Our December 2019 Expenses While In The USA

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

So we've come to the end of another year...and another month while in the USA for us.

I am a bit disappointed that we have spent the most this month on food than we have in the 3 years I have been keeping expenses. Hope next month for the new year to get this down a bit more.

All expenses are in USD.

Camping: $315 while we spent 5 days at the KOA in Las Vegas 
                 $612 for camping at State Park for 18 days
SUV Gas- $111. ( Was more this month because we did more driving around in Las Vegas and to meet with daughter too while we were there, daily outings)
Propane- $92.54 ( colder month/year for sure in Arizona as well. We use propane for cooking inside, the bbq outside, and the hot water tank, fridge and furnace!) 
RV Gas- $286
Parking- $58 ( this was in Vegas. The parking alone for the George Strait concert we went to was $25!)
Laundry- $29 ( this was down a bit from last month)
Take out- $83.09 ( I did use coupons sometimes but I will say Gerry eats more than me!)
Water and dumps for RV- $15 ( Less this month because while we stayed at the KOA and State Park, it was included)
and last but not least..
Groceries- $682.21- ouch!

Wishing at this time.. all my readers, a wonderful New Year- may it be full of everything you wish for, good health, safety and peace in your lives.

Excellent Tips For Office Design

Friday, December 27, 2019

An office should be a space where your employees are comfortable and productive. The design of your office will impact every aspect of you and your team’s working life. It can be the case that most people outgrow their starter office space quickly, and really should be using to find something more fitting. But once you find the space, what should you be doing with it?

Photo by MEDIA PROFILE on Unsplash


Your business likely has a strong brand already. You can, and should, be looking at ways that you can make a statement. Use the colors that people associate with your brand, slogans on the walls, or the names of the partners. Then think about the style that you want to have associated with the brand. Beyond the website - when people come to visit, what do you want them to notice first? Look to reflect your identity, and if you struggle with that, you can hire an interior designer to help you nail down the critical aspects of your brand and translate that into style. 


Minimalism is useful, not just in the home but in the office too. Creating the illusion of a bigger space is possible when there is less ‘stuff’ occupying room. Consider what is essential, what has a psychological purpose, and what is superfluous. Offices should focus on productivity, creativity, and function. When the furniture is set correctly, you aren’t going to have an awkward walking space, light-blocking, or chairs clashing when people move. 


You can’t underestimate the amount of light that you need in an office. Brighter light, like that you find in the spring and summer, tends to make people happier. Happier people tend to be more productive in their work. A good mood is generally something you want to promote in your work space. In order to do that, you need to maximize window space. Which is easier in a building that you own. You can mimic natural light with specific bulb types. Increasing light is possible when you remove barriers and use materials like glass to let the natural light flow too. 


Increasing the sense of community and collaboration can be done by having the right spaces available to gather in. When you are creating these spaces, look for long circular or oval tables, a range of seating options, and the ability to make drinks. Furnish the walls with whiteboards, chalkboard paint, and other spaces that can be doodled upon. 


While you ideally want your staff to be productive for the maximum amount of time, that doesn’t actually mean they need to be face-to-screen the entire day. Actually, it is more beneficial for your staff to have time to have breaks or a space to work off a block or generate ideas. They are still working, but instead of getting demotivated and struggling, they have the tools to work the issue out. Relaxation is essential to keep your team happy and productive. 

And finally, when you are putting your perfect office together, use psychological wheen charts to create the best combination for staff and clients. 

The Care Crate Co Snack Box is a great way to foster a positive office environment and get the most out of your break time. Perfect for the office community space with shareable snacks or in your own office, this crate of hand-selected snacks will save you time from running to the store over lunch. This will help get the most of out your break time and increase productivity at work as a result.  With a variety of 40 delicious snacks, the Care Crate Co’s snack crate is the snacking solution your office is looking for! 

Crafting - How To Prepare For Your First Pop-Up Shop

If you own an online craft business or are just getting started selling your own craft products then a great way to get your brand name and your items out there is to set up a pop-up shop. At first glance, the idea of setting up a pop-up shop can be very daunting, especially if you have little or no previous retail experience, but don’t fear, below you’ll find out all the basics. 

Where should you host a pop-up shop?

