Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Myrtle Beach Weekend Activties

a) The new Hollywood Wax Museum Entertainment Center is great for families visiting Myrtle Beach. Just look for the Great Ape climbing the building on 21st Avenue North at the Highway 17 Bypass, and you'll have found the fun! All in one building, you can pose with your favorite stars at the Hollywood Wax Museum, go on a gallant adventure to save a trapped princess in Hannah's Maze of Mirrors, and escape from a zombie-infested lab in Outbreak. My Readers receive $2 OFF All Access Pass at the Myrtle Beach Hollywood Wax Museum Entertainment Center!

Please visit for more information.

b) The Hollywood Wax Museum Entertainment Center is the best value in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. When was the last time you walked the red carpet with an A-List star or stepped into the spotlight with Hollywood royalty? At the Hollywood Wax Museum, you'll get the chance to pose with your favorites while learning about their pets, pet peeves and accomplishments. Bring your adoring fans (friends & family) for fun photo opportunities! Are You the Chosen One? Find your way through the hidden corridors and save Princess Hannah in Hannah's Mirror Maze. You'll need to make your way through 288 potential turns among hundreds of mirrored walls and archways while watching out for surprise curses from Ugly Hetty. It's a modern-day fairy tale, where you'll get lost and come out smiling! And finally, in Outbreak, you must stop a worldwide viral attack. Chemacorp might mean well with Alpha Strain, but the gene-altering substance turns humans into zombies. Shriek your way through the ransacked lab and rotting basement where zombie infection is rampant and aerosol attacks are unpredictable. Contain your fear? No way! 

My Readers receive $2 OFF All Access Pass at the Myrtle Beach Hollywood Wax Museum Entertainment Center!

Please visit for more information.

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Monday, January 18, 2016

Martin Luther King Birthplace and Historic Tour

Today is the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday, his actual birthday is January 15 but it is always celebrated on a Monday.  A few months ago, I was blessed enough to take the children to tour his childhood home and significant places in his life. If you follow me on Instagram you know that I am a firm believer in #teachingthemyoung and #makinghistorycomealive. Our world in which we live is a crazy filled one where you don’t always know what is going on or how to make sense of it.

The children had heard and studied about Dr. Martin Luther King, they could tell me about his speech, I have a dream. They could tell me he was killed but that is where it ended. Granted, I know they are little and couldn’t fully grasp the role that MLK played in the Civil Rights Movement. The only way to start is to explore it.

We started our visit at the childhood home of MLK, you can take tours but you have to take get your tickets at the Visitor Center. We decided that we would walk to the visitor center and explore there while we waited for our tour of the house. I have to admit, knowing a bit about the history of the area, I was humbled as we walked around the blocks.

map of the King Historic District

As you walk into the visitor center, you can visit the International Rose Garden. The garden pays tribute to all of the work that Dr. King did for our nation and its people. It has a starburst design to represent the love and the impact. There are 187 different species of roses, each ones has specific meaning. The white roses represent the bond and similarity between Dr. King and Ghandi, the pink roses are in memory of Coretta Scott King and her oneness with her husband and the red roses, in honor of the Africa-American Community, finally the multi-colored roses represent the world-wide appeal of Dr. King’s message of peace through non-violence. It is amazing to just sit, and well smell the roses.

Rose Garden Plaque

I can just imagine how beautiful this would be in full bloom

The Visitor center houses artifacts and interactive exhibits. You can see the original letter of recommendation for a Nobel Peace Prize, to think it starts with a simple letter. The pictures that are available in the gallery are incredible; you get goose bumps as you walk through the gallery. There were two exhibits that hit me hard, the first being the children’s interactive area. They have incredible activities that encourage peace and love. My children loved it and seeing their eyes light up was incredible. It still blows my mind how simple things, like a pair of shoes or a baby doll can not only be a children’s item but a turning point in their life. Pumpkin was in tears when she saw that the little girls weren’t able to have the same dolls. At that point, I was helping to make history come alive and those lessons don’t get better than that.

