The Big Three: How to Buy Your Next Car, Truck or SUV

What's the big three? It is the three big question all car buyers should be asking themselves each time they begin their search for their next vehicle. Question 1: Be honest with yourself and your partner (if you have one).  Will you be leasing or buying this vehicle? Do you like to haggle and strike a deal?  Before you even begin to do your research you have to know how much money you can spend each month on a car payment.  Do you have money for a down payment or will you be trading in a vehicle?  These answers can all affect the price of your next car, truck or SUV. For us, we will be buying our next SUV and plan to own it for the about ten plus years.  That's a long time to many people in the car world today.  While I know our budget has to be under a certain amount I do try to … [Read more...]

2 Ways the 2017 Toyota Land Cruiser Help Us Create a Summer to Remember

Sunrise on the beach with the 2017 Toyota Land Cruiser. Source: Victoria Mason Toyota loves to say, "Let's go places!" And that's exactly what we did with the 2017 Toyota Land Cruiser with its V8 engine and 4WD this summer. We did a lot of traveling and spent a great deal of time together as one big family unit, especially during the month of August.  It was as if we were really feeling the waning days of summer and wanted to chase after them, even if it meant we had to get in the car and drive for hours on end to do so. I'm talking to you eclipse traffic. The Land Cruiser is part of those memories because it gave us the ability to do exactly what we wanted without sacrificing comfort or safety at any point during our two trips.  First, when we were northbound to Bethany Beach, DE … [Read more...]

Reclaim Your House After Kids Go Back To School

*Guest Post by Tracy McCubbin, Founder, dClutterfly.   It’s the most wonderful time of the year -- time to send the kids back to school and reclaim your household!  After a summer of camps and goofing around inside, your house may need a little tough love to get back into shape for the fall.  Research shows that the average American home has 300,000 items in it, and back-to-school is the perfect time to get rid of the ones that you don’t need anymore. As the kids head back to school and you take the steps to get your house back and order, I’m sharing ten of my favorite tips and tricks to declutter and organize your home this fall:   Pull out all the homework and artwork from the previous school year. Before the onslaught of this school year’s homework and … [Read more...]

Back to School Organization Tips & Tricks

With back to school just around the corner, here are 9 tips and tricks to get organized as summer comes to an end. 1 Make a list of school supplies needed and shop ahead of time. Whether your school provides a list of necessary school supplies or you find a generic one online, make sure you bring it with you to the store. Not only is it nice to get everything in one trip, but while at the store your list will keep you focused and on track. Don’t wait until the last minute to ensure having the best selection. 2 Get your kids involved. We all know those weeks between when camp ends and school begins can be lacking activities for the kids. Turn the school supply trip to the store, into an activity - allow them to pick out their notebooks, pencil cases, and lunch box with … [Read more...]

Creative Gift Ideas for the Working Moms

There are few things more challenging in life than being a working mom. They tackle each day trying to juggle the balance of childrearing, maintaining the home front, meeting deadlines and closing deals, all while dealing with the guilt of being a working mom wondering if either the kids, her husband, or her job are suffering. Moms are without a doubt the hardest-working people there are.  When it comes to Mother’s Day, birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, or commemorating a special occasion, they deserve only the best.  The challenge here is knowing what to give them that they’ll really appreciate and enjoy!  Here are ten great ideas sure to please any working mom. Commuting music - if the working mom in your life has a long commute, consider buying her a boxed CD set of her favorite … [Read more...]

Brains On Podcast is Fun for the Whole Family

Do you listen to podcasts?  Have you heard of Brains On? Piling the whole family into the car and setting out on a road trip is an American tradition, especially in the warm summer months.  I know we have at least three planned before school is back in session. Podcast-loving parents, such as myself, have a new family-friendly resource called Brains On! Think Radio Lab for the younger set. And this summer, the science podcast for kids from American Public Media is dedicating all five of its June episodes to cars! YAY!!!  You know I love it! Brains On! episodes offer variety: each program mixes science facts, expert interviews, experts interviewed by kids, funny skits, guessing games, and original songs. On June 9, 16, 20, 23 and 30, the car and road trip series will enthrall the … [Read more...]

Hello and Goodbye

I don't quite know where to begin guys.  This month is so full of hello and goodbye moments.  My last post was all about packing for my big trip to Alaska and there was so much excitement surrounding that trip.  I was seeing my bestie (since we were 3 years old!) for the first time in three years and heading to one of the only states I have not visited yet.  Only four to go! The trip was ridiculous and I mean that in a totally good way. I fished, guys!   West Glacier Trail. I hiked it and then kept going until I hit that glacier below. Inside an ice cave. Licking a glacier.  I seriously had the best time.  Juneau is a fun little town that offers a lot for such a small location.  Have lunch at 'The Hanger' and watch sea planes and cruise ships come in. Hike numerous trails and … [Read more...]

Commuter Happiness with the 2017 Toyota RAV4 XLE

Looking for a compact crossover? Find out what the 2017 Toyota RAV4 was like during the week that I drove it around town. Source: Toyota First Impressions on the 2017 Toyota RAV4 I cannot say it was easy going from the Lexus crossover to the Toyota RAV4.  You cannot compare the two vehicles.  However, I kept an open mind the week I drove the RAV4.  The 2017 Toyota RAV4 may not be a head turner but it will serve you well on the road and offers good gas mileage and storage capabilities. What's New New this year to the RAV4 is the Toyota Star Safety System package that now comes standard.  It includes enhanced vehicle stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes, brake assist, smart stop technology, and electronic brake force distribution, steering assist, pedestrian … [Read more...]

Top 5 Cool Gifts For Moms In 2017

Mother is often the most important word in people's lives. While both parents deserve respect and love, society often gives an extra note of thanks to all mothers who work hard for the well-being of their children. They're the people who give birth to us and shape our preliminary thoughts and ideas. Even though mother's day is the best time to give your mom a gift, a gift is always appreciated at any time of the year. With that being said, here are the top 5 cool gifts for moms in 2017. Knock Knock What I Love About Mom Fill In The Love JournalGifts that are handmade have the most appeal. They carry a personal touch and flavor that can't be replaced. While there are many pre-made items such as cards and frames that are available in stores today, none of them can produce the kind of … [Read more...]

Mother’s Day Gifts for Under $100

It's almost Mother's Day! How did May arrive so quickly this year? Is it just me or does it seem super fast? Do you have your Mother's day gift picked out? I know for me, I like to spend the day with a few girlfriends and out of my house. A good cup of coffee, breakfast of my choosing and maybe a run starts my day. Then I head out to brunch and dinner with a movie often thrown in make up my perfect day. A Bloody Mary or Margarita make it even better. When it comes to gifts I don't typically receive them but I find monograms are always high on my list. I love the personal quality to them and Things Remembered gets it right. Mother's Day Gifts Under $100   That's Not All I added a few other items to my latest Maven board for Mom or even a gift for you or a friend.  So … [Read more...]