Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Labor Day Weekend Travels

Friday I will be heading up to NY for some Labor Day weekend family festivities.  My out of town immediate family members and I will all be heading up to celebrate my Gma's belated 90th Birthday and they will also be having a baby shower for my sister Michelle and baby Hadley on Labor day.

My two sisters Jen/Michelle, brother in law David, nephew Max and I will all be staying at a neighbors house.  They graciously opened up their home for us to stay.  Fun times!

It should be quite interesting to have us all under one roof, especially since Max does not like to sleep through the night and can be very vocal about it!  :o)  My mom is used to that, since she's staying with Jen/David/Max in Atlanta, but I was surprised to hear she is staying with a different neighbor instead of where we will be.  She SAYS they INSISTED on having her stay with them, but I'm not so sure about that.  Hmm...not sure if we should believe that. 

Friday my Bro-In-Law David and I will be whisked away straight from the airport to Sticky Lips BBQ.  That will be the mini-party for my Gma and I've never been there before, so that will be fun.  Later that night I'll be doing a live draft for my work Fantasy Football league.

Saturday is wide open for me at the moment, I will probably try to see some friends depending on what's going on.  For sure I will be having PONTILLO'S PIZZA!!!!  I will be getting at least 3 large, one to eat and 2 to bring back.  Nom Nom Nom.  In addition, I plan to have either Charlie Riedel's or Bill Gray's Cheeseburger and fries.

That's really it for me food wise, no need for a Garbage Plate, since I like my wife's Garbage Plate better than the original now that we have Rochester Plate Sauce to put on it.  Mmmm....I could go for one right now. The wifey wants me to bring back some Zwiegels hot dogs as well. 

Sunday I believe some family members will be stopping over in the afternoon for a little get together and then Monday I head on back.

Short trip, bit it will be good to see everyone, especially Max since he is growing so fast!

I hope you have an enjoyable Labor Day weekend, whatever it is you'll be doing!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Prescription Transfer Coupons and Gift Cards

If you're like me, you may have a few prescriptions to pick up each month.  If not, consider yourself lucky!

Since we recently moved, I was in the process of researching prescription costs at the different local pharmacies through my benefits provider.  What I found is that for all my prescriptions, all the big names, like Target, Publix, Walgreen's, CVS and Rite Aid are within about 50 cents of each other.  So for me, proximity and having a drive thru were the most important factors. 

What I also found is that many pharmacies offer coupons or gift cards to transfer in a new prescription and most accept competitor coupons. 

If you want to transfer prescriptions into Walgreen's, you could do it online via their website and get a $25 gift card in store for each prescription transferred when you pick up.  However, I wanted to do the opposite, I wanted to transfer prescriptions from Walgreen's to CVS, because CVS is closer. 

It is a little more difficult to find coupons that you can print online, however most stores include them in print ads or local newspapers or in-store.  I had some good luck the prior weekend.  I had to pick up a few things at Walgreen's and they were handing out the exact coupons I had been looking for online.  It was for the $25 free gift card and it looks exactly like this one, except it wasn't expired. 

So I called my doctor, had them switch one of my prescriptions over to CVS, walked in with the Walgreen's coupon and was handed a CVS $25 gift card.  The prescription was only $10, so I thought that was pretty sweet and it worked perfectly, no questions asked.  I plan to try and do the same with my each of my other prescriptions when I run out, assuming I can get more coupons by then. 

So, if you happen to have multiple pharmacies close by and want to save/make some $, or perhaps you are moving and just want to transfer to a closer pharmacy, definitely keep an eye out for those coupons!  $25 per prescription is the best one that I've found.

If you have a good relationship with your existing pharmacist, by all means, keep going to the same place and disregard this post.  However, if you're looking to make a switch for any reason, definitely take advantage of the free $$!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Leaked iPhone 5 Promo Video

A guy at work sent this to me yesterday.  Check out the iPhone 5 promo video.  How did they know it's exactly what we've all been waiting for?!  Awesome, can't wait!  :o)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Smart Passive Income $500 Giveaway!