The present movie posters at the Visitor Center

Profound speech

The difference in the dolls really stuck with Pumpkin

Love this symbol in the children's area

The next exhibit was the Freedom March exhibit where you could walk with models. I know doesn’t sound too great but there is some significance to walking to promote peace. As you walk, there are names of the cities that were significant during the Civil Rights Movement. Bean thought it was incredible to march. As he was walking, he kept calling out “Mama, I am marching!” While we were at the visitor center, we met an amazing Park Ranger, who took the time to point out some incredible finds that we had missed while we were looking at the different artifacts.

joining in the Freedom Marches

So powerful!

"Mama, we have this movie!"

We drove through here and the kiddos remembered.
photographs from the funeral procession

The wagon that pulled Dr. King's casket

As you walk out of the visitor center and turn right, you walk through the Rose Garden, past the current Ebenezer Church. Across the street you can walk and tour the original Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Dr. King and his father were once Pastors. Reverend King gave his first sermon there at the age of 19 and continued until his death in 1968. The church went through a restoration in 2001, and the church is just incredible. It has the original organ, and pulpit. You can walk through the sanctuary and the basement of the church. The basement has original pews, photographs and videos. I found it incredible to see the different pieces of the restoration, such as the original paint colors. The original Church sign was also restored and hangs outside the church.

Present day church, across the street from the Historic one

Historic Ebenezer Church

National Historic Landmark

artifacts from the preservation

one of the original pews

showing one of MLK's sermons

Inside the restored church

Looking back into the church

Original and restored church

Our next stop was the King Center, founded by Coretta Scott King to help preserve her husband’s mission of peace through non-violence.  The center was designed to be a living memorial not a dead center. There are many events held at the center, speaking engagements and presentations. When Dr. King was assassinated, he was originally buried in the Southview Cemetery, his remains were later moved to the King center. When his wife passed away the crypt was redesigned to include her remains. Across from the crypt is the eternal flame designed to represent Dr. King’s vision of justice, peace and equality for all mankind. You cannot help but be humbled as you stand in the King Center.

King Center

Reflecting pond

Different buildings in the King Center


Eternal Flame

We continued up the street to the Firehouse #6 where Dr. King would shoot hoops with the fireman and local children. It is said that he spend many days there as a child. At this time the firehouse is still being renovated to become a museum. 
Staion House # 6

Hangs on the building

Our last stop was the actual birthplace of Dr. King. The house was originally built in 1895, for a while family. The home was then purchased for $3,500 by Reverend Williams, the pastor at the Ebenezer Church. They had one daughter, Alberta Christine. In 1926, Alberta Christine married Martin Luther King, they moved into the family home. They would later go on to have three children, Willie Christine, Martin Luther King Jr and Alfred Daniel. They stayed in the home until 1931, when Mrs. Willis passed away. The house tour took 30 minutes and is the only tour that is ranger led. As your tour the home you can see where the family ate dinner, I found it interesting that they always ate dinner together, no matter what time. The children were expected to help around the house and studies were always number one priority.
The neighborhood is known as Sweet Auburn!

MLK birthplace and home until he was 12. 

Marker laid in the walkway to the house

Based on our visit, I have some suggestions to make your visit the best that it can be. Visit early in the morning and the week. Start with the visitor center and get your name on the list for the birthplace tour. The tours are first come, first served basis. Each tour is 30 minutes long and they only allow 15 people on each tour. Prepare for about 45 minutes at each location, if not longer. Most of the sites are open between 10-5, sometimes opening an hour earlier. The cost for all of the tours is free. Some of the events at the King Center, have different prices but those vary by program. Finally, try not to visit during a holiday as it is extremely crowded and hard to enjoy your tours. 

