Steps to Purchasing a New Car

Purchasing a new car

Disclaimer:  Sponsored Post

We are the proud parents of two teenage drivers!  Wait!  Should we be proud?  Of course, we should.  Our boys have prepared for this milestone in their lives, and they are ready to drive safely and responsibly.  Now that they have hit this milestone, the next journey involves purchasing a new car or cars in our case.  My husband and I have only had to purchase one car in our lifetime.  At the time we made this investment, we had to actually look in newspapers to find out the deals that various car companies were offering.  Then we had to go to the lot to negotiate and haggle our way to a price that we were comfortable with.

Buying a new car or even a used one can be a stressful and scary experience.  There are so many things that you have to consider before making such a big investment, that it can seem like a daunting task.  No one wants to buy something that is just going to be one big headache.

cars.com

In a world where you must have a dependable car, how can you know what to do to make sure your car buying experience goes smoothly.  Believe it or not, I think that the car buying experience is so much easier than before.  Why?  Technology!  Car buyers have a wealth of information available to them on the  Internet.  You can literally shop for the car of your dreams in the comfort of your home, and Cars.com makes this experience an easy one.

Cars.com

Here are our steps to purchasing a new or used car:

  1.  Research – Know what you are looking for.  Think about what your needs are?  Do you need an SUV or a compact car?  What features do you want it to have?  Check the car safety stats for the vehicle you want. Knowing these details ahead of time is necessary.  Cars.com offers car buyers everything they need to do this research.  From finding out which cars have the worst and best MPG to narrowing it down for a side by side comparison, Cars.com can help you find just what you are looking for!   Cars.com
  2. Secure a Loan – Unless you have the money to pay for your car in cash, you are going to need a car loan.  Check with your local banks and credit unions to find out if you can get pre-approved for a loan before asking the dealership or going with a third-party lender.  Cars.com offers finance tips so that you can make sure you are going with the right lender.
  3. Down Payments – Decide if you are putting money down or trading in a car.  Do your research to find out how much your trade-in is worth. Cars.com is the perfect place to do this research.  Here you can find out how much your car is worth and even list it for sale on their site for free. Selling your car through Cars.com is a great way to get the most money for your car.
  4. Begin your car search online, and  Cars.com is the place you are going to want to start!  They do the research for you.  Just enter the vehicle you are looking for, and they will provide you with a detailed listing of what is available near you.
  5. Once you find what you are looking for, take the time to check out the vehicle in person.  You are going to want to see it for yourself and test drive it.  Do not be afraid to have someone you trust check out the vehicle as well.
  6.  Insurance – If you decide on a car, take the time to check around for insurance rates.  You are going to need full coverage on this investment.  Be prepared to call the insurance company you are going with before driving off the lot or from a person.
  7. The next step is to sit down and take care of the paperwork.  Ask if they are extended warranties available and know exactly what it covers.  Even though this may cost additional money, you are going to want to protect your investment.  Having this security gives the buyer a peace of mind.  If you buy it from an individual, make sure that you arrange to have a trusted mechanic or individual check the car out before you sit down to purchase.

cars.com

Even if you are not in the market for a car, Cars.com is still a great place for car owners.  They offer a Repair and Service section that you are going to want to check out.  Just check out what they offer:

Get a Service Estimate

Find a Service Center

Service & Repair Advice

Safety & Recall Notices

Car Maintenance 101

The wide open roads are calling your name!  There is not a better place for you to start your journey to find that perfect car than with Cars.com.

Cars.com

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Shopkins

Shopkins Live! Shop It Up!

Shopkins

Who loves Shopkins?  Any Shoppkins in the house? These adorable little toys are coming to life, and Atlanta has a date with them in October!  In a series of photos released today, Shopkins and Shoppies fans can get a sneak peek into the first-ever live theatrical production based on the phenomenally successful Shopkins toy brand.

Shopkins Live! Shop It Up! will bring the national tour to Atlanta’s Fox Theatre on Saturday, Oct. 7 at 3 p.m.

