Monthly Archive: July 2016

My Love-Hate Relationship with Frozen’s Let it Go

For some reason, the song Let it Go from the Frozen soundtrack is adored by all of the little princesses out there who watched the movie. The official music video on Youtube has over 537 MILLION views, and the sing-along version has over 827 million! How crazy is that? It goes without saying that any parent with a young daughter is likely tired of hearing, listening, and singing along to that song. That definitely applies to me, but something happened during my last trip to Disneyland. I heard a different version of the song and now I can’t stop listening to it!

If you’ve watched World of Color Celebrate at Disneyland’s California Adventure, you’ve probably heard it during the show. But did you notice it? The version that’s played during World of Color has a different arrangement. The background music is played by an orchestra. If you like watching serious movies with dramatic scores and emotional music, this version of Let it Go will likely appeal to you.

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The “Therrible” Threes

Everyone has heard about the terrible twos, but I think it’s more of a catchy name than a real thing. I braced myself for the terrible twos and I was met with an obedient, well-behaved, and fun-loving child. I thought we dodged a bullet. I thought we had the perfect kid. I laughed in the face of the terrible twos. Cara is the best kid ever! Then she turned three and I was left wondering how I, the father of the most awesome two year old, went wrong. There’s no way I’m the first person to think this. If you think you’ve been lucky so far, you still might be because every kid is different. But man….the sass and the attitude on this daughter of mine. If you want to brace yourself for what might be on the horizon, then let me share a few ways that we got duped:

Meals

THEN: Cara was great when it was time to drink milk or eat. She used to be able to finish 8 ounces of milk in just a couple of minutes and then ask for more. She also used to inhale her food and then ask for more.

NOW: It can take up to two hours to finish that same 8 oz. milk, and eat four mini waffles. If she’s not playing with her food, she’s singing songs or looking at a spot on the chair. When she actually does manage to take a bite, it stays in her mouth for a couple of minutes while she looks around for something to play with. We try to bribe her with a nice dessert if she finishes quickly, but it doesn’t work. She’ll get excited and then go back to playing. Then after we tell her she lost her chance, she starts to whine about how she really wanted the dessert.

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Free Unlimited Storage for All of Your Phone Pictures

When you get the low storage warning on your phone, it can be a pain trying to figure out what to delete. It’s likely that the main culprits are photos and videos. Some Android phones have the option for expandable storage so that’s one possibility. iPhone users are out of luck there. Without any options for expandable storage, you have to backup your photos in the cloud or on a computer before you can delete those files to create some additional space. Google Photos is probably the best cloud option, and it’s free.

Google Photos offers unlimited storage for all of your photos and videos on your Android and iOS devices. The only restrictions are that photos are limited to 16MP and videos are limited to 1080p HD. Saving higher quality files will result in out-of-pocket costs. The free option won’t downgrade the picture quality so your pictures will still great on your phone, tablet, or computer.

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My Favorite Feature of American Express Credit Cards

If you’re an American Express card member, one of best features that you may not know about is Amex Offers. These offers present you with opportunities to save around 20% (sometimes more) at major retail chains and other online shops. One of the best offers that I took advantage of was a $30 credit after spending $100 at either Target or Walmart. This offer could be redeemed up to five times so of course I maxed it out. Depending on how much activity you have on the card, you may see just a few offers, or you may see a lot. At the moment, I have 61 available offers and four offers added to my card. I haven’t even heard of most of the vendors so when I see one that I can use, I almost always use it. Since December 2013, I’ve saved $300!

Adding Offers to Your Card

To add Amex Offers to your American Express card, you can either access your account from the American Express website or through the mobile app. The next time you access your account from the website, scroll towards the bottom of the home page until you see this section below your activity summary. Once you see an offer for a merchant that entices you, just click on the Add to Card button.

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Disneyland Tickets are Priceless

This morning my Facebook memories alerted me to a photo I shared in 2012. It was a Disneyland ticket that I saved from a trip that took place in the last century.

disneyland ticket price in 1997

That’s right. $36.00. If I look closely, I believe the year on that ticket is 1997. Almost 20 years later, a one-day ticket to Disneyland isn’t even a fixed price anymore. Now that they’ve implemented a dynamic pricing system, which could either raise or lower the ticket price based on expected occupancy, it could cost $95 (Value), $105 (Regular), or $119 (Peak) per adult. Using a Regular day ticket price, this represents an increase of 191% since 1997.

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Is it Time to Retire Your Debit Card?

Still using a debit card or non-rewards bank credit card as your main payment method? Now might be the time to retire it and enter the wonderful world of rewards credit cards. Switch to a credit card that offers hotel points, airline miles or cash back. It’s one of the easiest ways to help stretch your dollars further. The money is being spent one way or the other, so why not get a return on your investment? There are a lot of things to consider when making this decision, like sign-up bonuses, earning power, and benefits. These just make things even more complex though. Don’t let this deter you. In the long run, you’ll be able to open the door to experiences you never thought were possible.

There are two reasons why it’s been over a decade since I last used a debit or non-rewards credit card to make a purchase:

  1. Most debit cards don’t offer any type of return on the money I’m spending. The ones that do have a rewards program have a lower rate of return than a credit card.
  2. If my debit card information ever gets stolen, the thieves have direct access to my money. If they have my credit card information, the transactions get wiped immediately and my money is sitting safe and sound in the bank.

To be completely transparent, I used a little green piece of paper to buy lunch the other day. Why? Like they say for Snickers, you’re not you when you’re hungry.

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A Dairy Free Grilled Cheese Sandwich

My wife and my daughter have food allergies. I don’t have any food allergies, at least nothing major or that I know of. Having a kid with food allergies is rough, especially when the allergies are to common ingredients like cow’s milk, egg white, and peanuts. We can get by without the peanuts but it’s hard trying to avoid the first two because they’re in almost every thing. We’ve been cleared to try milk in baked goods, but egg is still off limits. It sucks that she can’t try all of the food we eat but I think we’re pretty lucky. Even though she’s only three years old, she understands and accepts when we tell her she can’t eat something because of the allergies. She doesn’t whine or get sad. She just says, “Okay,” and then offers to feed us. Then she continues not eating the food we prepared for her.

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