a lovely villa in florida

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we just had a pleasant conversation with our next door neighbor. she’s probably one of the most down to earth, unassuming person you’d ever meet. the kids get excited every time she comes over because of her habit of bringing along her homemade cookies and brownies. well, with her own kids all grown and out of the house, she has now decided to sell her house and downsize to something smaller. we were a bit sadden to learn about her decision to move but we totally understand her point of view. it’s all part of the cycle of life, i guess. why keep a 4 bedroom house when you don’t really need all that space, right? since her husband dislikes cold winters, they are planning on heading south. In fact they will be taking a trip next week to check out some villas to buy in Florida. i guess it’s a no-brainer type decision for them since one of their sons currently live down there. they seem to be looking forward to the move and are busy getting their house ready to be put on the market. we are definitely going to miss them but hope they find a beautiful place down in always sunny florida.

soccer dads and teen rehab

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while sweating up a storm out on the soccer field today, cheering on the boys on their first official day of the fall league, I had a chance to catch up with some of the other dads that were standing at the sidelines. the small talk ran the usual course of family vacations, year round school schedules and track-out activities. i don’t exactly recall why but our conversation made a detour somewhere along the way and we ended up talking about young troubled celebrities and Teen Rehab. things went further south when one of the dads suddenly unloads on us all about his 18 year old daughter’s recent treatment at a center called Echo Malibu. the dad mentions that the experience the daughter had at the center was a positive one and that they are well underway in getting their family back to the way they were before his daughter’s problems with addiction pulled them apart. needless to say, things got a bit quiet after that bombshell dropped on us. luckily for us during the awkward lull in the conversation, one of the kids made an incredible pass toward the goal with his teammate at the right place to tap it in for the score. cheers erupted and the heavy moment concerning teen drug addiction thankfully passed. both my 6 year old’s and my 10 year old’s team ended up losing their games today but at least I can say that I NOW know where to turn to if i ever end up with a troubled teen battling drug or alcohol addiction!

ProClear Contact Lenses

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oh sweet!! I finally found an online contact lens retailer that’s carries ProClear Contact Lenses. my optometrist recently switched me over to the ProClear brand and I’ve been really noticing a difference in comfort level compared to the brand i had before. even after short naps (yes, those kids of mine really wear me out sometimes!!) I find that the lenses don’t end up dry or stuck to my eyelid like some lesser brands do. and what i thought was some sort of exclusive at my eye doctor’s office is now available at a discounted price over at the Sanders Contacts website. oh, and be sure to check out their free shipping offer to save even more on your next order.

Mini Schnauzers

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my kids recently got a bad case of “puppy fever” after seeing a neighborhood dog’s litter of Miniature Schnauzer puppies. i have to admit that those puppies are tiny and adorable but i’m still a little cautious about the whole matter of getting one of our own. with three little boys, an additional responsibility in our household might be a bit too taxing for the wife and i. but as my kids have pointed out numerous times, the Miniature Schnauzer is a great breed for a house pet. they don’t shed, they’re small in size, they’re very intelligent and easy to train and the breed is known to be a good pick for families with kids. a friend of mine recommended me looking up Moonlight Kennels since they specialize in Miniature Schnauzers as well as Yorkshire Terriers. the site is a great resource on the two breeds and they even offer AKC-registered puppies for sale through the website. Wanda Smith who has over 25 years experience in dog husbandry personally inspects each and every puppy that is sold through Moonlight Kennels. not only that but each dog is covered by her personal guarantee. the wife and I will continue to discuss this matter for a little while longer but at least I now know where to go when we do decide to get a dog.

Las Vegas

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when one thinks of Las Vegas, the words Sin City, casinos, gambling and glitzy night life usually come to mind. yes, Las Vegas is known for all those things but the city has long matured beyond just being a tourist’s destination. it has become a great place to live and raise a family. with affordable real estate prices, an abundance of beautiful and well-planned residential communities, low unemployment rates and no state income tax, many families are moving in and calling Las Vegas, home. looking through the latest listings of Las Vegas homes for sale at lvrealty.net, one can quickly get a feel of the great offerings available especially the homes in the large scale, masterplanned communities. for the ones that want to be closer to the action, Las Vegas condos are always a nice choice. there are some world class high rise condos that are being built like the City Center and The Residences at MGM Grand, all offering top of the line amenities. to get the latest real estate happenings in and around Las Vegas, check out the Las Vegas blog. and don’t just take my word for it. Las Vegas’ own Ryan Ross, guitarist of the emo wunderkinds Panic! At the Disco was quoted in the May 2007 issue of Blender Magazine saying this about his hometown, “But traveling the world has made us all realize how much we like it here. …I just bought a condo here last week.”

