Lifestyle * Travel * Food

Jul 20, 2017

No Time To Hit The Gym? DeskCycle Can Help!

I have been working from home for several years now, and home schooling my little one for two years. I find myself at my desk, dining table, or any table for that matter, most of the day. I own gym equipment and even have a gym membership, but guess what? I either don't use it or say, "I'll work out tomorrow". When I got the opportunity to review the DeskCycle, I jumped all over it. The unit comes in a box complete with the tools needed for assembly. The process took me under 20 minutes and was super simple. I didn't even have to ask my husband for help. 


What exactly is the DeskCycle and how does it work?

The DeskCycle is a simple piece of exercise equipment like a stationary bike without the handles, made especially for those who are pressed for time. Whether you can't always make it to the gym, weather conditions aren't the greatest for a walk/jog/run, or you're stuck at your desk working for hours a day, DeskCycle is made for YOU! I have been having some foot issues that have caused me a lot of pain and I can't even go 1/2 mile on the treadmill. I have been using the DeskCycle for over a week now and like how easy it is on my feet since I'm not actually standing. I feel so much better than I am moving when I am sitting. It actually helps me to stay a lot more focused since I am one of those who can't always stay on task.

You can adjust the resistance according to your own goals. It's definitely important to start off slowly and work your way to a more challenging resistance setting. I am liking how my legs are looking and feeling! I am in desperate need of toning and DeskCycle is helping me to get closer to that goal. There is a gauge that  tracks time and miles, but I honestly don't use it. I wear a fitness tracker that monitors my steps and calories burned, so I just use that.


My husband has been begging to let him take it down to his office. I told him to get his own! The DeskCycle is not limited to using while working. You can use it while you're sitting on the couch watching a movie.



So far I am noticing my legs, butt, and abs feel firmer. My energy is higher as well and my stress levels are lower. I normally get a bit turned off when people post about fitness online and say, "no excuses", but I have to say, it's the truth with the DeskCycle! I mean if you are sitting around, why not get a little exercise in at the same time? Even my son is enjoying it. It helps a lot with strengthening his legs to enable him to perform better in martial arts class.

Where can I buy one?

The DeskCycle is so easy to use and when you are pedaling, it's super quiet.  It is well made and super sturdy, so you can feel confident giving it your all. You can purchase your very own unit from Mini Pedalers for $159 or on Amazon  also for $159 with FREE shipping if you have a Prime account.

The DeskCycle makes a great gift for anyone on your list and I am very sure the recipient will love it! Learn more about DeskCycle here

Thank you DeskCycle for the complimentary sample and all opinions stated are 100% mine as always.
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Jul 18, 2017

$100 Summer Giveaway- PayPal Or Amazon

Hi, everyone! How is your Summer coming along? It seems to be passing very quickly for us. Before you know it, back-to-school time will be here. I've teamed up with a group of groovy bloggers to bring you the perfect Summer giveaway. One lucky person will win the choice of $100 Amazon GC or PayPal cash. I'm sure $100 can help with groceries, clothing or school supplies. The possibilities are endless! See details below about entering and good luck!  

How to enter: There are 10 Twitter accounts. Each account is worth one entry. Follow all 10 accounts for 10 entries into this giveaway. If you’re already a follower of an account, claim that entry! This giveaway starts July 19 at midnight EST and ends August 2 at 11:59 PM EST. Entrants must be USA residents and at least 18 years old. One winner will be randomly selected from all qualifying entries and contacted via the email they provide. The email will come from joannegreco at gmail. The winner has 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. The prize is $100 in Paypal or Amazon online gift card, winner’s choice.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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TYLT Energi Power Case: A Clean, Stylish Solution To Protecting And Charging Your Phone

TYLT is revolutionizing the way that people can keep their electronic devices charged.  Its products include everything from charging cases for cell phones to a universal portable wireless battery charger.  TYLT even makes a charging backpack so you can charge your phone while commuting or hiking.

Of course, the most convenient way to charge a phone is with the phone’s own charging case.  The right charging case can keep your phone charged for a whole day, no matter how many apps you open.  The Energi Sliding Power case from TYLT is a handsome, efficient phone charging case.  Here are some Energi Power case benefits:


Versatility

The Energi Power case can keep your phone charged for many hours, or it can just be a phone case.  It consists of an inner case that slides onto your phone, and also a charging power sleeve.  If you only want to protect your phone but not charge it, you can just use the inner case.  You can always connect it back to the charging component later.  Just using the inner case is a convenient option if you have to keep your phone in a tiny purse during a wedding.

