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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

4 Practical Methods to Get to San Francisco

San Francisco is surrounded by history and amazing locations. Although the city itself is quite small when compared to other locations across California, it isn't any less significant. When you're ready to pack your bags and head out to this city by the bay, the method you choose could save you a lot of money.


Some people tend to believe that driving yourself to various locations is cheaper than alternatives. In today's world, that depends on the starting and ending location. To some degree, flights anywhere across the country could be ultimately less expensive when considering the amount of money you'll spend in gasoline. While driving yourself may be less costly in some areas, you may want to crunch a few numbers as your vehicle could cost far more than what a plane ticket would cost.


It seems that the only ones that take trains to locations anymore are those that are riding the rail for the experience. Trains are slower than planes and often cost more than driving yourself. However, some railways offer elegance and experience that cannot be matched in other modes of travel.


Taking a bus can be ultimately cheaper, but is riddled with many inconveniences. As opposed to other modes of travel, a large number of people are put into a very small space. The travel time, usually takes a great deal longer than any other method, and it could be uncomfortable as you wake up in the middle of the night with someone resting their head on your shoulder.


Flights are often deemed as one of the fastest modes of travel - until you consider the time spent standing in the airport. It could take as long as two hours for you to board the plane. If you have to travel less than 1000 miles, it may be faster to drive. When calculating this, you'll need to include: travel time to the airport, waiting time at the airport, flight time and getting out of the airport and to your destination. You may be surprised with how often it would be faster to simply drive than to fly. However, driving can be far more stressful for extended periods of time.

Luckily, finding affordable hotels in San Francisco doesn't have to be as convoluted as finding the best method of transportation. Since there are locations all across the city, you can find low rates that match your budget almost perfectly. Enjoy the city and worry less about lodging by booking your rooms before you travel.

Saturday, April 25, 2015


In modern times, children's toys are completely different from how they were just a decade ago. Now, you will often see four year olds on iPads and iPhones playing video games with all sorts of lights and sounds. You have to wonder if this is really what is best for children. Childhood toys, at least way back when, were so wonderful because of their ability to help foster imagination and creativity in children.

Technology may make toy shopping easy and fun, but you should still try to seek toys that will make your child think and motivate him to be creative. Here are three toys for children that will give you the best of both worlds.

1. Folkmanis puppets (Australia). During the growing process, kids will discover that they can control their arm and hand movements. You may have observed that babies will reach their arms out to try to grab objects. Folkmanis puppets help out with this process of discovery, as well as being great for motor skill development. Kids love these, as there is a huge variety, including witch puppets and eagle puppets. The quality is topnotch, and they are safe for child's play.

2. Wood toys. Toys made of wood are a classic favorite among children's toys and come with many perks. They do not hurt the planet, and they are child-friendly. You likely know that children often put small objects in their mouths. This makes many toys dangerous, particularly potentially toxic plastic toys. However, if your child likes to chew toys, wooden toys are safer for this purpose. Wooden toys can come in a variety of forms, including various shapes of blocks and buildings. They can basically be anything under the sun, and they are the safe and fun choice for any child.

3. Puzzles. Most people think instantly of jigsaw puzzles when puzzles come to mind. However, there are many different kinds of puzzles, including the windmill stacker. This one will challenge your child and really make him think. There are also more complex puzzles that your child can enjoy at an older age.

Although you can keep modern technology in the life of your child, keep in mind that toys should help with growth and development. The 3 Cheeky Monkey has all sorts of toys that fit this bill and that are also a lot of fun. You can see for yourself at

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Spring Skiing Strategies for Family Fun

Spring is associated with returning birds, baseball diamonds, and a reason to clean the screens on your windows. However, those who love to ski spend the remaining days with snow on the ground racing down mountains. Better than doing it alone, a number of families head to ski destinations in the springtime. But, before you head to the hills, read the following strategies related to the seasonal sport.

Early Bird

It’s always a good strategy to be first on the hill, especially after a fresh coat of powder falls, yet it’s especially smart to be first in the spring. Since the snow gets loose and soft as the day goes on, it’s better (and safer) to get the majority of runs behind you in the beginning of the day. As an added bonus, arriving early is sure to score you an exceptionally convenient parking spot.

