Category Archives: Just for Fun

10 Ways to Celebrate National Virtual Vacation Day

March 30 is National Virtual Vacation Day, and the past year has taught all of us that almost anything can be done virtually. You can attend a crucial client meeting, your best friend’s wedding and even take a college course over the screen — and you can even take a dream vacation!

Whether you’re stuck in quarantine, you just feel safer at home, or you want to save a buck on travel costs, here are 10 tips and trip ideas for celebrating National Virtual Vacation Day.

1. Set the scene

Wherever you decide to “go,” you can immerse yourself in the experience by setting the scene. Choose a spot in your home that is separate from your work and sleep areas. Then, try to recreate the setting you’d have if you’d actually taken a trip to your chosen destination. For example, if you’ll be virtually traveling to a rainforest, you can play soundtracks of real animal calls you’d hear in that setting. Are you going camping? Kill the lights and turn on the fireplace to get that campy outdoorsy feel. To go all out, recreate the aromas and tastes you’d encounter on your trip by whipping up a dish you’d find at your destination.

2. Grab a friend

It’s always more fun to travel with company. Share the experience with a friend by jumping on a video call together as you set out on your trip. You’ll compare your impressions as you travel and share the sights and sounds for the ultimate adventure.

3. Dress the part

We’ve all had the opportunity to master the “Zoom look” this year — yes, the one with the business-suit top paired with sweatpants and fuzzy slippers. But just because your trip is taking place in your living room, it doesn’t mean you need to dress like you’re binge-watching your favorite series on Netflix. Dress up as if you were actually traveling to your virtual destination, sunglasses included. It’ll make the experience feel a lot more authentic.

4. Scuba dive in Palau

Have you always dreamed of exploring the wonderful world beneath the sea? Now you can — without dropping a boatload of money on scuba gear. Check out this tour on YouTube for a fantastic 360-degree virtual scuba-diving experience in the clear waters of Palau.

5. Tour the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania

Go on safari without getting jet lag! This 360-degree tour will help you get up close with the wildebeest, gorillas and other animals native to the African plains.

6. Explore the Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska

If winter wonderlands are more your thing, you can hop on over to Alaska for a virtual tour of beautiful ice caps, enormous glaciers and frozen vistas you don’t see back home. Don’t forget your parka!

7. Across Europe in a Day

It’s time to take that jaunt through Europe you’ve always dreamed of taking! Here are some great virtual hotspots to visit while you travel through the continent:

  • London, England — Enjoy a guided tour through the city’s most famous landmarks.
  • The Windsor Castle — you closely follow the royals or you’re just mildly curious to see how they live, you’ll enjoy this virtual tour of this royal home and fortress.
  • Milan, Italy — This fascinating tour will take you through the metropolitan city of Milan and its most celebrated buildings and art exhibits.
  • Spain — Explore this beautiful country through these nine virtual tours.
  • The Louvre — Don’t forget to leave time for the famous Louvre museum in Paris.

8. The show must go on

If you love being entertained, you may want to include one of these venues in your virtual vacation:

  • Broadway — Broadway HD offers a seven-day free trial and front-row seat to plays like Macbeth and Swan Lake.
  • Detroit Symphony Orchestra — The DSO offers viewers a wide range of options categorized by orchestral style (baroque, classical, romantic), women composers and composers listed in alphabetical order.
  • The Metropolitan Opera — The Met is offering free encore presentations from the company’s Live in HD series. Each performance is available for viewing for 23 hours.

9. An out-of-this-world adventure

If you’ve had enough of the wonders on planet Earth, check out what Mars has to offer on this mind-blowing virtual tour.

10. Transition gently

When you travel for vacation, the time you spend flying or driving back home serves as a gentle transition from vacation to your home life. If you’ll be vacationing virtually, you’ll need to actively create that in-between time for yourself to avoid a bumpy return. When your getaway is over, take a few minutes to relax, mentally review the sights and sounds you enjoyed and exhale slowly before getting back to your everyday routine.

It’s Virtual Vacation Day! We’ve got tips and trip ideas for you to enjoy the vacation of a lifetime — from the comfort of your living room.

Saving on Landscaping

For the green-thumbed homeowner, there are few things as pleasurable as running fingers through soft, moist earth, catching sight of the first flowering buds of spring and inhaling the scent of freshly cut grass.

Tending to a lawn and garden can get expensive. Between seeds, fertilizer and gardening supplies, costs can be high enough to take the pleasure out of lawn care.

