I Love To Be Organized

Having a good task manager is important, but having one that you will actually use is even more important. Enter Asana… This thing is so easy to use. Can you type and press enter? Can you click a mouse or tap a screen? Then Asana is a tool that will help save you time and keep you organized.

I use Asana for two different things. First, I use Asana for business to keep all of my tasks in a neat and easy-to-find place. I can put due dates, assign different people in my organization a task, and you can see what is getting completed. The second thing I use Asana for is to manage my household. There are sooo many different things that I need to do around my house and I use Asana in order to manage all of those things. I have a task for cleaning the bathroom (which repeats automatically) and a task to fix the hole in my ceiling. Like a typical person, my list doesn’t ever shrink, but it makes me feel good to check off a task when it is completed.

So if you find yourself looking for something to make your life easier and to keep it more organized, then I highly recommend looking into this program. It’s free for the most part, but they do have some paid features for larger organizations. Here’s the link: Asana  .

It’s Time For A Mint – Money Tracking

When it comes to tracking your money there are a million options out there. I’ve tried a ton of different pieces of software and all have pretty much done an ok job, but nothing really replaced my old spreadsheet. The spreadsheet still is my #1 go to, but I have added a tool to that behemoth as well. It’s called Mint, by intuit.

Mint helps me see my money, my debts, and my assets all in one place. They let you set budgets, add goals, and give you some great pointers along the way. The best part about Mint? It’s free.

If you want to take control of your finances then the first thing you need to do is see how much money you actually have. Mint will track most of your sources for you. Then you need to see how much money you actually owe. Again, Mint will track your debts as well.  So now that you know what you have and you know what you owe, you can now make budgets for each of the categories you spend in. This is a great feature and will help you stay on budget.  Try to budget your entire income, even if that means budgeting for savings.

Want to go on that dream vacation? Need to save up a down payment on a house? Waiting to pop the question when you get enough saved up?  Want to pay off loans faster? Introducing goals for Mint. Goals have a date by which you want to achieve a specific dollar amount. Let’s say I wanted to save up $2,000 in 6 months so that I could take my wife on a vacation. We enter this as a Goal in Mint and then it will tell me how much I need to save up every month in order to achieve my goal. It’s one of the greatest features of Mint that I always forget about using.

Mint is available online in desktop format, but is also available as a mobile app. The mobile app is great, but the desktop version adds a lot more features and is great for really diving into the data. I think it is worth giving it a try, it is free software and has helped me pay off a good bit of my debt while saving money for the future.

Cloud9 IDE

If you are someone who likes to code, and I am, then you will love the Cloud9 IDE. It is available in the cloud and can be found here c9.io . Now, all of my coding isn’t done in this editor, but any of my side projects generally begin here. It is great being able to log on to any computer and open up your exact environment the way you left it.  I’ve built Ruby on Rails, PHP, and Javascript applications using their service. I’m sure there’s more languages supported, but that’s what I have used so far.

But what about file versioning? They have that built into the editor as well. It will allow you to drag the history back so you can go back to a previous version of a file. This has come in handy a lot when I was overzealous and forgot to push my changes to GitLab. Whoops, I just turned a working site into a major error, thanks file versioning!

My favorite thing about this is I can spinup Laravel projects and test them right on their server. Just hit the “Run” then “Preview” and you are testing a live version of your code. They do support databases as well, so you can fully build out your website and test it on their servers.

Ok, that sounds great, but what about if my project starts off small then grows really large? Yeah, I had that happen to me on a project that I was working with a friend on. We started off using the free tier, but ended up switching to the $19.99 / month tier. We were able to increase both our memory and the disk space for the project after upgrading. I loved how sacalable it was.

I’m currently back on the free plan as I have moved my larger projects offline. I’m sure there are people who do large projects online, but when I am working on a project  that I need access to offline, then I start to download them and run them locally. Still, cloud9 is awesome. If you haven’t checked it out yet I highly recommend it. They have a free tier for you to mess around with and see if you like it or not.

Cloud9 is my favorite online editor and the only one that I use on a regular basis. Thanks Cloud9 for being awesome!

Amplifi Your Wifi

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My house had the absolutely worst internet connection on the planet. I live in a 3-level home and the wifi router for our home is on the middle level. But, the router is on the farthest wall of the middle level, and my office on the opposite side of the house on the top level. To make matters worse, our entertainment room is on the bottom level and trying to get the signal to go through the entire home was a chore. I ended up using 3 wireless routers which gave you a consistent enough signal to watch about 10 minutes of a netflix movie before it gave out and you had to connect to one of the other 2 routers. This was our nightmare, and I found something that made it all better.

Introducing Amplifi. This little wireless router is the love of my life! The base unit itself looks like something that should be displayed instead of hidden in a tech closet. My wife doesn’t even mind it in the living room! That’s a big change over other wireless routers. But the magic isn’t only in the beautiful display, powerful 802.11 AC, or the app which makes setting up and managing your network a breeze… The magic is in the Extenders.