Excellent Charging Capacity

The Energi Power case increases the amount of time your phone stays charged twofold. You can press a button on the case to see how much charge your phone has at any moment.  The same button will show you how much charge the Energi Power case has. You can charge your phone and the case at the same time.  When you plug the phone with its case into a power source, they will both charge.  You can even charge the phone and case with a wireless phone charger.


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Jul 16, 2017

July 17-23 Is National Hotdog Week

Todays' conversation is sponsored by Circle K and all thoughts are my own

I don't know about you, but one of the things that remind me of summer is the all-American hot dog! Hot dogs are the convenient hot food for people on the go. No need for utensils or even a table and chair. The hot dog is the most portable summertime food and it can be enjoyed in a variety of ways.


Starting July 17-23 (In Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina only), Circle K Southeast stores are celebrating National Hot dog Week by offering $1 hot dogs to their customers. As a matter of fact, all foods from their rollers will be $1 all week long as well. So while you are getting fueled up, you can step in and grab an icy cold beverage and a couple hot dogs to get that perfect bite of summer! National Hotdog Day is on July 19th. It would be fun to grab your family or friends and celebrate this delicious day for a low price.

Nothing pairs better than and ice cold fountain coke and a juicy hot dog! 

You can top a hot dog in so many ways. What will you put in yours? Cheese, chips, onions, salsa or chili? Grab your $1 dog while you can! If you do, be sure to use the tag #NationalHotDogDay across your social channels. Follow Circle K Southeast on Facebook and Instagram
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Jul 13, 2017

Garden Chat- Let's Talk About Summer Plants

Today I wanted to talk a little bit about plants and share some of the things I have learned over the years. First of all, you can have a full and colorful garden for a very low cost. We have been getting what I like to call "second hand plants" for years now. We have family members who share clippings, small plants, bulbs, and seeds with us and we trade with some of what we have existing in our garden. 

If you are looking for vibrant pops of color that are low maintenance, a lantana is the way to go. They come in quite a few colors and can grow in even the hottest and driest of conditions. We have more than a half dozen of these in various parts of our yard and they get so big that we have to cut them back a few times each season. The best part is they come back year after year. Lantanas also attract butterflies. We have some right off of our back patio near one of our bird feeding stations, and it is so pretty to watch the butterflies flutter around. 

Lantana
If you would like to attract hummingbirds, pentas are a great choice. Every evening we watch the hummers go to war so they can dominate this plant I got for Mother's Day. I keep it in a pot under a tree so it doesn't get too much sun although it claims it can take full sun. Nope. Not in the South Carolina sun! 

Penta
Something I learned about my delicate herbs and peppers is that the South Carolina heat will hinder growth. I actually brought some of my plants inside of my patio door in order to save them. When I noticed the leaves were yellowing, I figured the elements outside were just too harsh. Since doing that, all of my edibles have flourished. I take them outside periodically when we are having a rain shower. The plants tend to get an extra boost from the rain water. 

Hot pepper, broad leaf thyme, lavender, Rosemary, and spearmint
Another great trick I learned from my husband's uncle is to not throw away your potted flower plants at the end of their growing season. Instead, you can clip the old growth off and take it inside until the Winter frost is gone. Once you bring it back outside in the Spring, it will re-grow and you can enjoy your blooms again and again. The flower plant below cost us about $15 and it came back beautifully this year! I have it growing on the side of my home in a semi-shaded spot along a trellis, and it blooms all summer long. I get so many compliments about it and many ask of they can take it home.  


This year we decided to get some mosquito repelling plants since they are usually really bad every summer. We planted some marigolds in hanging baskets at the bottom of our back deck and have a few pots of citronella (mosquito plant) on the patio area. Let me tell you, those mosquito plants really work! We take a leaf or two and press it to release the oils and rub it on our exposed skin when we are hanging outside. The scent is very lemony and we really love it. I have yet to get a single mosquito bite when I do this. 

One of out larger plants broke from a storm we had a couple months ago and my husband took the broken part and put it into an old pot with dirt. I figured it would simply die, but it turns out that his experiment worked and the plant survived and grew in nicely. As a matter of fact, he has done this with a few other plants and trees and they are all growing. 

Citronella, also known as the mosquito plant
We will be bringing in all of our potted plants before the winter and keep them alive for next year. With all that we have done over the course of a few years, I anticipate we will not have to spend any money on plants or trees next year. 

What are you growing this year? 
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Sacramento And San Francisco: Nearer Than Expected

Get The Best Of California, And A Good Education Too!

California has many things to offer. To the north are vast redwoods. To the northwest are vast mountains. To the south is substantial desert, and to the southwest are the mega metropolises of Los Angeles and San Diego. Smack dab in the middle of California’s west coast is San Francisco, jewel of the bay area. Just north and east of that is Sacramento.