Tickets are available at FoxTheatre.org, by calling the 855-285-8499, or by visiting the Fox Theatre Ticket Office. Tickets are priced at $25-$55 and VIP meet-and-greet tickets are $100, plus applicable fees.

Shopkins

The photos offer a glimpse into the world of Shopkins Live! Shop It Up! which immerses audiences in the world of Shopville using custom-designed theatrical costumes, creative onstage characters, state-of-art video, and set design. Original music, songdance, and interactive sing-a-longs are a huge part of the live show with performances from Shoppies Jessicake, Bubbleisha, Peppa-Mint, Rainbow Kate, Cocolette, Polli Polish, and more.

“We’re thrilled to share a first look at the Shoppies characters coming to life,” says director Patti Caplette. “Shopkins fans have a lot to look forward to once our show hits the road this Fall.”

Based on America’s #1 toy brand, YouTube sensation and international toy phenomenon created in Australia by Moose Toys, Shopkins Live! Shop It Up! features the fun and fashionable Shoppies, joined by the Shopkins – the grocery store-themed mini collectable toys – Apple Blossom, Strawberry Kiss, Lippy Lips, Kooky Cookie, Poppy Corn, Slick Breadstick and Shady Diva. Shopkins Live! Shop It Up! runs for approximately 90 minutes, with one 15-minute intermission.

Shopkins

For more information, visit www.shopkinslive.com and sign-up to be the first to hear about pre-sale offers, on-sale dates and the latest North American tour dates. The Shopkins Live! Shop It Up! U.S. tour is represented by APA.

Shopkins 

Bring It On DVD Release

Learning from Adversity – Bring It On Worldwide Comes to DVD August 29

Bring It On DVD Release

I have spent years watching my children grow up under the Friday Night Lights or on the field of their choice.   Life revolved around sports, and it never stopped!  Several summers came and went without a vacation due to summer practices and weight training classes that were mandatory. To be honest, I would ‘t have it any other way!  Seriously!  I loved being in the stands supporting my children doing what they loved.

Bring It On Worldwide Cheersmack

One of the most rewarding parts of my children being involved in sports would have to be what they learned both on and off the field.   One of the toughest lessons I have had to watch them learn is to get through adversity.  Having to work as a team to win or accomplish a goal can be overwhelming.  Often times teammates may disagree on what to do, but they have to follow through with their coach’s game plan.  If one person chooses not to do their part, there can be adverse consequences.  I have watched my children learn what it truly means to hold their head high and face defeat.  More importantly, they have learned to never give up.  We will all make mistakes, but it is how you handle those mistakes and grow from them helps prepare you for life.

Bring It On Worldwide Cheersmack

“If you live long enough, you’ll make mistakes. But if you learn from them, you’ll be a better person. It’s how you handle adversity, not how it affects you. The main thing is never quit, never quit, never quit.” 

President Bill Clinton

Coming to DVD August 29, Bring It On Worldwide Cheersmack starring Vivica A. Fox is a film that focuses on overcoming adversity.   When Destiny (Cristine Prosperi), captain of three-time national champions “The Rebels,” is challenged to a global cheer showdown by an edgy new team called “The Truth,” Cheer Goddess organizes a virtual battle for squads from all around the world.  It seems like the whole world wants to take down Destiny and her team, and they just might succeed, unless Destiny can rise to the challenge, set her ego aside and figure out who her real friends are.

Bring It On Worldwide Cheersmack

 

To celebrate the release of this movie coming to DVD, we are giving away a prize pack.  All you have to do is like our post on social media.  We will select one person from all the likes to win this prize pack.  Giveaway ends August 29, 2017.

Experience the splendor and wonders of LUZIA, a waking dream of Mexico!

Cirque du Soleil is coming to Atlanta with its delightfully-imaginative and visually-stunning production LUZIA, a waking dream of Mexico. Due to popular demand, Cirque du Soleil is adding two final weeks of performances (November 7 – 19, 2017) to the previously-announced Atlanta engagement of its delightfully-imaginative and visually-stunning production LUZIA, a waking dream of Mexico.  Now from September 14 – November 19, 2017, audiences are invited to a redesigned white-and-gold Big Top at Atlantic Station to escape to an imaginary Mexico – a sumptuous and vibrant world suspended somewhere between dreams and reality.