Amplifi is a wireless mesh network. This is different than having multiple access points because you don’t have to jump between access points. The connection is seemless, it’s as if you are only using 1 wireless router that just has awesome coverage. You plug in the boosters to extend the coverage to other areas of your home. I have 1 in my office and it works great. Without the booster, I get about 1/5 wireless bars. With the booster, I get 5/5 wireless bars and the internet speed is fast.

I got mine at a discounted rate because I bought them before they came out. It was very easy to install and even easier to use. I highly recomend this little gem to anyone who has wireless connectivity problems in their home or small business.

If you would like to purchase the Amplifi system, check it out on Amazon using my link.

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Owl Magnets Are Amazing!

One of the best responses I have ever gotten from giving someone a gift is from an inexpensive owl magnet set. These guys are awesome, and they do a great job of holding photos on my fridge. My wife was really excited to get them and has told me that we need more. Little does she know, Santa has also fell in love with these and will be adding these owl magnets to her stocking this year.

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Kikkerland Owl Magnets

I love these little guys, and they are available on Amazon. Currently, they are an add-on item, so you have to buy something else in order to get these as well. I recommend waiting till the next time you buy on Amazon and just adding these to your order. A lot of people will start looking for something to purchase just so they can get these, and that’s fine too. There’s millions of things you can find on Amazon.

If you would like to buy these, please use my link . This helps you support me so that I can continue bringing you great content!

The Old Mill

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One of my favorite restaurants of all time is The Old Mill Pottery House Cafe & Grille. If you go to Pigeon Forge, drive by Pigeon Forge, or even know where Pigeon Forge is on a map, then this is one place you have to visit. I love eating lunch or dinner here after enjoying a big breakfast at the Old Mill restaurant (yeah, that’s a different restaurant).

The entire shopping center is fun to visit, with the Little Pigeon River bordering the entire space. There’s places to shop, things to eat, and a trolley stop. What more can you want? On a cold day make sure you get one of their daily soups. It will warm you up and make you feel great. We also get their chips. These are home made chips covered in all kinds of good things. Check out all of that goodness on a chip!

old mill restaurant pottery house cafe & grille chips appetizer

It’s A Jolly Good Time

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One thing that I absolutely love, is Jolly Time popcorn. This stuff is awesome to eat when watching a good movie or binge-watching my favorite series. I have good memories of eating popcorn with special people in my life. The worst part about it is when the bowl is empty. Yeah, this may not be the healthiest snack in the world, but it is way better than eating fried butter! So, there ya have it, if you want to eat something healthier than fried butter, try Jolly Time popcorn.

OK, now that the health warning is out of the way, let’s talk about why I asbolutely love Jolly Time popcorn. Last night, my wife and I shared a bag of this delicious treat. At the end of the bowl we had 1, count it 1, you can say it 1, unpopped kernal. And while we usually have more than a single kernel of corn that has decided the boiling oil is a treat, there usually isn’t more than I can count on a single hand. I don’t know if I’m just lucky with my Jolly Time, or if it is something that they do differently, but I love it.

Young fellas trying to impress a lady. There is nothing romantic about rubbing oily, salty, hands. It’s just not cool. So if your hand happens to meet your date’s in the popcorn bowl, don’t think of it as an opportunity to hold her hand in the popcorn bowl… I’ve seen this soooo many times and this is just a big foul. Try wiping your hand off with a napkin, allow her time to do the same, and then grabbing her hand. Better yet, why not just give her a nice kiss and forget about the hand holding. Afterall, she wants to eat some popcorn and it’s not worth wasting a napkin on.

5 Ways I Love To Save Money

I absolutely love saving money. No, I don’t love money, but I love to save money whenever I can. Do you love getting a great deal on something? What if I told you that you could get an even greater deal if you thought differently? A lot of people don’t realize that there is a way to take the money you have and increase your buying power. Then, take those savings and invest them in yourself.

1. Ebates – Rebates without the hassle

I absolute LOVE Ebates. It makes the #1 spot because it is the best thing in the entire world. So if you haven’t heard of this then you need to go there right now and sign up. they have tons of online shops and each shop has a percentage of cash back that you will get. I got 15% cash back on JCPenny the other day. That sounds great, right? Well, I had a coupon for 40% off my purchase, I bought a Raise.com gift card valued at $100 for $93 (also got 1% cash back from Ebates on that) and used my credit card to earn 1.5% cash back on the gift card purchase. I don’t know what the final percentage of savings was, but it was a lot of savings! Download their mobile app for savings only available through the mobile app. Ebates has a great add-on to Google chrome that will let you know if you are on a website that has either a coupon or a cash back reward.

