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BUE03 Bushnell Unscripted Podcast: Dipping back in with TV Shows I’m Watching: Will Trent, Inside Man, and Emily in Paris

Hi! I’m returning back to the land of audio with my latest podcast that is a tiny taste of TV shows I’m currently watching. My time away has certainly been lengthy, and I’m coming back with a variety of subjects to talk about and share with you.

First up, I’m watching Will Trent. I watch it on Hulu, but you can also purchase the entire season or pay per episode on Amazon.

I’m digging that the show is similar to Monk, but definitely suited for a more adult audience. The sweet little chihuahua Will rescues is darling and is honestly one of the draws of the show for me. The series is based off of Karin Slaughter’s New York Times best selling “Will Trent” book series that I will be checking out. Have you read the books? What are you thoughts on the show?

Stop what you are doing and RUN to watch Inside Man. The BBC has done it again with a magical mix of drama and mystery that will keep you riveted for four episodes. The end comes too soon, as watching David Tennant and Stanley Tucci is a treat in and of itself. These two talented actors make for a combination that keeps one on the edge of the seat. RUN…watch… report back on what you think.

Finally, a little fluff and fun to wash down the serious watching, as we return to Season 3 of Emily in Paris. I adore Emily and her French friends. How could you not? When I’m not watching the show, I’m listening to the music on the Emily in Paris Soundtrack.

Emily in Paris, A Netflix series

The last episode of Season 3 was certainly a bombshell. Do you believe Cami? I think our favorite secret keeper has grown her nose a bit with this story. I can’t wait for the next season. Will it be the last?

What are you watching this Winter? I’d love to hear your recommendations and view your list of favorites!

Thanks for listening and reading, and I look forward to hearing from you!

Check out my watchlist on IMDB.

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Happy National Popcorn Day – Easy Popping at Home

National Popcorn Day is a great excuse to enjoy your own popcorn at home with little expense and great fun. I do love popcorn. As a child, it always felt like such a treat, especially when we would buy a “self-contained stove-top popping pan” from Jiffy Pop. We would watch it pop, the foil balloon of popcorn expanding and sizzling. Of course, as a vegan, I haven’t had that product in years, as they have milk derivatives in their products. That’s okay, the sweet memory is there.

I have a vintage air popper that I use, but I find myself avoiding it because the blower is quite loud, and I don’t enjoy the sound. I started purchasing small, individual bags of popped corn from Costco, but the new price increases have made me avoid putting it in my cart.

Popcorn is too delicious of a snack to abandon! The low-calorie snack is a great treat throughout the day. Determined to find a solution, I started searching for an answer to my popcorn dilemma.

I took a leap and ordered the Mueller Premium Microwave Popcorn Popper, 3 Quart Capacity Popcorn Maker, Borosilicate Glass, with a 3-in-1 Silicone Lid.

I was drawn to the popper because it is glass, has a silicone lid for measuring kernels and melting a variety of additional items to help flavor the popcorn, but this microwave cooker doesn’t need any additional oils or flavors to make the popcorn. It is a simple design with promising results based on the reviews. It is in a charming red color (they seem to have a happy yellow now) and is dishwasher safe, too.

I needed some popcorn, so I ordered a 3 lb. bag of Anthony’s Organic Yellow Popcorn Kernels, 3 lb, (Gluten Free and Non GMO).

I was apprehensive, but foraged ahead with my goal of having yummy popcorn without additional packaging waste and extra expense. The first batch was not ideal. I followed the instructions and most of my popcorn didn’t pop. The second time, I extended the cooking time and it got better, but not great. The third time, I set the microwave to five minutes and watched as the entire bowl cooked up. It didn’t need the full five minutes, but it was close. Since that successful time, I’ve tried other brands of popcorn and can attest that the cooking times have been all over the board. Some have needed a swift three minutes, and others need a bit longer. My advice is simply to experiment and standby as the popcorn is in the microwave. Nobody likes burnt popcorn.

The popcorn has been delicious. While you don’t need any additional oil to make the popcorn pop, I plop a little organic coconut oil in the bowl before I measure out and dump my kernels. I put a pat of vegan butter in the top of the lid to melt as it pops, and I frequently experiment with a variety of spices and salts when the popcorn is completed. I have yet to try chocolates or other sweet mixtures. I do like a healthy dusting of nutritional yeast.

