunately, I live in Florida, so it might as well still be summer. But that doesn't mean I still get get a little excited about some fashion prospects. I just discovered that Bombshell has sexy workout leggings, so I am pretty stoked.

I live for leggings. I like being able to move around and feel comfortable, but sometimes sportswear can leave something to be desired in terms of style. Not anymore, though. Not with Bombshell Sportswear, though. The styles are so hot. I love the variety. I especially love high waited leggings, since my tummy is not the most toned. I love that you have contemporary, trend setting, if fact, styles that will make you the envy of anyone stuck with regular pants that are half as stylish and twice as uncomfortable.

I am especially digging these high waisted thigh high print leggings. They have many color options, but I am such a sucker for that school girl sock vibe, and these do it perfectly. If only I had the body to match, but at least I can disguise all my flaws in a super cute pair of leggings. 

These will transition into autumn perfectly, as well. How cute will they be under a tunic and a cardigan? I am in love.The pink ones are to die for. There are so with pockets. Those camo ones. I don't even normally like camo that much, but they are so hot. I just need then whole collection. Plus there is a collection of solid prints and more. So much fire. They almost make me want to work out. Almost.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Achieving a Natural Look with Makeup

Many people wear makeup on a regular basis to enhance their appearance and give them more confidence. However, these days, a lot of us do not want to wear makeup that is really obvious and looks like it has been troweled on. Instead, we want something that looks natural, and that simply enhances our natural look rather than making us look completely different.

Fortunately, there are lots of great products you can use in order to create a natural but enhanced look with the makeup you wear. You may need to practice with your technique to get it just right. In addition, you may need to try out different shades to find the perfect one for you. If you need to buy new makeup to achieve that natural finish, you can get some great deals on beauty products online with the use of promos such as Kohls coupons, so you won’t have to break the bank. In this article, we will look at some tips that can help you to achieve a natural finish with your makeup.

Tips to Help You Achieve a Natural Finish

There are various tips that can help you to achieve a natural finish when it comes to your makeup. One thing you should aim to do is wear a primer before you apply any more makeup. This will help to smooth out the skin and minimize pores, which in turn will give your complexion a fresher, more natural finish. You can get all sorts of primers including ones that are suitable for sensitive skin, so finding the right one should be easy.

When it comes to foundation, you should aim for a light coverage option. One of the great foundation options available is mousse foundation, which is very light and airy and will not cake on your face like many other foundation types. You only need to pump a small amount out and it will go a long way. Do not make the mistake of getting a darker shade to make yourself look tanned or darker, or a lighter shade than your skin, as this will look very unnatural. Match the foundation as closely as possible to your natural skin shade and tone.

To set your foundation, apply just a very light dusting of loose powder to ensure it does not cake on the skin. Use a large powder brush to apply this, as you can then better control the amount you apply. Again, make sure you choose the right shade of loose powder to match your foundation and your natural skin shade for the best results.

Using a cream blusher rather than a powder one can also help to give you a natural, dewy, and glowing finish. Make sure you do not apply too much blusher, as this will look very obvious. Just a touch of the product on the apples of your cheeks will help to achieve a wonderful natural finish and leave your skin looking healthy and fresh.

These are just a few key tips that can help you to achieve a fresh and natural finish with your makeup.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

4 Tips To Look For When Moving

Moving comes with its own challenges and problems but also the excitement of starting over somewhere new. Creating a new opportunity for you, your loved ones, and your career. However, it’s getting you to that location that can also be a headache so why not take the stress away and hire a moving company to assist you in the process? There are millions of moves every year and it’s a minor miracle that many of them go smoothly with zero issues. Hiring a quality moving company is a must however with so many moves, these are scams that can also occur. It’s in your best interest for you and your family to be properly informed about every step in the process once you hire them to help you. Below are a few tips to help make it as easy as possible once the big day arrives.

1. Taking Inventory Of Your Belongings -

A company should be taking inventory of all of your belongings to determine the weight and bulk of your move. This can be done either in person or through a virtual survey. The estimator should be extremely thorough and check all of the storage places including your bookcase, garage, cupboards, and drawers. A large component of the price is based on the weight of everything you are moving as well as the space that it will take in the truck. This is a pretty accurate estimate so be aware of the price once it’s presented to you. While walking through your home, an estimator should be asking you questions as to what is staying or being taken with you so help you prepare for the final price. If you plan on giving a few things away, donating or having a yard sale, try to tag those in a specific spot so you don’t become confused.

2. Name Changes-

Some companies avoid being assessed by the Business Bureau by changing their name. Be sure that the company has a local address and the information is insured and licensed. The employees should be able to answer simple questions with a full name of the business. If you have any red flags or suspensions, you’ll want to see if there are any other names in the company as well as their federal license numbers. Check online if there are any testimonies that complain about the company as well before you give them a call.

