Sunday, July 21, 2013

Enjoying Your Summer Staycation

Vacation dollars do not always extend to the costs of airline tickets, rental cars, or even daily refills for the gas tank-- especially if you have a large or blended family.  Don't despair!  Travel agencies, fugal friends gave me ideas, and I've included ventures of my own.

"it's all about attitude, says Teresa Mears editor-in-chief of  "If you treat a Staycation as a true vacation, then it will feel like one."  No chores, no errands, no work.  Let the office know you are off.  Take photos and treasure the time you have together.  

Plan ahead.  Make a list of attractions, events and festivals.  I enjoy local and small theater.  Give every family member a chance to select something.  Living in SoCal, we can drive to San Diego in less than two hours.  The morning can be spent at Mission Bay where we enjoy a picnic lunch.  Sea World and the San Diego Zoo offer discount tickets online or via media promos.  A walk around Old Town is no/ low coat with numerous restaurants or street fare.  

A trek in to L.A. Is low cost via the Metrolink weekend pass.  Universal City Walk is free (the park charges admission.  If you pack a thermos of coffee, bottled water and snacks, the family can window shop, celebrity hunt, and experience L.A.

Orange County offers Dosneyland and Knotts Berry Farm-- both of which have areas to walk, eat, shop and just soak up the sunshine and atmosphere without entrance fees ( free!).
History buffs can always locate an adventure.  Locally, there is Route 66.  This a vertical treasure of ways to spend your vacation:  movie Stars of old stayed, traveled and ate at local establishments. (Sycamore Inn was mobster's fav place to dine when at his Etawanda hideout, the Black Dalia's last meal was consumed there).  While The Magic Lamp hosted The Rat Pack, Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe.

Local libraries have events: Coffee Tasting and paring ( like a wine tasting event), story time and movie night, craft classes and the summer reading program.  

Remember to snag local hotel deals.  Many hotels offer Staycation deals for locals. Call the hotel the day you want to go ans ask for the manager's dis punt or offers.  Don't forget to check AAA or AARP.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Mastering the "Selfie"

Chances are you have seen, or have tried to take a "selfie"--a self-portrait head shot shared on social media sites. Is there a way to make smartphone pics more flattering?  Trial and error, as well as conversations with avid smartphone photographers netted some useful tips.

  • Flash you pearly whites.  Smile with your eyes and you will look energetic.
  • Face the light. This is particularly helpful if you have a scar or less than perfect skin.
  • Use editing apps. Filters and enhancements can create different moods.  A "selfie" for a professional website will look different than a "selfie" for fun fashion blog.
  • Play with angles. My personal fav is the 'tilt' by tilting your head down to create the illusion of larger eyes and a smaller jaw. 
Everyone has an idea of her/his best feature.  Experiment.  Discover what works best for you.