The Rosy Wanderer

Wandering with a purpose

Category: Lifestyle (page 2 of 3)

Reward Points – the start of a new adventure

I’ve been thinking about this for a long time, but today I finally jumped and took the plunge! I’m going to figure out how to maximize using reward points to help me travel. Since I make less money than I used to, but my desire to travel is as big as ever, I need to find a way to make it happen. When I bought my first house, I used my credit card points to buy towels, pots/pans, and other decor. It worked out nicely!

First off, this world is pretty complicated. I mean, there are probably thousands of credit cards out there. It’s not like you can sample cards and figure out which one works best. You can’t continue to open and close cards either because it can affect your credit score. Two big sites helped push me over the edge – Mint.com and The Points Guy. I’ll have a separate blog post about Mint.com, but I’ve been a fan of The Points Guy for a while. He has a beginner’s guide that I found very interesting and helpful. Stay tuned as I start to learn more, but so far I decided to take the following steps…

  1. Applied for Chase Sapphire Preferred card (crazy how fast you can get approved!) which is supposed to be great for travel. Plus, it doesn’t have foreign transaction fees which I need for my trip to Zurich in February.
  2. Made an account and started linking my reward programs to AwardWallet. It’s a free site (there is a Plus version), but essentially it tracks all reward programs (airlines, food, hotel, etc). I had tried TripIt Pro‘s program in the past, but I didn’t like it. One day in, and so far I like AwardWallet. More to come!
  3. Researching other ways to save or grow money. Currently looking at Acorns, Wallaby, Mint.com, and general budgeting techniques.

Once I start to figure things out, I’ll keep you posted. Any tips or experiences would be appreciated! I have some big goals…I can’t wait to turn these clip art pictures into my real pictures! Switzerland, Paris, and Machu Pichu – here I come! Until next time, happy wanderings!
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Foster Pup – Luigi

“Oh, Luigi.” I’ve been saying this several times a day for the last month. Exactly a month today, actually. I thought he would have found his fur-ever home well before this point. I mean, he’s cute as a button (I call him Buttons sometimes).

img_1862They say Luigi is 2-3 years old, but I really think he is younger. He is all puppy. Everything about him is puppy, and if I had that expectation and more patience, it would be adorable. There is a big difference between a puppy and a mature dog, and through this experience with Luigi, it frustrates me that people don’t know the difference. People, if you plan on adopting a puppy please know they want to play and their energy is boundless! Even the cute ones can be crazy!

When Luigi got to our house, his skin was irritated and he had kennel cough (actually passed it on to Schatzi and Amie). It turns out he had a flea allergy, so we had to doctor him up and get him healthy.

Finding a Home

Luigi needs an active home. He loves to be involved in everything in your life. Whether it is going on walks, riding in the car, sitting with you on the couch, I mean, he even swam in the laimg_2022ke to be with me. He didn’t love it, but he didn’t hate it either. The boat on the other hand…he loved the boat. I’ve never had a dog who wants to be a sidekick. It’s the only word I can think of to describe him. Even when he rides in the car, he perches next to you (see picture!) I mean, he is just so darn sweet!

Since he has so much energy, and his previous family didn’t do any training (besides house training), we are working on commands. He is doing well with them. He lays down and stands up now. He’s catching on quickly.

If you or anyone you know is looking for an adorable, sweet-tempered puppy, Luigi is on PetFinder.

But let’s be real, he’s too adorable to not post a bunch of pictures. How can someone not love him?!

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He loves, loves to play with toys. He can’t get enough of them!

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What a boat dog! He loved the wind blowing in his face

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Even puppies need their sleep! It’s tough boating all day. He was too sweet looking…but I woke him up because you should sleep at night.

 

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Just a funny guy

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Luigi loves the furniture! This is one of is favorite places to sit…he even taught Schatzi how to sit like this. Oh dear…

 

 

It’s Here! The Apple Watch 2

So, I am not a technologist, but I wish I was. I appreciate technology. To think about the creativity and logic that goes into creating a new application or piece of hardware blows me away. I don’t understand the hardware side as much, but I love the user experience side. This likely explains why I am a huge Apple fan – but who knows, maybe my interest in Apple lead to my appreciation. I’ve been an Apple fan since high school yearbook in the early 2000s when I worked closely with the color iMac.