I've mentioned before that a big motivator for getting me started blogging was running across the Smart Passive Income blog by Pat Flynn.  He has a really great site and he is a very genuine person and as a result he has a huge following and generates his entire income from his blog and several other niche sites.  If you haven't checked out his site I highly recommend it.

The main reason to visit his site is that he has a ton of really great, actionable information on how to either get started blogging or to take things to the next level. The second reason is that he currently is doing a $500 giveaway in the form of 5 - $100 Amazon gift cards! 

It is his way of giving back while also motivating you to take action and further your blog or website in the process. 

In order to enter, all you have to do is 1 of 7 items he mentions below.  If you have a blog, it is most likely something you would be doing anyway.  But you do not have to have a blog to enter.  Several items can be done without a blog or website. 

You can create one stellar article, create a list post (10 best places to go on vacation), create a YouTube video, develop a mini product (a document or mini-ebook as an example), write a post that tells a story, create a case study or interview someone.  The only requirement is that it has to be a new item that you complete between now and the end of October when the contest ends.

I will definitely be entering.  I'm not sure which one I will pick just yet.  I will let you know which one I decide to go with and will provide the specifics of how I accomplish whichever one I choose.  I wanted to pass that along to everyone out there to give you a chance to win!  I copy/pasted the main details from his post below, but be sure to check out the full post as well for further details. 

Are you going to enter?  Any idea which one you might choose?  If you have any questions about how to get started on a particular item or need any assistance, let me know.  I'm familiar with most of the items and can point you in the right direction.  Thanks and good luck!

Here is an excerpt from Pat's post:

Reader Challenge Round Up: Interviews and the Next Challenge by Pat Flynn

"All you have to do is pick 1 of the 7 previous challenges and submit a link to a post or page on your site that fulfills the requirements for that specific challenge. The post must be a newly published post on your website that went live on or after Thursday, August 16th 12:01am PT. No submissions of previously written posts, recordings or videos will be accepted.
To recap, you can:
  1. Write a Pillar Article
  2. Publish a List Post
  3. Create a YouTube Video
  4. Develop a Mini-Product
  5. Write a Post that Tells a Story
  6. Create a Case Study; or
  7. Interview Someone
Click on the links above to get a description of what each challenge is, and I will only accept 1 submission per person.

I’m giving you until the end of October 2012 to complete this challenge.
After you’ve completed this challenge, send me an email with a link to it through my Contact Page and make sure you write READER CHALLENGE in the SUBJECT LINE so that my email filter will catch it and I’ll include it in the next roundup post. Also include which challenge you did too.
Amazon $100 Gift Card
This time, I’m giving away FIVE $100.00 Gift Cards!

Four will go to randomly selected submissions and one will go to the person who I feel has the best headline/title for their post, so do your best to make your headline a compelling, eye-catching headline that can’t help but be clicked. ;)

I highly encourage you participate this time, even if you’ve participated in one already. Not only can you win something, but you’ll get a shout out on the roundup post after the challenge is over and most importantly, you’d be doing something that helps you and your brand."

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Google Hot Trends

I was bound and determined to get out a new informative post today!  Nothing in particular came to mind, so I decided to see what was currently trending on Google, which caused me to say "hey, there is a topic for today's post!"

Did you ever wonder what the current hot topics are and what other people are currently searching for?  Well, wonder no more!  Check out these links for Google Trends and Google Insights:

Basically, you can get a quick glimpse of what is hot/trending right now and perhaps you can find something you're interested in or at least might want to be aware of.

I looked up the differences between Google Trends and Insights...Basically Google Trends is more of a quick "average person" tool to see what's going on in the world or at least what people are searching for.  Google Insights is much more granular, but also a pretty neat free tool.

For example, clicking on the hot trends link above will show articles on the Texas A&M shooting yesterday, Taylor Swift buying a home in Cape Cod, Jennifer Aniston getting engaged, Shark Week, etc. 

