Thursday, November 29, 2018

Holiday Gift Guide - Part 6

Part 6 is here with some fun toys that teach kids about all kinds of animals! 

Our absolute favorite place to visit when my kids were little was the zoo. We lived near the Norfolk Zoo at the time and on days when it was too nice to be inside, we'd pack a picnic lunch and go see what was new at the zoo. Some of my most favorite memories with my kids were the those trips to the zoo. All of the animals were infinitely interesting to all of us and I always loved the chatter on the way home about all of the cool animals we saw. It's a tradition I hope to carry over to my granddaughter (on the way!) and any other future grandchildren I may have. So, to jump start those fun times, I started looking for fun animal related toys and books. I'm so glad I came across Safari, Ltd on Dealspotr!

Safari, Ltd makes the most detailed collectible toys I have ever seen. They are carefully crafted for the most perceptive eyes of all, a child's. These hand-painted toys are made with the utmost artistic precision. Each meticulously crafted figurine is thoroughly researched so no detail is missed. 

I must admit, I couldn't decide on just one for my grandaughter (on the way!) so I got a few...

Right now, you can get 10% off of their new 2019 collection! Just click here to check it out and don't forget to put the code STEPHSTEB in during checkout!

For more of my gift guide:
What are your favorite places to visit together?

Wednesday, November 28, 2018


This wall
we've built
has cracks and crevices


hope and
were nearly fatal blows

But, it's made of brick
as we
built it


This wall
tells the

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

How To Start Writing In Your Spare Time

When you’re someone that dreams of writing, that dream never dies. It stays with you. Even when you go off into your career, when you forget about all things creative, and when you go off into your adult life. It’s still there.

Because writing comes with so much passion. When you love to read and create and get lost in an imaginary world, it’s only natural that your mind will often come up with characters and ideas, plots and plot twists. So whether you were a budding author as a child, or you were someone that just wanted to write features and stories and snippets from your life, you will still have that feeling until you put pen to paper. Or, perhaps more aptly, fingers to keyboard.

So, you might be interested in writing in your spare time with the intention of turning this into a career. Or selling a story. Or an article. But how do you do it? And how should you start? Well, let's find out.

Just Start

First, you just need to get started. Right now! When you’ve finished reading this post, open up your word processor or your Google Doc and just get writing. Getting started is often the hardest part, so if you just do it, you’ve beaten that hurdle.

Set Aside The Time

But at the same time, you need to make sure that you’re actually doing it. Don’t just get started, write once, and then stop. You need to find time to write by making time for it. So schedule it in. Whether it’s an hour in the morning, on your lunch break, or in the evening, slot it in. Because when it’s in the diary and the time is set aside for it, you will write.

Get Into A Routine

You then will want to make sure that you’re being consistent with it. So get into a routine of writing an hour a day or whatever you can commit. Because the more of a routine you get into with your writing, the easier it will be to build up a momentum.

Take It Seriously

But then there may also come a time where you feel ready to take this whole writing thing seriously. Maybe you want to look at online jobs from home where you can write to make money and then write in your spare time creatively too. Or maybe you want to think about getting a pitch together for a book proposal? No matter what you want to achieve, you will start to realize that there is a point where things get a little bit more serious for you.

Do Something Big

Finally, you may even want to make more of a move than that. You might want to do something big and exciting and different. Maybe starting a blog and publishing some of your ideas there could be perfect for you? Or maybe you would love to write your own book and self-publish it? Just make sure that you have some kind of goal that you’re working to, that something big you’re chasing that can help to keep you on track.

What are you waiting for?

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Holiday Gift Guide - Part 5

I've got you covered on useful gifts for lots of your family and friends today!

It's the holiday season so there are going to be lots of travelers on the road. If you're a dog owner, that usually means your pupper is going with you. To keep them safe in the busy traffic, I found a pet safety harness that works as a seatbelt in the car! It's adjustable and fits any seatbelt buckle. I got one for my son and daughter in law's sweet Ramone.  