 Tickets for all Atlanta performances of LUZIA are now available online at  www.cirquedusoleil.com/luzia. Tickets start at $35.

 Through a series of grand visual surprises and breathtaking acrobatic performances, LUZIA takes audiences on a surrealistic journey filled with wonders, playfulness and striking artistry. Smoothly passing from an old movie set to the ocean to a smoky dance hall or an arid desert, LUZIA cleverly brings to the stage multiple places, faces and sounds of Mexico taken from both tradition and modernity. Rich in awe-inspiring moments, LUZIA enchants by incorporating rain into acrobatic and artistic scenes – a first for a Cirque du Soleil touring production.

“Full of wow feats and gorgeous stage pictures.”
The Toronto Star

“Remarkably human in scale.”
The San Francisco Chronicle

“Dazzle[s] the eye with luminous spectacle and gasp-worthy, derring-do.”
Bay Area News Group


With mesmerizing and refreshing acrobatic performances, LUZIA brings traditional and contemporary circus disciplines to a whole new artistic and acrobatic level. Cyr Wheel artists perform the unprecedented feat of rolling and spinning under the rain, while an aerialist suspended from a Trapeze flies and twirls through pouring showers. Hoop Diving is taken onto gigantic treadmills, expanding exponentially the speed and amount of daring leaps executed. Jaw-dropping highlights include a Guinness World Record holder juggling seven pins at breakneck speeds, a male contortionist skillfully twisting his body in the world’s most unimaginable positions, a powerful Aerial Straps specialist defying the laws of gravity at the center of a cenote (natural sinkhole), and two fύtbol (soccer) freestylers deftly mixing street dance with mind-blowing ball manipulations.

LUZIA – A waking dream of Mexico
Written and directed by Daniele Finzi Pasca, in association with Brigitte Poupart, LUZIA takes you to an imaginary Mexico, like in a waking dream, where light (“luz” in Spanish) quenches the spirit and rain (“lluvia”) soothes the soul.

Freely inspired by Mexico, LUZIA is a poetic and acrobatic ode to the rich, vibrant culture of a country whose wealth stems from an extraordinary mix of influences and creative collisions – a land that inspires awe with its breathtaking landscapes and architectural wonders, buoyed by the indomitable spirit of its people.

The tableaux of LUZIA weave an intricate, contemporary mosaic that awakens your senses and transports you to a place suspended between dreams and reality. Featuring a cast of 44 performers from diverse artistic backgrounds, LUZIA surprises with acrobatic performances breaking down the barriers, such as incorporating water into contemporary circus disciplines.

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mosquitoes

Buzz Off, Bugs! Tips to Rid Backyards of Mosquitoes

mosquitoes

It’s the season for warm sunshine, pool days, tan lines and outdoor barbecues. Unfortunately, unseasonably wet weather in the southeast has also heralded the return of pesky mosquitoes. The experts at Pike Nurseries have tips and tricks to deter everyone’s least favorite flying bugs, including some tried and true prevention methods.