Image: Infinite Moving Company

3. References Are Key-

Before hiring someone, make sure that you have trusted resources to help make your decision. If nobody in your area has used the company, check for references given to you by the movers themselves. They should be able to provide you some. Tell them at least three customers from the area who have moved in the last few months and call them to ask direct questions about how their experience went to help you make a final decision.

4. Refrain From Packing Costs -

If you pack up your belongings on your own, the moving company is generally not responsible for the damage to them. However if you have them pack you might be paying prices for boxes, packing material and their time and labor. Ask them abut packing experience because while most of them are careful and have your best interest at heart, you don’t want to have someone whose very new to the job roses whatever they want into a box with little regard of something breaking! 

Image: Infinite Moving Company

Now that you learned about a few major things to look for when it comes to hiring a moving company, there is a local business that can assist you that comes highly recommended, and truly feels like family. The Infinite Moving Company is a family operated and owned business to offer services such as furniture, appliance and office relocation. They can even opt to move just one large item if you need it. This commercial based moving company in the Polk County area believes in integrity, honesty and quality of service above all else so it’s no surprise that they really treat you as the family they have within their company and do their very best to prioritize you and deliver exceptional services every single time. Why wouldn’t you want to call on these experts to assist you during such a big transition for your family? Have there been any tips or tricks you’d like to share about moving? Have things gone pretty smooth or were there some hiccups along the way?

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Inventory Optimization

This year is one of the strangest that I can recall living through. It has simultaneously flown by at lightning speed and dragged on at an excruciatingly slow pace. While that seems contradictory, and it obviously is, I think that comes from the fact that so many things have happened, while at the same time we are "missing" all the normal things we would experience.

One thing is for sure, this year will be one that defines our decade. At least unless the following years have something even worse in mind. Now, I am not saying it will define us in a negative. In fact, I think it can be quite the opposite. Of course this virus is a tragedy, so many lives have been lost, and most or it was preventable with proper precautions from the start.

Still, we as individuals can learn from this. We can take this time of unrest and use it to implement positive changes. We can be more adaptive in our social interactions, taking this example to be conscientious that there are always those with immune deficiencies among us, even when pandemics are not rampant.

We can focus on the fact that the jobs that are considered "unskilled labor" are the same ones deemed "essential" now. And we can make sure we remember that when we vote on things that impact those jobs. We should all care about raising wages for workers that do so much for us all.

In addition to changing our attitude and social behaviors, we can also take this time to refocus our own lives at home and restructure our businesses as well. Now is the perfect time to start on inventory optimization. Not only can optimization help reduce overstocking and reduce materials and costs, if you choose the right tools, it can also help predict future demands.

The harmonization is probably my favorite aspect, though. Things run so much more smoothly when everything is in sync. And the Artificial Intelligence run operating system, plus the use of a Cloud platform, makes the accuracy impeccable (99% reliability). 

Since my own endeavors have been a little slow, as of late, I have been working closely with my cousin in law in my mother-in-law's care and the management of my late father-in-laws business and estate handling. Cloud based services make it so much easier for us to stay connected and well informed.

We have recently brought in a few new people into the fold, so the easy, seamless operation of the cloud is so helpful. I love knowing that we are always on the same page, even though they are across the country. I love the peace of mind that comes with knowing that we have the best support available. Capable hands make all the difference.

Aside from that, I am just trying to remember that perfection is important in some areas (as in, no mistakes with inventory and such) but that having a "perfect" year or life, being the perfect mom, etc, is just not attainable. I am learning to find acceptance in the fact that not only are flaws normal, the uniqueness is what makes life truly special and beautiful. So instead of wishing for perfection, I am just enjoying another day in this beautiful disaster. I hope you are enjoying yours as well. Stay safe, friends.  

Monday, August 10, 2020

Investing In Me

My last post talked quite a bit about self confidence issues and working to build up my self esteem. One way I have been doing that (for well over a year now) is by working on my weight. I have been doing Keto and technically fasting to an extent, but it is mostly only because how how much I choose to eat and what time I prefer to eat at.

I am not a planner, at all! I am very disorganized in all aspects of my life. I hate counting and measuring and tracking. That is what has caused me to fail at other fitness goals in the past. I could probably see faster results with those methods, but my whole goal is not to let my life revolve around my weight, and I think by making things that strict, I would be causing it to be "a thing" that makes it seem suffocating, setting me up to fail.

Lately, I have been considering supplementing my efforts. While I have seen(painfully slow, but still meaningful) results, I can tell that my body shape has been changed by my children, diet, and lifetime lack of fitness. Even if or when I reach my goal on the scale, I can see that my body will not take the shape I want. I have lose skin and lumps and bumps. I never got the "pregnant" fat belly, it was always "busted biscuits".

So, I have been researching plastic surgery. I have actually always considered plastic surgery, even back into my teens. The only real factor that kept me from actively considering it was the cost. However, we are more stable financially than we have been in the past, and I am starting to realize that sometimes you need to make an investment in yourself.

