How To Be Productive Working From Home

{this is a sponsored post}
We live in a digital age, where more and more people are being granted the luxury of a flexible work schedule, which includes working from home. If you’re like me you dream of having a life where you can roll out of bed and get to work without sitting in traffic. While working from home may seem like a dream, it’s a sure way to get distracted, procrastinate and justify things you wouldn’t ever do if you were in the office every day. Whether you are new to working from home or have been doing so for years, you may be looking for ways to be more productive, and that’s why I am here. I might not be lucky enough to have one of those at home jobs, but I do have tips on how you can make your at home work environment more productive.

1. Set your alarm and don’t press snooze

This may sound basic, but it is the most important and effective way to get you going. Working from home means flexibility, creating your own schedule, starting and stopping work when you want, oh and the luxury of waking up when you want. Setting your alarm forces you to get up and get your day going. The sooner you start, the sooner you finish.

2. Don’t check your Emails in bed

When your alarm goes off, don’t spend half an hour scrolling through your inbox before getting out of bed. Save it for when you get to your desk. While it may seem like you’re getting ahead, you’re really just unwilling to leave your bed. Those emails will still be there when you get to your desk. If you’re worried about not answering them in a timely manner - maybe you should have woke up sooner!

3. Get dressed

Get prepared for the day as if you’re going to an office job. You’re only as productive as you feel, and if you’re working in your PJs you’re bound to make your way back to your bed for an afternoon nap. Seriously though, don’t work in your pajamas.

4. Create a to-do list

Having a to-do list that outlines what and when you need to accomplish things will help you stay focused and on task. 

5. Create a designated work space

Nope, the couch is not somewhere you should be working, while it’s comfortable it’s not where you should be doing your work. Instead, you should create a designated workspace, this will not only increase your productivity but give you a place to go and work without distractions.

6. Time is money

Find an app that will allow you to keep track of how much time you’re spending working and how much of that time is being used per project. Time tracking lets you see how productive you’ve been and can help you stay focused on your tasks. 

7. Avoid social media

Hello, little time sucker! We mindlessly scroll through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and more daily - this is just a distraction. If you don’t feel like you can remove yourself from social media during a 9 to 5 work day, then block some social media time in your day. Once that 10-15 minutes end that’s it social media goes away and you get back to business.

8. Change of scenery

Working from home sounds like a dream come true, and really I’m sure it is - I am jealous of all of those people who get to. However, you are literally working from your home and spending countless hours there. Be sure to leave your home once in awhile to change things up. Maybe today you’ll work from a coffee shop or Panera Bread instead of sitting in your office.

How do you stay productive working from home?

Aladdin Movie Review: It’s Not a ‘Whole New World’

Aladdin recently joined an increasingly long list of Disney classic animated movies that have been adapted into live-action films, and this Friday, you can take a magic carpet ride with the live-action Aladdin when it hits a theater near you. This live-action version is based on the classic 1992 Disney cartoon we all fell in love with as kids, with a bit of flair that the Broadway musical brought.

As you prepare yourself to fall in love with the story of Aladdin, Jasmine, and Genie all over again, go into this movie reminding yourself that it is no longer that childhood cartoon you fell in love with. While there are parts that are direct copies of the movie, songs you know and love - there are also additional musical numbers as well. I found these additional musical numbers to be oddly timed, especially when Jasmine breaks out into what appears to be a rap music video (you’ll understand when you see it).

When it was announced that there would be a live-action Aladdin, I was beyond excited. I mean remember how amazing Beauty and the Beast turned out to be? Then the cast was revealed, and I learned that Will Smith would be playing the Genie - that’s a big lamp to fill since Robin Williams had more energy and piazza in that role. Will Smith brings a unique kind of flair to the Genie’s musical numbers, however, the success of said flair is up for debate. In all honesty, I did not like Will Smith as the Genie - at all. No, it’s not because of the fact I love Robin Williams so much, I did go see the Broadway production when it was in Detroit and loved Michael James Scott as the Genie - now he brought some serious flair. From the start, I just wasn’t in love with how Smith portrayed the Genie, and as the movie went on I disliked him more and more. With the Genie having such a large role in Aladdin it definitely made it hard for me to like the movie. I mean honestly when beatboxing starts in Friend Like Me I was done - and I love beatboxing, but in Aladdin, it made no sense what so ever.

