Walk, Bike, Pogo This Way!

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Last week I walked to work and it felt great. Yesterday, I rode my bike to work  and I could not stop smiling! I felt like a kid again! What I am trying to get at, is this Things To Do Thursday, try getting somewhere, anywhere, differently.

Here are some options:

Walk – The great part about walking is that you only need a decent pair of shoes, which makes it completely cost-efficient.

Bike – You will get there much more quickly than walking, but cost does go up a little (unless you’re into fancy walking shoes). It’s easier and easier to find a bike at a yard sale or Target!

Skate – Rollerblades or the traditional quad skates are amazing. I know rollerblades may not be the coolest right now, but if you grew up in the 80’s & 90’s like I did, you know you still want to use them.

Carpool – When I lived in Los Angeles I only dreamed of having a co-worker or someone that worked around LA that I could carpool with. I even thought of putting a car seat in my car, but that would have been completely horrible and not to mention illegal. Even if your commute does not take two hours to get there, carpooling is fabulous for your mind and your wallet.

Public Transportation – I am envious of New York or countries where public transportation is king! I would love to hop on a subway or grab the “whatever it may be” into town. To be able to mingle with different people, aromas, and sights on a daily basis would be such a mind massage!

These were the only options I could come up with…besides Pogo, which I do not need to elaborate on. If you have any other ideas in mind, please let Polka Dot Tango know!!!!

Watch the Sunrise or Sunset!!!

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Reflect on your day by watching the sunset.

This Things to do Thursday, why not make an effort to take some time out of your day and simply watch the sunset. I would say watch the sunrise, but you will have to wait until tomorrow for that. Watching the sunrise and sunset always leaves me feeling a sense of calm but excitement. Each resemble a new beginning and an end, which either one can be refreshing depending on the kind of day you had. What’s also great about sunrise and sunset is that EVERYONE can watch them. You can walk out your front door and view its beauty.

Every blue moon I catch the sunrise, I kick myself in the butt because I can’t stand the fact that I don’t take the time to see that many of them. They are so serene and completely different than a sunset. As the sun comes up I feel like I am ultimately taking the day in my hands from the very beginning and not taking advantage of it. It is empowering to see the day unfold right before my eyes.

To give you some reasons to catch the sunset this evening, or many other evenings from now, I have collected some personal photos of mine. Enjoy and let Polka Dot Tango know if you are going to try and catch the sunrise tomorrow!

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Lunch Date at the Zoo!

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What a wonderful place the local Zoo is! Here in Fresno, they have the Fresno Chaffee Zoo, filled with more animals than you would expect and a newly added sea lion exhibit. I had not been to the zoo in years and figured it would be great to visit all those lovely animals on the first of the year. There are so many reasons to visit your local zoo, such as supporting your community, learning about animals, getting exercise in an exciting environment, and of course experiencing the petting zoo! Take a look at some of the beautiful animals I encountered during the visit. I am sure that you will want to go soon after viewing them!!! ROAR!

I got to feed a giraffe! Very exciting and very slobbery! Loved it!!!

I got to feed a giraffe! Very exciting and very slobbery! Loved it!!!

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Just woke up from a nap.

This guy had the longest hair I had ever seen, which is probably why his lady friends was grooming him the entire time.

This guy had the longest hair I had ever seen, which is probably why his lady friends was grooming him the entire time.

He was definitely the trouble maker.

He was definitely the trouble maker.

I LOVE flamingos. They remind me of ballerinas.

I LOVE flamingos. They remind me of ballerinas.

Well hello cutie!

Well hello cutie!

Stunning!

Stunning!

Look at those eyes!

Look at those eyes!

Nature always amazes me!

Nature always amazes me!

Ahhhhh yeah...

Ahhhhh yeah…

So, we fell in love with this little guy and were trying to figure out how we could take him home.

So, we fell in love with this little guy and were trying to figure out how we could take him home.

The pelican. My favorite animal.

The pelican. My favorite animal.