Picking any kind of gifts out for my husband is always so hard. I never know if he'll want something useful or something fun. I tend to end up buying him useful things, and this year isn't any different. He just got a new truck that he is restoring so I looked in the auto section and found him these collapsible silicone funnels! Of course, I still have more shopping to do for him, but this is a pretty awesome start! 

For my little cousin, I decided to pick up a humidifier. He gets so sick over the winter season and has already gone through a few so this year he's getting a brand new one! This one comes with a night light and auto shut off, too! 

Lastly, I found two super cute sets of cards to send to friends far and away!


Have you found any great gifts? Tell me about it in the comments!
Don't forget to check out the rest of my holiday gift guide!

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Holiday Gift Guide - Part 4 - Security Camera

It's another useful gift today, and it's a great one! The Trivision Cloud Cam Indoor Security Camera

I am a soon-to-be first time grandma so I have been looking into all kinds of new and exciting stuff they have out there for little ones. Back when I had my babies, the only baby monitors available were the kind that you could only listen through a somewhat walkie-talkie type contraption. These days they have EVERYTHING for kids! It's amazing to me. Even the sonogram technology is incredible. In mine, you could maaayyybee make out a vague shape of a baby, but with the new technology, you can make out the baby's face and everything! I cried the first time I saw my sweet little grandbaby girl's face. I could only dream of that technology 22 years ago!

Baby monitors now have become so advanced, I can barely believe it. In my wanderings on my favorite place to shop, Amazon, I found an indoor security camera that works as a baby monitor, pet monitor, basically anything in your home that you would like to monitor! 

The Trivision Cloud Camera works through your PC or an app for your android or Iphone. It has a 120° wide angle lens with an advanced motion sensor so you can detect motion around corners and blind spots. You are instantly notified through your app if any motion is detected with instant playback video and audio. With the audio capabilities, you can even speak to the baby through the camera! It backs up to the cloud so you don't lose important footage, or you can choose a microSD memory card for local backup!

I'm pretty excited about this one! I'm almost tempted to keep it for myself for when the baby visits, but it's going to my son and lovely daughter-in-law. I hope they love it!

Do you use an indoor security camera for your pets or as a baby monitor? What do you think about this awesome advance in technology?

Don't forget to check out the rest of the gift guide: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Home Financing Is Easier To Achieve Than You Think

It's easier to finance a home than you think it is. I know, I know. You've heard a billion horror stories from the news, friends, family, your cousin's girlfriend's uncle twice removed. And, you think it's going to be so difficult.

It's not.

We took a hit in 2008, all of us. That alone terrified me and put me off home ownership for many years. Of course, there's also the fact that my husband was in the Navy so we did move around a bit before we settled here. I just truly thought this was a dream that we wanted but would never achieve.
As I always do, I started looking around on the internet to find the answers to my questions. Just reading and browsing around reading about the housing market and how to get a real estate license. I was thinking of taking real estate classes for awhile, but fell into my dream job, writing (and getting paid real money for it!).  I came across bad credit loans in Tampa, which are credit loans for people with bad credit.

To the Google!

I had no idea that you could get a loan if you had bad credit? I mean, isn't bad credit one of the major reasons WHY you are denied a loan? Isn't that how we got into that mess in 2008 to begin with?

So, I read more....

In Tampa, Associates Home Loan is fully aware of your anxiety over these unconventional loans. I spent a lot of time on their website reading about bad credit loans and how all of that works. I wasn't interested in living in Tampa (I'm sure it's lovely), so I started to look into places closer to where I wanted to be and found quite a few!