If you click on the Google Insights link, you can dig way deeper.  For example, you could do a search for what is trending in your area over the last 7 days and if you wanted, you could even pick a specific category.

Below are Google Insight search results that I just ran to find out what is trending over the last 7 days in the Atlanta, Georgia and Denver, Colorado areas.   

Atlanta, Georgia results for the past 7 days
Denver, Colorado results for the past 7 days
Some results are the same, such as Paul Ryan being at the top due to Romney announcing him as his running mate over the weekend.  However, I find it curious that Atlanta is very interested in country singer Randy Travis, who was recently arrested for suspicion of DWI after crashing his car and being naked in a convenience store trying to get cigarettes, while he isn't even on the radar in Denver. 

Randy Travis mug shot
And Powerball shows up on both because this week it's up to $305 million for the Wednesday drawing.  I know that because I am always asked by folks on my team to take care of collecting the $ and getting tickets for our team.  Gotta be in it to win it! 

Both are pretty cool, free tools you can use to see what's going on in the world or your own back yard and if you're looking for a topical blog post idea, that might be a good place to start!   Hope you found that useful, have a super day!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Canon EOS Rebel T4i DSLR - Rash Recall

Both of my sisters have this camera and one of them was affected and rather than send it in and be without a camera for a while, she persisted and ended up getting a new one instead.  I thought I would pass the info along in case anyone else has the camera also.  Quite a unique recall.  Here are the details from Engadget:

Canon recalls 68,200 EOS Rebel T4i DSLRs, says rubber grips can lead to skin rash

Canon recalls 68,200 EOS Rebel T4i DSLRs, says rubber grips can lead to skin rash

We've covered our fair share of product recalls over the years, but this one almost certainly takes the cake when looking at pure zaniness. Canon has recalled its EOS Rebel T4i -- some 68,200 units -- "due to a risk of allergic reaction." You read that right. As the story goes, a chemical used in the camera's rubber grips "can result in a reaction that changes the grips from black to white and poses a risk of skin irritation to the consumer," and while the company has only received a single report of a consumer developing a "minor rash" after contact, that's obviously enough to issue to recall. It involves T4i units with a 12-digit serial number that contain a second digit that is a "3" or "4" and a sixth digit that is a "1." If that's you, you're advised to stop using the camera and ping Canon USA to have replacement rubber grips installed free of charge. Specifically, you can ring 855-902-3277 and be prepared to be placed on hold for the better part of your adult life.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Pictures From The Beach

We've been super busy getting settled in and unpacking still.  The wifey also had finals this week for her 2 online classes and she finished them Wednesday night and did well.  Yea!  She starts up again in a week or two with 3 classes for the fall semester for the first time, so she'll be busier than usual. 

We kicked butt and did a ton of unpacking last night after work!  Hopefully by the end of the weekend we'll be all set and can just concentrate on relaxing and enjoying our new place!

Here are a few pictures we've taken over the course of the week. And no I will not be posting the picture of an insanely big spider we found the other night.  :o)   I want to forget about that!  Enjoy the pics and hopefully I'll get back to posting a bit more often soon.  Happy Friday and I hope you have a great weekend!
Zoomed in shot of the pier off to the left from the balcony
Awesome sunrise pic wifey took
Sunset from the inland side
Closeup of sunset, it's been too cloudy to capture a real one so far
80x zoom of the moon; I tried to get the moonlight on the ocean, but it didn't turn out
Zoomed in shot of the Carnival Cruise ship heading out last night...Bon Voyage!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Happy Birthday!

I wanted to wish a Happy Birthday to my twin sisters today!!  
They will be together for good times!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Heading to the Beach!

Hard to believe, but the day is finally here!  My wife and I have always had a goal/dream to one day live at the beach and today we get the keys for our beach condo rental!  We're very excited!!

I've always had a love for the beach since I was a kid and my wife was the same way.  About 90% of our vacations have been at beachy locations and that was a huge part of why we moved to Florida.  We weren't quite sure how or when we'd make it to the beach, but it has always been on our minds.