I tend to feel selfish when I consider "wasting" money on myself, especially on something that can be argued is not a need. It is still hard to not feel bad about it, but I have started to realize that mental health can be as important as (or even more important than) physical health. This is something that will help me immensely with my body image and my concept of self worth.

I have even considered how this can be a positive for my family as well. I will look more appealing to my husband. If I possess more self confidence, I will set a much better example for my daughter (and my soon, too, really) on loving yourself. Thankfully, she is extremely confident so far, in spite of my terrible example. But as she gets older, I want to be a help to her, not a hindrance.

So anyway, I have been looking into who might me the best plastic surgeon for me. I was particularly looking into liposuction, but in doing so I found that one of the most reputable facial plastic surgeons around is actually very close to where I live. And the offer cheek reduction. My facial fat is one of the areas I still haven't seen the results I was aiming for.

I still haven't nailed down exactly what I will have done, but I love that I have a solid starting point and I have something to look forward to. I like feeling like I deserve to do things for myself sometimes. I like being excited, and I am. 

Say Cheese!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. It is so cheesy and cliche, except that it's true. Photos are meaningful. They are an archive of your life's mot precious moments. The memories that you will cherish when you are old and gray and pass down to your great grandchildren.

So, it's important to actually capture those moments. I know for so many of us, that cam be very hard. It is especially challenging when you don't feel confident in yourself. You'd rather avoid capturing your "flaws". I relate, completely. And I am actually trying my best to work on it myself, since it is a huge struggle for me.

A huge part of self confidence is mental, you have to accept that you look good as you are, and you can even accept that it doesn't matter how you look, because real beauty comes from within and the people that love you will do so no matter how you look. I wish I had the mental stability to do that.

Another thing you can do, is work on your "flaws" in reasonable ways that help boost your confidence (not in ways that are harmful to your health or sanity.) For example, I have been working on my weight, and while I still have many flaws, I feel much better about myself with the pounds I've lost gone.

Similarly, some years ago I had cosmetic dentistry done to fix my broken front teeth. My teeth have always been bad and having broken ones right in the front was a huge blow to my confidence. That made me wary of taking pictures and of smiling in general. If a similar issue is concerning you, I highly recommend looking into smile design. Not only will you likely feel better aesthetically, but it is beneficial physically as well.

Getting my teeth fixed helped me so much when it came to photographs. I still hate photos of myself, which I am working on, but at least I feel like my smile is as good as it's going to get, and I can accept that. I am glad that I can show happiness in my photos without second guessing myself. Who wants to look back on memories where they are frowning or pouting? I sure don't, and I don't want my kids looking back and wondering whether their mother was unhappy spending time with them.

We only get one life, and I intend to make the most of it. I want to remember everything and make sure my kids know they were loved. I want them to show pictures to their great grand kids of when they had the "best day ever" at the beach with their mom. I want them to have proof of every cookie baking mess and frosting face birthday and everything in between.

That's the biggest thing I realized. One day, I'll be gone, and all my kids will have is the memories we made and the physical form of those memories, the photos we take along the way. And I decided "who cares if there are ugly ones?" Life isn't always perfect. Why should the photos we take have to be? Isn't it better to have real memories than no memories? I certainly think so. Even if I still have to work hard to battle my demons every time I reach for the camera.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

How to Help a Spouse With a Problem

Relationships have both good and tough times. Unfortunately, many couples don’t know how to relate when one is struggling with an issue. This is mainly because some people choose to hide behind their problems instead of discussing them. It is best to visit couples rehabs before the physical and emotional distance causes irreparable damage to the relationship. You won’t be sorry you put in the extra effort to save your marriage.

If your partner requires space, give it to him or her

This may seem counterproductive, especially since the absence of communication has been the cause of breakdowns in relationships. However, sometimes, when experiencing a tough time, some people need space to think about their options before discussing what they are going through.

People have different reactions to the challenges they are facing. Couples are not any different because each partner has their unique traits. You need to appreciate the kind of person your spouse is and provide support accordingly.

If he or she will resent any forceful attempts from you to make the problems go away, it is best to give it some time. However, don’t allow too much time to go by without addressing the issue.

Sometimes listening is enough

It is natural for couples to stand by each other and help lessen the burden one partner bears. However, sometimes trying to fix things does more harm than good. It is great to have an opinion or even voice it, but there are times when the best you can do is to give a listening ear.

This way, even when you offer your advice or opinion, your partner will be confident that you understand what they are facing. Additionally, allowing your spouse to speak will help them come to terms with the issue.

Seek help from a professional or third party

If your partner has trouble confiding in you out of concern of overburdening you or possibly out of shame, it is best to seek help from someone who can get him or her to open up. Some couples, depending on the foundation of the relationship, have a difficult time communicating during tough times.