The credit company I went through is a little different than that one, but it worked out really well for us. We can work on getting our credit together and in a few years refinance through our bank (VA loans, FTW! To learn more about VA loans, you can read this great guide The mortgage payment is 1/3 of what we were spending on rent and we've been able to stay on top of everything financially so much easier! I was incredibly skeptical at first, but we've been happily in our very home since July of 2018 and I have no complaints at all with the whole process. I don't miss renting at all, getting to buy all new stuff for your very own home is such an awesome feeling! 

I'm really glad I decided to look into it. It's not something I would have considered before but once I learned everything about it and my financial advisor approved, I was ready! We jumped in with two feet and landed perfectly.

Have you bought a home? What was your experience? Do you have any stories to share about your home finance adventure? Tell me in the comments, below!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Tips For Traveling and Vaping During The Holidays

Today, I'm bringing you a guest post from my vapefam friend, Jessica! She's got some tips for traveling and vaping!

Hi, I'm Jessica! I’m a vape blogger & art student. I love exploring untapped destinations by traveling around the world. In addition to managing my full day job, I’m also passionate about helping the society. You can visit my blog by clicking here: LongHorn Vapor

Can you name three ways to spend your holidays in full bloom? I bet you can!

Most of you would prefer taking your family out on a vacation and others would prefer sitting at home becoming a couch potato.

What we’ve got is something very unorthodox and can be paired up with traveling.
It’s a bird…it’s a plane…it’s a vape falling from the sky.
Chances are that someone didn’t comply with the rules and regulations regarding vaping on a plane. The lesson here is, whenever you’re carrying your precious bad boy while traveling, there are couple of things you have to get yourself familiar with.
Let’s talk about those things to let them resonate in your mind.
Doughnut Mess With A Cop!
(See what I did there?)

It’s not going to be very pleasant if you are traveling somewhere and not following the law. Each country has its own law and order; hence, you need to be thorough with your research regarding what to carry on plane prior to your flight. Don’t let anything so thin ruin your best vacation.
Have Complete Knowledge About Your Vape

While it is true that vape devices are considered legal when traveling to most countries, chances are that authorities are still going to ask you questions regarding the device. The reason is lack of knowledge about this trendy device among the staff members. Therefore, you should be absolutely prepared to handle those bullets coming your way very smoothly. You can get the light weight and cost effective vape devices and e liquid from the LongHorn online store.

C:\Users\Wasim Tahir\Desktop\vape tips.jpg

Don’t Vape On The Plane
While vaping is considered a much safer and a healthier alternative to smoking, reported by NHS, it is no shocker that you cannot vape on plane. According to The Sun, Easy Jet, Ryanair and British Airways are some of the big names that have banned Vaping on plane. However, you can always carry your device along with you either in your kit or in your handbag. Moreover, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has prohibited carrying such devices in the checked in bags. Though, you can definitely carry these in the carry-on bags.

What’s The Best Way To Pack Your Vape?
‘Cleanliness is the best policy’ for a reason as it saves you from all kinds of hassles that can ruin your trip. If your device isn’t properly cleaned inside out, it can rub itself on other stuff as well. So, after cleaning all the parts of your device, put each component separately in a transparent plastic bag so you can keep an eye. It is very important to be careful about packing and tidiness of your device because while travelling there is always a risk of leakage. And usually the expired e liquids can contaminate your whole travelling kit. Carry fresh or unexpired e liquids and make sure they are sealed in plastic or metal bottles.

Don’t Forget Your Batteries!

Omitting your batteries from your kit can be the biggest mistake of your trip. From packing your gear to explaining to the staff members what vaping is, all of your effort can end in vain. And not to forget, if you don’t have charged batteries, you won’t be able to vape as much you would want to.
Secondly, keep your batteries far away from your vaporizer. If they are connected, you can probably get your battery drained out or damage the device.

Good Manners Wins!

Don’t just go out there blowing vapor on the faces of people. Of course, you can vape in public but make sure you are doing it someplace less crowded. If you are conscious about carrying a larger device like Mi One Starter Kit, consider using sleek and stylish Innokin Endura T18 Starter Kit.