Yes, it’s early…

So I am posting this because I woke up early to pre-order the Apple Watch 2. I know it’s crazy, but that hype always gets me going. I woke up to pre-order my rose gold iPhone 6s, Kate and Will’s wedding, and I prefer early morning flights. Oh well. I don’t think they will sell out of the Watch 2, but I’ve been waiting for the second edition since the first one was released a year and a half ago.  Even though I’ve been waiting for a long time, I don’t make them lightly. I made my (probably) fifth visit to the Apple store this evening to confirm the color and size watch I wanted. My iPad purchase was equally bad; at least I had 1.5 years to think about it. I don’t take decisions likely.

Why I’m Excited

In 2013, I bought an UP Band and loved its. Unfortunately, it disappeared after a night of drinking in Tampa. As a less expensive alternative, I bought a Fitbit. Fitbit was okay. I liked

My final decision. Such a hard decision, but I decided the silver 38 mm sport version with a white band will be the most versatile.

My final decision. Such a hard decision, but I decided the silver 38 mm sport version with a white band will be the most versatile.

how many people had it to share information, but it wasn’t as reliable as the UP Band. A year ago, my Fitbit stopped charging, and I couldn’t fix it. My cheap, stubborn self decided to wait for the Apple Watch – and viola! Here we are! These are my main reasons I can’t wait!

  • I want a running watch. I feel the Apple Watch 2 (with GPS) is even better than a running watch because you can wear it all the time and do lots of things.
  • I miss tracking my steps/activity level
  • I’m not good at texting and paying attention to my phone (only millennial with this problem), but I hope I’ll be more alert to messages and action items.
  • Time travel – basically, I can see my schedule on my wrist. Since I live for my calendar, this would make things a lot easier
  • Geeking out my house – one of my big projects I’m researching is figuring out how to make my house “smarter.” I’ll share my findings in my blog, but the watch is another option for controlling the house.

Get ready! I’ll let you know how I like it starting next Friday (September 16). In the meantime, all Apple users, mark your calendar for Tuesday, September 13, to download the free upgrade to iOS 10. If you enjoy texting, you’ll love its enhancements.

Back to School – Back to Blogging

So I took an unfortunate hiatus during the end of the summer, but today is the first day back to school, so this is the first day back to the blog! Expect some fun information for trips, new products, and much more! With school back in session, it’s time for learning, cooler weather, and most importantly – football!!

Go, Team, Go!

In the spirit of fall and back to school (my favorite season, I might add), here are some pictures of my favorites supporting our favorite teams!

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We’re excited to cheer for our teams this fall! Each weekend we’ll be cheering for the Elon Phoenix, Ohio State Buckeyes, and Carolina Panthers. It’s going to be a great season!

Wanna Get Away?

Have you ever just wanted to get away? I know it’s #tbt, but this Thursday I am going to dream forward. Maybe it’s because I haven’t traveled recently, I had to cancel my trip to Chicago this weekend, or I am simply in the mood to relax and take in life, but I am itching to go somewhere. Unfortunately, because of prior commitments and work, I am unable to get to a beach and just be. That doesn’t help sooth the soul.

What to do instead? Looks like I will need to recreate a vacation experience at home. I feel pretty confident I have the recipe for what makes a good beach weekend…

  1. Sunshine. Get outside. It may be close to 100 degrees this weekend, but that doesn’t mean you should stay inside. I have a few runs planned to help soak up vitamin D; I also plan on dining al fresco. It’s summer so live like it is – no matter where you are!
  2. Music. I love Kenny Chesney. Something about his music helps me to relax, so blast the speakers! Everyone has their thing and Kenny is mine!
  3. Read a book. When I go to the beach, I read. Even when you’re on vacation, reading can take you to another place. A chance to experience someone else’s life, so it’s the ultimate vacation on a vacation. Well, I will continue “reading” my audiobooks while I run, but I am going to find some type of fiction to read. Any suggestions, let me know! I need something light and funny.
  4. Break a sweat. Nothing releases stress like exercise. I just started back up at Pure Barre, so I’ll be there a few times this weekend, in addition to running. Wearing your body out is good for your mind.
  5. A good drink. My friend and I are going to Le Meridien’s rooftop bar on Saturday to try their popular popsicle drinks and watch the sunset. #winning