During this period, each one suffers quietly, and this often breeds resentment. Instead of allowing things to become worse, it is best to seek a third party’s assistance, preferably someone in whom your spouse can confide.

Use the support system you have at your disposal

As a couple, what has been your support structure? Who are your confidants? It could be your family, friends, or anyone who shares the same beliefs as the both of you.

While some people find it easy to discuss their challenges with strangers, some are more comfortable talking with those in their circle. This is especially important if the problem is too big for you and your spouse to solve. You never know, one of your close confidants may have the solution to your problems.

Read your spouse’s body language

If your spouse has trouble initiating a conversation when they have a problem, you should be the first to bring it up. Quickly identify any changes in behavior so that you can find out what the problem is before your spouse falls into depression.

For example, is he more on edge? Does your spouse indulge in more alcohol than usual? Have their sleeping patterns changed? The responses will give you a glimpse of how troubled your spouse is, so you can raise your observations when you seek to find out what is wrong.


Work through the problem as a team

You and your spouse are partners, through the good and the bad. If you have been making important decisions together, then the problems your spouse faces should not be any different. You need to work through this as a team.

Let your spouse know that they are not alone. Whatever challenges they face, you will find a solution together. If the problem is as a result of an addiction where therapy is necessary, take the time to attend some of the sessions. This will encourage your spouse to do everything to overcome their problems.

Be patient and understanding

This is very critical, especially if your spouse’s attitude has strained the relationship. You need to be patient and understanding, especially if they are trying to come to terms with their situation. Keep communication lines open, even when your spouse doesn’t want to talk.

Being patient to someone who is lashing out can be tough, but it will be worth it if you don’t respond with indifference or anger. If your spouse feels your support, he or she will be more positive about confronting the situation. The issue will also be resolved much faster if you both confront it together.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

What I Wish I Would Have Known As a New Mom

Being a mom is one of the best experiences that a woman can ever have. In motherhood you get to raise babies that look up to you. You also offer them guidance and teach them good moral values. You learn these practices, as your baby tends to mature. It helps you create a strong bond with your baby that can improve your relationship in the future. However, things can be challenging, especially if you were not well prepared. This can be devastating as a new mom since you lack the experience. Here are is what is wish I would have known as a new mom:

1) Sleepless Nights End
Babies are one of the most exciting beings that you will ever get. They come with so much joy that you cannot resist watching. They can be so charming when handled with care. You can check out Mommyhood101 to get guidelines for what to expect when you are a new mom. A new mom may lack the knowledge of knowing that certain things in children always end.

In this case, sleepless nights can be a challenge to new moms since babies will always wake you up at night. At times, this may be for you to breastfeed them or change their diapers. The good thing is that this always ends once the baby is mature.

2) Teething
Raising a baby as a new mom is always a learning experience. You get to learn things that you can correct once you get a second baby. Some can be stressful to learn, but with time, you can adapt easily. Teething is a process that each new mom will experience. This is when a baby starts to develop new sets of teeth. This process affects the babies differently, where some may cry a lot. Here you can invest in gadgets that help soften the teething process. You should also drop by this Childrens dentist in Vienna for dental solutions.

3) Multitasking
Life without a baby can be easy since you can perform different tasks at the same time. This is because your mind is more focused on the things that are driving you now. On the other hand, things can be quite different from being a new mom. You will require learning how to multitask on your chores, career, and, most importantly, the newborn baby. This can be hard at fast, but with practice, it becomes easy. For instance, you are cooking for your family and as well as breastfeeding your baby. The best approach you need to know is starting with crucial parts. This helps relax your mind and get a good sleep.

4) Dads are also Great Parents
Most women may underestimate how men are capable of handling babies since it is believed that women should take responsibility. What you did not know is that dads can make good parents too. When raising a child, you are supposed to share responsibilities since everybody has a life to live. It might be hard at first since it is a new experience for everyone. You only require learning and supporting each other. For instance, if you tend to go shopping, you can always account for the support of the dad to take care of the baby.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Summer Lovin'

Summer is here in full force. Summer this year will be different than summers past have been. There will be less social gatherings, more time at home. I am mostly a homebody anyway, but I was still a little bit disappointed that summer fashion will not be as important as it usually is.

However, I will not let that stop me from having a great summer. It won't even stop me from having fun summer styles to get excited about. In fact, I just grabbed some super cute PJs, and they are the total embodiment of social distance summer.

What says "Summer Lovin'" (indoors) more than Grease pajamas? They are so cute, I can't stand it. Now, when I lay around, watching Grease all summer, I will actually feel stylish. I won't be "lazy", I will be responsibly maintaining social distance. This is a dream come true, honestly.

The adorable Grease Pajamas from TVStoreOnline come in two styles. They are essentially "men's" and "women's" styles, but if you think I am not wearing both, you are dead wrong. Awesome is awesome, regardless of gender. Never let stupid labels stop you from wearing whatever you want.