Sacramento is an interesting community in that it gets some of the year’s finest weather, but it also manages to avoid much of the overcrowding you see in places like San Francisco and Los Angeles. But it is not too far away from the city by the bay, and it’s also not too far from the ocean, or the redwoods to the north.


If you’re a young person with access to a vehicle, Sacramento is a great place to go to school in California; and not just because of its centralized location. There are also some exceptional higher education programs in the region, like the college located southwest of Sacramento at the outskirts, UC Davis.
 
UC Davis is just 72 miles away from San Francisco. With traffic, you’re looking at about a two-hour drive; but at least twenty minutes of that would be covered by your transit over the bay bridge. Another twenty minutes is consumed in going through east Oakland, though you could loop around through Santa Rosa to the north, if you like.
 
These things are all academic (pun-intended). The point of attending college isn’t your route to adjacent cities! But one of the fine things of college is having an independent base of operations from which you can explore. To that end, it’s better to live in an apartment than a dormitory.
 
Some Real Considerations
Granted, there’s a lot of camaraderie to be experienced in a dormitory, but really this method of living just serves to uncomfortably extend your adolescence. You’ll get a similar portion of experience living in apartments, but you’ll have increased responsibility and more quickly learn the atmosphere of independent living.
 
Until you reach a certain point in life, you’re very likely going to live in homes that you don’t own, but lease. Getting the feel for this atmosphere while in college will save you a lot of difficulty later. Oftentimes new things aren’t hard, but because they are unknown, we fear them and put them off. Sometimes it’s better just to jump in that cold water.
 
Additionally, owning an apartment will increase your credit, and make it easier for you to lease living situations in the future. And there are some excellent options available right near UC Davis.
 
Living Arrangements
According to CarmelApartments.com, some of the finest living situations are apartments near UC Davis campus; these apartments are, as the site puts it, “a newly renovated student housing community in Davis, CA conveniently located just minutes from downtown and UC Davis.”
Also according to CarmelApartments.com, west village solutions are “Now leasing for Fall, 2017!” The more swiftly you source a living situation, the better—obviously you’re not the only one who will be leasing from such a complex of apartments!

Generally when it comes to collegiate arrangements, you want to get everything squared away as soon as possible. But like alluded to earlier, the more foreign something is, the more likely you are to balk and procrastinate. It’s not that you can’t do it, or don’t have a work ethic; it’s that you just don’t want to. You’ll have to get over that!
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How To Find The Perfect New Or Used Vehicle

Today's conversation is sponsored and all opinions are mine.

Looking for a new or used car can often times be one of those dreaded tasks, but is a must for most of us. It’s even harder when you are doing it for the first time. Narrowing down what style, make, model, and specific features you are looking for is the first step. There is a ton of research involved to ensure you get the perfect vehicle to fit your needs. 


The nice thing about living in this time is that nifty thing we call the internet. You can hop on to Cars.com and browse any type of car/truck/SUV whether new or used, and find what is available right in your area. If you already have car you would like to use as a trade, you can use their online estimator to see what your car is valued at. It took me about 3 minutes to fill out the short form and the results were instant. 

I was looking at used SUVs in a 40 mile range from my location and was really impressed with how many dealers came up in my area. I was able to set the price that worked for my budget as well as the distance I was willing to travel if I was interested in that particular one. It's nice to be able to see the specifics of each vehicle to help make narrowing down my choices easier. 

Some vehicles have many photos to show interior, trunk, backseat, front/rear end, and more. If you get your choices down, you can plan your visits to visit the dealer lot or showroom for a closer look and test drive. It's like a search engine just for automobiles. You can even save your searches and read reviews from other customers. We will be purchasing a family vehicle in the Fall and will utilize Cars.com as a resource to point us in the right direction.

Whether you are looking for a standard car, minivan, truck, SUV, or even a swanky sports car, Cars.com is a great starting place. You can browse the huge selection on their website and make sure you stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.
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Jul 10, 2017

3 Internet Marketing Ideas for Tech Companies

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Have your marketing brainstorming sessions hit a dead end? Are your current strategies to market your technology falling short of set goals? Here you will find some unique marketing strategies and ideas that will help boost your online visibility and presence, attracting the right potential leads.

Why Should a Tech Company Market Itself?

No matter the niche, every organization needs marketing. Marketing is the fuel that drives more traffic to your organization’s website, staying at the front in your customers’ minds, creating new subscribers, leads and customers. Without an Internet marketing strategy, potential customers may not even know you exist, even as they look for products and services you offer.

With great marketing, a tech organization like yours will reach more potential customers, educate the leads on why they should take on your services and create long-lasting, mutually beneficial business relationships. Of course, the main challenge is finding out what online marketing ideas will take your tech organization to the next level.