Well, that’s my plan this weekend. Hopefully, I’ll fool myself into thinking I’m away. Maybe I’ll purchase a baby pool for the patio while I’m at it…Happy Wanderings!

PS – In the spirit on #tbt, I’ll post some of my favorite beach pictures from my previous travels. Dreaming this is where I was today!

The Bahamas

The Bahamas

Emerald Isle, NC

Grand Cayman

Grand Cayman

Mexico

Mexico

Ocean Sunset

Cruise Stop

Grand Cayman again

Badin Lake

Badin Lake – Home Sweet Home

 

Morrissey’s Home Sweet Home

Tonight I dropped Morrissey off to his new home. I was so happy that he found a place that could love him and is going to take care of him. His mom even bought him a stuffed animal, which he found before she could give it to him. He was so excited to have it. He carried it around her house showing it off.

Even though I am happy he found a wonderful home, I was surprised how sad I was for him to leave.  I didn’t think I was going to be sad because he always had a lot of energy. Now that he’s not here, it’s quite. The relationship dogs develop with their humans is amazing, but it’s even more amazing how we develop relationships with dogs. They each have their own personality and quirks. Once you get to know them, it’s hard not to see it. Morrissey was a playful little guy. The way he would stand on his back legs and walk around (sometimes crying) always made me laugh. IMG_1715Today, he even turned into a cat and sat on the couch. Such a spunky guy who has his whole life ahead of him. I know he’s going to live a long, happy life with his new family. And for that, I am very grateful that God found him his family.

Just a quick thought. Tonight put me in a very reflective mood. We’re going to take a short break from fostering so Schatzi and Amie can have their life back.  Until then…happy wandering!

Foster Pup – Morrissey

IMG_1504Two weeks ago today, Morrissey joined our family as our second foster pup. Needless to say, this has been more interruptive than snuggle bug Becky (now my sister Shadow). We (I? I think Schatzi mentioned this being a bad idea) should have known it would be more work, but the post requesting his foster tugged at my heartstrings, so here we are. Morrissey is an 8 month old Yorkie mix. This means he is full-fledged puppy, and regardless of how tough his life was, you apparently can’t take away the non-stop energy a puppy has.

IMG_1506We don’t know his backstory, but you can tell from his appearance he was neglected. Morrissey is a bag of bones. His legs grew in a bowed backwards because of poor nutrition. He is skinny as can be. You could feel his ribs and see his hips on the first day. It was heartbreaking. I just don’t understand how someone can treat an animal this way. Not to mention he has a horrible haircut. I think someone wanted him to look like a lion or something since he has a mane. The first day having a foster dog is really hard. The dog is terrified; he/she just spent a few days at the pound with other dogs. They don’t know where their home is, who you are, where they are going, or what is going to happen to them. Therefore, it is hard to judge their personality at this time. My first day with Morrissey was crazy. My dogs went to my parents house, so we could try to acclimate him to his new life. I slept on the couch for the first week because he wouldn’t stop crying when we went to bed. He has to sleep in his kennel, and he would rather not do this. My main goal was to get him food to beef him up and some sleep, since who wouldn’t be cranky when they are tired and hungry.

IMG_1548Two weeks into his new life, we have a routine. He still doesn’t like being alone, but he doesn’t cry as long when you leave him or go to bed. I think it’s really funny (somewhat cruel to him), but he stands up and cries when he wants something. Not only does he stand up, but he walks around for a really long time while doing it with his hands straight down. Since he’s so skinny and long, he looks like a crazy old man! I tried to take a picture of it, but he moves around too much. He isn’t the most photogenic pup out there, but it’s so funny. I put him in the kitchen when I’m eating, and he stands up and walks around most of the time I’m eating. We are working on crate training, and I think this will come overtime. He’s much better than the first week, but still has a long way to go.