Clean-up is a snap, and whether you keep it on the counter or tuck it away, it looks attractive.

Here is the refined coconut oil, butter, and nutritional yeast that I use:

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Celebrating Nature: National Bird Day 2023

Do you feed the birds in your yard? I love supplying them with additional nutrients to help them through the days that seem colder and hotter than ever. I’m blessed to have a wide range of birds that visit and happily partake in the food.

While I was healing from surgeries last year, I found it peaceful to watch the birds visit. I installed two feeder poles and a feeder with a solar light.

I was very excited for this first pole, but I find the attached bowls are not ideal for me. They would be better if they twisted where they attached to the pole to make it easy to dump out debris or dirty water. They don’t do this, and it therefore makes for a very messy clean-up. All is not lost, I still use the pole for my hummingbird feeders. I love the bird design, and it is made well.



The squirrels love it.

This bird feeder is busier than my hometown mall when I was a teenager. Every bird loves visiting it, especially cardinals, blue jays, morning doves, and the nuthatch. The nuthatch population in my yard is large, and they will come perch on it as I fill it. Unafraid of their human, the little birds hop around the feeder eating, hanging upside with ease. The solar powered light was beautiful while it lasted, and while they did supply an extra lid, “in case the other quit” as they stated, both lids did quit early on. It is a beautiful light when it works. But again, the light was simply an added benefit of the item, and it by no means makes the feeder obsolete without the light.

Two solar lights came with the feeder, but neither of them lasted very long.

/
It is so pretty when the light works.
Looking so innocent, no…I couldn’t possibly be ready to pounce on these feeders to get some grub.

Finally, this is my favorite feeder pole. The feeder above is hanging from this pole on my back deck. The arms swivel so I can bring the feeder in and out as I like, and the bird and leaves are sweet decorative touches.



The clamp is strong and the plastic twisting piece is sturdy.
This is how the poles comes packaged. Easy directions and install.

The birds who visit my yard are sweet visitors, and I hope to make a place for them that is safe and stocked with their needs. I’d hate to imagine life without birds! Here are a few birds I’ve painted with watercolors.

My father loved cardinals, and every time I see one, I think of him. I love my new mug.
Cuddled in my cardinal blanket and drinking a cuppa as I look over the new seed catalog. A good start to the new year.

I wasn’t able to locate my mug online, but this cute one is certain to please the cardinal lover. 🙂



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Spaghetti Day 2023 – Let’s Make Vegan Bolognese

Happy National Spaghetti Day! Lovers of pasta unite for a day of celebration for the skinny noodles that have been, for many of us, a favorite meal since childhood. Spaghetti is one of the rare foods that I can eat cold or hot, and it always seems better the second day.

To celebrate the day, I wanted to make a recipe I haven’t tried before, and a quick search returned Vegan Bolognese with Impossible Meat by The Carrot Underground. The recipe is hearty and delicious. Don’t miss a step or overthink the ingredients! Two cups per veggie may seem like a lot, but it is well worth it. The addition of the veggie stock adds a layer of depth to the flavor, and I substituted red wine vinegar for the red wine. If you don’t like Impossible Meat, substitute it with TVP or another tasty option. This is a fulfilling recipe for your weekly table, and it will certainly score at any potluck event. Everyone will walk away with a content belly.

Additionally, this makes a great meal for those Meatless Mondays you may be testing out or the addition you need for your #Veganuary journey!

I made a video while I cooked, and I hope you’ll check out The Carrot Underground, as it is a fantastic spot for vegan recipes. Thanks for the wonderful recipe, Connie!

I am not affiliated with The Carrot Underground. I simply think they deserve a shout out for their great information!

Check out the products I used below!





Some links on my site are part of affiliate programs, and if you click on them or make a purchase from the link, I may make a few pennies, but that will never come at an additional cost to you!

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VHS to Digital Conversion with iMemories

That stack of VHS tapes that I’ve moved thousands of miles in my lifetime are decaying and in need of digital conversion, and I desperately want to see what memories are trapped inside them. Every year I swear I’m going to get the movies off the VHS tapes, but something always happens that prevents that from happening. I did a little research and discovered that there are a number of companies providing this service, but I liked the packages offered from iMemories and chose them.

