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5 Craft Projects for Halloween

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It’s hard to believe that Halloween is just around the corner. In addition to getting the kiddos (and yourself!) a great halloween costume, we think it’s a great time to do some halloween projects and crafts together.  Here are 5 ideas to get you started!

 

1. Bat Plush Sewing Pattern

This super adorable bat plush is so fun to make. You only need four pattern pieces but you must make sure to place them all correctly. It has a basic shape with a big head and small body. It is so adorable and the kids will love it. This will be something you can use again and again each Halloween. The kids will love cuddling this adorable bat.  Source

 

2. DIY Monster Slippers 

These Monster slippers are sure to give a fright. You need to use bulky yarn held double and a large hook. You may want to add anti-skid bottoms to ensure you don’t slip. These are so fun the entire family will want a pair. This will give new meaning to ‘Trick or Treat Smell My Feet.’

 

3. Pumpkin Hat and Pumpkin

This Pumpkin Hat is knitted in the round, ending in a small i-cord on top. This is a sure way to keep your head warm while staying stylish this fall. You will need 40-50 yds/35-45m of pumpkin colored yarn as well as 12 yds/11m of green. You can vary the size so the whole family can have one. This is a great way to make your own little pumpkin patch.

 

4. Rice Krispy Treat Monsters 

Give your kids a little bit of a fright in their lunchbox this Halloween. Make Rice Krispies as normal. Melt different color candies for different color monsters. Dip the Rice Krispy in the melted candy and add some candy eyes. That’s it!

 

5. Finger Lickin Good Hot Dogs

This treat is sure to bring a fright to your Halloween dinner. All you need is some hot dogs, ketchup, and buns. Cut the hot dog in half and etch out a piece on the top that resembles a fingernail. Put creases underneath to represent the creases on a finger. Add a little ketchup for blood and your simple hot dog dinner will be the talk of the party.

 

While hope you love this Halloween crafts list. Check out our coupons for Craftsy before you tackle other fun craft projects.  You may also enjoy our Halloween Guide.

Halloween Savings Tips & Halloween Guide

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halloween

 

I’ve loved Halloween for as long as I can remember.  I remember being everything from a bunny to Strawberry Shortcake, and a punk to Punky Brewster.  This year, Halloween falls on Tuesday, October 31 and I’ve compiled a guide to help get you ready!

You’ll find Halloween savings tips, but in addition I’m going to share some of the best pumpkin stencil sites, favorite candy, haunted houses and much more.

 

5 HALLOWEEN SAVINGS TIPS

Halloween can expensive after you total up costs for costumes, halloween decorations, parties, and candy. With a little planning, here are some ways you can save money this Halloween and still have a great time!

1. Order your costumes early

While you may not be able to convince your kids to settle on what they want to be for Halloween, chances are you have a good idea of what you want to dress up as. Stores like Spirit Halloween run early bird online sales starting in September, and you can get a great deal (and find a better selection) when you start early.

 

2. Buy discounted gift cards, and combine those with coupons

Shelley Hunter, the GiftCards.com Gift Card Girlfriend, is a big fan of Halloween and has a great tip to save money on candy, costumes, etc. Cardpool is a gift card exchange site which means they buy unused gift cards from folks who didn’t need them, selling them at discount to those who do. In other words, someone may have a gift card for a party supply store, department store or even costume shop that they don’t need and you can get a deal on that card.

On Cardpool.com, shoppers can find gift cards discounted up to 35%. Since gift cards are a form of payment and not a coupon, you can still apply the coupons you find on our website with a discounted gift card and double up on the savings. It’s one of the only ways to stack discounts!

 

3. Try DIY Halloween Costumes

“For those that think that creating a DIY costume is a daunting task, or that you aren’t crafty enough, don’t be afraid to make your own costume. The internet has a ton of ingenious, cost effective and easy DIY Halloween costumes ideas. It can be so cheap to make a costume and it is a sure fire way to set you apart from everyone else.” says Felicia Ramos-Peters of Get Holiday Happy (Twitter: @getholidayhappy).  You can pick up supplies at stores like Michael’s and other craft shops. If you need some inspiration, take a look at Pinterest or Instagram and you’re sure to find a ton of ideas.

 

4. Take advantage of free halloween meals for kids

“Many restaurants offer free kids meals on Halloween. The deals are yet to be released this year, but you could save on the cost of dinner and have a fun time as a family.” says Cherie Lowe, the Queen of Free.  Cherie also offers free pumpkin stencils and patterns on her site, as well as other tips for saving at Halloween time.

 

5. Make sure to compare the total cost of costume prices, including shipping

Mario Serna of Wondercostumes.com says , “If shopping online, shipping costs can make all the difference. Sometimes the product cost appears low until you reach checkout and find a high mark-up on freight, which is where stores make up for what they “sacrifice” in listed retail prices. It is best to research shipping costs before completing an online order for Halloween costumes, and remember that shipping is part of your out-of-pocket cost. Frees shipping coupon offers are ideal.” You can use tools like Google shopping to find the retailer with the lowest total cost for the costume you want, and then come back to find a coupon code for that retailer and buy directly from them.

 

TOP HALLOWEEN STENCIL SITES

We love carving pumpkins. Past years have included Snoopy, Spongebob and other characters. Whether you love cute pumpkins or spooky ones, a pumpkin stencil can make your project much easier. You’ll need good tools if you’re carving, and I’ll admit to owning a set from Williams Sonoma. That might be overkill for most, but I take my pumpkin carving pretty seriously and have broken too many flimsy tools!

Zombie Pumpkins
There are 376 patterns in 16 categories. Each pattern is carefully designed to ensure that even complex looking images are easy to carve and will remain stable. In addition to patterns, you will find merchandise and a great forum for even more ideas.

Pumpkin Lady 
The Pumpkin Lady has been designing original pumpkin carving patterns to help carvers of all ages create the perfect Halloween / Harvest masterpiece. This site has well over 700 pumpkin carving patterns in 13 categories for you to choose from. Each pattern comes with its own set of step-by-step, easy to follow pumpkin carving instructions to help you start carving your pumpkin like a pro!

Stoney
Stoney has several different levels of carvings, and you can find cut-through patterns on this site too. In order to download the patterns on Stoney’s site, you need to purchase pattern credits and then you can choose which ones you want to get. The most impressive patterns involve intricate shading and people always love the results.

If you still haven’t found what you like, you can also run a search on Google for jack-o-lanterns and pick out your favorite eyes, nose and mouth to create a one-of-a-kind pumpkin masterpiece!