Since Agrabah is a made up country, this gives Disney the creative freedom to go above and beyond - and they did… maybe a little too far. Agrabah featured a mash-up of several Middle Eastern cultures, and there was even an out of place Bollywood musical act thrown into the mix. When seeing the movie pay close attention to the outfits and architecture - it’s gorgeous.

In the end, this is a remake, it’s a story that has already been told before and has been told better. The live-action version definitely has some spotty CGI, that offered some awkward scenes. I definitely cannot say that it is better than its 1992 animated predecessor or the Broadway Musical.

Hitch a ride on the magic carpet when Aladdin flies into theaters May 24, 2019!

Who Plays Who: 

Will Smith as the Genie

Mena Massoud as Aladdin

Naomi Scott as Jasmine

Marwan Kenzari as Jafar

Navid Negahban as the Sulton

Popcorn Cookies

Let’s get down to business. I am a professional snacker and I take snacking very seriously. It has to be a great snack in order to make the cut, and with the changing of the weather, I have been thinking about outdoor movies and popcorn. That’s when the idea of Popcorn Cookies came to mind. These cookies feature pieces of Grand Rapids Popcorn Company Sea Salt Caramel Popcorn, to create the perfect combination of sweet and salty. Beware, these cookies are highly addictive.

Popcorn Cookies


1/2 cup salted butter, softened

1 cup sugar
1 large egg

1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups popcorn (I used sea salt caramel), lightly crushed

1 cup chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

3. Beat in the egg and vanilla.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk flour, baking soda and salt together.

5. Gradually beat into creamed mixture.

6. Stir in popcorn and chocolate chips.

7. Cover baking sheet with parchment paper.

8. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheet.

9. Bake until golden brown (7-12 minutes).

10. Remove and cool on wire racks.

11. Enjoy!

Waitress the Musical

A recipe for success, Waitress has been delighting audiences with its sugary sweet presence on Broadway for awhile now, and the national tour finally came to Detroit, Michigan.

From the moment you walk into the Fisher Theatre you are transported into the world of Joe’s Pie Diner. The air is full of the delicious smell of apples and cinnamon and Achatz Handmade Pie Company was even there selling mini versions of their Dutch Apple and Four Berry Pies..yum! A number of ingredients come together to create this whimsical and flavorful show. The cherry pie themed curtain is adorable, there are even two rotating pie display cabinets on either side of the stage really make it feel like you’re in the diner. Music and lyrics are by Sara Bareilles, and trust me you’ll be singing them on your way out of the show.

Waitress tells the story of Jenna (Christine Dwyer), an expert pie maker stuck in a horrible marriage. She disguises her woes with her inventively named pies; Marshmallow Mermaid Pie, Lonely Chicago Pie, I Don’t Want Earl’s Baby Pie and more. Jenna’s gal pals Becky (Maiesha McQueen) and Dawn (Ephie Aardema) both work at the diner with her and are all about Jenna living out her dreams of getting out of her small town and away from her awful husband Earl (Jeremy Woodard). A sudden pregnancy and an encounter with the attractive Dr. Pomatter (Steven Good) gives Jenna a glimpse of what she could have if she only had the courage to bake up her dream life.

With seamless scene changes, and actual ingredients used to whip up recipes this show is like one you’ve never seen before. The lyrics are so catchy, and I think I will be singing sugar, butter, flour the next time I bake a pie. Waitress is a sugary sweet show, filled with comedy and moments of grit that will leave you hungry for more.

Coming to Detroit: Jersey Boys

this is a hosted post

Get ready Detroit! The Tony, Grammy and Olivier Award-Winning Best Musical Jersey Boys will be at the Music Hall for a three night engagement Friday, May 17 through Sunday, May 19.