Doors that were once in a restaurant

awards Dr, King received

I'm glad I was able to share these experiences with my children and know that they know how a deeper understanding of some of the major events and locations in the Civil Rights Movement. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Chobani and ways to burn calories

The New Year is in full swing and hopefully you are still sticking with your resolution. I personally do not make resolution, I make goals. They sound more positive and encouraging. So I ask what is your new year goal? Are you looking to save more money? Change your way of life? Build a future for your family? Loose weight?

The first thing I do when I make my goals is to sit down and figure out what is realistic and what can I do in each month to become successful. This year, I set two goals: to lose weight and help my children by building a future for them. So how does one go about setting these goals?

The first step for me was to make the decision to keep healthy and learn different ways to eat so that I could be healthy and have a healthy lifestyle for my children. This involved learning how to make healthy food appealing and finding way to exercise throughout the day.

I love yogurt, especially Chobani! Make sure to check them out for over 100 helpful hints to have a healthy start to the new year! They have fabulous flavors and make it easy to help you stay healthy. One of my goals, like I said was to incorporate exercise so that I could maintain all of my weight loss and continue loosing.

Here are some incredible ideas from Chobani to help you burn 100 calories:  they are surprisingly easy!

Do you think that you can incorporate those easy ways into your life? Or how about these ones?

I hope these ideas help you to continue with your new years goals. 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Using apps to make your phone work for you

New year, new resolution. Not this year sorry. Each year I watch as my friends make resolution and work hard at them for a month or so and then nothing! I didn't want that and wasn't stressing myself out with "What's your resolution?" "What do you want to change?" 

When I turned 30, I did the 30 year project and each month I made a goal about something I wanted to change and incorporate into my life, I changed the way I dressed, I incorporated more natural products into our household. Guess what, that was almost 5 years ago and I am still going strong, why? because I made it work for me and my family. Welcome to 2016, we have the tools that we need to be successful, we lack the drive and dedication, we are so used to everything being at our fingertips that we have become LAZY. yes, I said and you can feel however you want to feel about it. We are living in what I like to call a fingertip society, if it cannot happen to us by pressing a button on our phone, we cannot be bothered with it. 

With that mentality, I started thinking about my life and the things I wanted out of this life. What was I doing and why am I getting up each and everyday to plug away at nothing? I want to be debt free, I want the freedom to not have to stress about bills. I want to be able to pay for things I need and want in my house hold and not have to worry about what bill I won't be paying that month. I want to be able to live not survive!  I'm done with that!

Wow, that sounds all fine and dandy but what can I do to make it work for me and not add extra stress to myself? That's the key, I have to make it for me! I also didn't want to have to change too many things, let's face it we are all busy! Then it hit me one day, I need to start making my phone work for me instead of the other way around. 

I have apps on my phone that I can utilize to make little changes to make my life easier. Below you will find a list of apps that I use to make for me. In the last year, I have earned over $380.35 using ibotta, a free gas card per month from swagbucks, used my mypoints to get gift cards for Christmas. Here's how:

Download Ibotta, (by clicking this link you will join my ibotta team and we can earn money together!) scan your bar code from shopping and earn money. It's not a lot but guess what these are things you were going to buy anyway, why not? Build a team and earn even more money. If someone is going to give you $1.00 because you bought a bottle of hand soap, why not? Don't stress or over think it! Take the dollar and move onto the next item? Cash in 15 rebates (again on items you are already buying) and earn an extra dollar. Ok I got this! When you get $10.00 in rebates you can cash out using Paypal. Personally, I wait until I earn $50.00 and use it for a credit card payment or add to my savings. Easy Peasy, I didn't stress about the money and earned it doing things I would already be doing. 

screen shot from my phone app

Another app I use to make life easier is shopkick, again another app that I earn points doing things I would already be doing. When you walk into a store, Target, Best Buy, Walmart, Old Navy, there are more! You earn points, which can be later cashed out for gift cards. Now, you can earn more points by scanning certain items in the store, I personally do not have time for that, I just earn then when I walk in the store. So far, I have cashed out for two $10 gift cards for Target (which I then used when buying groceries and earned more money using my ibotta app).  There are also coupon codes available, but that's just too much for me!
another screen shot inside of the app