 

MOST POPULAR HALLOWEEN CANDY

Although my favorite is Almond Joy, the tried-and-true favorites for trick or treating will always be the chocolate candy bars, with Kit Kat, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and Snickers bars at the top of the heap,” says Cybele May, editor of CandyBlog.net

halloween_candy

Favorite candy, State by State

Source: Inluenster.com

Alabama – AirHeads
Alaska – Snickers
Arizona – Toblerone
Arkansas – Skittles
California – Lifesavers
Colorado – Milky Way
Connecticut – Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
Delaware – 3 Musketeers
Florida – Nestlé Crunch Bar
Georgia – Pixy Stix
Hawaii – 100 Grand Bar
Idaho – Butterfinger
Illinois – Snickers
Indiana – Reese’s Pieces
Iowa – Twix
Kansas – Twizzlers
Kentucky – Whoppers
Louisiana – Swedish Fish
Maine – Starburst
Maryland – Almond Joy
Massachusetts – Starburst
Michigan – M&M’s
Minnesota – 100 Grand Bar
Mississippi – Hershey’s Kisses
Missouri – Hershey’s Kisses
Montana – Kit Kat Bar
Nebraska – Skittles
Nevada – Jolly Ranchers
New Hampshire – Tootsie Rolls
New Jersey – Sour Patch Kids
New Mexico – 3 Musketeers
New York – Sweet Tarts
North Carolina – Butterfinger
North Dakota – Sour Patch Kids
Ohio – Milky Way
Oklahoma – M&M’s
Oregon – Candy corn
Pennsylvania – Swedish Fish
Rhode Island – Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
South Carolina – Candy corn
South Dakota – Laffy Taffy
Tennessee – Candy corn
Texas – Candy corn
Utah – Nerds
Vermont – Almond Joy
Virginia – Reese’s Pieces
Washington – AirHeads
West Virginia – Oreos
Wisconsin – Laffy Taffy
Wyoming – Candy corn
District of Columbia – Twix

 

HALLOWEEN COSTUMES

halloween_costume

We expect to see a lot of Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Harley Quinn costumes out there this year, but the folks at Popsugar think that there will be many Simone Biles, Pokemon Go, Game of Thrones and female Ghostbuster costumes on the street and at parties this Halloween.

 

 

 

The National Retail Federation ran a Halloween Costume survey and here’s what their results were on the top costumes for this year:

Kids Costumes

  1. Action/Superhero
  2. Princess
  3. Animal (Cat, Dog, Lion, Monkey, etc.)
  4. Batman Character
  5. Star Wars Character
  6. Tie: Witch AND DC Superhero (excl. Batman)
  7. Frozen Character (Anna, Elsa, Olaf)
  8. Marvel Superhero (excl. Spiderman)
  9. Zombie
  10. Spiderman

Adults 18-34

  1. Batman Character (Batman, Harley Quinn, The Joker, etc.)
  2. Witch
  3. Animal (Cat, Dog, Bunny, etc.)
  4. Tie: Marvel Superhero (Deadpool, Spiderman, etc.) AND DC Superhero (Wonder Woman, Superman, excl. Batman)
  5. Vampire
  6. Video Game Character
  7. Slasher Movie Villain (Freddy, Jason, Michael Myers, etc.)
  8. Pirate
  9. Star Wars Character
  10. Zombie

Adults 35+

  1. Witch
  2. Pirate
  3. Political (Trump, Clinton, etc.)
  4. Vampire
  5. Batman Character (Batman, Catwoman, etc.)
  6. Animal (Cat, Dog, Bunny, etc.)
  7. Tie: DC Superhero (Superman, Wonder Woman, excl. Batman) and Star Wars Character
  8. Tie: Ghost and Zombie
  9. Scary Costume/Mask
  10. Marvel Superhero (Iron Man, Hulk, Spiderman, etc.)

Pets

  1. Pumpkin
  2. Hot Dog
  3. Bumble Bee
  4. Tie: Lion and Star Wars Character
  5. Devil
  6. Batman Character
  7. Witch
  8. Superman
  9. Action/Superhero
  10. Cat

 

If you’re looking for a deal and some inspiration for this year, pick up a Spirit Halloween coupon or check out deals from other stores that sell costumes including Disney Store, Target, and more.

 

TOP HAUNTED HOUSES IN THE USA

haunted-house

ScareHouse: The Basement

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Adults 18+ Only
The Basement at ScareHouse is an intense, immersive, and interactive experience inside a nearly 100-year-old historic and haunted building. The Basement is a collaborative immersive theater experience peppered with elements of extreme horror. This haunted house contains high voltage effects, exposure to electricity, sexual content, very low lighting, tight spaces, strong scents, profanity, and moments of complete darkness, water, physical contact, violent situations and high impact scares.

 

Freakling Bros: Victim Experience III

Las Vegas, Nevada Adults 18+ Only
The Victim Experience is an incredibly intense haunted house. Participants will experience extreme physical contact, light torture, simulated drowning, among other things. You must be willing to go through the experience with ZERO RESISTANCE. If you fight back, there will be a risk of serious injury to you or their actors.

 

Blackout Haunted House
New York & California Adults 18+ Only
If you prefer rubber bats and cobwebs over genuine fear-inducers like confinement and sensory deprivation, don’t go to this one. Blackout is seriously one of the scariest haunted houses you’ll ever enter. It is an extreme haunted attraction that messes with your mind & violates your personal space.

 

Haunted Hoochie at Dead Acres
Pataskala, Ohio
The atmosphere outside is amazing! As soon as you pull into the parking lot you could hear the music, gunfire, and screams! While you wait in line characters are out interacting with the crowd. This is a very intense haunted house.

 

ScreamWorld
Houston, Texas
Nestled in the hollow of a forgotten bog, is an outdoor attraction that is the final home of a host of monstrous creatures that never rest in peace. They have a Clown Asylum Maze which is is an outdoor attraction where prowling evil clowns use disorienting strobe lights and meandering corridors to their advantage as they systematically hunt you down.

 

Halloween decorations to create your own spooky or sweet house

Ready to disguise your house with halloween decorations? Check our halloween section for everything you need to get started including spider webs, fake gravestones, fog machines and more. You’ll want the usual suspects like skeletons and ghosts, but you can also consider changing out lightbulbs on your front porch with orange bulbs or blacklights (you can get them at Lowe’s or Home Depot). Fog machines can be found at party stores, retailers like Target, as well music stores like Musician’s Friend (who knew?).

 

15 POPULAR HALLOWEEN MOVIES

  1. Halloween, the movie
  2. It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown
  3. Young Frankenstein
  4. Drag Me to Hell
  5. Creepshow
  6. Halloween III
  7. The Monster Squad
  8. The Haunting
  9. Beetlejuice
  10. Night of the Living Dead
  11. Horror of Dracula
  12. The Adams Family
  13. Edward Scissorhands
  14. The Nightmare before Christmas
  15. Practical Magic

And if you need a bit more inspiration, check out IMDB’s list of 1000 great halloween movies. It’s a few years old, but you’re sure to find something you like!

 

Hope you have a happy, spooky, safe and fun filled Halloween this year!