Setting up a pop-up shop needn’t be complicated and you don’t need to be renting out a whole unit in a shopping mall to be successful. For most people, a great place to start is at a local craft fayre where the setup process is relatively easy, the fee is low and you’ll also have the added benefit of meeting lots of other like-minded business owners. Another easy way to set up your first pop-up shop is within the walls of another business. Many shops, especially those who are more boutique, offer pop-up space to independent craftspeople as a way to strike intrigue with their customers and to support up and coming crafters. If you feel a little more confident with the prospect of hosting your first store then go the extra mile and consider renting your own brick and mortar retail space designed specifically for pop-ups, these kinds of spaces are often more pricey than craft fairs or sharing space in another store but they do give off a very confident brand image. 

What equipment do you need?

What you will need to bring with you to your pop-up will largely depend on the kind of items you are selling but as a general rule you will need: 
  • A credit card reader
    We are quickly becoming a cashless society and although credit card readers may take a little of your profit they open you up to a whole lot more customers. Simple card readers such as TMS terminals provide both you and your customers with everything you need to take card payments. 
  • A lockable cash box
    Although a till is easier for keeping track of payments a simple lockable cash box is all you really need to get started with a pop-up store, just remember to bring plenty of change.
  • Signage
    Advertising is the key to a successful pop-up store so be sure t bring plenty of branded materials and signage to showcase your presence and drive traffic to your stall. 
  • Lots of inventory
    It is always better to have too much inventory rather than too little as you can always take it away with you again but you may not be able to win back a lost sale. Remember that you don’t need to display all of your inventory at once and the items that sell the most may surprise you so be sure to keep a back up of everything you display. 
  • Bags
    To give your customers a service they will remember, be sure to have a selection of bags to offer them with their purchase and consider making them a little extra special with a logo or some scented spray. 

How to market your pop-up store

Marketing your pop-up store is an important part of ensuring its success. Be sure to advertise your pop-up through your social media and email list well in advance of the date and consider offering an incentive such as an exclusive pop-up discount. Remember to give your potential customers plenty of notice and send them two or three reminders running up to the final date - a great way to gauge turnout is to set up a Facebook event and to monitor the RSVPs. On the day itself, be sure to have plenty of marketing materials on hand including flyers and business cards which can then be handed out to passers-by during the day, encouraging them to return later on or to make a purchase through your online store. 

How much will it cost?

The cost of a pop-up store can vary greatly depending on the location you choose, the amount of decoration and marketing materials you print and the labor you have on the stand, which makes it very difficult to give an accurate estimate. In general, a place at a craft fair can cost as little as $50, whereas renting your own four walls for the day can cost upwards of $1000. Do some research within the craft community in your area to find out what other crafters have paid for their pop-up spaces and then set yourself a realistic budget and stick to it. 

Review and Giveaway: The Better Skin Co. (USA)

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

From a young age I have always practised good skin care. Skin care has surely advanced over the years. Now, with "mature skin", I find what is in my products I am using is quite important, as I have new skin care needs. I find now that using a serum after my cleansing routine, and before my moisturizer has really made a difference in skin tightening- especially my neck! 

Natural products too are what I like and I have found that in one company I have found recently called The Better Skin Company. One of their products is "Genius in a Jar!" Called the Mirakle Cream- it's an all purpose, one stop, skin saving, problem solver... all purpose cream to help transform your skin to beautiful! 

I am currently using their All Skin Wardrobe line, which includes their cleanser, serum and Mirakle Cream. I also use their eye serum with my routine. Love the products. I like the smell of them, and I like how my skin looks and feels after doing my daily morning routine with them.

The Better Skin Company would love to give one of our American friends the opportunity to win the same All Skin Wardrobe line up I am using! $94 value!
A random draw by will be done on January 8, 2020 from all eligible entries. USA only.

To Enter: 
Tell us if you have a skin care routine and what it is.

Bonus Entries: 
-share this giveaway on Twitter (once)
-share this giveaway on Facebook (once)
-share this giveaway on Pinterest (once)

2019 Holiday Gift Ideas For The Home

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Find the perfect present for every personality with our holiday gift guide "Ideas for the Home".