My next app that I make work for me is swagbucks. This I have to say is my second favorite app. I love this one because I can use it on my phone and also my computer. Swagbucks are bucks you can use to cash in again for gift cards. My favorite ones are the gas cards. I drive an hour to work each day and as you can imagine that adds up. I specifically use this app for that purpose, to make my fuel budget stretch. With swagbucks, you can earn points in multiple ways, the first being by answering surveys. I do this sometimes when I am watching tv. Answer some questions get some points. You can also earn points, by downloading coupons, yes you read that correctly, download and use coupons earn swagbucks! Finally, I earn points by watching videos. As I am writing this I am earning the videos on my phone and my computer. I open up the tab on my computer and let the videos run, then I earn the points. Remember that drive I told you I do everyday, yup, I earn points when I am driving for letting the videos run on my phone. If you think about it, I am getting paid twice to go to work, my paycheck and in swagbucks. I love that when I am earning swagbucks, they give me bonuses. If I earn a set amount each day (it varies per day usually around 70, I get extra points. Meet your bonus each day and earn another bonus!)

More app love! perktv. This one is similiar to swagbucks in the sense that I earn perk points for watching videos. You can earn then on live tv, place your phone up to the tv and it will figure out what you are watching and earn points. I do not do that, I just open up a video on my phone and my computer and let them run, again earning points. I use these points for gift cards to Target (it's my favorite store and I do the best here with coupons). So far I have earned a $15 giftcard. Use my code: dca11103 and we can both earn perk points. 

The next app I love and this one is an easy one: is receipt hog. This app is probably the easiest to use, take a picture of your reciept and earn points. Yes, you heard me right, take a picture of your reciepts (you know those things you usually throw away). Take a picture first, you earn points based off the dollar amount and then you can cash those in for cash or for an amazon gift card. Hey, you're throwing it away anyway, why not make it work for you. It takes about 15 seconds to take the picture! Use my code: strig317 and not only can you earn extra points but I can as well. We are friends lets make it work for both of us. 

The next app is getting paid, yes you earn cash! For reading emails, signing up for bonuses and even cashing in coupons. inboxdollars. You can also use this on your computer. I usually stick with it on my phone. Open up an email and get paid 5 cents. Similar to swagbucks, you can earn points for using coupons. That is what I mainly use this app for. So far I have earned a $50.00 check, that's the only downside to this app is that they send you a papercheck, but then again they are paying you to use coupons and save money, I can wait a few days for the check!. 

The app list keeps on going! The next app I use is another one that you can use on your computer or phone. This one is called ebates. I love this app for the simple fact that I am earning cash back on things I was going to buy away. In the app or on the copmputer, you go to ebates and then click on the store that you are interested in making your purchase. It will open up a new window, you make your purchase and earn a percentage back on your purchase. The more you shop, the more your earn. Ebates adds up all of your money during the period (3 months) and then when you reach ten dollars, you receive the money in your paypal account. 

The final thing I do is use digit. Now this is not an app, but it works through your phones text messages. Digit helps you to automatically save money. You sign up through their website. Digit will analyze your spending and find little amounts of money that you won't miss but will help you grow your bank account. In the last two months I have saved $60. This is in additiont ot the money that I have already set up to automatically pull out of my account. I was nervous when I first signed up for the program, thinking I would have problems with my funds or worried that I would be short money but it hasn't happened. I love that I get a text message that tells me what is going on. Each morning it texts me to let me know what my bank account balance is and if I want to know what the most recent transaction is, I just text them back and it comes right into my text message. It will also text me to let me know when it pulls money from my account to put into my savings. It takes small amounts- $1.50 here, $2.00 here. I love that I am saving money and with each text, I smile knowing that I am helping to grow my savings a little bit more!

I hope that you find these apps as useful as I do! Take 2016 and make it the best year yet!

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