 

 

 

Featured Halloween Stores:

Spirit HalloweenTargetHalloweenCostumes.comAmazon




51 Free Places to see Fall Foliage & Colors

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The start of Fall brings forth a lot of emotions and images. Back to school, football, cozy sweaters, delicious soup, Halloween, pumpkin spice lattes, and Fall foliage.

We put out a request for people to send us their ideas for great places to see the leaves turn beautiful shades of red, orange and yellow, and below we’ve compiled some ideas across 21 states. Along the way, we learned about a lot of great spots, and also added the term “leaf-peeping” to our vocabulary!

While some of these places are hotels or resorts, you don’t need to necessarily stay there to soak in the beauty – stop by for lunch or a walk one day, and take in the beautiful landscapes.

These are the states we received ideas for: Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington.

If you decide to take a trip outside of your area, you can find car rental coupons and hotel coupons  for chains like Marriott on our site, as well as other travel deals.

In addition to these places, you may also want to check out the fall color tracker from Weather.com.

 

 

ARKANSAS


Stephanie from the North Little Rock Visitor’s Bureau in Arkansas wrote to tell us about the The Old Mill in North Little Rock, Arkansas.

“Frankly my dear…” never seems more poignant than when read under the trees at The Old Mill in North Little Rock, Arkansas, presumably the last standing structure from the classic film,Gone with the Wind. Nearby, enjoy a scenic bike ride on the Arkansas River Trail or enjoy live music, wine, art galleries and comedy shows downtown in the Argenta Arts & Entertainment District. Whether you’re looking for a quiet reading spot to enjoy fall color or a fun night out with friends, North Little Rock is your destination for all seasons.

 

CALIFORNIA


Robyn from the Social Flower told us that we should “Fall in Love with Fallbrook.”

California is known for the “sunny and 75 weather.” A small town in Northern San Diego County called Fallbrook is just what the doctor ordered. Being inland from the beach about 30 minutes and a Main St. to make the East Coast jealous, Fallbrook has small town charm, leaves that turn color, and lots of small businesses.., tucked away in Northern San Diego County.

 

Anne from the Bacara Resort in Santa Barbara wanted to share a twist on Fall Colors – the Monarch butterflies in the Goleta Butterfly Grove.

In Santa Barbara, our version of “fall colors” includes thousands of Monarch butterflies that migrate here every November. The Monarchs migrate from as far north as Canada to make their way to the peaceful eucalyptus trees of the Goleta Butterfly Grove. The grove, located less than two miles away from Bacara Resort & Spa, is one of the largest over wintering locations in California. It’s quite spectacular and draws visitors from all over the world.

 

Birgitt from the Sonoma County Tourism Bureau wrote to tell us about the fall foliage in wine country.

Vineyards turn from green to gold to red, offering fall foliage that rivals New England – the perfect backdrop for a drive, hike, or to cycle along. And, at the end of your foliage tour, there’s a glass of wine at one of more than 425 wineries; or a pint of beer, a cup of cider, or a tipple of gin.

The Tolay Fall Festival — held each October at Tolay Lake Regional Park near Petaluma — invariably attracts people from around the Bay Area, making it one of the most popular events on Sonoma County’s annual calendar. Much more than just a pumpkin patch (although you can pick out the perfect pumpkin), this family-friendly event offers plenty of high-fun, low-key, hands-on educational activities.

 

Jenny wrote to tell us about Mono County, near Mammoth Lakes.

FallColors – Yes, here in CALIFORNIA! The silver granite peaks, sheer cliffs, deep green and blue alpine lake basins and high desert valleys of Mono County light up in yellow, orange and red each autumn as aspen, cottonwood and willows turn with the season. This brilliant display of foliage plays out over weeks at various locations – from late September to late October – as cold air slowly cascades down from high elevations. And not only is Mono County a world-class destination for fall color viewing, but Mono County Tourism, teaming up with Mammoth Lakes Tourism and Inyo County, makes it easy for visitors to catch the vibrant show with the free Eastern Sierra Fall Color Guide and Map. From the dramatic views of Conway Summit above Mono Lake to the clear waters of Convict Lake, there’s no shortage of drives, hikes, bike rides, horseback rides and paddling opportunities to take in the fall color splendor. 

 

COLORADO


Nicole from the Manor Vail Lodge wrote to share a bit about her resort.

Escape to the Rocky Mountains this fall and experience a place so picturesque and surreal you will have to pinch yourself to verify that this is real life! Tucked away on the east end of Vail Mountain across from the iconic Manor Vail Lodge, there is an area so bright and beautiful sunglasses are recommended. Covered from mountain top to bottom in the richest, bright gold one will ever see, this area is so brightest place in the fall that its name is in fact called ‘Golden Peak.’ Experience Golden Peak the views from up high by hiking, mountain biking for a bird-eyes view. Mountain access is free and open to the public. The best times to experience the brightest and best colors of fall in Vail is mid-September to early October. If you’re looking for some fall winter overlap when the early snow falls on the bright yellow aspen leaves, we recommend late October.

 

Chelsy from the Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau wrote about her favorite destinations for leaf-peeping.

Colorado Springs’ endless blue skies, gorgeous Rocky Mountains, and fall festivals make it an ideal autumn escape. Drive Highway 67 to Cripple Creek, CO, the original location of the Pikes Peak or Bust Gold Rush. The town is an amazing destination for leaf peeping.

The Gold Belt Scenic Tour is a Colorado Scenic and Historic Byway and a National Scenic Byway. Retrace historic travel routes connecting Cripple Creek and Victor Mining District, site of the world’s largest gold rush, to the communities of Florence, Cañon City and Florissant. Each road offers distinct scenery from rolling parklands to deep rocky canyons. 

 

Holly wrote in to share her favorite spot in Estes Park, the YMCA of the Rockies.

The YMCA of the Rockies, located on 800-acres in Estes Park, Colorado, is a great three-day weekend getaway for families this fall. An off-the-beaten path family vacation, the YMCA of the Rockies is beautiful during the fall months, with Aspen leaves changing colors and elk everywhere (it’s the elk breeding season and a very cool natural phenomenon to witness!).

 

CONNECTICUT


Janet from the Western CT convention & visitors bureau wrote in to tell us about Kent, Connecticut and its many trails.

Kent, Connecticut has many claims to fame—two state parks, a 250-foot waterfall, rural beauty combined with sophisticated shops, galleries and museums. But this fall there is new reason to boast. Yankee Magazine has named this charming village in the Litchfield Hills of Western Connecticut the peak spot for leaf-peeping in all of New England. In one day in Kent, you can drive through rolling hills beside a twisting river, stop for thick hot chocolate and an authentic Belgian pastry, hike the Appalachian trail, picnic with a panini by a waterfall, shop for Buddhas or modern art and bite into a crisp native Cortland apple, perhaps in the shade of a historic covered bridge.