Look how cute these "Pink Ladies" Pajamas are! The shorts are especially good for summer, since it gets so hot, though I am very self-conscious about my legs, so I don't wear shorts often.

Thankfully for me, the "T Birds" Pajamas are pants, for when I want to be more covered up. Actually they are long sleeved, too.

But I actually sometimes wear the pants from these with the Pink Ladies top, they go together perfectly. So I have 3 ways to wear them. Well, 4 actually, I could totally wear the T Birds top with the shorts, too. Talk about versatility.

So basically, I am lounging around, in style, having the best summer ever. Obviously, things are messed up right now, but we can still be positive in whatever ways we can. We will make it through this. Stay safe. Keep singing.

And for even more to get excited about enter below for your chance to win any (in-stock) item from TVStoreOnline. Good luck!

*Although I received these items at no cost, to facilitate a review, all opinions are 100% my own.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, June 25, 2020


I have seen a lot of talk, lately, about the confederate flag and how some people are upset that most people want it removed from use. It is strange to me that lack of empathy those people posses, while still expecting that people should empathize with their desire to use such a hateful flag.

While I would love wax poetic about why that flag is degrading and why it was never something to have pride in in the first place, I think, instead, I should just mention that there are many other types of flags for one to have pride in.

In fact, it is currently Pride Month, so there are literally pride flags to mention. There is the gay pride flag, lesbian pride flag, bisexual pride flag, asexual pride flag, transgender pride flag, etc. Even if none of those thing applies to you personally, you likely have a friend or family member to whom it does apply. And even if you don't, supporting the underrepresented is extremely important.

If you think that's too "political", although equality and basic human rights are not political in the slightest, there are things lie sports team flags. My husband has several in support of his favorite teams. These are fun because it's a way to show pride in the college you went to or a team you grew up watching with your parents, or just your support of a team you like. It helps you feel more connected, like you are a part of it, instead of just a spectator.

Of course, there is country flags, like my husband has an Irish flag, because he was born in Ireland, and there are even state flags. State Flags, as far as I know, are not a novel idea, by any means. However, that does not mean I actually know anything about them. I've often found myself presented with a flag and wonder what it was for, only to discover it was a state flag. For the longest time I could not even identify the Florida flag. I have lived here my whole life.

Flags have never really been my thing, but it was interesting to look at all the different state flags and I actually kind of love the idea of flying your home state when you move away and things like that. A way to keep a piece of your roots with you no matter where you go. A real piece of history. Of your personal roots, not some "cause" that was never the right side.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Hitting the Books

Most people might not know this about me, but I love to read. Actually, to be more accurate, I used to love reading. In recent (and not-so-recent) years I have very much gotten distracted by life. It had gotten to the point that I cannot even remember how long it has been since I have read an actual book all the way through.

I have half-read along several books with my son during the school year, so that I could better help him with his school assignments. I have read things online, short stories written by friends or that are part of fandoms that I am interested in. But I have not read a whole book in years.

During the time, it never felt like it had been that long. Now, looking back, it feels like a lifetime. Like I am starting at the beginning or something. That seems absurd, but maybe it is fairly correct. I've missed out on every single book released in the past 5 years at least, let alone all the classics I had never read before that. It makes me sad to think about.

And I am so excited to be diving back in to an exciting world, or many, many worlds, of fiction, but I am also very overwhelmed. I don't know where to start. I have always been a sucker for angsty plots. I like a thrilling, even heartbreaking read, as long as it has a satisfying ending.

And as much as I love fiction, I also love non-fiction. I love reading people's struggles and accomplishments and the lessons they have learned and the wisdom they can share because of all that. I love being able to see how much we all have in common, no matter who we are or where we are from.

In fact, I have always wanted to write a book. My sister and I have discussed it more than once. We've had a very interesting life. My siblings and I have all faced many hardships and even our mother before us. We have tried (and sometimes failed) to break generational "curses" and to be better people and leave a better example and legacy for our own children. I feel like we have a story that, unfortunately, many can resonate with.

We have never taken it super seriously, but it is something that we have always had in our heads. I would really love to look more into self publishing and how that could work for people like my sister and I. Using Sam Haskell as an example, it worked out phenomenally well for him.

Just being able to sit and write out all my experiences like that would be incredibly therapeutic, I think. I always tend to use writing as a way to vent my emotions anyway. I have done poetry when I am feeling sad or depressed or stressed out for as long as I can remember. Being able to take it a step further and actually publish something meaningful would be so incredible.

I think someday we are really going to do it. I feel like it is something we both need to do. Until then, I will lose myself in all the amazing stories that other people have bestowed upon the world. That is more than enough for now.

Real Estate Investing

A few years ago my husband and I first began, tentatively, to look for investment opportunities. Neither of us had ever really had any experience in that area, and we didn't even know where to start. My husband's father had quite a bit of success with investing. He offered us some advise, which we were extremely grateful for.