2. Give yourself a Raise

One of the easiest ways to save some money is to buy gift cards. You can save anywhere from 3% to 15% just by buying a gift card prior to making your online purchase. I love Raise, and have had nothing but great customer experiences with the company. And, if you sign up using my link here, then you will receive a $5 credit! See, I saved you $5 already! This does take you to a page that asks for your phone number so they can send you the link to download their app. I’m not sure why they do it that way, but you get $5 out of it. If you don’t want to use the phone app, head on over to Raise.com and sign up.

3. Visit the Coupon Cabin

This site is similar to Ebates and offers both cash-back and coupons. I love using both of the websites to see who is offering the better deal. First-time users typically get some pretty good deals so check out their website for some great savings! They also have a plugin that will show you where you can save money online.

4. Rewards Credit Cards

Before you jump into signing up for a bunch of credit cards be very careful with these. These are like loaded guns and can get you in serious trouble. Yes, the 1.5% cash back sounds great, but the APR of 27.9% is what the credit card company is hoping that you will be paying them. So, now that I have my warning in place, I LOVE REWARDS! I have all of my credit cards set on autopay, I NEVER pay interest. If you don’t have the money, you don’t buy it. The greatest thing you can do with this is you can find credit cards that have really high rewards in specific categories and use those to pay for those categories. I would advise starting with a general high reward card like the 1.5% cash-back on everything Capital One card. Then looking at specialty cards based on how much you spend in those categories to save even more. Avoid credit cards with fees, unless you can see that your rewards will be more savings by paying the fee. This method saves me an average of 1.8% on everything I buy.  That’s not a lot, but if you were to buy $20,000 worth of things in a year, that’s $360 back in your pocket.

5. Rewards Cards

I love getting rewards for things. So many places you go have free rewards cards and you don’t even know it. So ask the next time you visit your favorite restaurant or store. My wife asked at her favorite place to buy clothes and the lady pulled out a rewards card under the counter and handed it to her on the spot. She asked how long they have had rewards cards and they told her that they have had it for at least 5 years. The card gives her 20% off every 5th visit, imagine all of the money she could have saved if she had known about it before. Gas stations are a great way to rack up tiny savings.  A lot of major gas stations will give you a card with anywhere from $0.03 – $0.05 / gallon on every fill-up. I don’t know how much gas you use, but we use 30 gallons of gas a week on average (that’s counting in vacation and travel). So if we were to save $0.03 on 30 gallons/week in 1 year, that’s $46.80 in savings per year. Not bad to get a $50 bill for just swiping an extra card.

I hope you found this article helpful and that you start compiling those savings. Start combining methods and save even more.

Snacks… What’s not to love?

Box filled with snacks from Mexico

I came home the other day and grabbed the mail like I normally do. In my mailbox was a blue box with the words “Snack Crate”. I was confused as to why I was getting some snacks delivered in my mailbox, but when I asked my wife about it, she jumped for joy. Her first official box came in. She explained to me how each month you get a box with snacks that come from a different country.  You don’t know what country is coming in, but that’s part of the fun. We ended up getting Austrailia this last month and really enjoyed the box. The best thing is they give you a snack guide to explain in English what everything is.

Who doesn’t love snacks?! I mean, who doesn’t love snacks delivered to your door? Literally, you go home and wham! there’s a box of snacks in your mailbox! I’m not sure how well the chocolate will hold up during the summer, but so far this fall and winter everything has come in perfect condition.

One of the things that I love about this box of snacks, is that you never know what you are going to get. It’s also caused me to stop buying snacks anywhere else, which is good for my waistline. I mean, why grab a Snicker’s when you can grab a Violet Crumble? What a wonderful thing.

If you would like to get started collecting snacks from around the globe, and let’s be honest who doesn’t, then head on over to SnackCrate to get started.

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A box filled with snacks!

So if I haven’t convinced you to try out the SnackCrate, that’s fine with me. But at least start to go try candies and treats from other countries at your local store. It’s always worth a few dollars to try something that you haven’t tried before. You never know, you might find your next favorite snack!

 

Custom Engraved Cutting Boards

Custom Engraved Cutting Boards

Custom engraved cutting board with grandma's recipe on it

Welcome to the first post on my website. I am going to be writing thousands of posts about things that I find on the internet that I love. The first thing that I found that I love is a custom engraved cutting board. I haven’t bought from this particular Etsy user, TaylorCraftsEngraved, but they have a really awesome product. I got one of these for Christmas and just love it. It looks fantastic and will forever be in my kitchen. I plan on ordering one of these for my wife and her family next year with one of their favorite recipe’s their grandmother used to make.

Custom engraved cutting board with grandma's recipe on it

So who is behind making these awesome cutting boards? Tony Taylor and Belinda Crafts (TaylorCrafts) run the business and can be contacted with the following information:

Visit them on Facebook
View their Website
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