IMG_1570Last night, however, I found Morris’s kryptonite! My neighbor invited me to go to the dog park with her and her dog. Schatzi and Amie would find the dog park hell on earth, but I hoped to wear off some of Morris’s energy, and did it ever! Morris LOVES the grass. He loves to lay in it, roll in it, walk in it, you name it. The dog park is a big field of grass where he can run off his leash. I hadn’t seen him so happy. He wasn’t quite sure what to do, but he followed his new friend around. They chased each other, he talked to big dogs through the gate, and tried to follow a ball (he had no clue what to do!). By the end of the night, he kept trying run, but looked forward to resting when his friend did. We finally took them home. IMG_1574When I got inside, he spent most of the evening crying at the front door. He missed his new friend! He’s such a little Romeo. They will go back soon. He even laid down for a bit – just showing how tired he really was. Who knew life could be so much fun! He’ll be going back to the park again soon, since I think it’s good for him to socialize, learn manners, and run out that puppy energy!

Something I appreciate about Morrissey (and dogs) is how appreciative they are of life even though things were rough beforehand. They don’t dwell on it. They take advantage of each day and moment. They move forward and keep going. A lesson all of us can learn from rescue pups. All they need is love and attention – someone to keep them safe!

If you’re interested in adopting this lively puppy, please visit his profile on Petfinder.com. You will need to complete an application through the Charlotte SPCA. He is looking for a safe home that can provide him a lot of love – and grass if you have a yard!

Foster Pup – Becky!

Last week I volunteered to be a foster mom for the Charlotte SPCA. I have a weak spot for animals, but dogs just do me in. Whether it’s in a movie, on the news, or in person, if there is a dog in danger, I can’t handle it. Poor innocent things need a nice home and place to stay! I gained a bigger appreciation for rescue organizations, when my dog (Amie) was rescued from a puppy mill in 2011. She went to the Wake County SPCA when I adopted her. As I am establishing roots in Charlotte, I knew it was time for us to get involved in the community and start making a difference!

The Charlotte SPCA is a mostly-run volunteer network. They don’t have a physical shelter; all of the dogs they rescue from Mecklenburg County Animal Control stay with people. We communicate over Facebook in a private group that numbers almost 700 people! That is so fantastic! That many people believe in this cause enough to volunteer their time. I am very excited to be a part of this busy group of volunteers. But now the important part! You want to see the cutie…

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This is Becky. She is a 4-6 year old Lhasa Alpo, and she is as sweet as can be! I don’t know her backstory, but she was definitely someone’s pet before she came to live here. She LOVES to snuggle and be held. She has take on a new job as my shadow. She follows me everywhere. Even when she is sleeping, if I move just a bit, she has to get up and follow me – even if it’s to the other side of the couch. She’s shy, but she isn’t scared of people (men or women) and is okay around other dogs. She was spayed yesterday; not sure if that is why she hasn’t played with my dogs. I think she is just mellow. They like each other just fine. She will be posted on PetFinder at some point, and I’ll make sure to share the link. In the meantime, the rest of this post should be pictures and captions!

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The first day was an exhausting day. By 9 pm, this is the first time I saw her lay down. Of course, she found a safe, narrow spot on the carpet.

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Day 2 – look who is getting comfortable! I hope her new home doesn’t mind that she likes to be one of the group. I was cooking in the kitchen and couldn’t find her…look here she is!

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Everyone had an interesting first night adjusting to another pup in the house. So worth it. She is going to be a great guest, but we cannot wait for her to find a forever home! She is going to make a family very, very happy.