JERSEY BOYS is the winner of the 2006 Best Musical Tony Award®, the 2006 Grammy Award® for Best Musical Show Album, the 2009 Olivier Award for Best New Musical and the 2010 Helpmann Award for Best Musical (Australia). JERSEY BOYS worldwide has been seen by over 26 million people (as of January 2019).
"JERSEY BOYS has proven over and over that it is one of Detroit's favorite touring shows," stated Broadway In Detroit Executive Director Alan Lichtenstein. "We're excited to bring this hit show back to the city at the wonderful and intimate Music Hall."
Directed by two-time Tony® Award-winner Des McAnuff, JERSEY BOYS is written by Academy Award-winner Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, with music by Bob Gaudio, lyrics by Bob Crewe and choreography by Sergio Trujillo.
JERSEY BOYS is the behind-the-music story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. They were just four guys from Jersey, until they sang their very first note. They had a sound nobody had ever heard... and the radio just couldn't get enough of. But while their harmonies were perfect on stage, off stage it was a very different story - a story that has made them an international sensation all over again. The show features all their hits including "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Oh What A Night," "Walk Like A Man," "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" and "Working My Way Back To You."
JERSEY BOYS opened in New York on November 6, 2005 and by the time it closed over 11 years later on January 15, 2017, it was the 12th longest running show in Broadway history, passing such original Broadway productions as 42nd Street, Grease, Fiddler on the Roof, and The Producers. The JERSEY BOYS US National Tour opened to rave reviews in San Francisco on December 1, 2006 and is still breaking house records in cities across North America. JERSEY BOYS is also currently touring the United Kingdom and Australia.
The JERSEY BOYS design and production team comprises Klara Zieglerova (Scenic Design), Jess Goldstein (Costume Design), Howell Binkley (winner of the 2006 Tony Award® for his Lighting Design of JERSEY BOYS), Steve Canyon Kennedy (Sound Design), Michael Clark (Projections Design), Charles LaPointe (Wig and Hair Design), Steve Orich (Orchestrations) and Ron Melrose (Music Supervision, Vocal/Dance Arrangements & Incidental Music).
JERSEY BOYS is produced by Dodger Theatricals, Joseph J. Grano, Tamara and Kevin Kinsella, Pelican Group, with Latitude Link and Rick Steiner.
JERSEY BOYS will play in Detroit at Music Hall May 17-19. The performance schedule is
-         Friday, May 17 at 8:00pm
-         Saturday, May 18 @ 2:00pm
-         Saturday, May 18 @ 8:00pm
-         Sunday, May 19 @ 2:00pm
-         Sunday, May 19 @ 7:30pm
Music Hall is located at 350 Madison Avenue, Detroit MI 48226
Tickets for JERSEY BOYS start at $30 and are available online at or, by phone at (800) 982-2787 or in person at the Fisher Theatre or Music Hall Box Office. Performance schedule, prices and cast are subject to change without notice. For more information, please visit or
The Original Broadway Cast Recording of JERSEY BOYS, produced by Bob Gaudio, was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.The cast recording is available on Rhino Records. JERSEY BOYS: The Story of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons (Broadway Books) is the official handbook to the smash Broadway hit. Seasons Greetings: A JERSEY BOYS Christmas, a holiday CD featuring international cast members of JERSEY BOYS, produced by Bob Gaudio, is available on Rhino Records.
For more information on JERSEY BOYS, go to or

Will Tuck for Tacos

How did you celebrate Cinco de Mayo? I may not drink, but I still hit the barre (pronounced "bar") for a Tuck and Tacos Pop-Up event at my gym. I personally love taking themed workout classes. So you know I couldn't miss one that was perfectly themed for Cinco de Mayo, including a pinata.

Barre is a combination of ballet, yoga, pilates and strength training. During most classes you will use a yoga mat, light weights, gliding disc, resistance bands (booty bands) and more. You do a lower number of reps in a shorter range of motion to create a burn that will build muscles and endurnace, while torching calories. Before you begin a class you'll have a chance to select the weight you want. While those three-pound weights may look puny to the eye, you'll be surprised at how heavy they feel after a minute of continuous exhausting movements. 

2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV GT S-AWC Plug-In Hybrid

I drove the 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV GT S-AWC Plug-In Hybrid for seven days in exchange for an honest review

Growing up in the motor city you quickly fall in love with the diesel trucks that come through sounding like the world is about to end, and the off-roading vehicles you can hit the dunes and trails with. So you can imagine how hesitant I am every time someone mentions a hybrid vehicle.

Recently, I had the opportunity to drive the 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV GT S-AWC. Since this is my first time ever driving and being in a hybrid vehicle let me tell you, it didn’t come without a lot of questions. When the vehicle runs out of electric charge is it just going to shut off? Will this vehicle run solely on gas? Do I need a special place to charge it? Is this a good vehicle to bring on a road trip? How big is the gas tank? How many times will I need to stop to get gas on this trip if it is running solely on gas? I mean wouldn’t you have all these questions?

Grab a seat, and let this Detroit girl breakdown her thoughts and opinions on the 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV GT S-AWC.

Let’s jump right to it, and talk about my hybrid concerns.

1. When the vehicle runs out of electric charge is it going to shut off? Nope! It’s electric, it’s gas, it’s the best of both worlds! Hybrid vehicles are designed to automatically switch to run solely on gas once you have used all the electric charge.