Choose Wisely

Choosing particular trails is another spring ski strategy. Those at lower elevations and facing south will feature softer and wetter conditions. Head to your favorite trails first before conditions grow poor. Moreover, since conditions will worsen throughout the day, conserve your legs and energy for the trails you enjoy the most.

Get High

Climb higher as the day gets longer, since the upper portion of the mountain will host the trails that will be the last to feature shoddy conditions. This is especially good to consider when skiing with smaller children who are more prone to injury or hurt feelings if they are not skiing well.

Same Protection

Use the same gear and level of protection reserved for the winter. However, since it is spring and the sun is stronger, don’t leave the sunscreen back at your choice of Jackson Hole luxury hotels and use a liberal amount. Remember to protect your lips too. The sun’s reflection off of the snow can cause a serious case of raccoon eyes for those wearing goggles and a wicked burn upon those with fair skin.

Shadow Rider

The sun feels great on your face in the spring, but when skiing during this time of year, it’s smarter to head into the shadows. Just as snow will be more firm at higher altitudes, patches of snow that are hidden from the sun will be firmer and less slushy.

Layer Clothing

It’s always smart to wear layers when skiing, since weather patterns and conditions change throughout the day. Yes, you’ll be skiing atop snow, often associated with cold weather, yet the spring sun and hours filled with exercise are sure to work up a sweat. Avoid material, like cotton, that is prone to wetness and that traps sweat inside. Alternatively, seek materials that wick sweat off of the body and keep you warm and comfortable throughout the day.

Stay Hydrated

Bring along a daypack, or stop for plenty of water and refreshments throughout the day. In addition to feeling fatigued from the exercise, spring skiers are more susceptible to dehydration. This is an added concern when skiing with children who are too excited and concentrated on skiing to think about their health or taking a break from all the fun.

Kevin Webster conducts tours in Wyoming. He likes writing about his experiences on the web. His articles are available on many travel and vacation sites.

Family Fun and Fitness: Priceless Pointers for Swimming Pool Safety

Swimming is a timeless form of family entertainment and a great way of spending your leisure hours with your children, provided you can enjoy a safe swim.

Unfortunately, when you use a public swimming pool, there is the possibility of not just the dangers associated with children swimming such as getting into difficulties if they not supervised at all times, but also recreational water illnesses to be wary of.

Remember your LAAPS 

According to law firms like The Reeves Law Group of Los Angeles, there are many examples of claims being made against negligent pool owners for injuries and illnesses caused to their patrons.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you should remember LAAPS when using a public pool. This acronym refers to a series of simple steps that you should take to keep yourself as safe as possible from becoming ill due to a number of possible factors related to the water and surroundings.

Look at the pool and surroundings to see if the water looks clean and clear and that the pool sides are not slippery. Ask pool staff questions about how often they check the water and if all staff are fully trained Act by being proactive and warning others as well as staff members if you see anything wrong or realize that the water does not have the sufficient amount of chlorine in it.

Practice safe and healthy swimming behavior at all times Safety should always be a priority, so that you can enjoy a safe, healthy and fun swim.

Residential pool safety

The same rules of safety and responsible behavior apply whether you are using a public or a residential pool. If you are using a family pool, the responsibility of keeping your children free from danger and illness lies with you, if you are the pool owner.

Always make sure that children are supervised at all times, as it only takes a few seconds for them to get into trouble and make sure that you teach them basic safety tips so that they are aware of the dangers and have an idea of what to do in an emergency. It is often a good idea to have a phone poolside whenever anyone is using the swimming pool, so that you can quickly call for help if an emergency scenario arises.

Another layer of safety would be to acquire some basic life-saving skills and also take a course on CPR techniques, so that you are better equipped to deal with a potential life or death situation.