By following these quick tips, you can expect never-ending vape sessions leading to a stupendous trip!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Holiday Gift Guide - Part 3 - Sudara Fashion

I have a wonderful gift to share with you today! Not only is it a wonderful gift, you can feel good about buying it!

Sudara creates jobs for women in India who are at the highest risk or survivors of human trafficking. They pay living wages and provide access to counseling, medical care and resources that empower women to create their own self-sustaining future. Every pair of these Sudara Punjammies are made through living-wage employment by women in India who are at the highest risk or survivors of sex trafficking. Every purchase is an investment in Sudara’s freedom-filled work and empowers women who are working to forge a new life for themselves and their children! Sudara offers beautiful and comfortable clothing with a freedom-filled purpose. Their women’s pajama pants, loungewear and robes are ethically-made in India through living-wage employment programs. Every purchase is helping empower women in India with the resources and skills they need to create a better life for themselves and their family.

They are the absolutely most comfortable jammie pants I have ever had. I ordered a size too big (I love being able to say the clothes I bought were too BIG) but I'm definitely going to grab another pair I saw on the site!

Who doesn't love jammie pants? Who wouldn't love to get jammie pants for a holiday gift?

Everything is 10% off right now, too! So, not only can you give the best holiday gift ever, you can help save someone from human trafficking!

The author seen here in her usual uniform.

Have you started your holiday shopping yet

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Holiday Gift Guide - Part 2 - Shop Til You Drop!

It's fun ones today! 

I found the cutest little online boutique store! It's brand new, only a little over a year old so they don't have a super large inventory, yet. However, the inventory they do have is lovely! 

First, I found the prettiest necklace for my mom

My daughter loves the infinity symbol stuff, so this bracelet is perfect for her!

Then, I found this necklace that my step-sister is going to absolutely love!

They have quite a bit of jewelry to choose from, plus baby clothes and accessories coming soon. My very first grandchild is expected to come in April so I'm definitely going to keep checking back for those baby clothes. I can't wait to see what new pretties they come up with next!

I have a friend who absolutely loves all things hair so when I went searching for her, I decided to see if I could find any deals over on my favorite site, Dealspotr! And you know I got an awesome code for you, too!

A few months ago, I bought a hair mask by KC Professional and really loved it. When I saw that they had deals, I knew immediately that I had to get her this Four Reasons Repair Mist. It contains B5 so it strengthens colored hair while plant extracts restore and rejuvenate it and leave radiant shine. It smells like green apples, too! If you head on over to Dealspotr, just put the code STEPHSTEB in at checkout for 15% off anything on the site!

And that my friends is part 2 of my holiday guide! I'll be having lots more before the holidays get here so check back for more!

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Holiday Gift Guide Part 1 - Trivets!

The holidays are coming! Are you excited? I know I am. It is the first holiday season we'll be spending in our very first house and as I have mentioned before, I have to buy all new stuff! I'm truly sad about it, truly.

Since I have a lot of things I will be buying because ALL of my family will be visiting, I thought I might share with you just in case you were having trouble deciding what to get your family and friends this holiday season. 

I do this for you

I don't know how many of you out there enjoy getting useful gifts, but I know I sure do. Any gift I get that keeps me from spending money is automatically my favorite gift ever! So, these will probably be more useful gifts, but I hope to throw some fun gifts in there as well. 

The very first gift I have to share with you today is this gorgeous set of trivets (otherwise known as hot pads) I found!

I loved the look of these and the price, $8.99 for a set of two! I got mine in a few days ago and love them so far! They have held up under my famous (ok, famous for my family) spaghetti sauce in the giant pot, casseroles, stews, and soups. I am very happy with my purchase and that's why it is number one on my holiday gift guide this year!

I hope to see you back for my next gift guide installment! In the meantime, tell me which family member you always have trouble finding a gift for in the comments below and maybe I can find a good gift for them! Happy holidays!