The Stay-cation – MeckDec Day

Since we didn’t get home until late, I slept in on Saturday morning. (a.k.a. productivity would be missing from my day.) Since I was still tired when I got up, the puppies and I snuggled and watched some silly TV shows instead of running. Eventually, I got going and stopped by work for a bit, then it was back to my stay-cation. May 20 marks MeckDec Day here in Charlotte. MeckDec Day celebrates the signing of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, rumored to be signed about 400 days before the American Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia. It’s a rumored, but a reason for a celebration, nonetheless. I guess it used to be a big celebration in the past – presidents have come to visit the city for this occasion. The most recent visit was Lady Bird Johnson, so it has been a while.

I noticed information about MeckDec Day when I was researching museums. I love museums when I travel, so it only seemed appropriate that I make a point to visit all of Charlotte’s museums. The Charlotte Museum of History advertised a MeckDec Day celebration on Saturday, so I wanted to take part. Best surprise – they had free admission!

This is not the first time I have lived in Charlotte, and is a city I have spent a lot of time visiting over the last 9 years. Most people would never associate Charlotte with history. Its growth is relatively recent and its sparkly skyline is quite new. That being said, I’m learning Charlotte has a lot of history, but it’s quite different than what you’ll find in Northern Virginia or New IMG_9515England. The Charlotte Museum of History helped put this in perspective, and it really exceeded my expectations!

(I need to confess that I had incredibly low expectations for this museum. I’ve been blessed to visit some of the biggest and best museums in the world. This was Charlotte.)

First off the museum was much larger than I expected. IMG_1339I didn’t expect much more than a general welcome center, but it was a large building with several rooms for exhibits and the ability to host events. The main attraction for the museum is the Hezekiah Alexander house. He was a wealthy blacksmith and magistrate living in Mecklenburg County in the 1770s. I was really impressed by this house. I enjoy touring historic houses. My experience with Revolutionary War-period houses is limited to Boston, greater-DC, and a little from Charleston. This is unique because Mecklenburg County/Charlotte was “the West” and not inhabited. Everything else I visited was an urban area and quite a different lifestyle. If you’re in the arIMG_1347ea, I highly recommend visiting. The restoration work has been done well and a lot of research on the house. There is even a spring house which is very cool (even on humid Carolina summer days), which they used as a refrigerator (though not that cold). This desk was also original to the house. Just to think of all of the great work that happened on this desk and the impact that had to his family and the surrounding citizens.

After my visit and informative tour, I decided to have a late brunch somewhere. I ended up at Crispy Crepe in South End. I had a savory crepe and a creme brûlée latte. The latte had cartelized sugar on top – my favorite partIMG_1356 of creme brûlée.  Quite delicious; just wish I would have given myself more time to enjoy.

Then I realized, this isn’t a stay-cation! This is just what people do when they stay home for a weekend. Something I am not familiar with! Man, I can’t wait to get to know Charlotte better and make it home 🙂

The Stay-cation – Kenny Chesney

The way things fell this weekend, I was going to be in Charlotte, so I decided to have a stay-cation. I recently moved to the city, but I haven’t had a lot of chances to explore. Then as I thought about it, I moved here about 5 months ago, which isn’t that recently, so I really needed to step up the exploring. I needed to approach Charlotte like I would any city where I decided to go for the weekend. This included the Kenny Chesney concert on Friday and exploring the city on Saturday.

A little clip of Kenny…

Kenny Chesney is my FAVORITE singer. There is something about his music that just wraps me in and can’t be out done. Friday was one rainy mess in Charlotte, but that wasn’t going to get us down! If it rains, there is nothing you can do but embrace it! We got there late because we had to work, but still had a chance to do a small tailgate in the parking lot. A guy that we parked to was complaining about the rain. I mean, please. We knew all day it was going to rain, t’s an outdoor concert pavilion, AND attending is completely optional. Just saying, but you can’t complain when you make the decision to go. And if you make the decision, best to change your mood/perspective and just go with it. Life will be much happier. Anyway, the concert was fantastic! He played hits from 15 years ago that I hadn’t heard in concert before. Way to go, Kenny! I’m probably your easiest fan to please, but I think my friend, Dan, had a good time, too. We looked like we went swimming by the end of the night – COMPLETELY worth it!

Looks like we just went swimming, but super happy!

Looks like we just went swimming, but super happy!

 

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