Foliage watchers who like their leaves close-up on a hiking trail should head for Macedonia Brook State Park, where 2300 acres offer extensive leafy trails. For views, the Blue Trail is hard to beat with its fantastic vistas of the Catskill and Taconic mountains. In Kent Falls State Park you can admire the falls from the bottom or hike a quarter-mile up the hill and feel the mist on your face as the water cascades down 250 feet on its way to join the Housatonic River.

The Appalachian Trail runs through this area, and hikers who want scenery without stress will enjoy the Housatonic “river walk,” a peaceful stretch beside the river that is the longest essentially flat section along the entire trail.

For more worldly diversions, take a walk along Route 7, Kent’s Main Street, lined for miles with irresistible stops. Take out the camera for Bulls’ Bridge, one of three remaining covered bridges in Connecticut dating from the 19th century. George Washington crossed the Housatonic River near the site of the present bridge in 1781.

Just north of town is the Sloane-Stanley Museum. Eric Sloane (1905-1985) was a prolific artist, author and illustrator and an avid collector of Americana. The museum includes the artist’s studio, examples of his art and his extensive collection of early American handmade tools, beautiful objects of wood that are virtual works of art. On the property are the remains of the Kent Iron Furnace and a diorama explaining the once-booming local iron industry. Next-door is the Connecticut Antique Machinery Association Museum, a unique display of steam and gas tractors, a working narrow gauge railroad, an industrial hall with working steam engines and mining exhibit building.

 

Josh from the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Stamford shared his thoughts on Kent and Camden.

 The Best Places to See Fall Colors for Free in Connecticut Connecticut shows its brightest colors in October. The best places to visit are the wooded areas of the state, like Litchfield, and the eastern Mystic region. All these places have delightful small towns and gorgeous scenic drives. Nutmeggers know that living in this area allows for some of the best viewing of fall foliage. In fact, the Lower Connecticut River Valley has been called one of the “last great places on earth” by The Nature Conservancy, and fall is a great time to take it all in. Here are two favorites:

1. Macedonia Brook State Park, Kent – Cobble Mountain. Enjoy the spectacular views across the Harlem Valley to the Taconic and Catskill Mountains. The hike to the top includes narrow trails, steep inclines and occasionally rocky terrain, and making it to the top is completely worth the incredible view.

2. Sleeping Giant State Park, Hamden – Stone Tower. Take the 1.5-mile gravel path to the Stone Tower. When you reach the tower, there is a 360-degree panorama looking south to Long Island and north past Hartford. 

 

Emily, representing the Connecticut Office of Tourism, wrote to share to share their Fall Foliage Finder and filled us in on a few hot spots.

Connecticut recently created a hub for all things fall, which includes a Fall Foliage Finder, scenic drives loops, pre-planned getaways and more.

Here are some of the places she recommended visiting:

1. Heublein Tower/Talcott Mountain State Park, Simsbury: The Farmington River Valley landmark of Heublein Tower sits atop Talcott Mountain, a long, precipitous wooded ledge named after the Talcott family. The 165-foot structure was built as a summer home in 1914 by Gilbert Heublein. The Tower Trail is 1.25 miles long, which takes approximately 30-40 minutes to walk. It’s open six days a week during peak fall foliage season. Hikers may encounter a variety of wildlife including deer, fox, and rabbits in this natural sanctuary. Bird watchers enjoy occasional sightings of the turkey vulture, bald eagle and pileated woodpecker.

2. Lake Waramaug State Park, New Preston: Scenically, few bodies of water in Connecticut can rival the picturesque setting of Lake Waramaug. When vivid fall foliage is mirrored in the unrippled lake surface, the park becomes a mecca for sightseers and photographers. Walk (or drive) the 8-mile loop around the lake, which is good for all skill levels, or take the Pinnacle trail from nearby Macricostas Preserve, which ends up overlooking the lake for more incredible views. Then, relax atHopkins Vineyard or stroll the charming town of New Preston.

3. Giuffrida Park/Crescent Lake, Meriden: The park offers everything from a peaceful reservoir to a beautiful wetland meadow to stunning views from Lamentation Mountain and Chauncey Peak. The 2.7-mile Chauncey Peak loop, along the ridge line overlooking Crescent Lake, offers fabulous views to the west, south and north. For a more challenging hike, the 7-mile Chauncey/Lamentation Loop will lead hikers to numerous overlooks of Silver Lake and the Hanging Hills. On a clear day, hikers can see from Long Island to Mt. Tom in Massachusetts.

4. White Memorial Conservation Center, Litchfield: Spanning more than 4,000 acres, White Memorial is the state’s largest nature center and wildlife sanctuary. It is home to 35 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, fishing, birding and camping. The trails, which are open to the public free of charge, range in difficulty from easy to moderate. Known for its brilliant foliage and New England charm, the Litchfield area is not to be missed in autumn. Other nearby stops (free of charge) should include the Tapping Reeve House & Law School and the West Cornwall Covered Bridge.

 

ILLINOIS


Emeri wrote to tell us about spots including Millennium Park and the Navy Pier.

Each year, travelers fall in love with Chicago as the trees throughout the city transform from the green of summer to the bright reds, yellows, and oranges of fall. Experience the beautiful fall foliage with a selfie stick and guide highlighting the best destinations to catch the changing colors throughout the city, specially curated with expertise by the hotel concierge. Top urban leaf peeping spots in the city include Millennium Park, Chicago Botanical Garden, Lincoln Park, North Avenue Beach, Navy Pier, Northerly Island, and more.

 

INDIANA


Ken thinks that Indiana Dunes has the best fall colors in Indiana and shared driving maps with us.

The best place in Indiana for brilliant autumn colors is the Indiana Dunes, with 15,000 acres of woods, marshes, prairies and beaches and 70 miles of hiking trails. Most of the Indiana Dunes access points are free. There are fall drives mapped out at www.indianadunes.com/cars

 

MAINE


Megan wrote in to suggest the trail systems in Maine for beautiful fall foliage.

The Maine Huts & Trails trail system as a fantastic way to immerse yourself in Maine’s foliage. Located in the western mountains of Maine is this 80-mile trail system, featuring winding switchbacks, sandy paths along mountain streams, natural bridges and incredible views. The trails are ideal for hiking and biking. Also located along the trails are off-the-grid eco-lodges, which are available to reserve through Maine Huts & Trails. Leaf peepers will enjoy foliage views without hearing or seeing vehicles, because the only way into the huts is by people-powered transportation.

 

MASSACHUSETTS


Will wrote in to tell us about Rockport Massachusetts and its State Park.

Fall Foliage in Coastal Southern New England Fall foliage peaks in mid-October in the coastal town of Rockport, a quick trip up the Massachusetts coast. Visitors can view nature’s patchwork of color as ocean-tinged breezes mix with the earthy scents of a New England fall. Come see how brilliantly the colors stand out as they’re bathed in the same light that has drawn so many artists to Rockport.  Rockport’s Halibut Point State Park offers some of the very best fall foliage viewing on the eastern seaboard. Located at the tip of Cape Ann, the park is spread among an old granite quarry, and hiking around the quarry pits is an added adventure.