2. How big is the gas tank? This was about an 11-gallon tank, which is typical for most hybrid cars. 

3. Can a hybrid vehicle run solely on gas? Yes!

4. How many MPG do you get with gas only? About 25.

5. Do I need a special outlet to charge the vehicle? Nope! You can charge it right in your garage, or at a charging station, some places have. It does take a while to charge about eight hours at home. 

6. How many miles do you get on a full electric charge? About 22 miles. 

7. Is the 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV GT S-AWC a good vehicle to bring on a road trip? Yes! On this vehicle when you combine both gas an electric you can get upwards of 74 MPG - that is amazing!!! -

As I previously mentioned, this was my first experience… ever with a hybrid vehicle so it was really a learning experience for me.   I drove the 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV GT S-AWC from Metro Detroit, Michigan to Fort Wayne Indiana. This trip is about three hours and just under 200 miles away. On the way there the vehicle was running on both electric and gas and I made it there is just a little above a half a tank of gas. Which in my mind is amazing and was such a money saver with gas prices nearly $3.00 a gallon! On the way home I, unfortunately, did not have the electric features as there was no place for me to charge the Outlander. Riding into the wind, combined with no electric feature and I had under a quarter tank of gas when I pulled into the driveway. I definitely loved the difference that the electric feature made - as someone who loves road trips that was definitely a huge selling point for me. With both gas and electric combined you will get up top 74 miles per gallon. On gas-only mode, you’re looking at about 25 miles per gallon - which is still fantastic. 

Key Notes About the vehicle:

Touchscreen makes it easy to navigate through a variety of features such as Sirius XM Radio.

Heated seats, this is a feature my car doesn’t have so I definitely always take advantage of it when I am in a car that has it.

Cameras, back, side, and front cameras made it easy to parallel park - which I am absolutely horrible at.

Stay in your lane! The 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has Lane Departure Warning - you know the annoying beep you get when you weave out of your lane or don’t use your signal to switch lanes.

Blind Spot Warning, this is a feature that I really love - especially on the expressway when I need to change lanes.

Gear shift has a button for Park, rather than gear. The first time I used it I definitely kept my fingers crossed that it would actually park, and of course it did - but a little bit of anxiety there for a moment.

4x4 off-road ability. 

World’s first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle with DC Fast Charging - allows you to get a quick boost while running errands or plug it in before bed and wake up to a full charge. In just 25 minutes you will you be 80% charged with the DC Fast Charger. Plug into a 120V standard household plug to have a full charge in 8 hours, or us a 240V public/home charger to get a full charge in just 3.5 hours.

Electric driving range of 22 miles. This is great because a lot of us would be able to commute to work emissions-free.

On a full charge, the 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV GT S-AWC can go upwards of 310 miles.

You can select if you want to operate the car in “normal” hybrid mode (gas + electric combined) or EV (electric) only, as well.

Is this thing on? This car is almost SILENT when you start it, especially when it is in hybrid mode. I mean this car barely makes any noise at all. 

Moonroof, if you know me you know I love this feature and will have it open even when it’s freezing outside - I mean I’m pretty sure that's why companies invented heated seats. 

Have you ever driven a hybrid vehicle before? What was your opinion of it?

Restaurant Review: Rusty Bucket

this is a sponsored post, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Rusty Bucket is a casual American restaurant and tavern designed for people to come together and enjoy great conversation over even better food. At Rusty Bucket food is cooked from scratch because they think it tastes better that way - and I couldn’t agree more. Plus, since everything is made just for you, if you have any dietary needs be sure to share them and the Rusty Bucket can most likely accommodate them 0 that’s some exceptional service right there! The Rusty Bucket’s bar features drinks made with FRESHLY squeezed juices, I mean let's be real do you know of many places that offer freshly squeezed juices in their cocktails… didn’t think so. 

I recently had the opportunity to get a peek at Rusty Buckets new menu and let me tell you’re going to love it. Did I mention they even have Brunch Saturday and Sunday 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. - and you won’t want to miss out on the Chicken & Waffles or Chilaquiles.

Rusty Bucket has over 24 locations in six states (Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, and Ohio). Michigan has four locations: Bingham Farms, Bloomfield, Northville, and Northville Park Place.