I think this snake ate a glow stick.

I think this snake ate a glow stick.

So poisonous yet so adorable.

So poisonous yet so adorable.

She woke up VERY hungry.

She woke up VERY hungry.

Sooooooo relaxing....

Sooooooo relaxing….

How can you NOT smile when you look at this!?!

How can you NOT smile when you look at this!?!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Firing LIne

Self protection or for recreation, The Firing Line is a great new gun range to learn how to shoot a gun.

They offer one-on-one training as well as numerous group classes. There is an option for daily use or yearly memberships. Corporate memberships are available as well. (Great deal for employees!!)

“The Firing Line was founded in 2011 and opened in March of 2012, providing the first 25yd indoor pistol and pistol-caliber rifle shooting range available in California’s central valley. We provide the public with a place to learn proper firearms safety and handling in a relaxed yet disciplined and professional environment at affordable prices. The Firing Line is staffed by experienced professionals and designed for both recreational and training purposes. At The Firing Line, we believe everyone with access to a firearm should be knowledgeable, comfortable, confident, and safe. We are dedicated to promoting responsible ownership by providing a safe, clean family friendly environment. “-The Firing Line’s website

Last Sunday I went and had one-on-one training with Natalie. She was very informative. Talks to you about gun safety and teaches you the proper way to hold a gun before entering the actual range. I would recommend it to any one who wants to learn how to shoot a gun. I’m hoping to book another session with her soon and move on to a more powerful gun. They have plenty there to rent or you can bring your own.

Check out there website for location and more information. The Firing Line

Things to do Thursday: Start a budget! $$$

I’ve been receiving paychecks for 10 years now and I have never sat down and put together a budget until this month. My main goal is to limit my spending on dining out and clothes in hopes to pay off my car loan ASAP. It’s quite simple to plan out your budget, it’s actually trying to follow this budget that get’s hard. I used the the budget worksheet from about.com. You can always copy and paste this into Excel and edit it to fit your needs.

First you need to fill in all of your income and then deduct the taxes that are taken out of your checks. Next fill out what expenses and investments you are expecting to pay for the month. Add them up at the bottom, subtract them from your income subtotal to see if you’ll have a surplus or a shortage of money for the month. (Be sure to place that surplus into your savings account!) Now for the next month, keep track of all your expenses and jot them down into the “Monthly Actual Amount”. Once the month is over be sure to compare what you budgeted for and what you actually spent. You of course want to stay within the budget you set and this can give you a sense of what you may need to work on to keep within the budget. Using cash as much as possible can really help you keep within your budget. There’s just something too easy about overspending by just sliding a credit card without really thinking about how much you’re actually spending.

Here is some “Budgeting Basics” from about.com to help you out even more.

What is a Budget?

A budget is nothing more than a breakdown and plan of how much money you have coming in and where it goes. Could you imagine a business becoming successful if it didn’t keep track of its income and expenses? The same holds true when it comes to your personal finances. If you don’t know how much money you have coming in and where it goes, your road to financial success will be a difficult one.

The biggest fear that most people have when creating a budget is that they will need to suddenly cut back on all of the fun spending — things like the occasional coffee or dinner out, movie night, or even the trip to grandma’s for the holidays. While you may find that you do need to cut some spending after putting together a budget, without actually sitting down and creating one, it is impossible to know what expenses need to be cut, if any.

Tracking Income

The first step in creating a budget is to determine how much income you have. This is quite easy and typically only requires you to take a look at your pay stub. Of course, if you’re married, be sure to include your spouse’s income as well. In addition to your regular pay, you’ll want to also include any other sources of income you may have, such as dividends, interest, a side business, and so on.

Tracking Expenses

Now that you know how much income you have coming in, it’s time to take a look at your monthly expenses. Start with the regular and fixed payments you have, such as your mortgage or rent, car payments, insurance, debt and taxes. For most people, these are going to be relatively fixed, meaning you can’t easily change the amount that is due each month.