holiday shopping

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you know it’s never too early to shop for the upcoming holiday season. especially with back-to-school specials and tax-free weekends, now’s a great time to get some bargains way ahead of the retail shopping madness that overtakes the malls towards the end of the year. but before you do anything, be sure to head on over to couponchief.com to check for any online coupons that may be available for your favorite stores. you can’t have christmas without buying any toys so check the KBtoys deals section for some great savings on your next purchase. my kids are just begging for a nintendo Wii, so that’s definitely on our family’s christmas list. I just hope nintendo decides to reduce the price of the unit before christmas so that it’ll put less of a strain on our checkbook. another page i always check is the target coupons page. Target is always a family favorite and we can never leave the store without having a cart full of merchandise. books, apparel, groceries, DVDs, CDs, electronics and household items all can be found at Target. and with the couponchief coupon, you can get $5 off your online purchase of $50 or more. with the long shopping list for the upcoming holidays, I’m going to need all the savings i can get!!


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it’s a bit hard to believe but it’s time for us to find a new mattress. even though it somehow feels like we purchased our current mattress fairly recently, the wife informs me that we’ve had our king-sized mattress for close to eight years now. the wife and i have always preferred extra firm beds since they’re recommended for folks with lower back problems. so obviously we’ll continue to select mattresses along those lines. but with all the buzz about Tempur-Pedic mattresses lately, we recently looked into the different types available. i was very impressed with the styles and comfort levels available with Tempur-Pedic over at a Houston furniture site, Gallery Furniture. I wasn’t aware there were so many variations of the bed produced by Tempur-Pedic. from the looks of things, the “BellaSonna” model will be in the running as our next bed. it combines the T-Flex Support technology and the TEMPUR exclusive material with more of a traditional mattress feel and look to it. of course we’re going to have to head on over to the store to physically try it out but it’s definitely on our short list of contenders. it was interesting to learn that Tempur-Pedic also has a line of adjustable beds that aid in those who suffer from sleep apnea. the beds elevate the heads and feet which help in keeping open a sleeper’s airway.

projector rentals

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first impressions are always important especially when on a sales call. you need to be at the top of your game, exuding pure confidence in yourself as well as in your product. on top of all that you also need a well produced multimedia presentation that can be projected onto a large screen for a room full of stone-faced executives. with airlines being stricter with what can be carried-on onto their planes, it can get to be a bit of a hassle lugging around a laptop and a professional grade digital projector. well the solution for this is to rent a projector from Projector123.com and have it shipped a day in advance to the hotel that you’re staying at. whether you need a Des Moines projector rental or one in Charlotte, Projector123 can FedEx a projector to you anywhere in the U.S. and don’t worry, they check and test every single projector that goes out to make sure the unit that you’re receiving will be in tip top working order. so let Projector123 worry about getting the digital projector to you because you’ve got more important things to worry about like those stone-faced executives you’ll be presenting to.

compare credit card offers

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it’s a bit disconcerting to hear how consumers in this country spent more than what they made last year with savings rates at their lowest point since the Great Depression. nowadays it’s just *so every day* to have credit card debt. i remember back when i was growing up, credit cards were pretty hard to come by, maybe even a status symbol. now it seems everyone and their dog carries one. but now with all this debt, one should always keep an eye open for lower rates. high interest rates can make it almost impossible to pay off the remaining balance on a card. to get some help, head on over to CardGuide where you can compare credit cards and find the ones that offer lower rates, lower fees or even cards that offer 0% balance transfers. it seems to me that if you have a balance on a high interest rate card, the best thing to do is find an offer from a reputable bank with a no fee balance transfer and low intro rate and get your balance transferred over as soon as possible. oh, and the advice nowadays is to never close out a credit card account that’s in good standing. closing an account lowers your credit score. so even if you stop using that high interest rate card and have no remaining balance on the card, it’s best not to close it out. simply cut up the card and leave the account alone. find out more by heading over to the CardGuide website.