Thanks for the photo, Jeremy Bezanger

Choosing a company to send your precious and private memories is no small task. It can make you feel like a tangled pile of emotions and fears. Even after I carefully researched and selected iMemories, I feared that sending my VHS tapes would mean that I’d never see them again. I also have some private moments on these tapes that I really wasn’t comfortable sending to a company, but if I wanted them digitized, I had to just shut down the voice in my head and move forward with the process. It is really hard to take that step, and if it takes you a little longer to feel comfortable, remember that you can take time to get comfortable, or at least accept that it is a necessary step, as I don’t know that one can be truly comfortable with the process of sending such precious and private items to complete strangers with no face.

In your online account, you’ll find iMemories updates on your order status as your payment and items move along the queue. I was happy to be able to check on the order without needing to call anyone and follow-up. I never felt that I was in the dark about their process or wondering when everything would be done.

When They Receive Your Items – Notification and Payment Due

Once they receive your box of memories, they will send you an email asking you to log into your account and review the items and pay for your order. As you can see, they list the item they received from you, what conversion method is being used, and what label you have on the item. When I sent my VHS tapes to them, they were running a sale, but I had a better coupon for 30% off! As you can see in the order summary, I sent in 29 VHS tapes! The shipping charge is the return of the VHS tapes to me.

Updates Throughout the Process Push the Darkness Away

Here is a video I made before sending off my tapes:

Packing up my iMemories box!

How’d it go?

The tapes were returned to me just as they were sent out, with no issues or problems along the way. I was ecstatic to see my videos loaded on my online account, and I quickly started watching them. Most I hadn’t seen in a very long time! The videos are wonderful. There are some places I think a tweak of the tracking would have helped, but I can’t complain. I have my memories preserved, and it is well worth it. The ability to share with others and make a screenshot photo is a huge plus for me.

Check out my update about how the process went, and I walk you through the phone app and the desktop experience. Let me know if you have used the service and what your experience was like. Get those memories preserved!

Five star service! Two thumbs up!
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It is always a good day to be above ground…

I made my first trip out to a cemetery as a volunteer photographer. The day couldn’t have been more made-to-order for me. It is a lovely 60F with cloudy skies, rain coming off and on, and Autumn leaves falling all around.

Before the rain hit, I wanted to scoot over to the cemetery and see if I could locate a specific grave for someone who has requested a photo. I wasn’t able to find the grave, so I’ve reached out to the cemetery for some assistance in locating it. I hope they’ll be able to help me fulfill the request.

While I wandered around, I captured some updated photos for graves that were near me. I really enjoyed the process and loved the quiet and peace around me. I’ve recently been bitten by the ancestry bug, and I can’t get enough of researching my own ancestors, so I hope that my photos will help those are searching for their own family. It is such a sweet gift for people to donate time, photos, and knowledge for others to enjoy. I’ve certainly appreciated it in my own searches.

If you are wondering how you can help, you can also sign up at Find A Grave. You’ll be fulfilling a needed service, and you will be filled with gratitude with the blessing of enjoying the beautiful day. No matter our worries, it is always a good day to be above ground.

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Amazon Prime Day Deal: Hiboy Electric Scooters

Hillary, my Siberian Husky, believes that every morning must begin with a run alongside my Hiboy Electric Scooter. Nothing gets her out the door faster than asking if she is ready for her “zoomies” and trip to the park. Every dog needs exercise, but if you’ve ever had a Husky, you know that they have an incredible need and desire to run and get out their energy. A few romps of play in the yard or even a walk in the park isn’t enough exercise for her. The Hiboy Electric Scooter makes us both winners, as my knees are saved from running on concrete, and she gets the much needed running time she loves (and her nails are kept trim as the running on hard surfaces keeps them short).

It is a very sweet ride.

Amazon Prime Day is here and so are the deals on scooters! You can save 20% – a savings of $92.00, plus you get that sweet free shipping, on the following scooter: Hiboy MAX V2 Electric Scooter – 8.5″ Solid Tires, Up to 17 Miles & 18.6 MPH, Front & Rear Suspensions, One Step Fold Electric Scooter for Adults, Commute and Travel

Hiboy S2 Electric Scooter with Seat – 8.5″ Solid Tires – Up to 17 Miles & 18.6 MPH Folding Commuting Scooter for Adults with Double Braking System, Rear Suspension and App

This is the scooter I own. The current deal offers a coupon to be used at checkout for a savings of $50. See the product description on the product information page at Amazon for more details.

