Monday, March 21, 2011

AN Window and Lawn - Two Teenagers Success Story

AN Window Washing and Lawn Care

Last night, I watched the amazing "Social Network." Oh - my - goodness. What an amazing documentary! How inspiring! And how smart the Harvard students are. Whenever I here success stories such as that one for young people, it does inspire me. And of course, I want to shout it out to the world, hopefully loud enough to inspire someone else. Let me introduce you to AN Window and Lawn Services.

While yes, this may be on a much smaller scale that Mark (Facebook CEO) did, but everything starts somewhere. Nathan (now 18) and Andy (18) began a lawn and window service a year ago. Doesn't sound too exciting?

Just take a look at their website - AN Window and Lawn
Their blog
Facebook Page

Their website is better designed than a lot of websites that I have seen by adults. It's one thing to start a business - it's another to have a web presence that grows your business to something that makes money and helps you gain clients.

The message of this story? Anyone can do something if you put your mind to it and don't let anything get in your way. Keep going, it will happen.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Book Review: Slept Away

Slept Away

I’ve been traveling home with my family from California back to Minnesota and it’s been a looong, very cramped ride. I’m sitting in the backseat right now, we’ve been driving since a little after 7:00 this morning and its 6:22 at night right now. We’ll be driving until we reach home at 12:00 (thanks GPS!) this morning. It’s such a long and boring drive, but it’s given me time to catch up on some great books! I finished “Slept Away” today and thought that it was perfect for the drive, it is light hearted, witty, and easy to read. I did get annoyed at Laney’s over dramatization that could be found on almost every page, however, in all it was a great book perfect for a summer day or a long road trip!

Laney and her best friend Kennedy are making plans for an amazing summer. Laney? She would love to apprentice in the Fashion world and snag up some awesome swag, while Kennedy is getting a nose job. However, Laney’s summer is turned upside down when her mom announces that she’s shipping her off to a six week summer camp in Pennsylvania. Keep in mind that Laney has lived in New York her entire life, sky scrapers everywhere she looks. When she reaches camp, it’s even worse than she expected, the other girls her age find any reason to pick on her, and she’s definitely not used to the nature and less than top notch facilities that surround her. However, she finds a friend, making her stay somewhat bearable. Laney soon realizes how truly valuable her new friendship is when she helps her through the worst of times and embarrassment – especially following the humiliation of the swimming competition that she is forced to compete in. By the end of camp, while Laney doesn’t ever wish to go back to camp, she finds that she wouldn’t take it back and the new friendships that she made and the better person that she became because of it. “Slept Away” is another book that your going to want to add to your summer beach bag (because Summer’s really is just around the corner, isn’t it? *glances outside at the 3 foot snow drifts*

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Book Review..."Fallen Grace"

Fallen Grace

Grace, just shy of 16 who cares for her older sister by a year, Lily, as if she were the older of the two rather than the other way around finds herself and Lily living in the harsh poverty that many of Londons citizens faced around the time of the 1840’s. Grace and Lily struggle to make enough money by selling watercress on the streets, while trying to move up in ranks in the world, and while Lily’s hoping her Father that left for sea when they were young would return, Grace struggles with the sadness and that came from the death of her baby and the struggles of their current conditions. However, soon a advertisement in “The Mercury” announced that whomever found Lily and their now passed away mother would receive ten percent of the huge amount of money left behind for them. However, Lily and Grace have no idea that the entire law community of London is abuzz over them and when the secret unfolds, and Grace has figured out the vulgar secret of their current employers, she must find a way to make things right again.

Though the characters may be fictional, they seem as real as the historical accuracy in a good historic novel, such as “Fallen Grace” written by Mary Hooper. In “Fallen Grace” the characters are told in such a manner that you begin to relate to them in a unique way, as if you were a family member trying your best to look after them yourself. I found “Fallen Grace” to have a lot of great aspects, the time setting was perfect and I really enjoyed a story about a different type of trade that two poor sisters had found themselves in, funerals, which then forth piques the reader’s interest of the effects of cholera and the harsh burying situations that had become so apparent in those trying times. “Fallen Grace” was a wonderful historical fiction that was clever and unique at the same time. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and am looking forward to more of Mary Hoopers works!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Traveling with the Family

My family an I travel a lot. In fact, we just got back from a 2 month vacation in California. Yup, you read it right, 2 months! In the camper. 2 teenagers, 2 adults and one dog. It got cramped, it got stinky, it got crowded, and it even got moldy, at times. Would I have taken it back? Not a chance. Our family is used to driving for 16 hours straight - in a few days we are going on a 4 hour drive to see our family, that will feel like nothing! One good thing about traveling a lot is that you begin to learn the ins and outs of saving money (because it does cost a lot!) and having fun. Lets just call it camper hacking.