1. Exchange Your Best Content for Email Addresses

If you do not want to offer your most valuable content to people free, you really do not have to. Instead, consider sending your content by selectively choosing emails or requiring email addresses first in exchange for the content. This strategy will prove valuable in the end.

For example, if your organization has a cloud application that integrates merchant credit services for small businesses, you can have a detailed guide to using the application. Restrict access to the guide until visitors to your website enter their name, company name, email address, or any other information you want. Many users  don’t like to enter a long list of information to get your  content, so  be selective in what you request.After entering the information, the visitor is automatically subscribed to your mailing list or you can channel them to a specific email campaign depending on their niche market.

2. On-Site Forms for Leads

However, you do not need to rely on a single contact form, email address or phone number to attract leads. You can use many alternate methods to convert potential subscribers or customers into leads. Pop-ups are great because they are attention grabbing; unfortunately, few Internet users like them.

If you are not a fan of pop-ups and do not want them on your website, consider adding a Contact Us box on virtually every page on your website. The contact box allows potential leads to have a method of contacting you whenever and wherever they are on your website.

3. Create and Publish Educational Content

If you have not started, this is the best time to start producing content for your website in the form of videos, guides, whitepapers, or posts. Whether you are providing software or hardware solutions, there is a lot to benefit from content that educates customers. The content you post or send to your customers should answer their questions and help them make smarter buying decisions.


Content should not be hyper-focused on your organization’s products and services, it should be relevant to your niche and, most importantly, what your leads are interested in. For example, if you produce networking hardware, you can provide content that will be most helpful to individuals looking for networking solutions. Some of the topics you could focus on include guiding on how to set up networks, blog posts on wireless network security, a video on how to install the equipment or a review of time-tracking software like Clockspot.


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Typically, the content should not push visitors into buying your product, but should help you to rank high in search engines and attracting more customers. In fact, 37 percent of marketers agree that blogs on business websites are most valuable in content marketing. This means that you should post your content on a regular basis for the campaign to be successful.

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Tips for maximizing space in the home

Do you ever feel like you do not utilize the space in your home properly, leaving a feeling of clutter and crowding? Here are some simple tips for maximizing space in the most common area in your home.


1. The Kitchen 
To maximize your work space in the kitchen, it's important to be imaginative and invest in clever, space-saving storage ideas. A great idea to save space is to invest in integrated appliances - appliances that fit seamlessly into cupboards, therefore saving space around the kitchen. Integrated appliances can be expensive to be and often require a full kitchen re-do, but you may be able to place your appliances into existing cupboards to save money and space. The thought of hanging your pans and utensils from hooks around the kitchen may strike you as being a tad old fashioned, but it's an excellent way to save space; pans take up a lot of cupboard space, so by hanging them up, you'll be able to save yourself an entire cupboard for additional storage.


2. The living room
A great way to save space in the living room is to do away completely with hefty TV stands and install your TV on the wall. Corner sofas are another great space saving techniques; they make use of corners that would otherwise be left bare and unused.

3. The bathroom
Saving space in the bathroom can be tricky; after all, there are a lot of essential items - such as baths, sinks, showers, and toilets - to fit in and finding additional space to use can be a challenge. Corner sinks and vanity units are an excellent idea to save space; they are specifically designed to sit in bathroom corners that would otherwise go on used and are a great space saving technique, you can take a look at some examples here. Rounded bathroom furniture is another good thing to invest in; unlike convention, rectangular shaped furniture, rounded furniture has softer edges, and is usually slightly smaller in size than other types of furniture. The softer edging helps to create the illusion of more space, and the rounded edging fits in better with smaller bathroom styles. Shower curtains are another clever storage area.


If you have a combination bath-and-shower (a great space saving solution in itself), a shower curtain is definitely better than a glass door; they're easier to move, and can be pushed back to create the illusion of space around the bath area. Glass doors are more fixed, and can look clunky and in the way. Shower curtains can now be bought with pockets in them, giving you handy storage space for items such as sponges and shower gels; you can use it to store bath items that would otherwise be kept in messy rows around the bath, thereby freeing-up space around the bath.


4. The bedroom
Considering all the things we have to find room for in our bedrooms, it's a good thing that there are some clever storage techniques out there. If you aren't fortunate enough to have a bed that comes complete with storage drawers, you can improvise by investing in a sliding shelf for under your bed to store bed linen and other items. Under-bed storage items are a great way to save space, and help you to utilize room that you already have in your room, but otherwise go unused. If you store items under your bed anyway, an under-bed storage unit can help to make your room look tidier by hiding items that may otherwise poke out from under the bed.

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