February – 2015 – Frugal Novice
Monthly Archives

February 2015

My Dream Puerto Rico Getaway

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Puerto Rico, The All-Star Island for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

Do you ever dream of traveling to an exotic place for vacation? I know I do! Summer will be here before we know it, and it’s a lot of fun thinking about where I’d like our family to go on our next trip. Puerto Rico would be an amazing choice – did you know you can travel there with no passport needed or foreign money required?

Puerto Rico is filled with world-class attractions that will turn any trip into a 5-star vacation story. Live your own 5-star vacation story in Puerto Rico. When I go on vacation I want it to feel like an escape, and want everything to be great quality. Puerto Rico delivers, and is a dream destination for getaways.

Here are just a few of the cool things that would be on my dream must-do list for a trip to Puerto Rico:

  • Puerto Rico has 270 miles of coastline and featured in the Top 10 beaches from Travel Channel — including Flamenco Beach in Culebra, often cited as one of the best beaches in the world. Our family loves to go to the beach, and I know a good part of our vacation would be spent on the Puerto Rican coastline.
  • Glow like an angel in the water in the Bioluminescent bays. The kids would absolutely love this!
  • Visit the only rainforest under US national park service, El Yunque, and climb to the clouds. Talk about a once-in-a-lifetime experience. This would definitely be an escape from dry Texas weather!
  • Enjoy old world charm of San Juan and pick up some history tidbits along the way – I think it’s great when we can inject some fun learning moments into vacations with the kids.
  • Go horse back riding (even better: horse back riding on the beach!) or trek through the magnificent Camuy caverns that runs through the 3rd largest subterranean river in the world.
  • Give in to my foodie tendencies and experience the delicacies of Puerto Rican gastronomy. I can only imagine what kinds of great foods there are to experience! Puerto Rico is also famous for their Rums, so that would be a must-try, too.

Here’s a great video to check out:

Visit See Puerto Rico and find out even more about what you could expect from a getaway to Puerto Rico, and get started planning your summer vacation! Follow @PRTourismCo on Twitter and Like SeePuertoRico.com on Facebook to stay up on all the latest.

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Tips for Successful Apartment Living

Back when I was in college I lived in an apartment for two years. I’ve lived in a house for over 10 years now, but I’ll never forget my apartment days! Whether it’s a luxury apartment, or a vintage walkup, apartment living has its challenges — be it noisy neighbors, sketchy landlords, or that dude who keeps hogging all the dryers. Although challenging, apartment living doesn’t have to be a nightmare. In fact, there are several ways you can actually make apartment living pretty awesome.

Get in Good with the Landlord

This doesn’t necessarily mean sucking up to the guy, but rather keeping things on good terms with him and being the kind of tenant that landlords like. Look at it this way, in order to keep renting out apartments and make his money, your landlord depends on all of the units being in good condition. He also depends on the common areas looking good so that they look attractive to potential renters. Doing your part to keep your space in good condition, and not letting your living area spill out into the hallway will go a long way toward harboring good will with your landlord. For example, if you have a dog it means cleaning up after it when you go out for walks. It also means keeping your apartment clean to avoid vermin infestations, and using air fresheners so that cooking smells and other odors don’t drift out into the hallway, and it means keeping loud noises and other unpleasant sounds within the walls of your apartment. It also means reporting to your landlord if other tenants aren’t doing their part.

Be a Good Neighbor

Living in an apartment means that you have your own space, but you also have to share space with others. A log of the things you do to stay on the landlord’s good side would also keep you on good terms with your neighbors. No one likes to be woken up at 2AM by loud parties, loud arguments, or dogs that bark all night long. It’s also difficult to live with people who mess up common areas, like leaving spilled detergent spills in the laundry room, or treating the hallway like your personal ashtray. It also means respecting any assigned spaces. For example, if your building has assigned parking, don’t park in other people’s spaces, or block them in, even if it’s closer to your apartment and you’re only going to be there a short while.

Ultimately, cultivating good relationships with your neighbors means respecting that other people have to live in the same space and treating them the way you would want them to treat you.

Protect Your Stuff

You might be surprised to discover that if your apartment is damaged by a natural disaster, a leaky pipe, or a fire, your landlord’s insurance won’t cover your personal possessions. If it’s worth having, then it’s worth protecting. Renters insurance is kind of like homeowner’s insurance for renters. It doesn’t cover the property, but it will cover your personal possessions in the event that they are damaged or stolen. It can also protect you if a visitor is injured inside your apartment, something else your landlord’s homeowner’s policy might not cover.

Some landlords actually require that all renters carry insurance as part of the terms of the lease. This is designed to protect you in the event of an incident, and to protect your landlord as well.