Bonide-Mosquito-Beater-Water-Soluble-Pouches

  • Prevent the event – The best way to assure uninvited guests don’t invade garden spaces is to keep them from setting up residence in the first place. To prevent mosquitoes from ruining the next backyard barbeque, remove all standing water. Mosquitoes breed in stagnant, standing water, so anti-insect gardeners are encouraged to empty any standing water left in flower pots saucers, remove debris piles, and to and clean bird baths regularly. Dropping Bonide Mosquito Beater water soluble pouches into fish ponds or spots of standing water will stop the lifecycle by killing mosquito larvae, all without harming fish or other aquatic organisms!Citronella-Geranium-in-pot
  • Repel with smell – Some plants and oil scents found around the house can repel mosquitoes. Gardeners of all skill levels looking to rid spaces of these pesky bugs should place these aromatic plants around patios, porches and in containers near outdoor gathering areas. Lemon thymerosemary and lavender all contain oils that repel mosquitoes. Crushing these plant leaves will release the scents and oils that can be rubbed onto the skin and serve as a DIY bug repellent. Citrosa (citronella) scented geranium produces a citronella scent when leaves are compacted – another great bug spray alternative! In addition, adding lemongrass to gardens and outdoor areas helps chase away mosquitoes and doubles as the perfect addition to any summertime beverage! For the savvy entertainer, the Amazon Lights citronella candle is the best repellent for patio parties. These pest-fighting candles have a blend of aromatic essential oils from Brazilian andiroba, citronella, rosemary and thyme.
  • Lather up and conquer – A common mistake among outdoor enthusiasts is to apply sunscreen on top of insect repellant. However, when used together, the products often deactivate each other. For best results, the experts at Pike Nurseries recommend using Sunsect insect repellant and sunscreen to tackle both tasks. Originally developed for the U.S. military, this product allows hard working gardeners to kick back for a day in the sun without worrying about bothersome bugs.Thermacell_Mosquito-Repeller_MR-LJ-Black-RepellerBonide-Mosquito-Beater-RTS-Qt
  • Bye bye, bugs – Thermacell is the ideal mosquito repellent to cover large areas. It’s portable (clips onto a belt or waistband), odorless and creates a 15 foot mosquito-free zone, making it ideal for gardening, mowing the lawn, camping, hiking and grilling. Bonide Mosquito Beater fogger is another great option for eliminating bugs in big backyards! Before spending time outside, simply spray the fog around the perimeter of the yard. The fog will instantly eliminate pests in the area for a few hours per use. For more serious mosquito infestations, Pike Nurseries experts recommend the DynaTrap. The trap produces carbon dioxide to lure in the pests, and then traps and eliminates them. The DynaTrap is available in several sizes and is safe to use around kids and pets.

For more information on repelling mosquitoes, please visit Pike Nurseries online at pikenursery.com/mosquitos.

Maggiano’s Little Italy Gives Back with Brunch with a Purpose

 

Maggianos Brunch with a purpose

 

Tuesday evening I had the honor of attending an event at Magginao’s Little Italy in Buckhead to learn about their partnership with Make-A-Wish Georgia. If there was not a reason to love Maggianos more than I already do, well, they just helped me to fall deeper in love!  Over the last 14 years, Maggiano’s has raised more than $7 million and helped to grant more than 900 wishes for Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. This year’s campaign is centered all around brunch, and Maggianos is inviting guests to “Brunch With A Purpose,” where $1 will be donated to Make-A-Wish for every brunch entrée ordered.

 

Our evening began with learning about how Maggiano’s has played a role in Make-A-Wish Georgia throughout the years.  We had the honor of hearing the story of one of our local recipients, Ellie,  an 11-year-old born with Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB).  Ellie has a passion for cooking and enjoys watching Master Chef Junior.  Make-A-Wish Georgia granted her wish along with the help of Chef Gordon Ramsay to be an honorary judge on Master Chef Junior.   Later in the evening, this delightful young girl shared her love of cooking with us as she assisted Executive Chef Thomas Wenning of Maggiano’s Little Italy in Buckhead in making Lemon Ricotta Pancakes.

Ellie Make a Wish GA

After listening to Ellie’s father talk about his daughter and the outpouring of support that Maggiano’s Little Italy has shared with this precious family, we had the opportunity to taste Maggiano’s brunch items.  They were absolutely scrumptious!

Crab Cake Benedict and Meatball Benedict

Served on an English muffin and covered in hollandaise sauce,  these benedicts were full of flavor.  The creamy sauce and crispness of the muffin balance the delicate tenderness of the crab and the juicyness of the meatball.

Maggiano's Brunch with a Purpose

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

 As someone who loves anything lemon, these were heavenly!  Made with lemons and ricotta, these pancakes were light, fluffy, and amazingly delicious!

Maggiano's Brunch with a Purpose

Vegetable Frittata 

Layered with Shiitake Mushrooms, Spinach, Roma Tomatoes, Smoked Mozzarella, and Crispy Vesuvio Potatoes, every bite of this frittata was bursting with flavor.