One of my favorite things about the scooter is the seat! Yes, you can either stand or sit down! I find it easier to stand when she is running alongside, but the ease of removing and installing the seat is a breeze and makes it an easy transition. The seat is used most often for a leisurely ride when Hillary is home.

photo courtesy of Amazon and Hiboy

Purchased in September 2020, the Hiboy scooter has been a much needed outlet for both of our energies as we have navigated the times of the pandemic. It has really helped keep both of us active during periods of limited travel. The wonderful thing about the scooter is that is is so lightweight (35 lbs) and folds easily for quick runs to the park. Hillary does a thirty minute run every morning, and I only need to charge it once a week.

The scooter is stable and durable. My feet have plenty of room on the deck and the bell and double breaking system make me feel secure while riding. The scooter operates silently and it really can pick up some speed as it approaches 18 miles an hour.

Check out the deals and get ready to give your dog some overdue exercise. *Please be careful when exercising your dog in the heat. We go early morning, but even then there are days where I have to be extra careful with her level of exertion to ensure that she doesn’t approach heat exhaustion. Also be careful with the surfaces you ride/run on, as dogs can burn their paw pads. The only thing missing is a compartment for storage. I keep her water, collapsible bowl, and poop bags in the Hiboy Waterproof Scooter Storage Bag.

She could use a little cleaning, but she is well-loved.

The Hiboy scooter is definitely an investment, but they are quality products that will support your needs for exercise.

Here is a helpful video that I watched prior to my purchase. I’d love to hear your views and see pics of you with your dog in action. Safe scooting!

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Buying Tickets To Walt Disney World: A Little More Complicated Than 25 Years Ago

Twenty-five years ago, buying tickets to Walt Disney World consisted of showing up at the gate and purchasing a ticket. It was simple, and it didn’t require much more effort than having money in the bank to afford them. Now, thanks to our new normal that includes living with COVID among us, buying tickets to visit Disney World is a little more complicated than the last time I did it in 1996.

image of tickets and text save money on your tickets

2020 & the Dawn of the Park Reservation System

Prior to the March 12, 2020 closure of Walt Disney World, the park reservation system did not exist. Once the park reopened in July, it was necessary to implement new COVID-19 restrictions and procedures to ensure that park employees and visitors were able to safely enjoy the park. Part of the new normal included face protections (masks), social distancing rules in the ride queues as well as on the rides, and limits to the number of attendees in the parks. Now, for one to enter one of the four parks at Walt Disney World, both a park reservation and valid ticket (or pass) for the same park on the same date is required. And heads up, the limited availability of park reservations means that you should make your theme park reservations IMMEDIATELY after purchasing your admission tickets. Don’t push it into the “do it later” pile and end up without a park reservation.

Get comfortable with the idea of the park reservation system. Disney has announced the system will be in place until at least 2023!

Start Here

Before you do anything, and especially before purchasing your tickets, check out the calendar of theme park availability to see if the days you wish to attend are available for a reservation.

Below is an example from the Disney site that shows the desired search result: green means all parks available.

calendar of days for Disney World

You’ve got the green light for dates, and now you’ll need to get your tickets. You have many options when buying tickets. You can purchase direct from Disney, you can go through a travel agent, and there are a number of websites that sell tickets, too. Don’t forget your local banks, credit unions, shopping clubs, and possibly insurance companies. Check out their website or give a call to inquire if they sell tickets. Discount tickets are everywhere, but vet the sources before spending your money. You’ll really need to do your homework when researching ticket vendors. Read reviews of those services and sites. I did a lot of research and happily landed at Undercover Tourist.

Discount Disney Tickets

The Undercover Tourist site is user friendly, and there is no delay between ordering tickets and receiving communication from them, whether it be receiving an emailed receipt or the confirmation of the purchase of your tickets. For example, I received an email with a receipt at 1:30 and had my ticket ID numbers emailed to me at 1:36. They do not charge any hidden fees, tax is included in the price, and your actual tickets are mailed to you with free shipping! You will receive an email with the actual ticket ID numbers that will allow you to immediately go into the Disney phone app and reserve your park preferences! I was seriously nervous about plopping down $1,500 for the tickets to an unknown source, but the online reviews were all extremely positive. They were also running a great promotion that discounted the purchase an additional $30.

