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Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday's Inspiration - Smile!


This little blog of mine is my message to the world...May it provide a positive impact on you each today!


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Winter Woes





After the wonderful weekend with two glorious days of  70 degree weather this past weekend - winter has decided to return and show us not to get too comfortable with the wonderful warm days.

Oh Spring...oh Spring - where are you?  We miss you and long for your arrival!


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tuesday's Thought

Hello all!

Well - I had hoped to finish up my Travel Tuesday Alaska or bust blog for today's Travel Tuesday but life has a way of getting in the way sometimes.

What I had hoped would be a rather calm week (well as calm as life can be in my world) I have discovered that I am going to have to buckled up and be prepared for a rough ride at work this week.

So in lieu of Tuesday's Travel - Alaska or bust...please find a motivational quote for your day!  It is something that I need to practice this week!


Friday, February 21, 2014

Friday's Inspiration - Positive Visualization

There are books written about visualizing things in your life and as you visualize things - you invite this positive energy into your life and your dreams will come to fruition.

Well...today I experienced my very own positive visualization in my life.  It was truly just a small little event but it delivered a very powerful message to me.

You see - the rubber thingy (that is a technical term - you know?) on my windshield had come loose and it was fast becoming an issue for me.  My first thought was "super glue" to the rescue.  Well that failed miserably - trust me...Super Glue does not work on everything.   I realized that I would have to soon find a solution which might involve replacing the rubber thingy or perhaps even my own windshield.

THEN..."voila"  I saw a commercial on t.v. about Safelite and windshield repair.  I decided that maybe I should give them a try...and see if they couldn't resolve the issue of the loose rubber thingy on my windshield.

So - this has gone on for some time and today as I was driving to work I decided that I really...really needed to call them.  After all - they will come to you...wherever you are...home...work...wherever.

So I had finally convinced myself that it was time to call this service and have them take a look at that silly rubber thingy on my windshield.

Imagine my surprise when I drove into the parking garage at work...and there was a Safelite van there repairing someone's windshield.  I promptly walked myself over there and spoke to the man and told him that I was planning to call the company today!

He came over and took a look at my windshield and told me that he had some very special glue and that when he finished the car he was working on he would take care of my car!  When I asked how much he would charge me...he told me nothing!  He did it for free...BONUS!

So - now I am a huge fan of positive visualization and will practice this again and again...my next positive visualization?  I imagine myself purchasing the winning lottery ticket!


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Thursday's Thought of the Day


My goal today is to point out something in someone that will magnify their day...that will make them feel good about themselves.

Just imagine if one little positive comment has a "pay if forward" movement and how many people will be touched by this?


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tuesday's Travels - Banff. Alberta Canada

Am I the only one that watches the Olympics each time and dream about traveling to wherever they are being held?

I remember watching the 1988 Olympics in Calgary and just fell in love with all the different venues.  I knew at that moment that someday I would travel there and see first hand the beauty of the Canadian Rockies.  

Fast forward many years and the opportunity to travel to this glorious place became a reality for me.  I found Calgary to be such a warm, welcoming and loving city.  Yes - it was large but it felt like a small town.  One other thing that I discovered on my first trip...Calgary can be VERY cold in February.  If you are planning a trip there during the winter months - be prepared and pack accordingly!

My first trip was a short one...I flew in on a Thursday and flew out on Sunday so I had much that I wanted to do in a very short period of time but I knew without a doubt that I had to travel to Banff  and Lake Louise - and if you EVER get to that part of Canada - please trust me - go to those two places...

There are so many things to love about Banff...I loved walking down the streets of the downtown area and walking into many of the various shoppes...I found a GREAT chocolate shoppe too!  I almost forgot how cold it was after devouring some of that delicious chocolate.

Oh one other thing...do not be surprise if you see a caribou walking around in the town.  That is exactly what happened to me while having breakfast one morning - I looked up and across the street there it was!



When you drive into Banff you can not miss the famous site of the Banff Springs Hotel.  This elegant and elaborate place was built in the 19th Century so it is no wonder that the moment you walk into this grand old hotel - you feel like you are taking a walk back into history!


 

This hotel is just breathtaking and worth the time to explore!  I am sure that you too will find it as magical as I did!

Another fun outing while in Banff was taking the gondola to the top of the mountain.  If you are afraid of heights - you might  want to bypass this ride BUT if you want to get the best view of Banff - this is for you!


I could write a book on the wonderful places to eat your meals while in Banff.   There is a place to fit every budget!  You just have to do your homework!

I hope that you too have an opportunity to visit Banff National Park and see this wonderful place!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Monday's Musings - Make your words count!

Happy Monday everyone!

First - I am having some serious computer issues so this post will be short and sweet.  I should be back tomorrow with the regular Tuesday travel post!