After you’ve listed your fixed monthly expenses, it is time to dig deeper to find out where the rest of your money goes. Take out your checkbook or pull your latest bank statement to help you with this step. Jot down how much you spend on things like utilities, groceries, entertainment, subscriptions, and so on. This handy worksheet can help you with keeping track of expenses.

The Bottom Line

You should now have all of the information needed to help you create your budget. So, go ahead and total up your monthly income and all of your monthly expenses. Subtract your expense total from your income total and you’ll have either a positive or negative number. If you have a positive number, congratulations, you are spending less than you earn. Don’t worry if you have a negative number. The whole reason for creating a budget is to identify deficiencies and find out how to address them.

Now that you can visually see how much you fall short, you can adjust your spending or saving in certain areas to improve the situation. Oftentimes you’ll realize that by just making a few small adjustments to your spending habits, you can significantly improve your situation. Maybe this means cutting back on one of your magazine subscriptions, eating out one time less a month, or even just hitting the matinee instead of the prime time movie. Typically, just saving a few dollars here and there can be enough to not only make sure you spend less than you earn, but also apply a few extra dollars to things like high-interest credit card debt or your retirement savings.

Clean Out Your Closet!

This Things to Do Thursday, we are all about cleaning out our closets! This task can be stressful, but it can also help relieve stress in more ways than one! Firstly, any kind of organization is a sort of cleansing of the soul and secondly, you can sleep in ten extra minutes cause you know where your stuff is! Here’s one very truthful statement  ZenHabits.net had to say about clutter:

“Clutter is holding onto the past, or fear of the future”

I would highly recommend visiting this site to read the rest of the article…it is very eye opening! Now on to the rest of our article! Below is a little list to help you get started in cleaning out your closet. Don’t make it a chore, relax and go with it. Yes, there will be those items that may bring you to tears but honestly, what has it done for you lately?

• If you have any stacked clothes, take a look at what’s on the bottom of these piles. Most likely they are clothes you almost never wear.

• Put all clothing that you have worn in the last year in one pile.

• Pile up clothes that you have not worn in the last year.

• Of course there is a “maybe” pile! At the end of your closet clean try those clothes on.

• Any clothes that have a special meaning? I have my wedding dress, lettermen’s jackets, the top I was wearing when my husband proposed…anything like that? Bag it and put it somewhere safe, in the attic or in the corner of the closet.

• Can’t decide if you want to get rid of something? Ask yourself these questions:
1. How many times have I questioned myself about this item?
2. How old was I when I last wore this?
3. Is it still in good condition?

• When going through your shoes, check to see if a cobbler can fix them if they are an absolute must keep.

If you are at a happy and healthy weight, do not keep those pants that are five sizes too big. Congratulate yourself for being happy and healthy and replace them with a new pair!

• When all else fails, grab a friend and ask for their opinion. A friend that will unfortunately tell you the truth.

• When you have finally finished the cleansing of the closet, you have several choices of what you can do with the ones you no longer want:
1. Gather some friends and do a clothing exchange.
2. Sell your clothes to a store that will re-sell them.
3. Sell them at a garage sale.
4. Donate them.

• Keep in mind that if you decide to do this all in one day, relax, turn on the music, and remind yourself that you will ultimately feel better in the end. If doing this in one day seems like a daunting task then break it up into several days or into chunks of minutes!

Good luck and let Polkadot Tango know what you do to de-clutter! Here’s some inspirational closets to get your de-clutter vibes going!

We can all dream!



 

 

 

Tutorial Tuesday: Coasters

This is a quick way to make some cute coasters that make great gifts.
I got this idea from my friend Kaitlyn.

You will need:
Square tiles
(I would recommend you buy flat ones so you don’t end up with bubbles like mine did)
Scrap book paper
Collage Pauge Instant Decoupage

Cut your pieces of scrapbook paper to the size of your tiles.

Brush on a coat of Collage Pauge.