Pool equipment It is not just the swimming pool itself that presents a potential danger to family and friends using the facilities. The swimming pool should be surrounded by fencing that is at least four-feet tall and has a self-latching gate for access, so that you can control access to the pool area. Also make sure that any pool or spa that you have has suitably compliant drain covers and ensure that any chemicals used are kept away from children after you have carried out your checks and maintenance. Swimming is great fun and an excellent family activity, just make sure you are always vigilant when it comes to keeping everyone safe and looking out for possible dangers and problems. Ann Johnson is a family counselor. She loves sharing her insights online. Her articles appear mainly on family and lifestyle sites.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Era Organics Starter Kit Review

If you frequent this blog, then you know that I love trying out new things, especially when it comes to beauty products. I was recently given the opportunity to review the latest in skin care. A vegan-friendly, non-allergenic and made mostly of organic food grade nutrient starter kit from Era Organics.

The ERA Starter Kit contains seven items: a Firm and Lift Eye Cream, a Firm and Lift Eye Serum, the Concentrated Age Defense Facial Serum, the Intensive Age Defying Moisture Cream, the Complete Renew and Recharge Elastin and Beta Carotene Mask and two  tubes of Repair and Restore Facial Peeling Gel.

Product Description

Our ingredients are specially formulated to work into your cells at the base of your skin, seven layers deep, rather than sit on the surface like most lotions that wash away or rub off.

Restore your skin’s natural PH balance for ideal health while protecting from pathogens, toxins and the elements. Get youthful, vibrant skin naturally.

My Thoughts

I've got oily skin and although I love trying out new products, I am especially careful not to use products that will add more shine to my skin. I love that the products from Era Organics are suitable for all skin types.

Era Organics Age Defense Moisture Cream

It has a nice, creamy consistency and it's easy to apply on the skin. It has a very faint floral scent that goes away once on your skin. A few strokes and you can feel that the cream is absorbed quickly. My skin feels soft and smooth after application and it looked plump even after waking up.

Era Organics Age Defense Facial Serum

Sun exposure, dust and lack of sleep make my skin look dull and tired. This facial serum refreshes and transforms skin to make it look healthy and young looking. It also has a very nice texture and has a very nice scent. It's easy to apply and also absorbed quickly. Although it's too early to speak about its anti aging abilities, I love that my skin looks plump and healthy after applying.

Era Organics Elastin and Beta Carotene Mask

They say the secret to beautiful and youthful skin is by exfoliating once in a while that is why I love facial masks. It has a soft and creamy texture. I applied a thick layer onto my face and neck and let it sit for 30 minutes. My skin was noticeably soft and tight after rinsing, so I guess it's working.

Era Organics Firm and Lift Eye Serum

This one has a gel like consistency and like the other products in the starter kit, it is easy to apply. I was pleasantly surprised with the immediate results. The skin around my eyes felt incredibly soft and it feels tight. I just love this eye serum.

Era Organics Firm and Lift Eye Cream

The consistency of the cream is rather thick, but surprisingly, it is not heavy. This will work great under makeup. It has a soothing effect and it relaxes the eyes instantly. This is to be used once daily and after a week of using it, my dark circles have lightened a bit.

Era Organics Repair and Restore Peeling Gel

There are two tubes in the kit and these are to be used 2 to 3 times a week. I haven't tried it, yet because I was too excited to try the other products. But tonight, I am planning to start using them.

Overall, these products work great at hydrating and rejuvenating the skin. If you are looking for products to combat the signs of aging and repair damage, these are worth giving a try.

Where to buy?

You can order your Era Organics Starter Kit here.

Disclosure: Product/s mentioned above were sent to me by Era Organics for evaluation purposes. No monetary compensation was received to write the review. All opinions expressed here are 100% my own. However, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Helping Others Through Poverty

When you think about the number of people in the United States, you might not think about the number of people who are living in poverty. These might be people who have jobs but don't make enough money to support their family or have lost a job and are unable to find something else. There are people who are disabled and unable to work. Those who live in poverty struggle to pay their bills. They often find it hard to pay rent or a mortgage, keep the electricity turned on or put food on the table. When looking at Sukanto Tanoto's site and others that focus on philanthropy, you can see that there are several ways to help those who are living from one check to another.

One of the ways to help those who are living in poverty is to help with shelter. This can be done in various ways. Shelters can be opened to give people a place to stay if they aren't able to pay for rent for a home of their own. Some cities are building small homes so that those who are homeless have somewhere to stay. These homes are often made from sheds, but they have water and electricity. This is a small area, usually only large enough for one person, but it's a way for those who don't have a roof over their head to have a place to stay.