Today I am reminded how powerful words can be.  Words can be loving, words can be painful.  Words can be beautiful and words can be nasty!

Select your words carefully.  Let your words always be full of love and compassion.  Let your words give hope to others around you...remember...once the words are spoken they can never be taken back!

Speak carefully!



Thursday, February 13, 2014

Throwback Thursday - Best Friends of Huntsville, Alabama

I grew up in Huntsville, AL and attended Huntsville High School.  HHS was a VERY preppy high school with a very strong "in" crowd.  I think that most everyone will agree that the teen years can be brutal and especially for those who are not a member of the "in" crowd. 

During my youth - I was consumed with music.  I started piano lessons when I was quite young.  When I hit junior high school I joined the junior high choir and felt so much at home.  When I arrived at high school I found that anyone having anything to do with fine arts groups could never be considered part of the "in" crowd.  I realized very quickly that I could not live without music in my life so my path was clear.  It could have been a very lonely high school experience if not for my best friends...yes...best friends - plural. 

Carol E was someone that grew up across the street from me.  While she was a few years younger than me we still had a strong friendship.  Carol and I took piano lessons from the same piano teacher, we spent hours upon hours together playing after school, going to the neighborhood park and playing in our backyards.  Croquet was one game that we played every summer.  Our friendship took us together through elementary school, junior high, high school and then at Alabama. We were in each other's weddings. 

Telling one quick story about how much trouble Carol E and I could get into...One Christmas I received a really awesome surrey from Santa Claus.  While this picture is not the one that I had as a little girl it will give you an idea of what it looked like.



One day I thought that I had a flat tire on my surrey so Carol E and I decided to ride the surrey down to her uncle's gas station.  Now mind you - we were very young...I was probably 6 years old and Carol was even younger.  Carol's uncle's gas station was probably about a mile away so off we went to get the tire checked out.  I am sure that our parents were frantic when they could not find us and I know for sure that I got into some serious trouble when I got home!  I remember hiding under the bed from my dad - knowing that I was in for a spanking!  How many friends do you have that would do this for you?

Soon I met another yet very special person who quickly became one of my newest best friends - Carol B.  What can I say about Carol B?  We managed to help each other through those crazy school days.  Carol was always such a dear and special friend.  She was the type of friend that would be by your side no matter what!  Carol B and I were able to even keep in touch years through the years after I moved from Alabama but sad to say - we did lose touch!

In high school I also met Tamie K.  My greatest frustration in my first year of high school?  Latin Class!  Why oh why did I ever take Latin?  Well thank goodness for Tamie because she commiserated with my frustration with Latin and we soon became very close friends.  Tamie attended a Catholic School until reaching high school and she introduced me to Lois W who also attended the same Catholic school.  Also along with Lois came another special person who became a very dear friend -  Karen H.    Our little group did everything together...we had some interesting sleep-overs on weekends - cruised the Parkway in my reddish/orange 1964 Reddish/Orange Mustang.   I was the first one in the group to get my driver's license and the first one of the group to have a wreck!!  I also remember one very special day when we were Seniors in high school.  It was Earth Day.  As usual we all arrived at school early enough to gather at the car before going into school.  It was at this point that we decided that we should not be driving to school so all of us piled into my car and drove to someone's home...and parked the car.  We proceeded to walk to school in honor of Earth Day.  Never mind the fact that we had already driven to school in a car!  We were a bit late for class but  hey - we did our bit to honor Earth Day...sorta!

After high school we all went in different directions.  Tamie went to nursing school, Karen met and married Ronnie, Carol stayed in Huntsville and Lois and I headed to Florence, Alabama for college.  After one year at Florence Lois and I both transferred to the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa where we were roommates our first year at Bama.

I am not sure why we all lost contact with each other but we did.  I know that I did not put my best effort into maintaining the oh so very special friendships that we shared and I still to this day regret it!

Thanks to Facebook I have found  Carol B, Carol E, Karen H, and Tamie K.  I only hope that somehow we can get together face to face again soon.  You were all such an important part of my life and help mold me into the person that I am today. The memories that I have of each of you just makes me smile!   Thank you for being such a special part of my life and thank you Facebook for allowing me to find my best friends of high school - all such special ladies!

Tamie, Carol, Carol, Lois and Karen - if you are reading this blog...please know how much I miss you...and how much your friendship meant to me!  Love you all bunches!  I really hope that we can have a reunion some day!





Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Tuesday's Travels - Frugal Traveling

I love to travel and really enjoy planning all the aspects of travel.  The only issue is?  I do not have an unlimited travel budget.  As a result I have to plan carefully my travel plans.

