Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I don't want to say goodbye to the summer

I love summer.  I like fall.  I HATE winter.  Spring is my favorite time of the year.  

On Monday when I saw the yellow school busses on the streets, it reminded me that summer is almost over.  Where did my summer go?   I don’t want to let summer go, not yet.

Although I have to say that by the end of the summer, and especially in Las Vegas, we are all ready for cooler temperatures.  By now, it’s been many days of triple digit temperatures and a new trend of humidity, something I had not experienced here before.

This afternoon I was thinking about what I did and did not do this summer.


The highlight of my summer was seeing all my friends who came to visit Fabulous Las Vegas.  It seemed like everybody decided to visit at the same time, which was time and energy consuming, nevertheless, I enjoyed every minute I spent with each of my good friends.

I enjoyed Tai Chi at the park.

I ate a lot, on my own, and with my friend visitors because they all want to go to buffets.

I quit my volunteer job.  After a year working as a CASA volunteer and successfully completing my assigned case in court, I decided to explore other volunteer opportunities.

I joined the Hospital Visitation Team at my church.

I refinanced my property in California.

Lifedance was born!  Yeah!


Didn’t travel. 

No getaway weekend.

Didn’t read a couple of books I had in mind to read.

I didn’t have one shaved ice.   (I still have time.  I must have one before it gets cold.)  

No swimming. 
Didn’t go to any jazz concert at Lake Las Vegas.  I love those.

No pool bbq parties.  Alright, I'm going to one on Saturday.

Did not go to the movies.

Did not do any of my pending projects at my home.


In mid-September, I have two more friends coming to Las Vegas.  I think this will be the end of my tour guide part time job.  But you really never know.  When you live in LV, friends pop in when you least expect them.  I’m really looking forward to seeing my dear friends from Southern California.  

Relax from tour guide job.

Buy the iPhone 5.  Oh, I’m so anxious waiting for this phone to come out.  It’s been said in September.  For months I've been using a defective phone.  My iphone 3G is missing one of the speakers and it’s not worth fixing it.  Also my phone cover broke, so 3G, 4G, 4S and 5G!  Yep, it’s about time for an upgrade. 

I need to fix my rental for the next tenant.  Help!!

-         * * *

I'm not saying it was a bad summer. Whatever I did, I enjoyed. It did seem short.  But ain’t over yet.  I still have time to catch up and do some fun things.  I must plan better my summer 2013.

How has your summer been so far?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Farmer's Market at Tivoli Village

Every Saturday morning from 9 am to 1 pm Tivoli Village hosts Fresh 52 Farmers Market.  I love Tivoli Village, but never had been to the farmers market yet.  This is something that I wanted to do for some time. 

Today, without plans to go there, I was in the neighborhood and impromptu decided to stop by to check it out and to have my regular gelato.  Even though I don’t cook, I really enjoy farmer markets.  There are always fruits, beautiful produce and interesting things to browse on.   I don’t frequent farmers market much, but I love to be able to buy organic produce directly from the farmers.   It’s a win-win situation.  We help them and their organic produce helps our health.  It’s not so much win for the wallet though, but it’s all worth it.

Fresh 52 Farmer’s Market is an open-air farmers and artisan market and I had such a good time browsing all the kiosks, talking to the farmers and vendors, sampling their products and I even made my little shopping.  The atmosphere is very relaxing and family oriented.  You see the couples with their kids and even dogs are taken to the farmers market.   

It was a gorgeous day in Vegas and I had a nice relaxing time and great community experience.  I’ll make it a point to once a month start visiting the different local farmers market around my area.  I used to do that in California and somehow lost the habit here.

Ah, I almost forget, my gelato was delicioso.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

FREE is good.

I like free stuff - and free with no strings attached.  Finances remain tight for many people and sometimes I wonder if people take advantage of so many freebies online.  A $10 savings here and $15 there, add up at the end of the year or at the end of the month.  By doing simple things we can make our lives more convenient and affordable.  Even if finances are not tight, why pay for things that you can get for free.  

There are plenty of freebies online, but I will share a few just for the fun of it.  I have not used all yet, but it's a matter of time.  


Annualcreditreport.com - This is the official credit report site. You can get your full credit report from each of the 3 nationwide credit recording agencies, but not your credit score.

I'm usually more interested on my credit score.  To get my credit score, I have paid $15.  No más!   I recently found the following company that provides your credit score FREE as often as you want.

Credit Karma  - Creditkarma.com


To know the value of your home:   Eppraisal.com and Zillow.com 


CarouselChecks - checks are seldom used these days. But to keep a few on hand, Carousel is great because you can order as little as one half box of checks starting at $3.99.  They are quality checks 80% off of bank prices and are delivered quickly.

Perk Street Financial is a popular online rewards checking account that gives you cash back for purchases you make on your debit card.  It has the freebies including online bill pay, paper checks, mobile alerts, FDIC insurance and access to 42,000 nationwide free ATMs.

Ally Bank is a popular online bank that pays competitive rates on checking, savings and CDs.  It gives you free online bill pay, credit cards rewards, CDs have no minimum deposit, no fees and lots of flexibility.

ING Direct - pretty much like the two above-mentioned banks.  


Freecycle - A lot of what you throw away ends up in a landfill, even when it's still perfectly usable.  Many people are using Freecycle sites to find a good home to their useful castoffs. The concept of Freecycle is to keep things out of landfills needlessly.  Once you are a member, you can post items you'd like to give away. As a member, you'll also see what others are offering for free. Nothing is to be sold.

Freenapkin - Everything on this site is free.  It's best to stick to your local listings.  Most people are trying to get rid of something quickly, so they don't want to deal with shipping.