Place your cut piece of paper onto the glued tile. Add a coat of Collage Pauge over the paper. Make sure to get all sides of the paper glued down. Let dry.

I like the texture effect the glue leaves when using a thick bristle brush.

Things to do Thursday: Cheap dates

Is your wallet lacking cash? Or are you just trying to save up some money but you still want to have a fun time out with that special person in your life? You don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a great time. There are plenty of things to do around town for about $20 or less per person. Here are a few examples:

United Artist Theater Clovis: Missed a movie that you wanted to see that was recently in theaters? Well it’s most likely now playing at UA Clovis theater. And for only $3.00. They may not have stadium seating but at least you’ll be able to afford some popcorn and sodas without draining your entire bank account!

Cal Skate Clovis: Not only is roller skating fun, but it’s a great work out for those legs! And it’ll make you feel like you’re back in junior high again! They also offer a discount for those who pay in cash. With the cash discount you’ll pay $9.00 per person. You can save even more money if you bring in your own skates.

Gateway Ice Center: Ice skating is a blast! But make sure to dress warm. (even if going in the middle of June) Admission is $7.00 plus an additional $4.00 for the skate rental.

Metal Mark: A day pass at this rock climbing gym will cost you only $15 and offer a “full package” of equipment rental if you don’t have any for only $6. They also offer fitness classes and monthly passes.

Woodward Park: Pack up a healthy lunch into a basket and grab a blanket. Enjoy the day outdoors and have a nice relaxing picnic date.

Engelmann Winery: Check out last week’s “Things to do Thursday” post.

Drive In Theater: I haven’t been to a drive in theater since a kid but I think it would be a great way to spend a date night. Unfortunately all the theaters in Fresno have shut down but a quick 30 minute drive will get you to the Madera drive in theater.

Bowling: Check out this past post: Things to do Thursday: Bowlerama

Mini Golf: Check out this past post: Things to do Thursday: Mini Golf

Or just stay in with a bottle of wine and a few different board games.

Still need more ideas? Check out these 50 cheap date ideas from Marie Claire.
And leave any other ideas you have in our comments section.

Things to do Thursday: Wine Tasting

Although this is a “Things to do Thursday” post, it’s something you can only do on Friday nights.

All summer long, Engelmann Cellars has a wine tasting night in which they provide live music each Friday night.
It’s free to get in (21 & over) but you must bring your own chair or blanket to sit on.
Pack up a picnic basket of goodies. (There is also food available for purchase)
Bring your own wine glasses as well, which is $5.00 to fill up or you can buy a bottle at a time.
And don’t forget your dancing shoes!

This event runs every Friday night until the end of September from 7PM- 10PM.

*And August 3rd is Rocky Horror Picture Show night!*

Tutorial Tuesdays: Striped Anchor Tote Bag

Anchors are my thang! (I even have a tattoo) So when I had a chance to make a craft project at work, I of course had to make something fun to take to the beach. So I sketched out my project and it luckily came out exactly how I expected it to. I wish I could have taken better pictures but it wasn’t possible with how busy I was at work.

Items used for this project:
Tulip Soft Paints: Turquoise, Holiday Green, & Mandarin Orange
Tulip Slicks: Turquoise
Tulip Fashion Glitter: Turquoise & Glitter Bond
Tote Bag
Painters Tape
Freezer Paper
Felt
Exacto Knife
Paint Brush
Rope

I first used painters tape to make 2″ stripes across the bag and painted the stripes Mandarin Orange.

Once it’s dry, I removed the tape. I used an exacto blade to cut out an anchor from freezer paper. Ironed on the freezer paper to the bag. I then mixed the Holiday Green and Turquoise Soft Paints( to match the color of the Turquoise Slick paint) to paint the anchor. Once it’s dry, remove the freezer paper and outline with the Slicks 3D paint.

With the felt, I cut out a smaller anchor and covered both sides with the turquoise glitter. I then cut a small hole with the exacto blade to string to the tote bag.