Here are 10 creative ways to save on landscaping, so you can have your well-tended lawn and your budget, too.

1. Plant perennials

Go green with your garden by choosing plants that flower year after year. You’ll have to pay more out of pocket when you first plant these blooms, but the cost-free plants you’ll have each year will more than make it worth the price.

2. Make your own compost

Mulch and other soil products may keep your garden healthy, but they’re not as kind on your wallet. Save money by going the DIY route with compost. All you need is a designated outdoor bin to collect your old fruit and veggie peels, plant clippings and dead leaves. After a few weeks, you should have a pile of nutrient-rich soil ready to give your garden the boost it needs to grow and glow.

3. Grow and trade

For a colorful variety of flowers, plant perennials that grow and multiply quickly, like hostas or daylilies. Within a few years, you should have more of these flowers and plants than you need. Then, you can trade them with friends and neighbors for new and interesting plants.

4. Propagate your plants

Grow your garden by helping your plants propagate. You can do this by separating an already growing plant into two and replanting; rooting a leaf or rooting a small stem with leaves. You can propagate new plants in soil or in water. Find out more about propagating here.

5. Choose plants that are natural to your region

For lower-maintenance plants, choose species that grow naturally in your area of the country. You’ll save on extra watering, soil correction and special plant food.

6. Shop the end-of-season sales

The plants in the nursery and home improvement store won’t look too attractive in the fall, but that doesn’t mean they’re useless. Plants that look wilted now can grow beautifully in the spring, as long as the roots are alive and well. Best of all, you can score these healthy plants at bargain prices.

While you’re shopping during the fall sales, you can pick up discounted potted plants, planters, gardening tools, lawn chairs and more.

7. Leave your grass clippings

Looking for an easy and cost-free way to improve your lawn? You already have one! Just leave your grass clippings on the lawn after mowing instead of cleaning them up. The clippings will break down quickly, adding organic matter and nutrients to your grass.

8. Don’t cut your lawn too short

Shorter grass attracts more weeds and will need more herbicides. Higher grass will shade out those pesky weeds while also developing a deeper root system, thus requiring less watering. Keep your grass at 2- 2 ½ inches for best results.

9. Pay attention to pH

It’s important to measure and control the pH level of your lawn. If the ground is too acidic or alkaline, your plants and grass won’t absorb nutrients, no matter how much fertilizer you feed them. Ideally, pH levels on lawns should be between 6.5 and 7. If your lawn’s pH level is too high or too low, you can add lime or sulfur to correct it.

10. Save extra flower seeds

Bought too many seeds to plant this year? No worries; you can save them for another year! Most flower seeds will keep well if stored in a cool and dry place. You can even buy seeds in bulk with plans to save the extra for a more cost-effective purchase.

Gardening is fun and rewarding — and it doesn’t need to cost a lot of money. Use our tips to cut back on landscaping costs without compromising on the health of your lawn.

5 Discounts for Older Adults You May Not Know About

One of the many perks of advancing in years is scoring great deals on all kinds of purchases and expenses. Here are five places you may not already know about where older adults can save big money:

1. Amazon Prime

Older adults who have valid EBT cards, or are on Medicaid, are eligible for Amazon Prime at just $5.99 a month. Compared to the $12.99 regular cost, that saves you more than half at just $84 annually.

2. Auto insurance

Many auto insurance providers reward years of safe driving with discounts for policyholders who are age 55-plus. Be sure to shop around for the best deal or to ask your current provider if you qualify for a discount.

3. Dining out 

Dozens of national restaurant chains offer discounts, or even freebies, for older adults. Why pay full price when dining out (or ordering takeout, in the era of COVID) when you don’t have to?

Here are just a few chains that offer discounts:

  • Applebee’s: 15% off with Golden Apple Card (60-plus)
  • Arby’s: 10% off (55-plus)
  • Burger King: 10% off (60-plus)
  • Chili’s: 10% off (55-plus)
  • Dunkin’ Donuts: 10% off or free donut with coffee purchase (55-plus)
  • IHOP: 10% off (55-plus)
  • KFC: Free small drink with any meal (55-plus)
  • Krispy Kreme: 10% off (50-plus)
  • McDonald’s: Varies by location; most provide discounted beverages (55-plus)
  • Subway: 10% off (60-plus)
  • Taco Bell: 5% off; free beverages (65-plus)
  • Village Inn: 10% off (55-plus)
  • Waffle House: 10% off every Monday (60-plus)
  • Wendy’s: 10% off (55-plus)
  • White Castle: 10% off (62-plus)

4. Cellphone plans

From basic phones to the latest in smartphone technology, if you’ve lived through bell-bottoms and Beatlemania, you can get your cell phone plan for less!

