Living the Dream

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How to hold a successful yard sale July 30, 2008

Filed under: Archives,How to... — mammyflop @ 11:55 pm
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“One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure”

aka a perfect time for a yard sale.

We have all heard of this proverb but rarely believe it. How could anyone else want my old shower curtain, or my old art supplies… You would be surprised. If you find yourself swimming in a house full of ”trash”, and want to do a nice purging of the living space a yard sale or garage sale is the way to go.

Although you won’t be able to go into retirement from your yard sale funds, it’s always nice to have a little extra spending / redecorating cash. Yard sales are a great way to motivate yourself to sort through those boxes and clean house. Don’t be too generous to the trash can when cleaning, you would be amazed at some of the things people want to buy… Think about it, you wanted that ”trash” at one point in time.

So next time you find yourself frustrated with the lack of space or annoyed because your house is full of junk, get everyone together to have a yard sale. This world is divided into those who like yard sales and those who think it’s a waste of time. My belief is that if you are going to get rid of the stuff, might as well make an event out of it. Who knows how much spending cash you can make in one morning!

Materials you need:

– Price Stickers

-Tape

-Change – coins and cash

-Calculator

-Mirror ( if you have clothing)

-Music

-Pen / Paper

-Poster Board / Boxes / Cardboard

– Tables

– Plastic Bags

– Lots of stuff to sell!

1- Before you can even get started with planning the ultimate yard sale – make sure you have enough stuff. Go through all your stuff and see what items are able to be resold. General rule of thumb is that even if you have used it – if it’s in good condition, and has some life left in it — you can sell it. *Make sure that your item is functional – last thing you want to do is sell a broken item *

2- Organize your items by category /price. For example, put all your books together and price them accordingly… Organization is key to a great yard sale!

3- Price your items individually. With the exclusion of grouped items ( books, pens/ pencils, old CDs, DVDs) make sure you price each item separately. Try to put a sticker on each item rather than grouping items and then having a price chart. Individual pricing makes is a lot easier to calculate your items, and less likely that people will try to trick you with the wrong pricing. As far as books and grouped items go, put them all in a box / container according to value – and label the box.

4- Pick a date. Make sure you avoid holiday weekends because a lot of people will already have previous plans, and miss your fabulous yard sale! Figure out what day you want to have it and also what time you want to start. Yard sales usually do better if you start early.. this is speaking from personal experience. *Not to mention, starting earlier means you can get out of the blazing heat faster* If you don’t want early birds, make sure you write that on your sign.. otherwise you may find people peering in while you are still setting up.

5- Know your demographic. When having a yard sale it’s important to know your ”client”…just like any other business. Knowing your client is important so you can have a good idea of what kind of items will sell, and for what price.

6- Check with your city, local government and / or homeowner’s association to see if there are any sign posting guidelines. Depending on your area, you may have to obtain a permit before opening up shop.

7- Start advertising! Make sure you give yourself enough time to put an ad in the local newspaper. Try posting an ad onto online communities and other classified websites. Good websites to post on are www.craigslist.org or www.pennysaverusa.com.

8-Time to make your signs! Don’t underestimate the power of the street signs. I am always surprised by the number of people who stumble upon my yard sales as a result of my bright, eye-catching signs. Signs are a great way to catch those yard sale shoppers. When making the signs try to use large, bold lettering and make sure you put an arrow in the right direction. Don’t put too much writing on the signs- you don’t want to cause any accidents from people trying to read the tiny writing. Write down the necessary info: YARD SALE, location, date, time. If you have the luxury to post the signs up a day or two early — do it! Just make sure you have the date on the sign. At the latest- try to post the signs up early, early morning on the day of your sale. Again, the longer your sign is up – the more people will see it. After posting your sign – drive by the signs to make sure they are visible. *If you don’t have the time / artistic skill to make bright, bold posters- generate an online poster. There are various websites with Yard Sale Sign generators and here are some: www.garagesalesource.com and yardsalesearch.com.

*A great sign making tip from the “YARDSALEQUEEN” at www.yardsalequeen.com is to use paper bags as signs. This is such a great idea! Get a hold of paper grocery bags- write your information on the blank side ( or post your poster onto the bag) – add rocks to the bottom – staple bag shut and you instantly have a great sign!! SUCH A GREAT IDEA ( easier clean up too!)

9- Day of your sale – make sure you stock up on plastic bags. Having plastic bags to put your sold items in will make the shopping experience that much more pleasant for the customer.

