Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Skiing at Timberline

Author: Dorsey Velasquez

This year, for the first time in recorded history of the Timberline Lodge in Oregon, they were able to open the slopes before the middle of November. My family and I rented a cabin for the Thanksgiving holiday and chose to go skiing instead of having a turkey. We set the Home security systems, asked the neighbor to watch the dog and went to the mountain. It was beautiful up there! There was more than three feet of fresh, powdery snow on the slopes. It was the perfect getaway in the middle of shopping and everyone making a big fuss over the holiday.

It was so refreshing to have a break from the usual holiday that my family has. Uncle George wasn't drunk on the couch, Grandma didn't burn the turkey and the kids didn't argue and fight over being upgraded to the adult table. It was a pleasant change. Not to mention, skiing is the one thing that brings the family together. We can all share in the joy of trying newer and bigger slopes and it's so nice to relax in the lodge with a cup of hot cocoa in front of a roaring fire playing Scrabble or just enjoying a good book. Skiing at Timberline was the best Thanksgiving my family could have had. Hopefully we can do it for Christmas too!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Music Monday: Burlesque

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday With My Mother

Written by Daron Curtis

My mother is the person I love shopping with the most on Black Friday. She lives two hours a way in a small town, so she comes the night before and spends the night. We usually get up early in the morning and plan our day over some coffee and catch up a little. When we leave the house to go shopping I set my besthomesecurity home security alarm while we decide which truck to take.

We are a great pair when we go shopping because she tells me what my relatives want and I tell her what my children want for Christmas. Almost all of our shopping is for Christmas presents. We are known to visit the grocery store for occasional Black Friday deals on meat as well. Our plan is to have all of our Christmas and New Years shopping done in one day but this rarely happens. We usually get too tired to shop past mid after-noon.

Once the major purchases are made we retire at the local tea house for some relief. A few years ago, on Black Friday we went to the spa afterward and it was a wonderful treat. Spending time with my mother is one of the best parts of the busiest day of shopping.

Holiday Shopping: Shoes!

It's officially holiday shopping season, and I've been having fun checking out all of the great deals that are out there. Of course, the priority is getting all of the gifts that I want to give to my family and friends, but sometimes I can't resist doing a little shopping for myself too. It's just too easy to justify with so many sales and specials going on.

One of my favorite things to shop for is shoes, and one of my favorite sites for that is Zappos.com. They've got a great selection, good customer service, and free shipping. (Always a plus.) So I'm easily distracted from my holiday shopping and I'm currently looking at shoes for myself.

Love these Cole Haan boots:

Boots are definitely my weakness, but I like Cole Haan shoes in general because they're good quality. Some of them can be a little on the expensive side for me, but I think sometimes they're worth the investment because they're classic styles that go with everything and they'll last me a long time. Of course, if I can get a pair on sale and get free shipping too, I'm totally okay with that.

And I may be able to work in some holiday shopping after all, because there's also a Cole Haan Kids line of shoes. Look at these adorable little things:

And if I'm going to order some shoes as a gift, then it's okay to get something for myself, right? I mean, it's not like I'm going to have to pay more for shipping, thanks to the awesomeness of Zappos. I love holiday shopping.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hosting Time

Awhile back I wrote about eventually "going legit" with this blog and making some improvements to it. Since then...well, okay, I haven't really done too much. What can I say? I've been busy! But I am looking into it again, and one of my first topics to research is my web hosting options. Eventually I plan to move this site to its own domain and find a hosting site that works for me.

I found a really helpful site that has reviews and ratings for lots of hosting sites, plus a hosting guide to walk you through the process, and current news related to web hosting. One of the things that I like most is that they have customer reviews for all of the different sites out there. There are so many opinions about which site is the best, and sometimes when you read a review on some random website you don't really know if you can trust it, so it's nice to be able to read a variety of reviews from actual customers so you get an idea of what to expect from each site.

Another helpful thing on this site is their best web hosting awards. They have awards for different categories, like Best Blog Hosting and Best Budget Hosting, which are both very relevant to my interests. This is really helpful because sometimes even if you've heard a lot of recommendations for a particular hosting company, that doesn't necessarily mean that it's the right one for what you need.

So now that I think I have a better idea of what I need in a web host, I'm going to start to work on the site right away. Well, maybe not right away, it is the holiday season after all. Let's call it a New Year's resolution.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Holiday shopping season is about to start, which means a lot of people out there spending a lot of money. I like to go overboard when it comes to buying gifts and decorations and all of that fun stuff, but I also always try to have a plan for how I'm going to pay for everything and not go too credit card crazy. And when the time comes for New Year's resolutions, I try to think a little bit about my financial plan for the next year.