Vegetable Frittata Maggianos

Creme Brulee French Toast

Yes!  My favorite dessert of all time in French toast form.  Served with strawberries and powdered sugar, this Cranberry Raisin Focaccia was to die for.  I could seriously just eat these all day long!

Maggiano's Brunch with a Purpose

 

So why not choose Maggiano’s Little Italy for your next brunch.  Now through August 2, you can help Maggiano’s meet their goal of raising more than $1 million.  That is enough to help them grant their 1,000th wish for children like Joshua, who has a progressive muscle disease. Joshua’s wish is to receive a service dog to assist him with daily tasks such as opening a door, picking up dropped items and much more.

 

It’s a win-win for everyone!  You get to enjoy such items as Lemon Ricotta Pancakes, The Meatball Benedict, Crab Cake Benedict or Crème Brûlée French Toast.  You can even order Wish Lemonade and they will donate an additional 50 cents. Not in the mood for brunch, you can also support Make-A-Wish by doing the following:

Order dessert from Maggiano’s monthly chef’s features and $1 will be donated to Make-A-Wish.

Give $10, get $10. For every $10 and above donation, guests will receive a Star Card with a special offer for their next Maggiano’s visit.

Donate online at site.wish.org/maggianos

Brunch Dishes Maggianos

Want to know more about the partnership between Maggiano’s Little Italy and Make-A-Wish? You can read about it here.

Should you choose to have Brunch with a Purpose, we would love to see your photos.  Share them on Twitter and/or Instagram using #EatADish4MAW

Maggiano's Brunch with a Purpose

Back to School & College Shopping Made Easy with Groupon Coupons

Groupon

I do not know about you but I am all for saving some money when I can.  Nowadays you can find all kinds of helpful tips and programs out there to do.  Last year I had shared with my readers the 52-week savings plan. I am sad to say that I did not follow through with it as I had wanted.  Life just kind of happened and other things took away from us putting back for a rainy day.   This year my family has been busy saving all those pennies we have lying around our house and better yet…those that we FIND all over the place.  Rather than pass that penny up lying in the super store parking lot, we pick it up and add it to our stash!

That is not the only way that we are saving money though!  We are coupon clippers!  We are always looking for coupons to help us cut costs when eating out, traveling, and grocery shopping. We also like to do some of our shopping online, and that is when coupon database websites come in handy!  Unfortunately, trying to find a reputable company that provides coupon codes can prove challenging.  There is nothing I hate more than going to a coupon database site and finding the perfect coupon code only to find out it is not working!

One of our favorite one place stops to shop is Groupon.   Groupon is a great place to save money on experiences, events, travel, and more.  They offer a variety of experiences to choose from across the United States.  What you may not realize is that Groupon is a great place for regular ole’ coupons!  You know the ones that save you money at stores you really shop at!

Right now many of us are starting to head out to the stores to purchase those Back to School items.  Finding coupons to save money on those supplies is important, and Groupon Coupons can help!

Right now Office Depot/Office Max have 33 coupons on Groupon that are going to make you smile!  As a teacher, Office Depot is the place where I go to get all my Back to School shopping done.  It is the place that I know will have in stock what my students and I will need for another exciting school year.  One of my favorite delas they have going on now through July 29th  is to save 30% off a qualifying $30 order of school supplies with an online coupon they offer.

 

Target Back to School

Do you have a college aged child heading back to the dorms this year?  Groupon Coupons has something to make your wallet happy!  On the Groupon site there are 71 deals and coupons for Target. One of my absolute favorite deals for Target is $5.00 off $50.00 plus free shipping! This deal is not only good online but, in store as well. They also have 30% off in their home department.  I could shop Target’s home décor section for hours.  Have your child register what they need with the Target College Registry, and you can get a 15% off coupon and free shipping on orders of $25 or more.

Groupon Coupons

Groupon Coupons is a great place to go to save money! With over 9,000 retailers, you have got over 70,000 coupons, promo codes and deals to choose from.   Have you tried Groupon yet? If not, what are you waiting for? Groupon is so simple to use and is free. Whether you are looking for deals on your favorite restaurant or you are looking to save money on your shopping trip, Groupon has you covered.