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Summer Roadtrippin’

*This is a sponsored post

 

Summer is officially here! Granted, here in Florida it’s been here for what feels like years, since we barely had a winter, but officially for everyone else, it has arrived. With it comes longer days, vacation times, kids out of school, and in some cases, the summer blues. But luckily, if you’re suffering from the summer blues, I have the perfect All-American suggestion to help get you out of the funk. A road trip! That’s right, what could be better than grabbing some friends or family and hitting the open road to explore new sites? I mean, in this case, nothing, nothing can be better.

Green Car Near Seashore With Blue Ocean

The summer blues tend to hit us because we’re not able to go do anything fun, we’re stuck in this kind of monotony, and in the summertime especially, it can be tough, especially if you are working full-time and aren’t able to enjoy summer like you used to in high school and college. Even when I was in college, I worked during the summer and took summer classes, but I still had more free time than I do now that I work a typical 9-5. And while I’m grateful for my job, it can definitely get a bit boring in the office on those perfect, beautiful beach days when I know others are out living it up in the sun and surf. Luckily, that’s where a weekend road trip can come in. You get to go out, do something fun, only use a couple of vacation days, leaving the rest for those holiday trips you have planned, and break up the monotony that you may be experiencing.

I will give fair warning though, road trips can get a little boring. Unfortunately, it’s just a fact. Luckily, further down, I have some tips to keep the road trip exciting, even when you’re driving across open highway, without anything but trees and other cars in sight. But first, I want to share some of the things I do to entertain myself on road trips, besides sleeping. I used to live in a city that was 2 ½ hours away from my family when I was in college, so I often had a bit of a mini road trip if I wanted to visit home, and even on that drive, after the hour of car karaoke had ended, things got a little dull. But you know what helped to entertain me along the drive? Seeing all the different billboards and lighted up buildings, especially if I was driving at night. To me, a beautiful billboard is more than just a roadside advertisement, it’s something I can read real quick and may even show me something I absolutely NEED to stop in and look at during my trip. Irvin, Inc. is one of those companies that actually provides billboard supplies, as well as business lighting, and even marquee signs. They also provide different safety equipment to keep those guys who are up working on those billboards safe and sound during it! While I hadn’t really thought about it much while driving before, it certainly would be a different drive if we didn’t have companies like Irvin, Inc. to help break up the monotony of a long drive. Think about it, as a kid or even an adult when you were on the road, were there certain billboards that you still remember to this day along a road? I know for me, there was one with the alligator on it, and it’s such typical Florida, because it had a gator and then oranges. I have no idea if this was their work or if they supplied any of the supplies for this particular billboard, but I do distinctly remember it, and remember how funny I thought it was. In my mind, it simplified Florida down for tourists, but ultimately, was still fun to look at. The signs on the way to Disney World are the same way. Some of them glitter and sparkle in the sun, while others depict fireworks, and to me, they offer a work of art to the side of the road. Again, I can’t say for sure that Irvin, Inc. supplied everything for these billboards, or anything at all, but I can say I remember what they look like and that’s something that has stuck with me for years.

Landscape Photography of Time Square, New York City

You may be thinking, who comes up with such an idea like this? A family who knew just how powerful and important having different billboards and supplies would be. Irvin was founded over 20 years ago, and is still growing, all thanks to their integrity that they keep with them. Denise Irvin Cannon is the President, and it is partly thanks to her that the company continues to grow. They recently partnered with Lightking in 2017 to start selling LED lighting and LED products to help them better serve their customers and provide them opportunities for growth and ROI. This is a company dedicated to bettering themselves and their customers.

IRVIN-LOGO-Clear-300x102.jpg

Now that you know where these come from, let’s talk about some other tips to make road trips a little more fun.

  1. Have a good playlist ready. Music is super important for any good road trip, and you need songs that are good summer jams. Think something pop or dance music, even country music, just something with a really good beat that’ll have you dancing and singing along. For me, Broadway songs are a good choice because in the car, I can really belt it out.
  2. Have snacks on hand. Whether you’re the driver or passenger, you’ll need snacks on hand to munch on throughout the trip. Stock up before you head out onto the open road.
  3. Bring a pillow. When you’re not driving and able to nap, you’ll want all the extra comfort you can get, so bring a pillow. Yes, it’ll take up a little more room, but it’s worth it to bring a bit of home with you for your nap.
  4. Stop at weird little places. Whether you’re doing it for the ‘Gram or just because you need to stretch your legs, stop at weird little places you may see advertised on billboards along the way and have mini adventures. Maybe you can find the largest ball of twine or hold a baby gator. You never know.
  5. Stop for the scenic views. There are little treasures hidden all over the country, so when you get a chance to stop at one, take it. You may just find your new favorite thinking spot not far from your house or uncover a beautiful waterfall in the middle of a city. Again, you just never know.

I hope y’all enjoy your road trips wherever they take you, and just remember, drive safely and enjoy the ride. Life is a highway after all.