 

Paula from the Plymouth County Convention & Visitors Bureau wrote about the cranberry harvesting in Plymouth County, MA

The fall foliage in Plymouth County, Massachusetts is smaller and rounder than in other parts of the Commonwealth. By this I mean Cranberry harvesting! Sure we have maples that turn orange, oaks that turn red and birch trees that take on a golden hue but that, set as a back drop for a wet Cranberry harvest at any of the over 14,000 acres of Cranberry farms in Plymouth County makes for a very impressive site. Blue skies, reflecting off the water used to flood the bogs filled with deep red cranberries in October, just takes your breath away.

The A. D. Makepeace Company in the Town of  Wareham is conducting its 13th annual Cranberry Harvest Festival on October 8 & 9.

 

MICHIGAN


TiAnna from the Fab Life for…FREE wrote to tell us about Petoskey MI.

The best place to travel to see fall colors, hands down, is Petoskey, MI. Petoskey is a quaint lake town off of Little Traverse Bay, which leads to Lake Michigan. In Petoskey, you can enjoy many hiking and biking trails, wineries and orchards, fine dining, scenic routes that house the famous Tunnel of Trees, and so much more. Located in southwestern Michigan, right in the mitt of state, Petoskey is easy to reach. You can fly into Traverse City, or it is a nice drive from anywhere in the Midwest. The best time to see the fall colors is usually the second or third weekend in October.

 

Emeri suggested we visit Mackinac Island to see the leaves.

The Midwest’s best kept secret might just be the tiny, charming island of Mackinac Island, where a ban on automobiles encourages foot and bike traffic only, and during fall, the autumnal rainbow bursts to life and offers a unique composition of reds, oranges, yellows and purples set against the endless bright blue of Lakes Huron and Michigan. Set on 18 acres of lakefront property is the seasonal Mission Point, which is offering a new Fall Harvest Package this year, set on the heels of unveiling phase two of a three-phase renovation series. The Fall Harvest Package includes a private carriage tour for carefree foliage viewing, half-day bike rentals and dinner at Chianti which is featuring a new Harvest-inspired menu. Images here.

 

MISSOURI


Shaley filled us in on Dogwood Canyon Nature Park in the Ozark mountains.

Perhaps a more rugged take on the popular New England pastime, this 10,000-acre wilderness park’s densely forested hills boast a warm autumn color palette rivaled by none. The park reopened this year as a world-class nature paradise conceived by Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris. Here, you can take in the seasonal scene by foot, horseback or tram (includes up-close animal encounters) and learn the importance of preserving this land via the Education Center. At neighboring Big Cedar Lodge, visitors can cozy-up and take in the leafy landscape from the comfort of their lakeside cabins/cottages.

 

NEW HAMPSHIRE


Charyl with the White Mountains Attractions Association shared her thoughts on the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

“From the border it shares with Canada, sweeping down and twirling around the White Mountains before spilling its colors into the reflective waters of Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire offers the finest viewing of fall colors in the world.

For unrivaled views of the fall foliage, they make their way to the top of Mount Washington in three venerable ways: Hiking; aboard the Mount Washington Cog Railway or via the Mount Washington Auto Road. At 6,288 feet, the summit affords views stretching to the Atlantic Ocean in the east and around the compass to Canada, Vermont, New York, Maine and Massachusetts.

For others, foliage season means driving across the famed Kancamagus Highway, a 34-mile road trip through the unspoiled heart of the White Mountains, between Lincoln and Conway. A National Scenic Byway, the Kanc has endless vistas of color that undulate in crisp autumn breezes, under clear blue skies.” For more info, check out VisitWhiteMountains.com

 

Marti suggests we get ourselves to Mt Washington Valley to “peep” this Fall.

In New Hampshire the best place to see fall colors is in Mt Washington Valley, NH. Why? Mt Washington Valley, located in the heart of the White Mountains of New Hampshire, says hail to the “peep” each fall as Mother Nature provides a spectacle of color unmatched anywhere else in the USA. Offering not only spectacular foliage but a wide variety of ways to enjoy the harvest hues of nature’s artistry, this region offers plenty of great ways to enjoy fall foliage throughout this autumn.

There are so many ways to see “peep a leaf” here…from the seat of a car, train or a bike, from the side of a trail, from the swoop of the zipline, and from the top of the notch, leaf peepers will not be disappointed. Learn about ten ways to “Hail to the Leaf” in Mt Washington Valley. No wonder Yahoo.com recently named Mt Washington Valley among the top 10 perfect places for fall vacations! 

 

NEW YORK


Jamie from the Whiteface Lodge wrote in to tell us about Adirondack Park  in NYC.

For a look at some of the most colorful hues the season has to offer, a trip to Whiteface Lodge, a leaf-peeping hot spot, is a must. Whiteface Lodge is the place to be for vibrant hues. The Lodge is set in a picturesque woodland setting and is a true rustic fall getaway with cozy fireplaces in-suite, warm, homemade cookies at turndown, and access to tons of fall activities. Nearby, six-million-acre Adirondack Park is home to tons of leaves turning colors, and views of the golden leaves on the lake are a sight for sore eyes.

 

Gina thinks that Central Park is the best place to see fall foliage in NYC and suggested a couple of places to stay.

NYC being one of the best cities for fall foliage with over 800 acres of trees, turned into warm colors of red, orange and yellow in the iconic Central Park – and all parks throughout Manhattan and other NYC boroughs.

AKA Central Park, a luxury hotel residence in Manhattan is the perfect location to take in fall – as it is a traveler’s favorite, being surrounded by trees and is just steps away from one NYC’s iconic landmarks, Central Park. The penthouse suites have private wrap around terraces, complete with outdoor dining areas, a fireplace – the perfect setup to take in the breathtaking city views and watch the leaves change with the season.

The William Vale, a boutique hotel nestled in Williamsburg, Brooklyn has finally opened its doors, and just in time for travelers to experience New York City’s notable fall foliage. The property boasts Vale Park, an outdoor public space set on a 15,000-square foot elevated promenade. It provides guests and locals with a shady oasis to sit back and soak in the ever-changing seasons and unmatched views.

 

Braden wanted us to consider Cooperstown for beers, baseball and apple-picking.

Early-October Nestled between the Catskills and the Central Leatherstocking region – one of the most pristine areas in upstate New York – Cooperstown is the perfect location to embrace the change from summer to fall. This quintessential American town is a perfect spot to soak in the colors, whether hiking through Glimmerglass State Park, kayaking on pristine Lake Otsego, or relaxing on a rocking chair on the Otesaga Resort Hotel’s back veranda overlooking the rolling hills and glimmering lake.

Not only is early-October peak peeping time, but October 2 also marks the end of baseball’s regular season, making it the perfect excuse to visit the National Baseball Hall of Fame to gear up for the playoffs.