5. Discounts at apparel stores

Whether you’re spending the afternoon at the mall or browsing the new season’s selections from the comfort of your couch, don’t forget the discount!

  • Banana Republic Discounts: 10% off (50-plus)
  • Bealls Outlet: 15% off on Mondays (50-plus)
  • Belk: 20% off most purchases on Tuesdays, or 15% on home and shoes (55-plus)
  • Burkes Outlet: 15% off on Mondays and Fridays (50-plus)
  • Dressbarn: 10% off Tues. and/or Wed. (varies by location – 55-plus)
  • Kohl’s: 15% off on Wednesdays (60-plus)

Reaching the other side of 50 can come with fringe benefits like grandchildren, a relaxed pace of life, and of course, lots of great discounts. Don’t forget to cash in on your special savings the next time you shop.

Save Money This Holiday Season with These DIY Gift Hacks

Love the holidays but hate the Santa sticker shock that follows? No need to spend your way into debt this Christmas. Keep costs down and make the holidays more meaningful by gifting your loved ones with personalized homemade presents. From pamper-me packages crafted with care, to home décor that costs just a few dollars, to home-baked goodies that say “I love you,” the sky’s the limit when you DIY! Here are 13 homemade gift ideas from across the cyber-verse to get you started.

Sugar cookie sack

Everyone loves pulling freshly baked cookies out of the oven, but who wants to bother with measuring and mixing all those ingredients? Make it easy for your loved one with this adorable sack of sugar-cookie mix. Decorate the sack to make it personal, and you’ll have a heartwarming gift costing less than $10.

Fleece blanket

Help your friends and family gear up for winter with a cozy fleece blanket. If you’re handy with a needle, you can design a deluxe version of this fuzzy piece of heaven; otherwise, keep it simple, sweet and oh, so cheap.

Pedicure kit

Has your friend been pining for a pedicure? Gift them with all they need to make their nails sparkle with a “for your mistletoes” nail kit. Fill a $7 Mason jar with polishes, filers, a buffer and everything else they need for a spa-at-home experience.

Wall clock

Dress up a flat circle of wood with some beautiful material, attach a clock kit and voila — homemade designer décor for just a few dollars! This clock makes the perfect gift for the friend who’s just moved into a new home or dorm room. Learn how to make your wall clock here.

Bubble bath gift set

Who doesn’t love a relaxing bubble bath? This gift makes it possible with a complete bubble bath kit, including chocolate, bath salts, a candle, soaps, a pouf and more. Learn how to create your own at Sugar and Charm.

Instagram picture frame

Round up your friend’s best Instagram snaps of the year with this creative desktop frame. This gift will make them smile all year long.

Infused vodkas

Flavor your own vodkas and give your friends a unique gift they’ll enjoy for days to come. Choose between classic flavors or experiment with brave new ideas, like spicy citrus and cucumber tarragon. Get the tutorial for infused booze here.

Money tree

Who says money doesn’t grow on trees? Give the gift of cash with an adorable holiday-themed presentation by rolling up stacks of bills into tree boughs. Learn how here.

Recipe box

This one is for the friend who dreams of starring on “Chopped.” Fill this personalized, decorated recipe box with their own best recipes and add a few new gems for their collection. They’ll think of you every time they cook up another storm. Check out Club Crafted to get the full tutorial.

Snowball bath bombs

Bath time is fun again with these peppermint-infused bath bombs! Package inside plastic ornaments for a real holiday treat.

Rainbow candles

We’re all spending more time at home these days, and what better way to light up a cold winter evening than with these gorgeous rainbow candles. All you need for these eye-catching creations is a bit of time and some old crayons.

Painted picture frames

Dress up dollar-store picture frames with colored chalk paint for the perfectly memorable gift. Learn how at Make Your Mark.

Reindeer gift card holder

This holiday-themed card holder is the perfect present for that friend who owns a collection of gift cards and needs a place to keep them safe. You can also use it to dress up a gift card and make it more personal. It’s made out of leftover toilet paper rolls and basic craft materials you likely already have at home.

Keep the stress out of the holidays this year with our DIY gift hacks. It’s all the shared love with none of the debt. Plus, creating these gifts will keep you busy as you ride out a quarantine or avoid crowded malls during these pandemic times. Who knew holiday gifts could be so much fun?


What’s your favorite DIY gift hack?

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