Monday, December 31, 2007

After Christmas Clearance

I love to shop the after Christmas clearance. The day after Christmas I went to Wal-Mart. I picked up some hairbrush/hairbow kits for the shoeboxes that I put together each year for Samaritan's Purse. I also bought some bath toy kits and other small things such as lipgloss. I like to use these throughout the year for my kid's birthdays, Easter presents, etc.

Today I was at Target and they already have their stuff marked 75% off. I was able to get a star for my tree for $5 rather than $20. I also purchased a jewelry box for $7.50. I wanted a jewelry box for Christmas, but couldn't justify paying $60-80 for one. This one wasn't that expensive and it's not exactly what I wanted, but the price was right. It will last me for many more years. When I get tired of it, I can always pass it down to my daughter or sell it at a yard sale for $5. :)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Rave: Chick-Fil-A

I was out shopping today and decided to stop at Chick-Fil-A. I rarely stop there because of the prices. I'm too much of a tightwad to spend $5 on fast food when I know I can get a sit down meal for the same.

Anyway, I decided to splurge on the Chick-Fil-A meal. I drove up to the drive thru and could not believe the line. It was wrapped completely around the store. My van was almost blocking the exit of the drive thru. As I pulled around, I saw a man standing on the sidewalk talking to customers in their cars. I could hardly believe what I was seeing.

Eventually, the man came to my van. He asked me if I knew what I wanted to order. I told him I did. He placed my order over his headset, told me my total, took my money, and in just a few moments another man came outside with my food and condiments. The man delivering the food was dressed nicely and did not appear to be in uniform. I'm guessing he was the owner.

I was in and out of Chick-Fil-A in a flash. When I drove up I was certain it was going to take 20 minutes to get my food. The people serving were very polite and when I left the man wished me a "Merry Christmas". It was a great experience.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans are a money-saving addition to a room: using the fan during both winter and summer can lower your heating and cooling costs, and a ceiling fan that also has a light fixture means that you will more than likely not need to purchase additional light fixtures for that room.

We have had ceiling fans in nearly every room in both of the homes we have purchased. (We've only ever owned one home at a time.) In the first home we purchased, almost all of the fans needed to be replaced, and we found nice Hunter fans on clearance. They served us well, being both attractive and functional.

Our current home had no ceiling fan or light fixture in the living room, which we found rather odd. We ended up purchasing two nice standing floor lamps for $10 apiece, and they have solved our lighting problems. We still have not installed a ceiling fan, and we really need to do that. No-name or Casablanca fans, it really doesn't matter to me what brand we buy. I just want a decent and sturdy fan at a cheap price.

How often do you use your ceiling fans?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Attractions in Vienna and Germany

I've talked about Austrian attractions, including the famous Hofburg museum. There is so much to see and explore in this area of the world. It's nice to know that if I ever do get to travel to this region, there are plenty of Wien hotels from which to choose.

If you travel to Vienna, you might as well take the extra time to visit famous German cities, including Munich and Berlin. Berlin attractions include the Pergamon Museum, Brandenburge Gates, and more. Lodging is easily found at one of the many hotels in Berlin.

Travel in Munich should include stops at Marienplatz and the Olympic village. (How great would it feel to stand where your Olympic favorite/s stood?) End your day's journey with a good night's sleep at one of the hotels in Muenchen.

Other Germany attractions to view include the Bavarian Alps, Leipzig, and Lubeck. I love skiing and would be thrilled to get a chance to ski in the Alps. There are a wide variety of hotels in Deutschland (Germany), and I am sure that finding affordable lodging would not present any difficulty.

Have you ever been to Vienna or Germany? What was your favorite part of your trip?

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Search Engine Optimization

So you've started a blog. Now all you have to do is sit back and wait for people to stop by, right? Wrong! This blogosphere in which you now "reside" is a vast domain, and many little blogs languish without ever being discovered. You have to help people find you.

There are several ways to do this, and I recommend using a combination of methods.
  • Visit other blogs and leave relevant comments. (To have a friend you must first be a friend, right?) Whatever you do, please do not go around leaving irrelevant or, worse yet, spam comments. That is a good way to get people mad at you in a hurry. Do make sure you enter your blog's URL in the appropriate box so people can find you.
  • Participate - in forums, memes, carnivals, and contests. These are great traffic builders.
  • Optimize your blog for search engine visibility. Common Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices include making keywords bold, writing succinct titles stating what the post content will discuss, adding meta tags and keywords to your template code, and submitting your blog to web directories.
The first two tips are easy to implement. The third one is a bit harder. There is quite a bit to learn about SEO, and some people prefer to accept the services of experts in the field. SEO companies increase your search engine visibility when you take advantage of their submission services or other SEO services. Many companies offer their own blog or podcast, where you can glean SEO ideas.

No matter which of my tips you choose to implement, making changes to your blogging practice will certainly only help your blog. What are your favorite traffic boosting tips?