Another way to help is by providing food. There are soup kitchens that are usually set up in most cities that serve meals at least once a day. Some of these kitchens will serve meals three times a day, but most of them are only open for lunch and supper. There are food pantries in churches and community centers that have food boxes to give to people. The amount of food depends on the number of people in the family. You can help by donating food to the pantry or growing food in a garden to donate to those in need. You can also hold a food drive or suggest a food drive to a school or church.

After people have the food and shelter they need, they start looking for ways to clothe their bodies. Some people have the bare minimum. They might not have clothing to wear when it's cold that will keep them warm. Children sometimes go to school without coats to keep them warm in the winter or hats and gloves. Some organizations have clothing drives with the items collected going to local schools and shelters. One of the things that you can do is clean out your closet and donate the items that you or your children can no longer wear or that you aren't interested in wearing anymore. Someone who doesn't have much or doesn't have the extra money to get clothing will appreciate anything that they can get whether it's new or used. This also goes for holidays as you can donate toys and stuffed animals to those in need.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

24K Gold Vitamin C Serum and Foundation Primer by Xanadu Review

Gold has been used to beautify the skin, since the ancient times. Nowadays, using it for various skin care treatments and using it as an ingredient in beauty products has become more popular. I've never tried using a beauty product that's been infused with gold. Not that I don't like, but most gold-infused products I see in the market are very expensive. So you can just imagine my excitement when I found out I am going to review the 24K Gold Vitamin C Serum and Foundation Primer by Xanadu.

Product Description

From Nature
* 24K Gold.
* Vitamin C - pH balanced and highly absorbable. Brightens skin, combats wrinkles and dark spots.
* Vitamin E moisturizes and heals.
* Rose Extract soothes the skin and gives the Xanadu serum a delightful natural scent.
* P-anisic from the spice anise.

Supporting what's already in your skin
* Hyaluronic Acid captures and holds up to 1000 times its volume in moisture to your skin.
* Collagen to support your skin's own collagen.
* Creatine supplies energy to your cells.
* Beta-Glucan boosts the immune system.

From High Tech science
* Palmitoyl Oligopeptide (Matrixyl-3000) is a peptide that specifically stimulates collagen synthesis and skin repair.
* Epidermal Growth Factor stimulates new cell growth.

Apply twice a day, once in the morning and once at night, on freshly cleansed skin. Avoid eyes and mouth. For speedy application, pump the bottle top twice into the palm of one hand, rub palms together, then apply to face. For luxurious application, place one pump on each cheek (where your dimples would be) and smooth onto face with your fingertips in a circular upward motion. WARNING: The second method may leave tiny flecks of gold intact on your face for your friends to envy!

My Thoughts

The serum has a nice, mild floral scent, but that goes away fast as soon as you've worked it on your skin. It has a slightly thicker consistency than most serums that I have tried.

It is not sticky, though, and it spreads easily. The gold flecks don't show unless you look very close. That is a good thing because I don't want my face glimmering when I step out of the house. It doesn't even show in the picture, but if you look very closely in the mirror, you will see them.

It deeply moisturizes and my skin feels soft and smooth to the touch.

It's been almost two weeks and I'm starting to seem some improvements. My dark spots are slightly brighter, my pores appear tighter and the fine lines under my eyes have softened. People around me are also commenting that my skin looks radiant.

Overall, I like the serum. It is gentle on the skin and it deeply moisturizes. If you are wanting to combat the signs of aging, you might want to try this nice, affordable gold-infused serum.

Where to buy?

The 24K Gold Vitamin C Serum and Foundation Primer can be purchased through the Xanadu website and on Amazon. A 30 ml jar retails at $59.00.

Disclosure: I received a sample of this product free of charge for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed here are 100% my own and was in no way influenced by anyone or the brand.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

If you're in Debt, Follow these Steps

If you're in debt, and many are these days, digging yourself out probably seems impossible. As a matter of fact, most American's that find themselves in this position don't think they'll ever be able to pay off what they owe. The good news is that this usually isn't the case and the following tips we found on a Discountrue – a coupons service, will teach you how to get out of debt and never go back again.