  • Pick apples, pumpkins and raspberries at Middlefield Orchard
  • Sip on autumn-inspired beers at Brewery Ommegang, the only Belgian-style brewery in the U.S.
  • Journey through Cooperstown’s spooky history on the candlelit Cooperstown Ghost Tour
  • Learn about 19th century life and celebrate the start of harvest season at the Farmers’ Museum, one of the country’s oldest rural life museums
  •  Peruse the Fenimore Art Museum’s limited Fall 2016 exhibits, including Hamilton’s Final Act
  • Take a private tour of the National Baseball Hall of Fame with a visit to the legendary Doubleday Field

 

Sarah thinks we should head to Lake Placid and the Adirondacks.

Looking for the best fall foliage in New York? Head to Lake Placid, NY, a vibrant mountain town in the heart of the Adirondacks.

Plan your visit for late September/early October, when our lustrous leaves are at their peak. For an extraordinary foliage view, drive up the Whiteface Memorial Veterans Highway or take a brisk hike. At 6 million acres, the Adirondacks is the largest protected land area in the contiguous United States, so there’s plenty to explore!

Whiteface, our nearby ski mountain, has several exciting fall festivals: Oktoberfest (October 1-2), the Flaming Leaves Festival (October 8 and 9), and the Lake Placid Brewfest (October 15th).

If you need a place to stay, the Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort offers a Take a Hike package, which includes a gift pack, complimentary breakfast, and guidance on Adirondack hikes. 

 

Denise suggested we check out the fall colors at Carl Schurz Park.

In New York City, I suggest viewing the Fall colors at Carl Schurz Park. While a little off the beaten path, it is one of the most beautiful small urban parks in the US.

Spanning 15-acres, the park is located on the Upper East Side of the city in Yorkville (East 84th– 90th Streets).

With over 20 cultivated gardens and many tree variations you can relax amongst the woodland areas and vast lawns, taking in the sun or cooling off in the shade. The most tranquil location is a cul-de-sac known as Peter Pan Garden, which contains a lovely sculpture.

In addition to beautiful scenery, the park also offers sweeping views of the East River and bridges from the esplanade.

 

NORTH CAROLINA


Aubrey (@aubreyjarman) recommended that we go se the Blue Ridge Mountains.

I went to college at Appalachian (pronounced App-uh-la-chun for anyone wondering) State university which is wedged in the top left corner of North Carolina among the Blue Ridge Mountains! So beautiful when the leaves behind to change!

 

Leah wrote in to tell us about Yancey County.

Yancey County, located among the Blue Ridge Mountains in Western North Carolina is a stunning place to see fall color. The famous Blue Ridge Parkway bobs and weaves along the county’s southeastern border. The Quilt Trails of Western North Carolina turn your leaf-peeping journey into a treasure hunt for the patterned blocks adorning the sides of barns and businesses throughout the county. N.C. Highway 80 leads from the picturesque town of Burnsville, through the scenic Toe River Valley, to the highest point on the East Coast: Mount Mitchell State Park.

 

OHIO


Chad loves Put-in-Bay, Ohio.

Put-in-Bay, Ohio, a small village on the Lake Erie island is most well known for its role in the Battle of Lake Erie in 1813, but an absolute wonderful place to gaze upon beautiful fall foliage. Whether it’s gaining a unique perspective from the Miller Ferry taking a walk through one of the areas scenic nature preserves, or gazing out from the 352 Perry’s International Peace Memorial, the warm waters of Lake Erie make for spectacular colors and a myriad of Instagram worthy moments. See photos on Instagram @millerboatline

 

OKLAHOMA


Tracie wrote in about the Arbuckles and the Chicksaw National Recreation Area.

Tucked away in the foothills of the Arbuckle Mountains, one of America’s oldest mountain chains, and settled atop a hill overlooking the Lake of the Arbuckles and the historic Chickasaw National Recreation Area, there is no shortage of fall beauty at the Chickasaw Retreat & Conference Center. The area surrounding the Chickasaw Retreat (Twitter: @ChickasawRCC) boasts a variety of natural topiaries, ensuring guests a broad arrangement of bold fall colors as the leaves change. With stunning views and crisp fall temperatures, the Chickasaw Retreat & Conference Center supplies visitors with an incredible opportunity to witness fall in the most immaculate way.

 

PENNSYLVANIA


Christina from Kimpton Hotels suggested a place where we can “Fall Into Foliage without leaving the City.”

While most great leaf peeping destinations in PA require a trek out to the “country,” Pittsburgh offers fabulous views of fall, unexpectedly right in the middle of an urban city. The Three Rivers Heritage Trail is a great way to see some beautiful fall hues, offering miles of tree lined, riverfront pathways – easily accessible from downtown. Those up for an additional adventure can take the trail right to historic Frick Park, which offers 644 sprawling acres of foliage to ogle. Kimpton Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh, located right downtown, has everything needed for this urban leaf peeping adventure with the Fall Into Foliage package.

 

Leah thought we should grab a drink and admire the leaves in Philly from a rooftop bar.

I have a fun and unusual one in Philadelphia: Assembly rooftop bar and lounge. There’s no cover (though you’ll definitely want to indulge in a cocktail or seven!), and the view overlooks the city’s iconic Benjamin Franklin Parkway, a tree-lined thoroughfare that stretches from City Hall to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, with stunning Fairmount Park beyond. It’s a non-traditional and truly special place to take in fall foliage (especially beside one of their beautiful fire pits…).

 

Jenny from the Juniata River Valley Visitors Bureau thinks that Jack’s Mountain provides the best views.

The Juniata River Valley is covered in fall color by mid to late October. The rolling hills that cover Mifflin and Juniata Counties mandated the creation of roads that cling to their sides and offer views of even more rolling hills. Two routes are ideal for leaf peeping. Route 333 (see attachment Thompsontown to Lewistown) winds through the Lewistown Narrows – PA’s second largest natural gorge. The Big Valley/Ferguson Valley tour shows off our fall color from the bottom of the valley to the top of Jack’s Mountain where you’re able to see vista views of each valley by simply crossing the road.

 

Megan wants us to fill you in on the Autumn Leaf Festival in Clarion, PA.

Clarion, Pennsylvania will celebrate its 63rd Annual, U.S. Army sponsored, Autumn Leaf Festival this year. This event, which will be held from September 24th to October 2nd, is a 9-day, internationally award-winning festival which attracts more than 500,000 people. Not only are the autumn views spectacular in Clarion during the fall but this event also includes carnival rides and amusements, the renowned Clarion Hospital “Tournament of Leaves Parade,” the “Miss Junior Teen and Miss Teen ALF Scholarship Program,” and is paired with Clarion University’s Homecoming celebrations.

 

Benjamin wanted to make sure that we had Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania on our radar.