I have found that it is very beneficial to belong to various airline reward programs.  I currently to belong to several including American, Frontier, Southwest, Delta and US Airways.  I pretty much limited my airline traveling to a couple of airlines in order to maximize the miles that I earn.  I have found that American has the most robust travel program with Frontier having a very good one as well.  Southwest awards free travel according to the dollar amount that you spend so the less expensive the ticket you purchase the less points you earn.

Another way to earn airline travel miles is to have a credit card where every dollar you spend awards you with a mile of travel.  Be careful with this as with any credit card.  Pay off that balance every month!

A hint about air travel - Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturdays are usually the least expensive days to travel.  If your schedule is flexible - this could be the way to go!   Another hint?  Look at the red-eye flights...they are normally cheaper as well.

Are there multiple airports in the city that you are flying into?  You might be surprised that one airport offers better flight prices than another one.  For instance - I found that it is less expensive to fly into Ft. Lauderdale than Miami!  They are only a few miles apart.  Of course the Miami airport offers everything under the sun as far as amenities but I would rather pay less and fly into Ft. Lauderdale!

I have also discovered a great way to get hotel rooms at no cost is to belong to hotel reward programs.  My favorite has to be Hilton!  They not only award you for each dollar you spend thus resulting in free rooms, they also offer "specials" several times a year including periods where you can earn double and triple points for hotel stays.  Another great benefit of belonging to the HiltonHonors reward club is that they from time to time offer double dipping...this means that you can also earn airline miles for your stays as well.  WHAT?  You think that the Hilton Hotels are too expensive?  This is the great news - you can also stay at a Hilton Garden Inn or a Hampton Inn and still earn those points.  My favorite has to be the Hampton Inn...they offer a free breakfast buffet each morning (save money you would have spent on breakfast for something else) and often times they have Happy Hours where you can get some good food...that means you could save $$$ for both breakfast and dinner!

Speaking of meals...how can you save on all those restaurant meals?  It can be done...trust me.  At dinner - ask if you can order off the lunch menu instead of the dinner menu.  Order appetizers instead of an entree...both of these can save some major dollars.  Also ask the front desk at the hotel if they know of any good and expensive places to eat.  You know that they will always have the inside track on these good places!  Read up on the restaurants where you are traveling to.  Look online for coupons for specials each day.  You might be pleasantly surprised at what you can find online!

Happy travels to you all...next on my travel bucket list?  Alaska, Oregon and Wyoming...I should have enough travel award miles to fly to all three of these states for free!  I have enough of Hilton points to get some of my lodging at no cost as well!


Monday, February 10, 2014

Monday's Musings - Extreme Couponing

Have you ever watched the TLC show Extreme Couponing?  If not - it is a show about how people spend hours and hours upon hours clipping coupons and saving major dollars at the grocery store.  Some of these people have years worth of stockpiles of products that they have purchased for almost little to nothing!  It amazes me to watch the show and see all these people walking out of the stores with hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars worth of product and paying little to nothing for their purchases!  How do they do this?

These folks take couponing to the extreme...they go so far as going from door to door asking neighbors if they have any coupons, dumpster diving for coupons or buying multiple newspapers each week.  They then spend up to 40 hours a week clipping and filing coupons.  This folks is a full time job!  If you work outside of the home and want to be an extreme couponer - prepare to lose some sleep!

While I am all for saving money on groceries I do not see myself as one to dumpster dive for coupons.  As a note - I need my sleep!  So how do I do it?

I receive two Sunday papers (one from Fort Worth and one from Dallas) and get lots of coupons from this resource but I have also found that you can clip coupons online as well.  Some sites offer some great coupons such as:

Coupon Geek
Passionate Penny Pincher
Money Saving Mom

There are many other out there but I have found that most of these sites have the same coupons.  You can access these sites and print out the maximum number of coupons and use to your heart's delight!

Another way to optimize your grocery shopping dollars is to belong to your grocery store's reward program.  By being a member of the store's reward program you can go to their website and add coupons to your reward card...no need to clip coupons...they are automatically added to your card!  Another great feature of having a reward card is that the store tracks what you purchase.  Do not be surprised if you receive special coupons in the mail for your favorite products!

I happen to shop at a grocery store that gives me $0.10 off per gallon of gas for every $100 I spend in a month.  BONUS!!!

I spend maybe 2 hours at most per week clipping coupons and filing.  Please note - I only clip coupons for products that I need or use.  I do not purchase anything that I can not or will not use...even if it is free. 

How do I store my coupons?  Well - I have a zipping three ring binder (try Office Deport) where I use baseball card inserts to keep my coupons (try Walmart of Target).  By zipping your binder you will not have a chance of losing your coupons.  The baseball card inserts are perfect for keeping your coupons too!





The best way of using coupons is to follow your weekly grocery advertisements and pairing them with coupons.  Try not to buy anything that you do not need...that is NO way to save $$$.  Also try to buy items on sale.  If you can wait another week or two for something that you use...chances are you will locate a coupon for that item in the next few weeks.