This was my first time visiting the Rusty Bucket, and let me tell you I will definitely be back. The food was not only delicious, but the service was great and the atmosphere was fun. The Rusty Bucket is the perfect girls night out, date night or place to take your family. With a jam-packed menu, there is sure to be something on it for everyone. My personal favorite was the Chicken and Waffles, which you can order Saturdays and Sundays off the brunch menu. I’ve had a few chicken and waffle meals in my lifetime and this one is one of the best.

Monday through Sunday at the Rusty Bucket you will find Drink Features and Blue Plate Specials. Don’t get this confused with Weekday Happy hour from 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday which is something entirely different. 


Drink Feature: Draft Day 

Blue Plate Special: Cincinnati 3-Way

Spaghetti smothered with Rusty Bucket’s Texas sirloin chili and topped with cheddar cheese, sour cream, onion, and fresh diced tomatoes; served with garlic cheese bread


Drink Feature: Half Off Wine Bottles 

Blue Plate Special: Hoosier State Fair Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

Center-cut pork loin breaded with Gary's secret blend of spices served with lettuce, tomato, pickle chip and onion with a side of mayo. ** Really unique flavor


Drink Feature: Whiskey Wednesday

Blue Plate Special: Beef Stroganoff

Tender slow-roasted pulled beef, button and morel mushrooms tossed with pappardelle pasta and morel cream sauce; topped with sour cream and scallions and served with garlic cheese bread.


Drink Feature: Bucket Punch Day

Blue Plate Special: Spaghetti ’N Meatballs

Two jumbo beef and veal meatballs slow-cooked in house made red sauce; served atop spaghetti noodles garnished with our homemade garlic cheese bread.


Drink Feature: Martinis

Blue Plate Special: Shrimp Scampi

Shrimp sautéed with white wine garlic butter sauce, fresh herbs and tomatoes tossed with spaghetti and grated parmesan and served with garlic cheese bread.


Drink Feature: Gary’s Famous Margaritas

Blue Plate Special: Chicken and Noodles

Slow roasted chicken, mushrooms, caramelized onion, carrots, peas and our house made chicken jus, tossed with pappardelle pasta and served over mashers.


Drink Feature: Bloody Sunday

Blue Plate Special: Kentucky Hot Brown

Rusty Bucket’s house roasted turkey breast, thinly sliced and piled high on Texas toast, covered with a creamy parmesan sauce and topped with sliced tomato and bacon. *** YOU GUYS! Oh my goodness, this was absolutely amazing!! Since it’s called a Kentucky Hot Brown I would assume it’s from Kentucky (unless it's like the whole Boston Cooler in Michigan that has nothing to do with Boston), since I have never been there before this was my first time trying a Hot Brown and now I want to go to Kentucky and give one of theirs a try!


Spinach Con Queso
 A blend of spinach, white wine, and cheeses, served pipping hot with tortilla chips. 
So insanely good!

“Cheese Blanket” Nachos 
Loaded with seasoned ground beef and braised black beans, covered with Rusty Bucket’s signature “cheese blanket.” Served with pico de gallo, jalapenos, sour cream and scallions.
 Great to share with friends!


Bucket Bites

Mini Burgers on potato buns topped with carmelized onions, American cheese and a pickle chip on top.
 Highly recommend!

Green Chili Burger*

Rusty Bucket’s house-made beer cheese, Serrano and jalapeño relish.

Beer Cheese Burger*

Rusty Bucket’s house-made beer cheese piled high with crispy onion rings.

Main Plates

Macaroni ’N Cheese*

Swiss and American cheeses melted with heavy cream and Blue Moon white ale; tossed with jumbo elbow macaroni noodles; topped with kettle cooked potato chips, scallions, and diced tomatoes. Served with garlic cheese bread.



Roasted tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, provolone cheese, mushrooms, bell peppers, red onion, fresh banana peppers, green olives, and spinach.
Yum, yum, yum

“The Big Sicilian”

Pepperoni, Italian sausage, and capicola with mozzarella and provolone cheeses, peppers and red onions. 


Cookies ’N Cream

Heaven right on a plate!

Death By Chocolate Cake

If you’re a chocoholic you’re going to love this cake. 

Berry Blast

This cobbler is out of this world. 


Chicken and Waffles

House-made Belgian waffle, Rusty Bucket’s famous hand-dipped chicken fingers, warm maple syrup and a light dusting of powdered sugar.
 My absolutely favorite thing on the Rusty Bucket menu, and might even be the BEST chicken and waffles that I have ever had. 