Set amid gentle hills and charming country sides, Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania (Instagram @lehighvalleypa) – located an hour and a half by car from New York City and moments from Philadelphia – provides breathtaking and vibrant fall foliage. Home to Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton, as well as dozens of small towns and picturesque boroughs, Lehigh Valley locals and visitors alike can sightsee rolling hills of fall foliage at Lehigh River Gorge, Lehigh Gap, Blue Mountain, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, as well as Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor.

 

Torrie from the Pennsylvania Tourism Office filled us in on several parks.


The Great Allegheny Passage permits adventures at no cost on a 150-mile passage from Cumberland, Md., to Pittsburgh, Pa. Visitors can follow rivers and navigate to forest areas of sliver maple and sycamore. Since 1978, this trail has provided guests with pure natural-history highlights and some of the finest fall scenery.

The Kinzua State Park is a 339-acre bridge that showcases outdoor artistry from multiple vantage points. An edgy renovation of the 1900s viaduct is known as the Kinzua Sky Walk, with a partial glass-bottomed observation deck that provides visitors a unique view of the historic structure. Located in McKean County, the best fall foliage views can be seen at Kinzua during the first two weeks of October.

Almost 50 miles long and over 1,000 feet deep, Pine Creek Gorge is one of the greatest places to view fall foliage. Located in Wellsboro, Pa., and commonly known as the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, Pine Creek Gorge combines flamboyant scenery and abundant wildlife. With over 165,000 acres of surroundings, displays of fall foliage at Pine Creek Gorge consist of deep reds, yellows and purples in early October. Some of the best views of the canyon can be found at Leonard Harrison or Colton Point State Park. You can find pictures by searching for #FallinPA on social media.

 

Aaron from Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau told us where to track down some Raptors.

Cumberland Valley Pennsylvania has many great places to spot fall foliage, including Waggoner’s Gap Hawk Watch, where visitors can spot the scenic landscape and thousands of raptors traveling south. Located in Carlisle, PA, Waggoner’s Gap has one of the largest concentrations of raptors in the U.S., with 15,000 to 20,000 raptors passing through every year. Two easy trails lead you to miles and miles of views across the Cumberland Valley.

 

RHODE ISLAND


Emeri wrote in about the Vanderbilt Grace hotel in RI which has a rooftop deck.

The Vanderbilt Grace | Newport, RI Originally built by Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt in 1909, The Vanderbilt Grace is a vintage Newport mansion that has been restored to its former glory and today operates as a 33 room luxury hotel. For amazing views of the famed New England foliage, Vanderbilt Grace’s roof deck is open for cocktails and light bites while overlooking the entire Newport harbor. Catch the vibrant fall foliage with breathtaking views of the city and waterfront. Additionally, the property offers award-winning cuisine, lavish spa and fitness center, indoor and outdoor pools and lies just minutes from the waterfront and many cultural attractions of Newport.

 

TENNESSEE


Ryan thinks the best place to see fall colors is the English Mountain Fall Foliage Tour in Sevierville, Tenn.

With visitors flocking to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to view the beautiful foliage, roads and points of interest can quickly become congested. To avoid the crowds, while still experiencing the same grandeur and beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains, an alternative suggestion is the English Mountain Fall Foliage Tour. It features plenty of foliage, attractions, and photo opportunities. Beginning in Sevierville, this driving tour includes stops at the Battle of Fair Garden, Historic Harrisburg Covered Bridge, Fox Cemetery, Blowing Cave Mill, Forbidden Caverns and Bush Brothers Visitors Center.

 

UTAH


Kenzie from the Iron County Tourism Bureau thought we should take a drive through Cedar City.

For an unmatched display of fall foliage with a backdrop of striking red-rocks and southern Utah’s national parks, take a fall color trip to Cedar City: Our favorite way to see southern Utah’s fall colors? Take the easy drive (about 1.5 hours) of the fall color loop – beginning in Parowan, take Highway 143 through Brian Head and into Cedar Breaks National Monument (via Highway 148). Follow the road to the Alpine Pond Loop trailhead (stop for a short walk or fall photos) then turn around and head back to Highway 143.Again, take Highway 143, this time east towards Panguitch Lake, then MammothCreek Road. To finish the loop, head west back towards Cedar City on Highway14.

Hint: You can get an updated Fall Color report on their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages.

 

VERMONT


Jamie’s vote is for Southern Vermont.

Located in the Deerfield Valley right down the road from the town of Wilmington, VT and The Hermitage Club in the Green Mountain National Forest of Southern Vermont AKA the Mecca for foliage season. There’s much to see and do here in the fall. Weather it’s hiking, camping, or a day spent on one of the many local lakes, you’re treated by our picturesque village, surrounded by beautiful rural mountainous countryside. All four seasons are special here and many who come to visit end up staying for the natural beauty and rural way of life. If you’re passing through for foliage, we recommend taking advantage of our scenic lift rides in the fall for amazing foliage viewing opportunities or the surrounding visit, we know you’ll enjoy your visit. For photos check out http://instagram.com/mountsnow

 

Caroline suggests leaf-peeping in Woodstock, VT.

The “prettiest small-town in America,” Woodstock is the quintessential destination for leaf peepers. Visitors can take the MountPeg trailhead, easily accessible from downtown Woodstock’s Village Green, with colorful autumn vistas at the summit of Mt. Tom, Billings Farm and Museum,Pomfret Hills and Killington Mountain. Or stroll through Woodstock’s quaint downtown, famous for the architecture of its Federal homes and churches, many of which were preserved by conservationist and philanthropist LaurenceRockefeller.

 

VIRGINIA


Lisa’s vote is for Nelson County, Virginia. She says:

For an excellent Fall Foliage experience, Nelson County, Virginia is one of the most beautiful locations in the state. The changing colors of autumn can be best seen in October (peak is usually mid to late October) along theBlue Ridge Parkway. The county’s western border is from Milepost 0 to about Milepost 32, right in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Great views can be had from 20 Minute Cliff (MP 19) or take the short hike up to Humpback Rocks at MP (6.0) for a 360 degree view of the valley below. Nearby fall attractions include Crabtree Falls and a hike to Spy Rock just several miles off the parkway on Rt. 56 East.

 

Shellie thinks the best place to see fall leaves in Virginia is in Franklin County.

The best place to see fall colors without the crowds The key to see the fall leaves in this part of Virginia (the 1/2 point on the Blue Ridge Parkway and south) is to go in the end of October and the first week of November. Everyone has gone home and you have the place to yourself. In Franklin County we have Smartview Recreation Area on the Blue Ridge Parkway, with picnic tables, scenic trails, an old pioneer cabin and restrooms. It’s Milepost 154.5 and getting there from Rocky Mount is half of the leaf-peeping adventure.

 

Nicole thinks we should check out the Bull Mountains and Battlefield Park in Manassas.