I will buy multiple items of products that I do use on a regular basis especially if it is on sale and I have a coupon for it!  YET again...BONUS!

What is the most that I have saved?  I have come close to saving 50% of my bill one time.  I would LOVE to get that up to a higher number and who knows...maybe someday!

Another goal that I have is to go on a pay it forward shopping trip some day...I want to make an entire purchase and donate to a food bank!

How much have you saved with couponing?



Saturday, February 8, 2014

Saturday's Inspiration - Follow YOUR dreams!

Have you ever shared a dream with someone and they laughed or worse told you that you could never achieve that dream?

Perhaps that person who put your dreams down is someone who is really  afraid of trying to achieve their goals?  Do not allow anyone else to discourage you from going for your dreams...after all - your dreams belong to you...you own that dream...

Take ownership of your dreams and run with them...

YOU are the only one that can make them come true...

I will share with you that once I had a dream...a dream that I had for many years.  Someone told me that I wasn't good enough to achieve my dream.  Well...maybe I was a bit stubborn or maybe just very determine.  I set my goal to achieve my goal...and achieve it I did.  What would have happened if I had listened to the person who told me that I wasn't good enough? I would have given away my power to achieve my dream if I had listened to someone else.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Friday's Find

I have been thinking long and hard about a Friday Flashback post and today was to be the day to write it however as often happens this found its way to me and I just had to share!

After reading this I realized that I am rich beyond imagination because I have so many people to treasure!  Here is thanking each and every one of you that have touched my life in your own special way!


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Thursday's Thought

Want to hear something sad?  I can not remember the last time I did something that made my soul cry out in happiness.

I have found myself so wrapped up in everyone else's life and needs that I have put mine on hold!  

I think it is time that I do something for myself!  We all deserve an opportunity to refresh our soul...to rejuvenate our spirit.

Some things that I would enjoy doing:

1)  Going out for a fun evening with some friends
2)  A nice 90 minute massage
3)  Going to a movie and eating all the popcorn myself  *laughing*  Does that sound selfish?
4)  Planning a trip to the beach...
5)  Watching a glorious sunset
6)  Sitting down at the piano and just playing for hours
7)  A trip to Wine Country
8)  A nice fire in the fireplace, a great book to read and a glass of wine...do you see a pattern here?

I am sure that I can add many other things to the list but now I am craving a glass of wine!

So...until we meet again!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Wednesday's Wisdom

The truth about luxury is that it is a mindset, not a price tag.  Rich means abundant, not expensive.  Big or small, it does not matter. The key to living a meaningful and purpose life is, simply, to understand what is important to you, and to have a rich community of friends and family who share your values to enjoy it with each and every day.

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Tuesday's Travels - Sante Fe, New Mexico

Have you even been to Santa Fe, New Mexico?

I have had the pleasure of traveling there on two different occasions and really can not wait to travel there again.  If you are looking for a trip that will offer relaxation, serenity, and peacefulness - Santa Fe should be on your short list of places to visit!

First I must comment on the sunsets.  My first trip to Santa Fe had me arriving around sunset and the beauty of the New Mexico sunset was breathtaking.  I think that at that very moment I realized how special the area was!  The glorious pastels of the sunset was like nothing I had ever seen!

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Santa Fe offers something for everyone.  Are you a history buff?  Did you know that Santa Fe is the oldest state capital in the U.S...now that is old!  Also Santa Fe has the oldest church in the United States - San Miguel Mission  and next to it, the oldest house  Needless to say you can view some incredible architecture.  Prepare yourself to be amazed!

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The history just oozes from the downtown market area.  You can shop to your heart's content in the downtown market place.  Looking for some Native American jewelry?  Well you have come to the right place!

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I can not think of a better place to find turquoise jewelry.  So many selections and some great prices!



 
 
Looking for a great place to stay?  Well - I know where I am staying on my next visit!

The Inn of the Five Graces...



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Doesn't this place look wonderful?

Here is their website in case your interested:



If you are looking for a spiritual awakening I recommend a drive to El Santuario do Chimayo.  It is only about 23 miles away from Santa Fe and it will surely have a deep impact on your life.  Especially seeing the "healing room".  I wrote about this wonderful place here:



I can not wait to return to this beautiful city and absorb everything that it has to offer!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Monday's Musings - A New Beginning


When this found its way into my inbox I knew that it was one of those
meant to be emails.  I will admit that I have been guilty of procrastinating...waiting for just the right moment to make a change...be it personal or professional. 

 This was the subtle reminder that I need to remember that if I wait for the "right" time - I may waste all my precious time waiting for a beginning when in reality I have the power to make my own new beginning!

What about you?  Are you waiting for that perfect timing as well?