10- Get lots of change. Depending on how you price your items, you will need to have lots of change and small bills. When I had my last garage sale – I made sure I stocked up on a lot of quarters and coins, since I had a lot of smaller items.

11- Set up your sale in an orderly manner. An organized selling area will result in your customers wanting to take a closer look. It’s just like shopping at a sale in a department store, it’s so much easier to shop when it’s organized. Try to put your ”hot” items up in front – so people driving by can spot them. I put a lot of my larger, new items up in front so people can see the large showcase of items at my sale.

12- Be kind and greet all your customers. Time to release the inner salesperson. Make sure you explain the pros of the item your customer is interested in. If they try to haggle the price with you – use your own discretion. If you think another customer will pay the marked price- say no. If you don’t think there will be another buyer, take their offer.

13- I usually start slashing prices an hour before closing time. You will find that many pro- yard sale shoppers will come towards the end of the sale — and they are looking for the real deals. Try to package items up and sell them at discounted rates.

14- If you have a lot of items left over at the conclusion of your sale- you have a couple of options. Save the items you think have value, and bring them out for your next sale. Donate larger items to a charity of your choice (they will usually come pick up the items). Or, you can post an ad for free items and just get rid of everything.

15- Make sure you clean up after yourself- Take down signs.

Having a yard sale can be a therapeutic experience.. you get to cleanse your home, while making a little extra money. Although moments of the yard sale can be stressful, it’s a great way to recycle usable products to those who want a great deal!

There are so many factors that go into yard sales. I have found the following link to be extremely helpful in my planning / executing of yard sales. For more information on yard sales please visit the Queen, at www.yardsalequeen.com. She has some great do’s and dont’s, along with great links!

Good luck!

THANK YOU FOR YOUR COMMENT!  — YES, a free box does wonders! All the little items do extremely well with a free box. Concessions are great too… especially with the hot, summer days – cold drinks do great.  T

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How to be prepared for an Earthquake (Earthquake Survival Kit) July 29, 2008

Filed under: Archives,How to... — mammyflop @ 5:56 pm
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If you live in Southern California, you probably felt the earthquake this morning. Even though you learn to DROP, COVER and HOLD ON, when the walls start to rattle and the floor starts to roll –those 3 steps go out the window. If this morning’s earthquake had been a drill I would have failed. I did not drop, I did not cover, and I did NOT hold on. Instead, I looked around, screamed and started running down the stairs and outside. After the earthquake had calmed down, I realized that I need to brush up on my earthquake readiness plan and kit.

Although there isn’t a sure way of detecting an earthquake pre- rumble, you can be prepared for mother nature’s roar. By following the below steps, you and your loved ones will prepared and alert when the quake hits.

1 – Make sure everyone is on the same page. Pick an retreat location in each room. Although running to a doorway / door frame is a popular spot, the safest spot is to hide under a sturdy table.

2-After the shaking, retreat outside and make sure you have everyone. Watching the news coverage regarding this morning’s earthquake said that land lines have a better chance of working than your cell phone. So, if you need to make a phone call try to use a land line, or send a text message. Text messages use less bandwidth than phone calls so you are more likely to get a hold of the person. Try not to make phone calls unless they are an emergency!

3- Locate your emergency earthquake kit. This should have the essential items to aide in your survival – should you experience a bad shake.

Emergency Earthquake Kit:

– Flashlight ( Battery operated )

– Radio (Battery operated)

-Extra batteries

– Water – lots of water

-First Aid Kit

-Blankets

-Canned Food ( and can opener)

4- After the quake and the coast is clear, do a quick walk around the house to make sure there isn’t structural damage and / or gas leaks. Fires are easily started after earthquakes so make sure you don’t smell any gas leaking… If you do, turn off the gas.

Hopefully every one will be okay and there won’t be any major damages. If you do experience an earthquake don’t put the emergency kit away because you never know when an aftershock may hit. Hope you will be well prepared but won’t have to use your earthquake kit! If you have any other earthquake or natural disaster readiness tips, please feel free to comment!

 

How to find happiness within your everyday life

Filed under: Archives,How to...,life — mammyflop @ 11:01 am
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I feel a bit hypocritical writing a blog on how to find happiness within your life, because often times I fail to do this myself. However, it’s important for us (myself included) to see the beauty in each experience and find that moment of happiness. I think it’s important for people to realize that trials and tribulations are a part of life and with out such obstacles we can’t say we are truly living life.