Stay Organized and Know Who and What You Owe

You need to purposefully organize your life to be successful at getting out of debt and stay that way. You need to come up with a plan to pay off your debt and manage your money and you need to put it in writing; think of it as a financial journal.

Financial organization starts with tracking the income and outflow of your money. Once you have a handle on how much you earn, spend and owe, you can establish a budget to help you manage your finances. Now, for an attitude adjustment; don't think of following a budget as a bad thing. Sticking to a budget will provide you with a huge sense of relief. It's great to know that you actually have enough money to pay for your groceries or other purchases at checkout.

Create a Cash Flow Calendar

Once you know your total debt, come up with a cash flow calendar and keep track of how much money is going in and out of your bank accounts and when. For some reason, people avoid doing this, probably because living in denial seems easier. The important thing to keep in mind is how great it's going to feel once you get out of debt.

Spend Cash Not Credit

Studies have shown that when people use gift certificates and credit cards when shopping, they are far more likely to make impulse buys on luxury items, mainly because they feel like they're using free money. If this describes you, cut up your credit cards now. People who spend cash instead of using credit generally save 20% over their credit card spending. Even more impressive, cash spenders usually don't feel deprived either because using cash results in a heightened sense of "financial" awareness. Suddenly something clicks and makes you feel better about not buying an impulse item you didn't really need.

Reduce Your Rates

Contact your lenders and request that they cut your interest rates and a great way to do this is to request a balance transfer. A lot of credit card companies today offer special promotions of 0% interest for a year or more if you'll transfer your credit card debt from an old card, usually only requiring a small fee. You can save a substantial amount of money by reducing your rates this way.

If You Need Help, Ask for It

If you find that you can't afford to keep up with the payments you owe or taking on additional debt, you more than likely need the professional help of a credit counselor. Credit counseling is particularly helpful if you're struggling with medical or student loan debt. Look for a nonprofit credit counselor through the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling or the National Foundation of Credit Counseling agencies. In most cases, financial counseling is free, although some agencies charge an enrollment fee for debt management plans which can consolidate debt into one payment with a more realistic interest rate,

You don't need to feel hopeless about your situation because you can eventually get out of debt if you're determined to do what it takes, including these and other strategies listed on Discountrue and other savings websites.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

7 Design Trends for 2015

Trying to get out of a decor rut? Try out these design trends this year.

1. Reach for blue hues. Bold shades of blue seem to be having a moment. Rich and royal, the color is ideal for one main wall in a large room. Or, select certain items to order in blue and leave the rest of the room neutral. If you don’t end up loving the blue touches, you won’t be stuck with an enormous painted wall.

2. Paint the ceiling a new color. When people update their interior design, they usually forget to look up. A lot can be done on the upper part of the walls and the ceiling. Your kids will love seeing their cool ceiling from their loft bunk beds!

3. If you want to stick with a neutral theme but nothing is quite the right hue, consider “greige,” which is gray-beige. Sticking with a neutral also makes bold border colors pop, which is great if you’re just dabbling in color.

4. Add wooden elements to your decor. Wood doesn’t have to look rustic anymore. This year, it’s getting a chic upgrade, and it’s fancy enough for even a formal dining room. For a super modern look, find wooden furniture with a noticeable grain.

5. If you love rustic decor but don’t want anything that’s too worn down, look for wooden furniture in red-brown tones, as well as pieces with copper finishings. These have rustic undertones without looking too shabby.

6. Splurge on a rug from Turkey or Morocco, two countries that are known for quality, beautiful textiles. Look online for great deals. Ideally, if you know someone who’s planning a trip, ask them to come back with one for you! You’ll save a bundle on shipping costs.

7. Don’t have enough room on the floor for that rug, but don’t want to get rid of it? Hang it on the wall! Rugs make fantastic tapestries and can truly change the look of a room.

Want to give a new trend a shot? Try it out in your living room, which is usually more open, space-wise, and used less often than other rooms.

Oh! Maiii Copyright 2009