 

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House Hunting Tips

*This is a sponsored post

Hey y’all, sorry it’s been a while. I have been in the very busy stage of trying to find a new house. That’s right – I’m moving and it is hectic, as anyone who has been house hunting knows. Unfortunately, I haven’t found the dream house yet, but the search is on. Luckily for me, I’ve brushed up on some house hunting knowledge and compiled it here for you. And I promise, this is way better than an episode of Property Brothers, because my budget is realistic and a little more down-to-earth than what we see on those shows.

Red and White Sale Illustration

  • Make a list of what you must have in your house. 

 

 

For me, that list is pretty simple, I need a decent sized kitchen because I love to cook and bake sweet treats, as y’all have seen on my blog, which means I need the space to do so. I also think the kitchen is the heart of the home, so I want it to be in a central location, something that is open and easily reached by all. Same thing with the floor plan – I hate too many walls because it makes me feel trapped, so I want to have plenty of natural light and a nice open floor plan. Nothing too crazy yet, right? Next up – decent sized bedrooms and bathrooms, preferably no carpet, but if it is in the house, I’ll rip it up. There is no problem there. Finally, I have got to have a laundry room in the house. Others know that many houses put it in the garage, and I just cannot stand that. So for me, those are my must-haves when I’m house hunting. Other things aren’t as important. I’d love a front porch, but it’s not a necessity, so if I don’t get it, I’ll survive. 

  • Know what is a deal-breaker for you. 

Again, this goes back to that first point. If you have to have a nice kitchen, you need to make sure you have that. If you do not make your wants or needs a priority, you may be back on the house hunt earlier than you wanted to, if you go with a space that doesn’t work for you.

  • Research the neighborhood. 

I’m looking in several different cities, all in one area at this point, and since I’m not sure about all of them, I do my research. In some cases, I ask friends who know the area and live around there for advice about whether they’ve heard good or bad things about the neighborhood and area. Then, if I don’t know anyone that lived there, I pull it up on a map. That’s right guys, old school. Not a real map, a digital one, but you know what I mean. That gives me an idea of what’s around the area. I can also look at local schools in the area, as that can sometimes help you gauge if it’s a good area or not. 

  • Know what to look for. 

There are some obvious red flags when you tour a home that you have to keep an eye on. First for me, is looking at the outside. Are there any obvious signs of damage, whether it be wind or water or anything else? If not, so far so good. Next, let’s look up at the ceiling when you get in the house. Check for any discoloration or even fresh paint in only a few areas, that could indicate they are trying to hide a stain or leak that occurred. Look at the walls for the same thing – freshly patched or painted sections could indicate that there was some damage to the wall and they did a hasty repair. Check the tile flooring and make sure it’s laid evenly. I was just looking at one house, that the tile was so uneven my shoe got caught in it, and I nearly tripped. Also, notice the smell. People have joked that my nose is similar to that of a Bloodhound. If there is a nasty smell, I will find it, and I am always very suspicious when there are multiple candles in each room. Of course, everyone wants their house to show well, and smell nice, but too many candles can be a bad sign. I’ve also caught the smell of smoke before, and that stuff can go into the walls and the carpet, so even if it’s just a faint whiff, if that’s a no-go for you, take your offer and leave. 

 

  • Find a good realtor. 

 

This is key. If you and your realtor don’t mesh, or if your realtor is not showing you the houses you want, it might be time to find a new one. A good realtor is someone who will listen to what you want (so this means that you also need to be verbal and give them a good description about what you are looking for. The relationship goes both ways!) and make sure to suggest houses that fit what you want and what you are looking for. This person should be almost as invested as you, and won’t try to just sell you the first house you’re looking at. It takes time to find the right house for yourself, and it’s important that your realtor doesn’t try to rush you into a bad decision. 

I can tell you from experience how important that last one is. I’ve gone through a few realtors, mainly because they decided that they wanted to show me houses they wanted to sell, and didn’t really care if it fit the requirements I was looking for. They would also get angry when I wouldn’t make an offer above budget, and that’s just wrong. 

With Erin King Jax Historic Realty, you won’t run into that issue. If you’re in the Jacksonville area, and especially if you are searching for a historic house (which who isn’t – they are beautiful), then this is the realtor for you. Erin King is a realtor who is a Best of Zillow Realtor. He specializes in historic homes and neighborhoods. Not only that, but he’s been buying and selling these homes and helping people find their new home for 20 years now. That’s a pretty good track record. Erin holds an MBA with an economics focus, so you can rest easy that he has plenty of experience and education to help find the perfect historic home. Not only that, but he has a 1924 home in Avondale, which is a beautiful area, and he renovated it to fit his needs. He brings his clients not only the expertise he has on buying and selling these historic homes, but also has a team of contractors he offers for them to use for the renovations to bring these houses up to the modern standards they need, without losing the historic value.

Welcome

According to Erin King, it is currently a seller’s market, so if you were considering making a change, now may be the best time to do it. Until then, wish me luck on house hunting!

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