I wish that we had been more outright and asked him more. He has since passed on, making that impossible now. The wisdom he did impart us with was still incredibly helpful, though. In addition to helping us discover the best interest gaining savings accounts, like CDs, his biggest recommendation was real estate investment.

He had experience with it. He had taken affordable, less than desirable properties, and fixed them up, creating thriving business and attractive renting and sale prospects. He often rented out his own second home during the months they were in their primary home, and offered us so many tips on the best ways to go about that type of property renting.

We were actively looking for a place to do that type of thing a couple years ago, and then life got in the way, as it so often seems to do, and that had to take a backseat. Now, we are starting to revisit the idea real estate investment. More specifically, wholesaling real estate.

We have just discovered this type of real estate investing, and it seems really interesting, since there appears to be very little risk involved. It is also ideal because we would not be tasked with providing any of the repairs. I am excited to really dive into this, and use it as at least the starting point of our investment experience. Once we have really gotten the hang of it (and started to build up a nice little nest egg from the profits) we could move on to more complex, and costly ventures.

Ideally, the goal will be to eventually own a second property (or more than that) that we can rent out. For profit would be wonderful, but my father in law told us that it even if you rent it out at just enough to cover the mortgage and taxes, you are still coming out far ahead, since, in such a case, the renters are buying your property for you. Down the line, you will still own another property that you technically didn't have to pay for.

As I mentioned, we would like to do this at least once, so that, with the house we have now, and the other property, we would be able to have a home for each of our children. Though the ultimate goal is to acquire two additional homes, so that each child can have one when they are old enough, and we would still have our own home.

Being able to provide for our children in such a way is very import to us. My parents were not able to do that kind of thing, and I understand and adore them for everything they have done. Still, I want my children to have more. My husband feels the same. His parents were able to do more, and he wants to surpass that, still. Hopefully, in addition to whatever assets we can pass on to them, we also can install some useful knowledge, like my husband's father has done for us.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Chill Out this Summer

It's time, summer is almost (officially) here. In Florida, it's been here for weeks already, but that doesn't mean it won't get even hotter. Imagine wearing a huge jacket, while sitting by a campfire, inside your oven and then you can imagine what a moderate day in Florida summer is like.

So, to say things are about to heat up is an understatement. And when you consider the fact that a lot of indoor activities are still closed or, at least, not fully safe for social distancing, then the demand for outdoor fun is only increased. At least around here we have the beach, not that we go, it's always slammed without out-of-towners.

There is still picnics, and walks and bike riding and a multitude of other outdoor activities. All of which will be hot as can be. The need to stay hydrated and cool is essential. Literally, there is so much risk involved with being in that kind of heat without proper hydration.

I guess what I am saying is, get a cooler and truckloads of ice bags and make sure stay cool and drink water. I hate water, believe me, but many other drinks can act as a diuretic and dehydrate you further, and that is the last thing you will want.

In addition to truckloads of ice and water, sunscreen is very important, too. Even if you don't burn, which you still might, you can still cause skin damage, like sunspots and wrinkles, and even get skin cancer. Sunscreen and shade are your friend.

Summer might look a little different this year, but lets enjoy it. Maybe it will be the best one yet. Embrace the new normal and have fun, and be SAFE.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

The Future of Mobile Messaging

In today's fast paced world, mobile messaging is more important than ever. It is vital to be able to reach your audience in their comfort zone. Meaningful engagement is essential to successful business. You have to make a connection and it has to be accessible. Staying at the forefront requires being up to date, or even ahead of the times.

Getting in on the future first is a great way to get a leg up in your business. Especially the future of communication since the relationships are the most important aspect of any venture. That is why having an innovative messaging platform is such a great asset.

I am really excited by the new possibilities. I love the idea of a cloud based communication platform. It makes so much sense that it seems obvious. It's crazy how the future comes along and makes you wonder how you ever managed things before. It is so seamless and makes it easy to track and automate your engagement.

I love easy it is. Everything that takes the place of phone calls is a step up, in my socially anxious opinion, but there is "next level" and then there is "out of this world", and this new solution from Syniverse is definitely out of this world. It almost makes me feel a little silly, getting so excited about something as mundane as a tool for my brand, but this is really useful.

There are so many invaluable features, like language translation that translates (properly) your message before dispatching it to your international customers/subscribers. Analytics tracking helps you learn what is working well and what could use some improvement. Learning your audience is they key to keeping and growing it.

Omni-channel engagement allows you to ensure that customers receive seamless communication across all platforms. And with template management and automated orchestration, you can be sure that you are communicating effectively and relevantly on all platforms in every situation. Having triggering messaging that is coordinated by case needs is so helpful.

SMS verification allows for security for peace of mind, with customers knowing that they are protected. It also keeps your business safe and secure. Confidence is so important. Knowing that you are protected and having your customers know they are protected, as well, is worth so much.