Globe Pequot- ( Sells beautiful calendars)

Who knew that discarded bottles and glassware could become such treasures of rare beauty. Collectors and admirers of sea glass will find much to enjoy in this calendar. Each month reveals a surprising array of wonders from the sea. Interesting lore about sea glass and helpful tips about seaglunking complement each month. Sea glass provided by The Sea Glass Center, a nonprofit organization preserving sea glass and educating people on the historical, artistic and cultural significance of sea glass. 


Have them cozy up with this premium throw blanket ideal for the baby or big kid in the family. Even nice for mom and dad!  Large enough for superior cuddles and soft enough for cozy nap times.

·      High filament microplush blanket with ultra-soft texture 
·      Hem stitched on all sides for smooth edges and durability
·      Measures 50"x60" 
·      Machine washable, tumble dry low
Recommended retail: $19.95

This vacuum saves up to 50% more space in the kitchen, while maintaining the same amount of vacuum sealing power as a larger appliance. The appliance keeps food fresh up to 5X longer and helps prevent freezer burn (compared to ordinary storage methods); easy bag alignment tool prevents bag waste by ensuring correct placement every time; and easy cleanup with removable drip tray. Available on Amazon

Rubbermaid® Brilliance are a state-of-the-art food storage container that is 100% leak proof guaranteed and serves as an ultra-durable, easy care solution for everyday demands. The product also features stain resistant material, crystal clear material splatter-resistant microwaving innovation, BPA free, and stacks perfectly with other Brilliance containers. Available on Amazon 

This coffee machine takes the guesswork out of pour over with an on-screen step by step guide that walks you through the pour over process. An integrated auto-measure scale automatically calculates the right amount of coffee and water, and tells you just how much to add for a consistently great tasting cup of pour over coffee.

The new removeable crisping lid allows for a crispy finish to be added to all dishes – including rotisserie chicken, ribs and more! Some great meals will be made with you in mind as the gift giver!

The new Calphalon Contemporary™ SharpIN™ Nonstick Cutlery Set features a unique blade design with a nonstick coating to prevent food from sticking to the knife, speeding up preparation time and making cleanup quick and easy. The set also features SharpIN Technology, allowing the knives to stay sharp for a lifetime.

Bake fluffier goodies faster! With gentle warm air that softens batter with heat while mixing, HeatSoft Technology brings cold butter to room temperature 12X faster than leaving it out on the counter. No need to wait to bake with the Oster® Hand Mixer with HeatSoft. It delivers creamy batter and better tasting baked goods.

Micro Cotton-

Micro Cotton’s Noble Excellence Elite bath towels, available at Dillard's, are made with 600 GSM superior extra-fine-long-staple cotton, so they’re built to last and keep those you love, warm all season long. The best part? They’re durable, meaning they’re made to maintain their softness wash after wash and they create almost zero lint and pill, so they won’t clog your washer or dryer. These would make a lovely gift addition to any home for the holidays.

Classic Slipcovers -

Slipcovered furniture telegraphs casual ease, making it a good choice for busy, hardworking spaces. The unfussy vibe encourages relaxing and helps make guests feel at home. Their covers  will transform a room in an instant! With fast and easy installation you can cover your old, tired furniture and make it look new. Whether your current set is looking worn out, or you’re just ready for a change, why not give slipcovers a try? They’re far less expensive than springing for a whole new set of chairs and can completely alter the look of your dining room.
What to do when crayon-wielding kids and muddy-pawed dogs make a regular appearance in your living room? Use slipcovers! Two sets of slipcovers made from machine-washable fabrics, to be specific — so you’re covered even when one is in the wash.
Covering an heirloom or new-to-you antique or vintage piece with a slipcover can help it blend with your existing furniture. This is especially a plus if most of your pieces are in a very different style. And if wear and tear are a concern, keeping a beloved antique piece slipcovered will help prolong its life while still showing off its shape.
Seasonal changes: You can’t go wrong with crisp white slipcovers. They look light, simple and refreshing after the deep colors and thick fabrics of winter. Perfect for holiday gifting to someone who's sofa/ loveseat may need a new look! 

**Watch this spot for more gift ideas for the home.

In the Spirit of Giving - Making Spirits Bright This Holiday Season

Monday, December 23, 2019

While traveling and staying in Arizona this year for the winter we met by chance, a 22 year old homeless man. We had seen him where we were camping, with two run down, not running, class C motor homes.  We had approached him one day, seeing he needed help, and helped to push the two motor homes off the road. One was totally gutted and one he lived in. Neither had value, but both in his name. To make things short and sweet, he was down on his luck. He said no one wanted to stop for him. He said people would either drive by and stare, or be on their phones calling someone to report him , as he was always approached by the sheriffs.