digital cameras

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with most of us conditioned to the immediacy and convenience of digital cameras, you’d probably be hard pressed to find folks willing to go back to film based cameras. i[ve had my ol’ trusty Sony DSC-P8 point and shoot for years and even though it’s a bit dated in terms of megapixels and features, I really like the size of it which allows me to take it just about anywhere. even though i would really love one of those new entry-level dSLRs like the Nikon D40x, the larger body size might somehow impede me from having it with me at those times when great photo opportunities occur. but obviously the downside of having a pocket sized digicam is the lack of a powerful zoom. this was very noticeable at events like the recent Serving Up Aces tennis match that i attended a couple weeks ago where i could have used a better zoom lens than the one my little DSC-P8 was capable of. if i did go with something more up to date, instead of going with a bulky dSLR, i’d probably go with a compact camera with a powerful zoom and optical stabilization like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3K. it’s a little larger than my old Sony but with the 10X zoom, it’s a good compromise.
when you have little kids like i do, having a digital camera is a must in order to capture all of their precious moments. the little ones grow up and change so fast, digital photos help us parents look back and marvel at their transformations.


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with the ever mounting stress of work, bills, the kids, the wife, the in laws, the house, the yard, the neighbors, traffic and so on, there’s got to be some sort of way to release all this pressure before one blows, right? well, there is. it’s called paintball. believe it or not, paintball is a sport that 10 million people across the U.S. play every year. it involves strategy, teamwork, good communication and some shooting skill. there’s nothing like getting a group of friends together for some “capture the flag” action out in the open air. planning out strategies, the camaraderie among the team and the thrill of shooting at the opponents all work to melt the stress away. the sport definitely works as a stress reliever and it’s getting to a point where i need this type of stress relief pretty regularly. I recently checked out Ultimate Paintball to purchase my own paintball gun. owning your own paintball equipment can definitely help in getting you the edge over the opponent. with the right gun, one can easily improve accuracy, consistency and increase the rate of fire. yes, just being out and about with your friends and having a blast in a game of paintball definitely blows away the stress i must say. but being on the winning team can make your day even twice as sweet. heh.

portable DVD players

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portable DVDi’ve been recently searching for a new portable DVD player for the car. there are some great new models with nice features available like large widescreens that swivel and support for rewritable discs and the ability to decode mp3 and jpeg formats. after a long afternoon of searching, it seems that the best deals can be found over at Abt electronics. with great prices and free shipping, i’m most definitely going with them for all my online electronics purchases. i highly recommend browsing their site and while you’re there be sure to sign up for their online newsletter for a chance to win a $500 gift card.

chicagoland real estate

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some of you long time readers of the blog may already know this about me but i spent a part of my childhood growing up in the chicagoland area believe it or not. I have very fond memories of that part of my life including the schools that i attended and the friends i had. i even remember riding my bike down to wrigley field and wait around for home runs that are hit out of the ballpark. it was a simpler time back when i was young and i’m not too sure it’s still safe for youngsters to ride around town unsupervised like that. man, i rode my bike everywhere in those days. my friends and i would even bike ride all the way down to the lincoln park zoo which was pretty crazy when i think back on it now. ahh, what would i give to go back to those simpler days of my youth. oh the memories. i was reminded of those days when i encountered a blog entry about the Taste of Chicago event held earlier this month. while reading the blog i noticed that this website also has an online chicago home search feature that i actually spent a good hour or so on just to get a feel on the housing market in and around the chicagoland area. the folks at suburbanhousehunters have also conveniently put together relocation guides for all the major communities around the chicagoland area which includes helpful links to school info, local government info, food, entertainment and not to mention the nearest golf courses. i know, i know, they say “you can’t go home again” but a man can dream, right? and hey, if i end up with a great career opportunity in Chicago, at least I now know where to get my relocation and real estate information.


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home improvementsnowadays you’ll find more and more homeowners choosing HardiPlank over vinyl siding for their homes. it’s a clear choice when comparing them side by side. HardiPlank is thicker and more durable than vinyl. it’s also resistant against fire, insects and warping. and more importantly, HardiPlank adds more to the resale value of your home than vinyl siding. if you’re in the houston area be sure to remember All-Tex Exteriors the next time you’re planning on any type of home improvement. All-Tex Exteriors are the leaders in Houston siding. in fact they’ve earned the status as the James Hardie Platinum Level Contractor. head on over to their website to learn more about their home improvement services and to schedule for a free estimate.

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