On my recent trip to Idaho I wanted to send a postcard home to family. However, I didn’t want to just send a boring paper postcard. I came up with the idea of mailing an actual Idaho potato with my message written on it. My friends didn’t think the postal service would mail it, but I didn’t let that stop me. I bought my potato, scrubbed it clean, let it dry, wrote my message on it with my Sharpee and headed to the post office. To my friends surprise, they were willing to mail it. There was only one glitch in the whole thing, it weighed more than a pound, so the postal stickers that needed to be placed on it were too big for the potato size. I wanted to share my story to ignite creative ideas to mail cards and postcards to friends and family when you’re on your next vacation away…
- be sure your object is under one pound
- don’t assume they will or will not mail a certain item, ask
- make sure your surfaces are cleaned well so postage will stick to surface
- use a Sharpee pen so your message/address doesn’t smear off
- Mail an object as your postcard that has to do with the area you are visiting. Think coconuts for Hawaii, apples for New York, potatoes for Idaho…you get the idea!
- If you’re feeling more technically creative, use an app like Cards by Apple, to mail a photo postcard right from your smart phone.
Five things to do in San Diego under five bucks!
“Money doesn’t buy happiness.” I’d like to add “it doesn’t buy fun either”! (ok, maybe it does, haha, but it doesn’t have too) Here are some great ways to enjoy your weekend for under $5 in the San Diego area. Get inspired to spend more time with family and friends without breaking the bank. Whether you live in SD or not, get a little creative and search out fun things in your area to do. You might be surprised how many neat gems you find.
-Google your city name with words like, free, fun, weekend, entertainment, movies, music, etc…and you will find a ton of cool stuff. You might have to sift through the junk a little.
-Have a contest with your friends or family members (kids especially) to see who comes up with the best idea/option. Then you’ll have a stock pile for the summer!
1. San Diego Food Truck Festival At Liberty Station June 19th. Be sure to buy your ticket on my attached link for the $5 deal. For all you foodies this is a great way to sample San Diegos food truck craze…
2. Summer movies in the park is a family friendly venue that is completely free! Movies start at dusk so be sure to get there in plenty of time to set up your cozy blankets, chairs and picnic goodies.
3. Vital Climing Gym is a great way to get your boulder on! The first visit is free and shoe rental is $2. Warning: it is addictive so you may end up going all the time!
4. Keys Creek Lavender Farm in Valley Center give free tours. June is peak bloom so this is the perfect time to go! Times are at 10:30 and 1:30 every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It is a walking tour that circles the fields nearest the gift store. It includes a viewing of the distillery and a discussion on how we distill essential oil. We talk about the different types of lavender that we have on the property and the homeopathic benefits of lavender. The walk includes steps and slight inclines so it may not suitable for those with significant mobility restrictions. No reservations are required. We meet at the gift store and the tour takes approximately 30-40 minutes. Great place to take a family photo too!
5. CB Cupcake Shop in San Marcos is a cool little spot to “build your own” cupcake. You pick the cake, then the frosting and then the topping! It’s $3.50 for muffin size cupcake and $1.50 for a mini. Great for a date night or a treat for the little ones…
*Feel free to add your suggestions on my comments!
Let me introduce you to Mr. Nish, a.k.a. my dad. He is going to become a contributor for Stylebaggage! (whether he wants to or not is completely irrelevant) He is a full time photography teacher at City College San Francisco. Before his career change and move to SF in 1999, Nishihira was a commercial photographer in southern California for 18 years. He won a number of awards including Awards of Excellence from CA Magazine and Print Magazine. His photography appeared in ads, catalogs, billboards, and annual reports. Bob’s clients include Callaway Golf, Encad, Fujitsu, IBM, Jack-in-the-Box, Kyocera, and Qualcomm. His work has appeared in Architectural Record, Town & Country, Vogue, and Sports Illustrated.
Nish graduated from UCLA with a degree in Fine Arts. He is an avid baseball fan and played ball at Pierce College.
To get things off to an easy start, here is some basic advice from Mr. Nish:
4 quotes that will dramatically improve your photographs.