Make Your Space Your Own

As a renter, you are often limited in how much you can customize your apartment, and those limitations depend on your landlord. Some places might have strict rules about how you hang artwork, while others might give you a lot of latitude for making changes, as long as you get permission from the landlord first. However, temporary changes are often OK with most landlords, as long as they are easy to reverse. For example, installing a luxury shower head is easy, and only takes minutes to replace if you ever move out and you can use non-marking adhesive hooks to hang your artwork. Instead of installing shelves, you can use pieces of furniture that can also double as storage.

It may require a little creativity, but by making your place your own, you will be more comfortable and more likely to stick around.

Keep Looking Forward

Keep in mind that circumstances change. That apartment that was really awesome a year ago could be too small and cramped now. Buildings change hands, and management, which can mean rent increases and changes to the lease. No matter how awesome your space is, keep in mind that you might have to leave one day. Every now and then check apartment listings in your area, to keep abreast of what’s available and what kind of rents they’re charging, long before you ever have to start looking. Keep some money set aside so that you can easily handle the deposit plus first and last month’s rent on a new place.

When it does come time to move, make sure you have satisfied the lease and that you give your landlord plenty of notice. That, and all the work you had done previously to be a good tenant, should go a long way toward getting you a good reference for your next place.

Beautiful Bouquets at The Bouqs Company

Note: I received credit toward a bouquet to facilitate my review. All opinions are honest and are entirely my own. 

I love receiving flowers, and I love gifting them, too, so reviewing a bouquet from The Bouqs Company for my mom’s birthday was a no-brainer for me. I read up on the company before working with them and was impressed to learn they source from farms that practice responsible, sustainable farming.

I decided to go with the Hot Lava bouquet, because I loved the bright, cheery colors of the yellow and hot pink. I found that their pricing was really reasonable, so I ended up getting three dozen roses (it was my mom’s 60th birthday, after all – that’s a big deal!). I was really impressed with how well the flowers were packaged. They were secured to the box so they wouldn’t get jostled around, and this corrugated cardboard was protecting all the blooms. Each one arrived in perfect condition!

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House Calls via Technology with Doctor on Demand

Note: I participated in a Blog Blast Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Doctor On Demand. I received a free trial coupon code to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

We have three kids, and with kids come germs. As parents, you’ll inevitably end up having to take your children to the doctor at some point. But if you’re like us, you know it’s: a) difficult to find time to sit and wait for an hour or more to see a doctor, and b) a little disconcerting to sit in a room filled with germs as you wait!

Doctor On Demand is a healthcare service that solves both of those problems: it provides 15-minute Video Visits with board certified physicians, psychologists, and lactation consultants – and you can do it all from the comfort of your own home via smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers.

All you have to do is download the Doctor On Demand app on a smartphone or tablet, or you can visit www.doctorondemand.com on your desktop computer. Just provide a list of symptoms, and you’ll instantly be connected to a provider licensed in your state for a video visit.

Guess what? Right now you can get your first visit free! Just use the coupon code NOVICE15 and you’ll be all set.

 

Safelite Windshield Replacement is the Ultimate Convenience

Note: We received a windshield replacement to facilitate our review. We were not compensated monetarily for this post. All opinions are honest and are our own. 

Our city seems to do road work on a regular basis – which I appreciate, and all, except that there’s often loose gravel on the freeway, and our minivan has been a magnet for it. Our windshield is the prime target, and we had five cracks on various places across the glass, including one spot that had spread quite a bit (confession: that crack’s been there for over a year). We’d been putting off getting the cracks fixed because we felt like we just didn’t have time to go in and get it taken care of – little did we know we could’ve used a service like Safelite to get it fixed conveniently.

Since we’d let our windshield accumulate cracks, and since one of the cracks was spreading to the edge of the windshield, it was a better idea to go ahead and get our entire windshield replaced. Travis from Safelite came right out to our office building, new windshield in tow.

Travis_Safelite_Talking

Here’s where I feel like I ought to include a public service announcement: Did you know that your windshield might be heated without you ever realizing that? It can! We had no clue ours was heated because there’s not a button to turn the feature on; it’s automatic when we turn on the front defroster. So when Safelite asked me if we had a heated windshield, I said no. Whoops!

Luckily Travis was extremely gracious about having to order a different windshield and reschedule a time for the replacement.

When he came back, he showed us the process of repairing a crack before he replaced the windshield, and it really made me wish we hadn’t put off repair for so long. It takes about 10-20 minutes for Safelite to repair cracks, and they come right to your home or place of business so it couldn’t be easier.  You can see below our crack before and the windshield afterward, along with a few steps of the process along the way:

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