Fresh corn tortillas baked with salsa verde and pepper jack cheese, topped with braised black beans, ranchero sauce, sour cream and two sunny side up eggs. 
Probably becoming one of my favorite things to get for brunch at places.

*I do not drink alcohol, so trying anything with their cheese sauce really grossed me out. Everyone else really loved it, especially the macaroni and cheese. If you like alcohol you’ll love the infused cheeses, if you don’t I highly recommend ordering something else.

Mountain Ridge

{this post is sponsored}

Are you financially savvy? When you have a job that doesn’t pay you as well as you would like it to, sometimes it makes it hard to be financially savvy. However, there are some habits that any woman can pick up to help them have financial success. Here are 9 habits that will help you get your finances sorted out.

She knows what her income is

How much did you get paid last year, month, a week? Do you earn money from shares or interest accounts? If so, do you know how much? Do you sell things on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace? Did you keep track of that amount? A successful woman knows exactly how much money she has earned and where that money comes from. She makes sure every cent she earns is working as best as it can for her. Knowing where the money has come from leaves no surprises.

She has savings

A successful woman has savings and contributes to it regularly. She knows the importance of a backup plan, and that things can unexpectedly happen. That being said she keeps at least $1000 in a rainy day fund for emergencies that may come up, along with an account that she may only contribute $25 a week, but it’s something and it’s better than nothing!

She never lives a Chanel lifestyle on a TJ Maxx budget

A successful woman never lives on credit. She doesn’t purchase things above her means, and certainly does not live a Chanel lifestyle on a TJ Maxx budget. She is motivated by actual wealth and knows that means more than a dollar figure in her bank account. Anything she truly desires, she saves for.

She avoids unnecessary expenses

A success woman knows that she can easily save $25 a week if she made her coffee at home instead of picking it up at Starbucks on the way to work. She buys her favorite shampoos and conditions on sale, as well as makeup. She knows the best day to fuel up her car is on a Tuesday, because that's when gas is the cheapest. She always pays her bills on time so she never has to pay late fees. She doesn’t have to live a frugal life and eat ramen noodles every night, she does, however, need to be smart and savvy about the financial choices she makes. 

She knows that just because she can afford it, doesn’t mean she should buy it

A successful woman knows that just because she can afford a new Apple Watch, coffee every day, that new Chanel handbag or other lavish items that it doesn’t necessarily mean she should purchase it. We all should have bigger ticket items that we should treat ourselves every now and again. However, these are occasional calculated expenses and should not be impulsive purchases. A success woman uses these big-ticket items as rewards for reaching goals she has set for herself

She knows all of her expenses

A successful woman never pays late fees, because she is organized and knows when and what things are due. She knows her rent is due at the first of the month and has budgeted for it, she knows that her water bill is due in a week and has money set aside for it. She avoids nasty financial surprises that may pop up because she has budgeted that too. She also knows that automating her bills is the cheapest and most efficient way to do things.

She budgets
A successful woman understands that even with a stable paying job expenses change, and she budgets for that. Electricity, water, gas, grocery, travel…. Etc are all items that can change at any time. One week you may fill your gas tank up and it costs you $30, while the next week gas goes up and it’s now costing you $65. Sure, you can’t budget that exact amount - - but you can make sure you have extra money budgeted for circumstances like this.

She pays for things with cash

A successful woman pays for groceries, food, coffee and more with cash. I know, I know this may seem completely crazy especially in a day where we rely on our charge cards. However, our charge cards allow us to swipe and spend limitless amounts of money. Whereas with cash we can only spend the amount of money we have with us. Only have $50 for groceries this week, no problem! Look through the ads to see what is on sale and meal plan for the week based on sales. Grocery shopping for basics at stores like Aldi can help save you hundreds of dollars in a year. 

She pays off her most expensive debts first

A successful woman knows how much her debts are costing her, and pays off the most expensive ones first. I know, this might go against the gain of what you have been taught or heard people say - - however, a successful woman looks at her debts to see which is costing her the most. The one that costs the most should be eliminated first to help her reach financial freedom.

Fort Wayne Children's Zoo Wild Encounters

Whether you’re visiting Fort Wayne with your girlfriends, significant other or your kids the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is definitely worth checking out. The mission of the zoo is “Connecting kids and animals, strengthen families and inspiring people to care.” One thing I really loved about the zoo was it’s designed for children to get up close and personal with the animals with their parents having to pick them up - this was especially beneficial for me since I am 4’10” and no one is going to go around picking me up so I can see what is going on.