BarterQuest - Consider trading for what you want or need instead of paying.  This is one of the fastest growing, nearly underground forms of commerce today.  You probably have something you wouldn't mind giving away.  Yet it could be exactly what someone else needs. You can also trade for services.  For instance, if you are a graphic designer or a massage therapist, you might be able to swap your services for legal advice.


Efax - This service allows you to send a fax anywhere you have an internet connection and save the cost of a fax machine and fax phone line.

Showmystreet is awesome.  It will quickly locate any street, anywhere in the world with photos and maps via satellite. Write down the street name and the city and it will show on the screen.


I will add one more that, while not free, I think it's fantastic.

I recently had a complex real estate tax question and decided to give this site a try. Wow!  Within 15 minutes of posting my question I had an excellent and on point answer to my question.  It would've cost me hundreds  of dollar for consultation with a CPA or tax adviser and I just paid $30 plus I didn't have to make an appointment, get in my car, spend gasoline and pay a consultation fee.  The site name is:


Here you will find professional advice in different areas for a minimum cost.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Chocolate & Spice Bakery-Cafe

My Saturday morning today was a little special.  I went to have breakfast at Chocolate & Spice Bakery-Café, a bakery that recently opened in Summerlin, Las Vegas.  I had heard about this place and had read excellent reviews.  Chocolate & Spice is a bakery owned by chef Megan Romano, author of the book It’s a Sweet Life.  Megan was named best pastry chef for 2011 by both Desert Companion and Vegas Seven magazines.

Although I don’t eat sweets in the morning, let alone chocolate, we were there for a late breakfast, so I knew I could order from the lunch menu. 

Ah, the place is adorable.  Nice contemporary and tasteful décor, but the pastries are the stars of the place.  They all looked so good that I wanted to order one of each.  After some thinking, I decided to order an egg salad croissant.  I also ordered a mini banana cream pie to take home.  Other items on the menu were veggie frittata, pies, sandwiches, wraps, ice creams, etc.

The egg salad croissant was great and I enjoyed a good time eating with my friends in that cute bakery.  Megan was there taking care of business.  The bakery has a steady clientele, so I was happy to see that her new business is doing very well.  I like to support local business owners.

Once at home, I tried the banana cream pie and I was a little disappointed.  Don't get me wrong, it was very good, but I was expecting something more special.  That happens when our expectations are too high.

I will be back!  I want to keep trying all those appealing pastries that I saw today. 

So that was my Saturday. "Sweet"  

I want one of these next time. 
My mini banana cream pie

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Do you like microwaved popcorn?

Eating healthy is about eating smart.  Believe it or not, I am a healthy eater. At least in my mind I am.  I know that after all the food pictures I have posted on my blog, you’ll never think of me as a healthy eater.  It’s hard to eat healthy when you don’t cook and when great part of your entertainment is based on trying out new restaurants and cuisines.  But at home, I keep it as healthy as I can. 

I recently read the following paragraph, which I decided to share today with my readers.  

“The EPA found nearly four dozen chemicals in the steam released when you open a bag of microwave popcorn.  Diacetyl, a flavoring agent, came under fire when factory workers developed a respiratory disease researchers call “popcorn lung.”  You should know that Popcorn Indiana sells its popcorn in bags that can be used to reheat (via microwave) the popcorn…safely. Fresh popcorn experience every time you grab an opened bag of Popcorn Indiana.”

I’m not too much into popcorn, but every now and then I buy it. To be honest, I like the worst popcorn:  the popcorn at the movie theaters.  For me it’s simply impossible to watch a movie without a small bag of buttered popcorn (the worst!) and a soda.  Fortunately, I don’t go to the movies that often, so I give myself permission to eat buttered popcorn a few times a year.

So after I read the above-quoted paragraph, I went to buy my Indiana popcorn.  Mind you, in some stores it can be overpriced, but I found it at a Walmart Supercenter.  A 9.2 oz bag costs $2.58 and they come in many flavors.  Today I decided to try the Cinnamon Sugar Kettlecorn.  I have to say that it’s the only pre-popped popcorn that I have liked.  And it has no after taste.  Next time, I’ll buy the popcorn variety sampler because now I want to try them all.  After opening the bag, I put the popcorn in an airtight container to keep it fresh and crispy.  

Some other facts about Indiana popcorn are:  

- All natural
- Zero trans fat
- Gluten free (yeah!)
- No cholesterol
- No preservatives
- Non-GMO corn
- 130 calories – serving size 2 cups

You may want to check their website at http://www.popcornindiana.com   

I am of the opinion that every simple step we take towards eating healthier it’s all worth it.  

Well, now you know.

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Day in Paris in Las Vegas

Since I cannot go to Paris, France, no problem, I can always go to Paris in Las Vegas.  

I LOVE crepes and today I woke up with a strong craving for a good crepe.  Then I realized I hadn’t had a crepe since last year.  When I want something, I want something! – you know what I mean?   So I decided to head off to the Strip for another visit to La Creperie, at the Paris hotel. 

In past visits I always ordered the banana crepe, but today I felt like trying a different one and ordered the one called Favorite, a  crepe with raspberries, blueberries and strawberries, drizzled with raspberry coulis.

These crepes cost $9.99 and they are huge.  One is enough for two people.  The crepe was very good, but too sweet for my palate.   That didn’t stop me from eating it all.  Portion control- -not!

I was stuffed.  I decided to go for a walk before heading back home.   I had too much sugar in my system.  I got lost in the crowd pretending to be a tourist and took pictures, (like I don’t have enough pics of the Paris hotel).

La crepe was worth all the calories and my trip to the Strip.  Oh la la…

Mon Ami Gabi, one of my favorite restaurants.

Parlez vous Poker?  Non.

I dropped some pennies in the fountain and made my wish.