Luckily for me, I've never had any majorly serious financial problems. But I did learn some good lessons from a friend of mine who did run into trouble and and eventually needed some help with debt relief. She was a bit of a shopaholic who did go overboard with her credit cards. She also had some student loans from school (don't we all?) and not a lot of savings, so when she got laid off last year and had trouble finding a new job she ended up in serious trouble.

Luckily for her, she found a good Debt Settlement company to help her out with her situation. She was the type of person who never bothered to learn much about managing money. Of course, that changed once she ran into trouble, but she was still overwhelmed and intimidated when faced with the prospect of debt negotiation, so she was really glad to find a company that gave her the support she needed.

She definitely learned her lesson from the experience, and now she's the first to counsel any friends of hers that she sees heading down the wrong financial path. I've gotten some good tips from her, and I think we'll all manage to stay debt free this holiday season.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Holiday Shopping: Baby Clothes Are Too Cute

So I've started to work on my holiday shopping. Well, okay, I haven't actually bought anything yet, but I'm figuring out who I need to shop for and what to get for everyone. I have a couple of friends and relatives who have babies or toddlers to shop for, and that presents a bit of a problem for me. Why, you ask? Because baby clothes are just too cute.

Yes, it's true. The cuteness of most baby clothes represents a challenge for me. First, I have a hard time deciding what to get, and then I overbuy. It's all just so darn cute.

Cute little dresses:

Cute little onesies:

Cute little shoes:

It's just too much adorability for me to resist. And this is just the clothes! I haven't even started on toys or stuffed animals or little children's books or...well, you get the idea. At least this part of my shopping list is really easy and fun to do. And I know that when I have my own kids someday, I'm going to be totally broke. But at least my kids will look super cute!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Foodie Friday: Peanut Brittle

The holidays are coming, which means lots of parties and events and, of course, lots of gift-giving. I'm usually a last minute shopper but I'm trying to be a little bit more organized this year and at least figure out what I need to get ahead of time.

I'm starting with some of the smaller stuff. You know the type - hostess gifts, teacher gifts, gifts for the receptionist at your office, that sort of thing. I'm a foodie so I like to do food gifts, assuming that I at least know the person well enough to know that they're not going to be horribly allergic to whatever I give them. Homemade food gifts can be great sometimes, but I don't always have the time to make them. (Sorry, Martha Stewart!)

But even if I'm not going to make my own gifts, I like to try to do something a little different from your standard box of candy or cookies. This year I'm ordering some peanut brittle from See's Candies. It's different without being too out there, it's made from quality ingredients, and it's affordable. I plan on being pretty popular this holiday season.

My new favorite author

Guest post written by Molly Wright

No matter what I watch or read, it just has to include some humor. So when my cousin who has the same taste in books as me suggested that I give reading some Christopher Moore books a try, I trusted him.

I went online with my ClearTVBundle to buy one of his books and it took me a while to pick out which book I was going to buy because he has so many that have so many great reviews. But I finally picked a few and ordered them.

The first Christopher Moore book that I read was The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove, which is about when a town psychiatrist puts everyone on placebos instead of antidepressants and a sea monster terrorizes the same town after a blues singer wakes him up. To say the least, it's hilarious. I think that I'm going to be reading just books by him for a while, because I can't get enough with just this one book. But they're so easy to read that I don't think it will take all that long.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Pumpkins

Candle and miniature pumpkins

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Green Gamblers

We had our first experience in a casino recently, and we've learned a couple of things. First, that gambling is fun. (More fun if you're responsible about it and don't lose a ton of money, obviously.) And second, that we're really not very good at it.

We'd like to improve our skills a little bit before our next casino adventure. So, we're considering checking out some online gambling sites. But we know that there are some sketchy sites out there, so we're definitely doing our research before we decide to go for it. We're starting with this site that's a guide to online casino sites. It's got a directory, reviews, and information about the casino regulations that cover online gambling sites to help us find some that are reputable.

We mostly stuck to the slots when we were at the casino, but next time we go we'll probably want to branch out, so we're looking at reviews and ratings to find the best sites for online blackjack and stuff like that too. Of course, we my chicken out entirely, but if we do decide to give this a try, at least we'll be well prepared.

Has anyone had any experience with online casinos? Good or bad idea? What do you think?