Ever notice that when you are having a bad day, it seems as if life has the odds stacked against you? We are so quick to calculate and assess the negative but rarely the positive. Why is that? I guess it depends on the person – glass half empty or glass half full? But overall, I think it’s easier to dwell on the things that don’t go as planned because you can always say ”I tried” and move on. Perhaps that nonchalant attitude of ”oh well” is getting you into a funk. Maybe it’s time for start focusing on the action, effort and not so much the outcome. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to attain goals and reach for the stars, but it’s also important to learn from the process. Speaking from personal experience, I know that I seek validation and satisfaction from the end result of my venture, and fail to see the doors I have opened along the way. When you open those doors, you may be surprised with what you find!

For example, let’s say you are trying to find a new job. You spend countless hours online, visiting job websites, temp agencies, asking for personal referrals, and so on. You find yourself dreaming about your resume revisions. Finally, you set up an interview with a company who is offering a not so ”ideal” position. Out of desperation and some form of change you go to the interview. After the interview you convince yourself that ”this isn’t really the job I’m looking for but I guess I’ll just take it”… Only to find out that you did not get the position. HOW DISCOURAGING!!!! Right? Most people, myself included would feel somewhat rejected, “I couldn’t even land a job that I didn’t really want” or twist it around to thinking ”Whatever, I didn’t want that job anyways”… both trains of thought being less than positive. Yes, at the end of the day you need to get a job … but maybe you need to look at each step along the way. Look at it this way, you were able to familiarize yourself with the job market, you cleaned up your resume and now you have interview experience. Not getting the job allows you to find the job of your dreams! So, when you are feeling down about your situation, try to dissect it a bit more and look at each individual step.

I’m sure this sounds impossible for many people. I know I fail to look at the process over the outcome. However, when you are in a moment of depression, dismay, or plain old frustration, this method of analysis really helps. So we can’t all be living fairy tale lives, but at least we are living a life separate from anyone else. You are in control of your life and you are the only person who can control your emotions. Maybe it’s time to put the Kleenex away because you lost a job, or you broke up with your significant other. Don’t let those outside factors dictate your life. Yes, obstacles suck and we would rather live problem free, but that isn’t something we can control. However, we can control how we think and how we want to live our lives.

In order to find happiness within your life it’s important to focus on the facts. Your life is being acted out by you and only you. It is up to you to deal with the ups and downs of your life. There isn’t a manual, and there isn’t an option for ”fairytale ending” but there is a chance for you to be happy. When the big picture doesn’t pan out as planned, look at the small picture. What did you learn, what can you change and do differently? As long as you are being proactive in your life, you have a chance of finding your true happiness. Like other good things, sometimes happiness require effort. You win some and you lose some, but as long as you keep getting up when you’re down – you have a shot.

Action may not always bring happiness;
but there is no happiness without action
.
Benjamin Disraeli

So today and everyday, try to see the beauty in your life. Figure out what made your day so different and special. And always remember, change is constant in life. Going through the ups and downs, the cycle keeps us alive.

 

Recipe:Summer Fruit with Wine and Mint

Filed under: Archives,recipe — mammyflop @ 10:18 am
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Summer Fruit with Wine and Mint

I got this recipe from http://www.foodnetwork.com, and it’s a great summer recipe for a refreshing fruit salad. You can add some more fruit and/ or change the fruit in this fruit salad for some variation. Enjoy!

Recipe Courtesy of (www.foodnetwork.com) :

1 1/4 cups dry white wine
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 ripe cantaloupe, halved, seeded, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
1 basket (8-ounce) fresh strawberries, quartered
1 cup seedless green grapes, halved lengthwise
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves

Bring the wine and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.Chop and combine the cantaloupe, strawberries, grapes, and mint in a large bowl. Pour the warm wine mixture over; toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until cold, stirring occasionally, at least 2 hours.

Transfer to the fruit mixture to a wide jar with a tight-fitting lid. Keep chilled.

(Direct Link: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,1977,FOOD_9936_27266_,00.html)

Recently took this to a picnic and it was a great hit!! The mint really makes this a perfect summer treat!