“Please do not shoot any portraits unless you look at the background first, and make sure nothing there will distract from your main subject.” -Joyce Tenneson
“The more you photograph, the more you realize what can be photographed and what can’t be photographed. You just have to keep doing it.” Eliot Porter
“If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” Robert Capa
“Less is more.” Mies Van Der Rohe
No, I’m not going to tell you to pack your bags and head to Florence Italy, although that would do the trick too!
I have one word for you…Tripadvisor! (no I do not own stock in them, no I do not gain financially in any way, shape or form) I truly love this site! Tripadvisor has been my “go to” guide for everything travel. Although this site can help with finding deals, I mainly use it for reviews. I have never been let down by a false review, although I’m sure there is always room for fraud in this world. I honestly thought everyone knew about this site, but I’m learning many of you haven’t. So here’s how it can help.
1) Get reviews on everything from hotels to restaurants to spas.
2) My favorite, ask questions in forums. For example, if I’m torn between 2 hotel choices I post my dilemmas in the forum and people always respond with great feedback. Let’s say I can only splurge on one great restaurant, I ask which one is the best. The community in the forum is truly awesome on this site!
3) Get deals. After deciding on your hotel, you can type in your dates and it will connect you to all the top discount sites showing you their prices. It’s like one stop shopping! I love this feature.
You can even create free slideshows! This travel site is jam packed with goodies to explore. I highly encourage you to check it out to help you plan your next getaway. It has made my vacations better and better every time! Don’t forget to “play 😉 it forward” and contribute reviews too…
You can read the “profile of the reviewer” to help you decide if you think their advice is good. For example: If someone from the United States is commenting on how small a room in Paris is, they might not know that’s pretty much the norm! Whereas the person from Germany is saying how roomy the hotel is probably has a better take on the reality of European hotels. If you’re torn between 2 reviews, one saying it’s great and the other not, focus on their profiles to see which one better matches your lifestyle and interests. Another great added bonus is many times you can contact the person directly through Tripadvisor and ask more specific questions regarding their review or stay. The awesomeness is endless!!
When posting in a forum, be sure to mention the occasion for your travels such as a honeymoon. That will help people give the best advice and recommendations possible.
What’s the catch? Here it goes and anybody can do it…Start packing your lunches and start eating dinner at home more. Obviously this concept isn’t new or rocket science. However I promise the money you will save will get you a trip to Hawaii or whatever destination you’re dreaming about. I stumbled across this cool lunch savings calculator (why not use it for dinner too) that opened my eyes to how much I could save by making balanced changes. Below is an example of how I can cut back and save. You will be shocked! This is a must read…
LUNCH- Currently I am eating out 4 lunches a week at $10 a pop. If I just cut that in half (and my brown bag lunches are $3 a pop) to 2 lunches out a week I save $672 a year!
DINNER- Currently I am eating out 3 dinners a week that vary from a quick run to Rubios or a relaxing dinner sipping saki and eating Albacore Special rolls. If I cut that back to eating out just once a week I could pocket, drum roll please… $960.00 a year!
That’s a grand total of $1632.00 of savings a year! Enough to get myself a ticket to Hawaii, stay at a great hotel, rent a car and drink plenty of Mai Tai’s!
Notice this calculated just my own personal savings. The reality is my whole family (3 of us) would do it as well, and our savings would be over $4,000.00. Having gone to Maui this past fall, I can say that is plenty of money for a family of 3 to frolic on the white sands of Hawaii.
You Can Do It-
In order to actually save the money, it would be wise to calculate your monthly savings and actually set it aside by depositing it into your designated vacation savings account. (for example on the last day of each month) Otherwise the money might just get spent somewhere else like going to the movies or buying a cool gift for me. Do whatever works for you, just be sure to do something to put it aside as it’s being saved!
So if you are cutting back due to the economy and are wondering how you are ever going to get to go on vacation again, maybe this could be your solution.We are going to put this to the test. I will give you updates now and then on our progress. More importantly I will give tips and tricks to making great brown bag lunches! No peanut butter and jelly recipes here!! Stay tuned…