Something that makes the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo really unique is its Wild Encounters. The zoo offers five different fun encounters for an extra price that you’re sure to love. While I was visit the Zoo a few weeks ago I got to experience the Stingray Wild Encounter and absolutely loved it. It was a really unique experience to get up close with the stingrays and feel them take fish right out of your hands. The one encounter I would love to do on my next trip is the penguin one - as someone who loves penguins I think it would be a lot of fun to check it out.

To help you select which Wild Encounter is best for you, lets see what each one offers.

African Bird Walking Tour Wild Encounter 

Cost: $59* per person

If you’ve ever wondered about the birds in the African portion of your zoo journey then this tour is for you. This walking tour provides you with access to the zoo’s bird keepers so they can show you what they feed the birds as well as how they care for them.

Days: Monday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday

Time: April 27 - May 23 & Sept 1 to Oct 7 - 2:00 pm - 2:45 pm 

and May 24 - August 31st 4:00 pm - 4:45 pm

Ages 5 & up.
Maximum group size 4 people.

Dr. Diversity Wild Encounter

Cost: $59* per person

This Wild Encounter will take you behind the scenes of the Indonesian Dr. Diversity Rain Forest Research station, where you will visit the retile room and see how zoo keepers take care of the Dr. Diversity animals.

Days: Sundays
Time: 11:00 - 11:30 AM

Ages 4 & up.
Maximum group size 4 people.

Stingray Wild Encounter

Cost $39* per person

The aquarists will provide you with fish that you will hold in your hand, and wait for the stingrays to swim over and grab the food from your hand. 

Days: Saturdays, Sundays and Monday during the zoo season.
Time: 1:00 - 1:30 PM.

Ages 6 & up.
Maximum group size 4 people.

Giraffe Wild Encounter

Cost: $79* per person

Start your adventure behind the scenes in the giraffe barn, where you’ll held the zookeepers create special feeders and watch the food get eaten while you stand toe to toe with these gorgeous creatures. 

Days: Mondays, Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays
Time: 3:00 - 3:30 PM

DO NOT visit the Indiana Family Farm before your Giraffe Wild Encounter - goats and sheet may carry a virus that can affect giraffes (it is not harmful to humans).
After your Giraffe Wild Encounter feel free to go visit the sheep and goats.

Penguin Wild Encounter

Cost: $89* per person

Step onto the beach - yes BEACH, and help the zookeepers bring the penguins lunch. You’ll be taught the best way to feed the penguins and details about their personalities. 

Days: Fridays-Mondays during the zoo season.

Time: 1:15-2:00 PM.
Cost: $89 per person.

Ages 8 & up. Maximum group size 2 people.

*These prices are for 2019 and are subject to change year to year. Please visit the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo for an up to date price list.

Weekend Getaway: Fort Wayne, IN

thank you Visit Fort Wayne for an amazing time

Who’s ready for a road trip? I recently had the opportunity to explore Fort Wayne, Indiana with the Visit Fort Wayne team, and I am so excited to share my experience with you. Prior to this trip, I knew nothing about Fort Wayne or Indiana in general (other than the fact that I have to drive through it to get to Chicago). Depending on where you live in the Metro Detroit area Fort Wayne is likely three hours or less. The quick drive makes it a really attractive distance if you’re in the mood to get out of Michigan for a weekend.

From Detroit, it’s a quick drive (around 2.5 hours - it took me 3 hours since I am outside of Detroit) to Fort Wayne, which makes it a great weekend getaway with friends or family.

Things To Do: 

There’s a ton of fun things to do in Fort Wayne with your girlfriends, significant other or family. Here are some top picks from my trip to Fort Wayne.

See a TinCaps Baseball Game

You know I am a huge fan of baseball, and love checking out as many ballparks as I can. If you’re going to Fort Wayne I highly recommend checking out their minor league baseball team, the TinCaps. The name of the team is a tribute to pioneer Johnny Appleseed who is believed to be buried in Fort Wayne. With an adorable logo that features an apple wearing Johnny Appleseed's trademark tin cap, the TinCaps have called Parkview Field home since 2009 and continue to draw in fans young and old each season. The stadium is gorgeous, the atmosphere is a lot of fun and there is so much interaction you’ll never be bored.

Visit the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo

Even if you aren’t visiting with kids the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is definitely worth checking out. The mission of the zoo is “Connecting kids and animals, strengthening families and inspiring people to care.” What I really love about that is it’s actually true, as someone who is 4’10” I struggle to see animals when I go to the zoo - so think about the kids who are smaller than me. Kids can actually see the animals without having to be picked up by their parents! The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo also offers Wild Encounters like feeding the stingrays, which I would highly recommend.