 

Top Ten Fast Food Mexican Food Restaurants in San Diego July 28, 2008

San Diego is home to some of the best “fast” Mexican food on this side of the border. Or at least that is our opinion. While attending college in San Diego we visited Mexican food joints at all hours of the day. Although some of these places are far from five star, they are as ”authentic” as Mexican food in California gets! **The below restaurants are not for the calorie conscious.. You have been warned!! **

(All of these restaurants have their own appeal – so they are not in any particular order.. try them all! )

1. SOMBREROS – With over 15 locations in San Diego, Sombreros is the king of late night food runs. Although I don’t eat meat, the CALIFORNIA burrito (carne asada, french fries, cheese, salsa) is a San Diego favorite. This place has some of the best Hot Carrots in San Diego!!! Most of the locations are open until late, and some of them are open 24 hours (Mission Gorge, El Cajon, Lakeside). (www.sombreromex.com)

2. ROBERTOS – This is another college student favorite. Friends would rave about the CARNE ASADA FRIES from Robertos. They have a pretty good Veggie Burrito too. This is another Mexican food chain that has multiple locations throughout San Diego – my favorite location is in Del Mar, where you can see the ocean! (www.robertos.us)

3. RAMIROS- Now don’t let the look of this restaurant fool you. Although Ramiros lacks a proper dining room, and / or restaurant setting, they have amazing breakfast burritos. My personal favorite is the breakfast burrito with potato, egg, and cheese..served all day!! This 24 hour drive thru Pacific Beach favorite is a very popular late night, post-partying dining option. Located a block away from the ocean, this is another place where you can just stop by, pick up some great food and relax on the beach.

4. SANTANAS- Another great option with multiple locations!! The great thing about Santanas is that all locations are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So there is no second guessing on whether or not you are going to get great Mexican food. The only second guessing is going to be on what to order. This menu has a wide variety of options with great custom burritos! You’ll never get bored with the food here. (www.santanas.com)

5. BAHIA DON BRAVO- Although there are a few locations for this restaurant, my favorite location is in Bird Rock, La Jolla. Talk about the perfect afternoon in San Diego. Bahia Don Bravo has an actual dining room, but that’s not the best part. If you are able to score a seat on the patio- it’s the best. On a good day, you can get a clear view of the beautiful ocean. This place is a bit nicer than the other joints on the list. My absolute favorite here is the potato burrito, and the potato taco. San Diego is famous for the California Burrito but the Potato Burrito here is to die for. Another recommendation would be Burrito Especial with your choice of meat. 5504 La Jolla Blvd <- My favorite location 🙂

6. EL COTIXAN – Gennesse Location- Every UC San Diego student has been here on a late night food run. This place is always packed because of the great food. For some reason, the Gennesse location seems to have the best ”cook” and taste. Don’t be fooled by the appearance and location. Nestled right next to a gas station, this is an unlikely dining haven. Open 24 hours, they have monster burritos and the San Diego favorite Carne Asada Fries. These fries are topped with carne asada, cheese, guacamole, and sour cream. Who knows if this is brain food, but it sure hits the spot for numerous students, and those with late night cravings. My personal favorite is the Burrito Supreme – add potatoes or rice. Although they don’t have a salsa bar, they have a great red hot sauce.

7. LOS PANCHOS- Another San Diego staple, Los Panchos has been a San Diego favorite for years. With multiple locations, you can alway dive into a great Pollo Asada Burrito or Rolled Tacos. Their hot carrots are decent, and their salsa is pretty good. Los Panchos is one of those places where you can find what you are looking for.

8 EL INDIO MEXICAN RESTAURANT – Located right off the 5 freeway before you enter Downtown San Diego- El Indio has been a San Diego favorite for years! They were just featured on the Food Network TV show “Diners, Drive-Ins, Dives” with Guy Fieri…so you know they mean business! This restaurant is a bit different from the rest on the list because this isn’t a little drive thru joint. El Indio is believed to be the birthplace of the ”taquito”. This may sound crazy because I know they have a large menu but they have an awesome bean and cheese burrito!!! Make sure you check out the San Diego burrito and the little taquito! (www.el-indio.com)

9. COTIJAS- Located in the friendly neighborhood of Rancho Penasquitos this taco shop gives the big name chains a run for their money. Although they are not open 24 hours, they have a drive thru and great deals! My absolute favorite is the veggie burrito. They have large portions, and great salsa. Another popular item on this menu is the fish taco. Unlike the tiny fish tacos you get at ”fast food’ restaurants, these will really fill you up. A good choice if you are ever driving on the 56 or the 15 freeway!

10. TACOS EL GORDO – Last but not least, this Chula Vista staple is as authentic as it gets. Tacos El Gordo has a store in Tijuana so you know this is no joke. I’ve heard that the tacos are just like the street tacos in Mexico. Some items to try are the Asada Tacos -( guacamole, grilled chilies, green onions on the side). Complete with a squeeze of lime and salsa. A Tacos El Gordo FAVORITE is the Adobada Tacos (although I have never had one, all my friends won’t stop telling me how great they are). These tacos come with marinated pork, cilantro, onions, salsa, and a special creamy avocado sauce. Sounds pretty authentic to me.