What I really love is the backing of a team of experts. These experts will help you create a custom mobile strategy, and deploy mobile campaigns and programs, anywhere in the world. That is especially useful for me. Even when things are straightforward and user friendly, I always like to second guess myself and worry that I am doing something incorrectly or not as effectively as I could be. Guidance and reassurance are really invaluable to me.

Overall, this is a really challenging time for so many companies, and customers, too, for that matter. Every tool is important and building for the future is essential. The future can be daunting, but it's all we have and we can make it spectacular. That starts with using the most innovative solutions. See you at the top.

It Really is a Craft

Just because more things are opening up does not bean that COVID has gone away. In fact since "phase 3" efforts have started, cases are on the rise. People are trying to go out and socialize and do things just for the sake of doing them.

I get it. We, as a species, crave companionship and interaction. It is natural, but we still need to use caution and stay home when we can. As an introvert, I am always down to stay home, but more than that, I just appreciate having a chance to relax and enjoy a little extra leisure time. Netflix and I are having quite a good time together.

I do more than Netflix, of course. There is also Youtube. So clearly, I am being very productive. I've recently found Melvin Brewing and I am really enjoying all the videos. They are super interesting, way more than I thought they would be. I am just starting to learn more about craft beer, and there are so many different kinds and methods and it's really neat.

It's cool how anything can be art, in a way. Fashion, cooking, beer. Anything. There are so many kinds of talent and self expression and I just love getting to learn about them. That's what is so cool about craft beer. I love that attention to detail and high standards of quality. And I love the uniqueness and the passion and supporting real people and small businesses over huge corporations.

If we ever needed a really good craft beer, this is the time. We could all take a little time calm our nerves with a nice, refreshing, craft beer and use our extended isolation time to reflect and grow and find ways (small or large) to make the world a little bit better for our fellow humans.

I know it's small, but I plan on spreading the love for Father's Day. I want to show all the dads in my life a little extra love and make sure they know that they are still appreciated, no matter how hectic or grim the world can sometimes seem. I know my own dad will be getting some cool craft beers from Melvin Brewing. The Killer Bees is his favorite.

My brother will be getting the same. Well, not the same. He's getting Back in the Haze. That's more his speed. I love how amazing the cans are. Another form of art. It makes me want some just to display or something.

Whether drinking to yourself, your father, or just waking up to another day in this sometimes hard, always crazy, but potentially beautiful world, take a little extra time to savor the flavor and all the heart and soul and passion that goes into it. Take a little extra time to appreciate the art and make a toast to doing better and being thankful and enjoying life.

Take care of yourself, take care of others, and take a sip of a delicious craft beer. Drink it all in. We'll get through this like we always have and maybe this time we'll learn something and come out for the better. Until next time, take care.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Happy Mother's Day from TVStore Online.

First and foremost I want to wish all the mothers out there a very happy Mother's Day. Secondly, I want to, once again, rave about TVStore Online. Shocking right? I don't care if I'm predictable, I love TVStore Online.

My Mother's Day gift to myself was more Harley Quinn cosplay items. I can't get enough and TVStore is always there to provide my fix. This time, I picked up the Birds of Prey Cosplay Shorts to go with the jacket and shirt I got last time, the Daddy's Lil Monster Shirt, Puddin' Choker and Spiked Wrist Cuffs.

I especially love cosplay pieces that can double as regular clothing/accessories. Technically, all these pieces can be worn alongside regular clothes. One their own, none of them are too much, too costumey. The choker is the most blatant, but even that would be super cute with a simple outfit.

Of course, they have a ton of other Comic, TV, Movie, and Music themed clothing and costumes, too. As much as I tend to fixate one one or two things at a time, I am actually very invested in tons of different "fandoms" so there are so so many things that I want on there. It's really the holy grail for pop culture nerds like me.

If you want a Mother's Day gift for yourself, or any type of gift/treat for any reason at all, you are in luck, because TVStore Online is awesome and are providing a giveaway for you all. One lucky winner will receive their choice of one (in stock) item from TVStore Online. Just enter via the Rafflecopter below. Good luck and, once again, I hope all the mothers have a phenomenal Mother's Day. Be safe, everyone.

*Although I received these products at no cost, to facilitate a review, all opinions are 100% my own.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, May 4, 2020

How to Watch Thousands of Hours of TV and Movies for Free

Sometimes we have to find ways to cut back on our spending, whether it’s because an unexpected bill has landed at our feet or because we’re saving up for a special occasion. Regardless of the reason, it means we have to find areas to reduce or completely stop spending money each month.

For many, a TV package is a significant expense. According to the Motley Fool, the average
American spends $96.18 every month on a cable TV package. Since most only watch around 11 of the almost 200 channels they get for that month, they’re actually paying $8.74 for each
channel that they watch every day.

This presents a really easy way to slash your spending since it is possible to get streaming services that offer up the same and similar content for much less. Many also offer free trials, so if you use one after the other you can get a lot of TV without spending any money. You can still get them on your big screens too using devices like Google’s Chromecast or the Amazon Fire range.