1) Pay for campgrounds ahead of time.
That way you'll be sure that they won't be booked when you get there. Especially if your visiting campgrounds that are in popular areas - in particular - beaches. It's great to support state and national parks and beaches, many of them have camping with hook ups and the sights are gorgeous! Plus, your helping to preserve the land. In California, many of the parks are closing because of lack of funds, it really is sad!

2) Stock up on essentials.
Sometimes its hard to find a good grocery store when your camping - especially in touristy towns where the food will be very high priced. Stock up on things you know you'll need and that won't go bad, such as cereal.

3) Go to museums for free.
Museums and aquariums are a lot of fun to learn about the area and explore different things. Something that a lot of people might not know about is that often the smaller ones will have a day of the month that admission is free! Usually it's on weekdays, but it's a great deal!

4) Free entertainment.
Find things to do that are fun and free! Beaches are often free to go to, hiking is always a fun option, you can also talk to residents in the area to find fun things to do on the cheap!

5) Gas up!
Gas is often very highly priced in touristy towns, or towns that are very rural. On our trip, we noticed that diesel was high pretty much everywhere ($4+) except in towns such as Las Vegas!

6) Doggie waste....
There's always grumbling when it comes to cleaning up the pooches poop. Save plastic bags from Walmart or other stores to use while camping!

7) Plane tickets
Flying? It can be hard to cough up the money for an expensive plane ticket. So, why not find a cheap one? Spend extra time searching through sites such as Travelocity and Priceline.

8) Add up those miles
There are loads of sources to getting air miles, that you can redeem for great trips! A great resource to learn more about this is - which I was a member of during our trip, great program Chris has put together!

9) Triple A
You wouldn't believe all of the times Triple A has swooped in to save the day. For $10, it's worth it. You'll be thanking me when you lock your keys in the truck, or be stranded on the side of the road because the gas wasn't reaching the lines due to the very steep mountains! (Yes, it's happened!)

10) Have fun.
You'll make mistakes. You'll find yourself in crazy situations. Just remember to laugh through them and make light of them. In a few years, you very well might remember them better than the rides at Disney World.

Traveling is a lot of fun, there's so much to see in the world! Don't let the economy stop you, I hope you can put some of these tips to good use!

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Alamo blogging program, for a gift card worth $25. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

Saturday, March 5, 2011

666 Park Avenue.

666 Park Avenue

There’s the chic – high society, Gossip Girl books. There’s the haunting Twilight series. Both loved by many, teens and adults alike, but reading “666 Park Avenue” by Gabriella Pierce is like indulging into a mixture of the best of both worlds. Paranormalcy mixed with high society makes this book unique and keep you hanging on to find out what’s going to happen next.

Jane has fallen head over heels with her fiancĂ©, Malcolm and after living her entire life in France, they head to the family home in New York. After stopping at her Grandmothers, her only family member that she has left, to announce her exciting news and say goodbye, she finds out that she died and finds a disturbing letter and ring to go along with the news. Jane, trying to ignore her newly found powers, keeps it a secret from her fiancĂ© and plays along with her to-be stepmother’s crazy wedding plans that have nothing to do with Jane’s own wishes. However, she soon begins to unravel the horrifying secrets of the family that she is marrying into and realizes her step mother’s ulterior motive, and begins to hide her powers from her step mother until her and Malcolm can safely escape after the wedding and vanish from the New York scene. However, as Jane’s own powers begin to grow, she finds out an even more terrifying secret that Malcolm had been keeping from her, and finds her in a deadly position. Will Jane find her way back to safety? What will happen with her relationship with Malcolm? There’s only one way to find out.

I really enjoyed reading this novel; it was so different from any other paranormal book that I’ve read and was such a nice change! I am excited that this will be a series and will be anxiously awaiting the next. When I look back at reading the book, in some aspects I feel like the characters were at time, hard to relate to and “really” get in their heads and feel what they were feeling like some books, however the great story line, the vivid writing, and the occasional haunting feel well made up for it and I was pleased to find that “666 Park Avenue” is a book that I would recommend!

I received a copy of this book to review and give my 100% honest opinion on.