Explore the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory

If you love flowers you’re going to love the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory. Filled with tropical plants, a relaxing waterfall, and desert-themed room there is sure to be something for everyone. The conservatory hosts a variety of events and exhibits throughout the year, and beginning April 27 they will have a live butterfly exhibit that runs until July 7, which I cannot wait to go back and checkout.

Learn About Your Ancestors at the Genealogy Center

One of the coolest experiences was visiting the Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library and learning about my family history. With nearly a million physical research items plus additional online databases, the Genealogy Center is a completely free resource that draws people in from all over. Prior to the trip, I provided the librarians some information about my family, and they pulled some amazing information about my ancestors. I learned that I am French Canadian, Scottish, German and Irish - plus my family has colonial roots in the United States which is amazing. Learning about my family history was truly an amazing experience.

See what’s new at The Fort Wayne Museum of Art

If you love art, you’re not going to want to miss out on the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. This museum provides an array of unique pieces of art from permanent pieces to rotating exhibits.

Check Out Science Central

Do you love science? If you do, then you definitely don’t want to miss checking out Science Central. The hands-on exhibits are educational, and you’ll learn so much in a short time. One of my favorite parts of Science Central is “Science On A Sphere,” this three-dimensional globe can showcase anything from the plants to storm systems.

Where to Eat: 

Looking for ideas of where to eat while you’re in Fort Wayne? Here are a few places I highly recommend.

Breakfast - Proximo

Looking for a unique and delicious breakfast? Look no further than Proximo. This is a great space to go with friends or family. I ordered the Carnitas Benedict which featured braised pork served over house-made cornbread and is finished with arugula, poached eggs and hollandaise - oh my goodness was it delicious.

Lunch - Dash-In

If grilled cheese is your thing, you’re definitely going to want to head to Dash-In. They have a great selection of food, but are known for their grilled cheese sandwiches and have a unique variety of them. I tried the Green Goddess, and it was absolutely amazing. With muenster, provolone, havarti, pesto sauce, guacamole, and fresh spinach this sandwich is pure perfection. I paired it with their tomato bisque which is a rich and creamy tomato soup with hints of white wine, white onion and is topped with parmesan cheese and scallion - oh my gosh yum!

Snack - DeBrand Fine Chocolates

You can’t go to Fort Wayne and not try DeBrand Fine Chocolates. I loved the raspberry cream from the classic collection.

Appetizers - Copper Spoon

Looking for a great selection of wines, a huge cocktail list filled with unique options and delicious appetizers, then Copper Spoon is the place for you. This restaurant has a fun atmosphere that is perfect for gathering with friends or a significant other. Copper Spoon also shares views of Parkview Field where the TinCaps play. I tried the Charcuterie Platter (cured meat, cheese, pickles, spicy mustard, and baguette pieces) and Smutty Fries (patatas, sloppy joe, quest, pickled hot peppers, pickled onion, and scallions ).

Dinner - The Hoppy Gnome

The Hoppy Gnome is a fun and unique experience, this brewery rocks and amazing sophisticated food menu you’re sure to love. They focus on fresh ingredients and make an effort to change up their menu a few times a year. I enjoyed the Pan-Seared Scallops (jumbo scallops, hoppy hash, bacon and sweet corn relish with jalapeño tartar) and Asian Tuna Tartare (Sashimi grade tuna, Serrano pepper guacamole, soy glaze, and crispy wontons).

Dessert - Ruth’s Chris

I know that there are Ruth’s Chris chains all over the continental United States, but trust me you want to check out the one in Fort Wayne for dessert. Forget all other desserts on the menu, you want to get the carrot cake, it’s the best that I have ever had - and it’s only at a couple locations.

More Things To See and Do: 

Promenade Park is opening this June, and you won’t want to miss the dining, Tree Canopy Trail, playground, kayak rentals and more.

If you like seeing the art around Detroit, you’ll definitely want to explore the many unique art murals and public art around town.

See the Embassy Theatre, with a history dating back to 1928 this place has been dazzling audiences with live shows, movies and more for years. Dress in your most elegant attire and head to the Embassy Theatre to see a show one weekend instead of the Fisher Theatre or Fox Theatre. 

Fort Wayne, you were amazing! I had so much fun, and cannot wait to visit again.