I guess it’s pretty safe to say that San Diego has some great Mexican Taco Shops- so next time you are in town make sure you stop by. If you are in the mood for a sit down restaurant, make sure you check out the Old Town area of San Diego. Coyote Cafe and Old Town Mexican Cafe are great San Diego favorites.

Buen Apetito!

 

Have you tried it? Rembrandt 2 Hour Whitening Kit


Do you need to get your pearly whites ready for a close up? Or maybe you want to get whiter teeth-fast!! This may be the product…

REMBRANDT 2 HOUR WHITENING KIT

For those of us who don’t have the time or the luxury of getting our teeth professionally whitened on a regular basis, this is a great alternative product. Most of us interested in whiter teeth have probably taken a chance with the whitening strips. Although the whitening strips do the job- slowly- sometimes we just need something with a bit more strength – without having to sit in a dentist’s chair for hours.

Rembrandt 2 Hour Whitening Kit has been my solution for quick, effective teeth whitening. The kit comes with 2 trays which you custom fit, and 8 capsules (total of 4 whitening sessions). Here’s a quick tutorial on how to use the kit:

1- Fit the trays to your teeth. Simply put the trays in hot water — this will make the trays soft and easier to mold onto your teeth. Fit one mold at a time. Take a hot tray and place on your upper teeth – press down the mold to fit the shape of your teeth. Leave for about 30 seconds. Remove. Same thing for your lower teeth.

2-Once the trays are molded it’s time to start whitening! Open one capsule and place the gel onto the mold. Open a second capsule and place gel onto the other mold.

3- Place the trays onto your teeth and leave on for 20 min.

4- After 20 minutes, take out the trays and brush your teeth regularly!

Who knew that it only takes 4 steps for bright, white teeth! The kit suggests you take 10 minute breaks between each session, 20 minutes on, 10 minutes off, 20 minutes on – for a total of 2 hours.

The Rembrandt 2 Hour Whitening Kit retails for around $20.00 which may seem a little pricey for only 4 sessions. However, the proof is in the whitening. After 4 sessions you will see visibly whiter teeth. I’ve noticed that you can use 1 capsule for both trays which gives you 4 extra sessions!!

Now that I’ve mentioned the pros- quick, effective whitening, it’s time for the cons. If you have sensitive teeth don’t expect to get through all 4 sessions in a 2 hour time frame. The gel can get onto your gums, which can be somewhat uncomfortable. My personal experience has been that I can get all 4 sessions into one day, but not 2 hours. My sensitive teeth and gums start to burn if I put in consecutive sessions. But don’t worry- you can still get whiter teeth in a matter of one day! The other con is that the trays aren’t as inconspicuous as the whitening strips. Speaking will be difficult while you are whitening your teeth, and those around you will notice the trays in your mouth.

Overall, if you are in a teeth whitening crisis and need a quick fix, Rembrandt 2 Hour Whitening Kit is the way to go. With only one session, you will most likely see a visible change in your teeth. However, if you have sensitive teeth make sure you space out your whitening sessions. This whitening habit can get a bit pricey, and painful for people with sensitive teeth, so when you aren’t in need of an instant smile make over I suggest using the whitening strips.

Now you don’t have to spend hours sitting in a dentist’s chair to get those pearly whites ready for the camera. All it takes is a few 20 minute sessions!!

 

Waking up … We are back and ready to blog!! July 27, 2008

Filed under: Archives — mammyflop @ 10:06 pm

Hello Everyone! 

I know it’s been a while– a good six months at that- but we are back from our hiatus. 

Thank you for your ongoing support and all the nice comments! 

We have some great blogs coming this way- and hope to keep you informed and entertained.

 

Here’s a little bit of a personal update on Mammy and Mammie.

Mammy has finished up her Masters program, and currently traveling the exotic lands of South America. So, be ready for some great travel blogs!!  Mammie has been relocating a lot- moving from Southern California to Sin City (Las Vegas) back to Southern California. She is currently working on a new business venture with her online retail store. More information on the store to come in the following days! 

Both Mammies have experienced a great deal over the last couple of months and we hope that you will join us on this journey.  As always, please contact us with any topics you want us to cover! 

 

ENJOY!