Watch Esports for Free

Esports have become incredibly popular in recent years, with some sources saying that more than 1 billion people watch esports competitions worldwide. They are essentially competitive video game leagues and tournaments, with huge brands like Intel, the NBA, Red Bull, and Dell all investing in esports.

You can watch a lot of esports and individual gamers on streaming platforms like Twitch, with live esports matches taking place all the time and plenty of replays and highlights available too.

Twitch also carries a lot of poker content, with both live and online tournaments streamed through its service. Poker fans can find even more coverage of live events and other special programming from PokerStars TV.

Watch Disney Movies for Free

Disney has decided to go it alone with its streaming service instead of relying on the biggest players like Amazon Prime Video and Netflix. It launched its Disney+ service in several countries recently and offers a free trial to new customers.

The trial only lasts 7 days so you should start it when you know you will be able to take advantage of it for the following week. You’ll then have access to classic films like Beauty and the Beast, as well as more recent releases like Toy Story 4.

Watch Broadway Shows for Free

The average cost of a Broadway show is over $100, and that doesn’t include concessions, travel or any other costs you may incur. Thankfully, you can watch them for free when using the BroadwayHD free trial.

Like the Disney+ trial, it only lasts 7 days, so be sure to plan ahead before you use it. Once signed up, you’ll have access to hours of Broadway classics, critically acclaimed shows, and even remakes of famous Shakespeare plays.

Watch British TV Shows and Films for Free

While not everything produced for British TV screens translates well for American and international audiences, a lot of it becomes a hit around the world. Shows like Downton Abbey and Doctor Who are loved by millions of people across the globe.

To capitalise on this, British TV companies ITV and the BBC have joined forces to create BritBox, a streaming service dedicated to British films and TV shows. Sign up today and you get a 30-day free trial, plenty of time to binge-watch Peep Show, Friday Night Dinner, and Plebs.

Watch Thousands of TV Shows and Films for Free

Then there are, of course, the more generalised streaming services, like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. They each offer a month’s free trial for you to watch anything in their extensive libraries at no extra cost.

They each have large collections of licensed content from major studies with films like Inception and TV shows like Family Guy. They’re all investing in their own programming too, with hit shows like Orange is the New Black, The Man in the High Castle and House of Cards all being original productions from these platforms.

You will eventually exhaust all of these free trials, but when you do the monthly cost of even a few of these combined will be significantly less than the average cost of cable TV, meaning you’ll be saving money way into the future.

Monday, April 27, 2020

The Extended Impact of COVID-19

We all know that COVID-19 is causing many problems all over the world. Of course, the most obvious being the health risk. While immunocompromised individuals and the elderly are more at risk for serious sickness and fatality, it can affect any age group or prior health status. Young, healthy people are still dying from this disease as well.

And obviously, that is in no way unimportant, but there are many other hardships that are being caused by this pandemic. Many are suffering financially because their workplace is "non-essential" and they are out of work. Many are essential and are having a hard time with still being at work while the schools are shut down.

There are shortages on toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies, and basic food items. I live in "hurricane country" and I have never seen shortages like these. It's scary to wonder if there will be enough meat, or bread, or eggs in the stores. And the supplies that are available seem to be priced higher than they would otherwise be. Not price gouging or anything ridiculous like that, but no sales on toilet paper or anything. It's not really plausible to do that at a time like this. But it's definitely another strain on a budget that is already stretched too thin.

There are still more problems, especially with the boarders closing and the restrictions in place for travel. Immigrants are getting the worst of these restrictions. Many cruise lines are banning people based on nationality. People who hold a Chinese passport are banned from boarding their ships. That is a disgusting form of racial profiling that should have no place in our society.

I've seen quite a lot of that kind of bias. It makes me so sad. We should all be coming together (metaphorically) to lift each other up and help one another through an ordeal that we are all facing together. Instead we are a house divided against itself.

For example, I noticed that our local Chinese restaurant is closed. With stay home orders in effect it is not that shocking, however restaurants are essential businesses and most are still open, including the small, independent ones. Knowing how diligent the family that owns that restaurant are, I sadly suspect that the reason they are closed is because of irrational fear and negative reactions to them based on their nationality.

I hate that, on top of feeling isolated and cautious, and worrying about work and supplies and everything else that I also have to think about racism, or at the very least ignorance. We should be above that. And what is really strange to me is that some people seem to think it's not happening. Even if you haven't seen it directly, it is still happening. Jean Danhong Chen has some great articles about the impact of COVID-19 on Chinese nationals. They are really informative.

I know we are all just trying to get through this, but we can't truly be okay unless we are coming through it together. If we only look out for ourselves I don't feel like we deserve to make it. If we start hoarding and blaming and turning a blind eye to cruelty and injustice then what is the point? We can be better. We have to be.