We typically go to the beach to relax about every other weekend during the summer, but it's about a 35-40 minute drive each way.  My wife also works at an office at the beach, so she has that same commute every day to/from work. 

There were a few motivators to take some action.  One for me personally was turning 40 this year.  40 certainly isn't the end of the world, I still feel 21 and get carded all the time, but it was the first big number that really made me do a bit of soul searching.

40 seems to be a 1/2 way point in life.  I figured 40 is a good a motivator as any to take some bold action towards our goals and do what it takes to make it happen!  

I also had conversations earlier in the year with a friend here in town on Facebook and he was talking about moving to the beach this summer.  He's a motivational type guy, always talking about taking action and no excuses, etc.  We'd go back and forth and kinda motivate each other and push each other along.  He was saying he'd be at the beach in July, but we beat him to the punch.

I also thought about the fact that everything we're doing in life is to one day end up on or near the beach.  We're not getting any younger, so why wait?!  We've been saving $ for a few years, so we decided to do it up!

We searched for places near the beach, within walking distance to the beach and on the beach.  We had a few specific areas in mind that we liked and several areas to avoid and started our search. 

After checking out existing inventory of homes/condos for rent in the areas we were interested in, we made the decision to do it up and go for a beach front condo.  I figured why go close to the beach, spend the time and effort to move, only to still desire to be on the beach in the future.  Let's take big action now rather than baby steps. 

We looked at several condos and found one we really loved back in April.  It was in one of two locations we really like and it was a very unique place.  It was a 2 story condo on the top two floors (6th and 7th floor) of the building.  We like that no one will be above us.

It has a full ocean front balcony off the first floor living room (shown at the top), smaller ocean front balcony on the upper level master bedroom and also has a full upper deck on the back side of the building that has an inland view as well as a side view of the beach (shown below).
Deck Beach View
Deck Inland View
It was slightly more $, but for that additional cost it was a HUGE upgrade over the others we saw.  Only problem was that we weren't ready then, we were only checking to see what might be available in our price range.

We were very bummed out, because we felt it was perfect for us.  We had to tell the rental agent thanks, but unfortunately we're not ready at this time.  At that time the wifey said and I quote, "It will wait for us".  I thought that was a nice inspirational thought, but we really thought it would rent because several we saw were going quick.

At that time we decided to stop looking until we were ready.  We didn't want to be disappointed again.  Fast forward a month and we had gotten some additional info and we were in a better position to at least start looking again.

For kicks, I emailed the rental agent to see if it was rented out and she said someone did sign a lease that same week we looked in April, BUT they found out from the Condo Association that no one new could move in until August 1st.  That was due to the Condo covenants saying only one renter per year.

The previous tenant stayed a year and then renewed for a 2nd year, but had to move about mid way through that 2nd year.  Because of the rules, another renter could not move in until August 1st.

The people that signed the lease in April, needed it right away, so they had to back out.  And the unit had just become available again.  Another person was going to see the unit that same day I emailed, so we told her we wanted to see it again real quick and we were interested!

Things moved real quickly then, we were going on vacation to the west coast 2 days later and we wanted to be sure we had the credit/background check done, deposit down and that we had the place reserved.  It was quite stressful at the time, but it all worked out!

What the wifey said came true, it did wait for us after all!  :o)  

Update:  It was raining real hard as we were heading to the condo for the first time with the keys and I was thinking we wouldn't have a view to enjoy.  Boy was I wrong!  We were treated to an amazing rainbow as a welcome to the beach!  I took that as a good sign!

Full rainbow, welcome to the beach!
We move in Friday morning and can't wait to begin our next adventure!  We hope that it is everything we've hoped and dreamed about and I will be sure to post updates and lots of pictures as we get settled in.

And one quote has come up several times recently when I've mentioned the story that really holds true...It was paraphrased by others, but the full quote really does hold true and hopefully it provides you some inspiration as well:

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do.  So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore.  Dream.  Discover."  Mark Twain

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