The Undercover Tourist offers a refund policy. Per their site, “Your confidence in purchasing takes priority, which is why we offer a 90-day Return Policy and use common sense and fair practices when dealing with your cancellations & refunds. If you believe you are eligible for a refund, please contact us for further shipping instructions. Once tickets have been received and verified by Undercover Tourist, we will issue a refund back to the initial form of payment according to the terms below within 15 business days.”

image of piggy bank with money with every dime saved counts text

Our plan was to visit Disney for four days, providing one day per park. Undercover Tourist featured a promotion for a 4-Day ticket with an extra day at a great rate, so we chose for that option, giving us five days at the park.

My purchase:

order summary of purchase for disney tickets

Note that this is a 5 day ticket! Tax is included and that is a nearly $100 savings (see below)! The online promotion made it an easy option to pick up an extra day!

When price comparing, check out the daily price of the ticket at the Disney site. The price will vary based upon time of year, day of week, and what ticket option you are selecting (park hopper, water park admissions, etc…). My party will consist of three adults, and we wanted four days in the park with the park hopper option without any water park visits. It works out that we are traveling when tickets appear to be less expensive, and that really helps the budget restrictions. The more days you add to your visit, the cheaper tickets are per day!

Let’s check out the Disney site. As you can see, tickets per day are $106, for a total of $527.39 per person before tax.

calendar with prices for disney

After tax, the total came to $1685.04. Also note, the tickets at Walt Disney World are not refundable. They do offer free shipping on your actual tickets mailed via USPS, or you can opt to receive the tickets via email and use that email when you reach the park.

price of five day ticket to disney world

4-Day Disney Theme Park Ticket with Park Hopper® Option – with Extra Day – ADULT $529.82 per person (and tax is included in that price), but after the $30 promo discount (and applying $10 of the discount to each ticket), that brought the tickets per person down to $519.82! Five days at $104 per day!

At the Disney site, the 5-Day Disney Theme Park Ticket with Park Hopper® Option -ADULT $527.39 per ticket (before tax) and after tax, $561.08 per person. Five days at $112.22 per day.

Undercover Tourist came out ahead for a total savings of $125.58 versus purchasing the tickets at Disney. I’m excited to have the option of an extra day, especially if we need extra time to fit in the rides we are really hoping to experience, like Rise of the Resistance.

Remember, your savings experience may vary. You may find a greater discount when you are combining on-site lodging with your admission tickets. Different coupons and promos may be offered at Undercover Tourist, too. For the purposes of my trip, and as a general guidance, I am encouraging everyone to evaluate the options that exist and scoop up the best deals that will help you create the memorable trip you desire.

Have a frugal ticket purchase tip? Let me know!

Disclaimer: I became an affiliate for Undercover Tourist after I used the service and wanted to share them as a resource.

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Planning A Frugal and Fun Vacation to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios

Come along with me as I plan my vacation to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida! It will be frugal, it will be fun, and it will be in September 2021! I haven’t had a vacation since 2004. Seventeen years! I think I’m overdue for some relaxation and fun at the Most Magical Place on Earth* and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando.

* while I love Disney World, I consider the most magical place on earth to be Asheville, NC.

I’ll be sharing my tips, tricks, and guides that I am discovering throughout my blog. You can always check out this page for the running list of posts, and don’t forget to check out my list of essentials for the trip!

The cute cups you see photographed are from TJMaxx. 🙂 I’m not a diehard collector of all things Disney, but this is a big trip for me, and I want to have fun counting down to the event as well as attending it.

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See You at the Mother’s Day Finders Keepers Market at NoDa Brewing Company

Where:

NoDa Brewing Company

2921 N Tryon St, Charlotte, North Carolina 28206

Finders Keepers Market Information

When:

May 14, 2017

1:00 – 6:00 pm

Come out and pick up a signed paperback of Manual Exposure and my handmade items: embroidered hoops, original coffee mug designs, Cozy to Go! cup wraps, earrings, necklaces, greeting cards, key fobs, and more!

Bring Mom along and let her choose her favorite things!