He was  waiting to get back on his feet and go to school in Jan. through JobCorps, we were told. ( His motor homes he said he will leave for another homeless friend when he leaves).

We have been helping him in the mean time with getting around, food, moral support, etc. He has nothing really. He has offered to do things for us like wash vehicles, but we have refused, as we feel good about helping. He has done odd jobs as well for people he knows. He has a bike to get around most of the time, but he's been having it tough. 

We thought we would share his story and we wanted to make the holidays a little brighter for him. We wanted to let him know people care, and we wanted to debunk the stigma about the homeless. That not all may be on drugs, or have mental disease, etc. Some are really just down on their luck, and by showing people we care, we can make them feel better about life and themselves.

We want at this time to thank some of our friends and businesses who have given so freely to make spirits bright for our young man. You truly DID make him feel good.

Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C.Michael PFleming is a HoustonTexas based attorney and former elected official. Fleming is board certified in Personal Injury Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. 

Macy's Hotel Collection Ultimate Micro Cotton® bath towelsExperience a new level of luxury with the Hotel Collection Ultimate MicroCotton® bath towel collection. Ultra-soft and extra-absorbent, these towels make a blissful addition to your bath. In favorite neutrals, gentle pastels and rich jewel tones, the standout selection of shades can accommodate every d├ęcor.

Renogy- Trust Renogy for all your solar power needs!

Gourmet Gift Baskets- Gift Baskets handmade for him or her and packed with Premium Wine, Chocolates Fruits, Nuts, Beer and more!  Gifts for all Occasions.

My College Crate -  Providing college care packages specifically designed for your loved ones in college that contain various snacks and other college essentials!

Annabelle Candy Company- The Original Rocky Road®, Rocky Road Mint, Rocky Road Dark, Big Hunk®, U-NO®, Look®, Abba-Zaba®- Oh yum!

Top 5 Unique Christmas Gifts

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Photo by from Pexels

Ok, so Christmas is well and truly around the corner. But if you’ve not got your act together and bought your loved one a gift yet, it’s time to head out to the shops. 

When it comes to presents, there is a limit to how many stereotypical gifts you can buy every year. So if you’re bored of buying the same things, why not mix it up and buy something more unique this year.

If you’re unsure what to get them, here are the top 5 most extraordinary gifts that will bring a smile to their face this Christmas.

Personalized Socks

Ok, so socks might not initially sound like the most exciting present. But you can now get socks which have fun wording on them or even the opportunity to put their/your face on them. A unique touch to something that could otherwise be uninspiring, they are a fashion statement and gift that will have people talking throughout the year. 

A Food Hamper/Gift Box

Who doesn’t love food? This year, why not treat your friend/family member to a food hamper or gift box. With so many delicious options available, from a pretzel gift box to a sweet, tea or chocolate hamper, you’ll be able to find one that suits their unique tastes. If you can find one online, you’ll also be able to create one yourself at home.

A Record Player 

If your loved one is obsessed with music, why not opt for a record player this year? Record players have well and truly come back in fashion. Stylish and retro, these amazing machines allow you to listen to classic songs in an extraordinary way. The perfect addition to any home, they will transport you back in time. 

A Scratch Map

Are they a travel enthusiast? Then why not buy them a scratch map. The ultimate present for those who love to travel the world, it gives them the opportunity to ‘scratch off’ all of the countries that they have been to. If you really want to impress them, you can even put it in a frame so that it’s ready to hang up on their wall.

Terrarium Candle 

Do they think that they have green fingers but can’t keep a plant alive? Then gift them with a poppy or cacti terrarium candle this year. Not only do these smell great, but these pretty candles also look fabulous on the window sill or sideboard. Adding a touch of chic to any home, they combine two fabulous things in one – plants and candles – who wouldn’t love that?

Final Thoughts

So, there you go! Those are the top 5 unique Christmas gifts that you can buy for your friends or family members this year. Affordable and extraordinary, they are bound to adore any of the above gifts. Of course, what you buy will depend on their unique taste and your budget. But whatever you gift them with, they will be in awe this year.
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