Take a scenic drive to the Bull Run Mountains and Manassas National Battlefield Park to see a multitude of fall colors in Northern Virginia. At the foothills of the mountains, you will find the Bull Run Mountains Conservancy, which offers guided hikes or you can venture out alone to explore the 8 miles of trails leading to old mills, homesteads, Civil War sites and family graveyards. Manassas National Battlefield Park offers over 5,000 acres of woodlands, meadows and streams making it an unlikely but perfect location, just 30 miles from Washington D.C., to appreciate the beautiful Fall foliage in Virginia.

 

Ashley from the Ritz in Pentagon City wrote to tell us about Mt. Vernon Trail.

The Mt. Vernon Trail connects Washington D.C. to Mt. Vernon, the home of George Washington. The lush greens that surround the trail in summer are transformed into warm golds, reds and browns in late September. As travelers explore the trail they will discover areas to fish, grill or pick fresh berries from rest areas along their journey. The 18 mile trail is gorgeously lined with natural foliage and is easily biked, run or walked by both locals and tourists. The trail connects at several locations and the routes pass many landmarks such as The National Mall, Gravelly Point, Theodore Roosevelt Island, The Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City, Arlington Cemetery, and Old Town, allowing travelers the opportunity to view historic sites as well.

 

Jenna from Shenandoah County Tourism told us about a hidden spot called Big Schloss.

The Shenandoah Valley is often thought of for fall foliage but few people know of the outstanding views from Big Schloss, near Edinburg, Virginia. This hike takes visitors along the Virginia/West Virginia border overlooking the valley from rock outcrops along the ridge line above. This hike is about 4.4 miles round trip and rather steep in the beginning climbing approximately 1000 vertical feet but the payoff is outstanding and the trail levels out once you reach the top of the ridge!

 

Kathie wanted to make sure we were aware of Greater Williamsburg, Virginia.

There are many great trails and parks where leaf peepers can enjoy the region’s autumn colors, including the Colonial National Parkway, a 23-mile National Scenic Byway that connects historic Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown; the Virginia Capital Trail, covering 52 miles between Williamsburg and Richmond; the Historic Jamestowne Bike Trail along the James River; Freedom Park with more than 20 miles of biking and hiking trails; York River State Park; New Quarter Park; the battlefield roads in Yorktown; and more. Want to know more, check out the list of Top Things to do in Fall.

 

Taylor wrote in to tell us about the Blue Ridge Parkway as a the best free spot to see fall colors.

The Blue Ridge Parkway stretches 469 miles from Virginia to North Carolina and has a ton of entrances to the parkway that provide so many wonderful experiences along the journey. The beauty of fall in the Roanoke Valley in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains is second to none. The stunning landscape of the Blue Ridge Mountains makes Virginia’s Blue Ridge one of the best places in the world to see fall colors and leaves. Every year, the landscape is decorated with the stunning colors of the changing leaves, which attracts visitors from around the world. The Blue Ridge Parkway winds through the heart of our region and it’s one of numerous scenic drives that offer leaf peeping fun. Though it varies slightly every year, peak fall color typically occurs around mid-to-late October. You can find the best places to see fall color on Virginia’s Blue Ridge Facebook page

 

Brantley’s vote is for Charlottesville.

Snuggly nestled against the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains, Charlottesville & Albemarle County offer up a dazzling display of fall foliage each and every autumn. The Blue Ridge Parkway and scenic byways meander their way across our area, with breathtaking vistas and overlooks offering gorgeous views. The University of Virginia also bursts with color, with the iconic “Lawn” at Thomas Jefferson’s university coming alive with reds, yellows and oranges. Also, the historic pedestrian Downtown Mall located in the heart of Charlottesville is lined with trees, filled with beautiful color during the autumn months, begging visitors to take a stroll!

 

WASHINGTON


Heather wanted us to check out the Yakima Valley wine country.

Unlike other areas, the Yakima Valley (Washington Wine Country) has nearly 17,000 acres of vineyards and orchards with vibrant leaves of all colors during the autumn season. The Valley is also known for its Autumn Harvest, Fall Events and live music, all of which couple nicely while out enjoying the fall foliage and various adventures for the day or an entire weekend! Yakima Valley is conveniently located three hours away from Seattle and only two and a half hours from Portland, providing easy access to metropolitan cities. 

14 Ways to Save on Back to School

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Back to school shopping signals the end of summertime fun and a return to more normal routines. But it can also make a big dent in your budget! School clothes, supplies, activities fees, and more can really add up. Here are some ways to save money (and your sanity) as you prepare the kids to return to classes.

 

Bulk Discounts

Let’s face it, your kids are going to go through a huge number of pencils, pens, paper, notebooks, and other basic supplies throughout the year. It makes sense to buy these items in bulk at your local wholesale club, and stash away the extras for use later in the school year. If you don’t think you will use all of those highlighters before they dry out or don’t have room to store the extra supplies, consider getting together with other parents to pool your money and then divide up the purchased supplies. And don’t forget to check our pages for Sam’s Club and BJs Wholesale Club Coupons and Promo Codes.

 

Buy Used

Clothing and sporting equipment for kids is often outgrown before it even gets much use. These big ticket items can really add up in traditional stores. But if you check your local consignment or thrift stores, as well as summertime garage and yard sales, and online sources like craigslist and ebay, you may find barely-used items for deep, deep discounts. And at some stores, you may be able to bring your gently used items to swap them for credit toward new (to you) treasures.

 

Check the List

More and more schools are opting for strict clothing rules and teachers can sometimes be particular about the type of notebooks or other supplies your student needs to have. It’s important to review the supply lists and dress code policies each year to make sure you’re buying the right supplies. That great deal on spiral notebooks won’t do you any good if the teacher has opted to have all students work in 3 ring binders or composition notebooks this year!

 

Coupons, Coupons, Coupons

If you’re a regular on this site, you probably already know the value of a good coupon or promo code, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed and forget with all of the back-to-school craziness. We make it easy with coupons grouped by category. Don’t forget to check out our pages for School Supply Deals, Clothing Coupons, Computer Deals, and more. A few moments spent browsing these pages could save you big!

 

Don’t Forget the Dollar Store

With ads arriving in the mail every few days and ads just about everywhere you turn, the big brand stores are all competing for your back to school dollars. It’s easy to forget smaller outlets like your local dollar store. There you’ll find basics like pencils, pens, notebooks, folders and more, often for less than the bigger stores’ sale prices. And our Dollar Tree promo codes can help you find ways to save even more!

 

Focus on the Bigger Items

With so many sales, rebates, and coupons out there, it’s easy to spend hours just to save a dollar or two on pencils, notepads, or crayons. In reality though, these items are likely to be at a good price most everywhere this time of year. Focus your energy and time on maximizing savings on the bigger items like back-to-school tech or backpacks and clothing.

 

Home Inventory

Remember when you scored that really great deal on notebooks and decided to stock up? Or the huge multi-pack of pencils you bought and then stashed away for future use? Chances are, you may still have some leftover items from last school year. Check all of the usual hiding spots for standard supplies that still have some life left in them, and you could cut your shopping list by quite a bit!

 

Host a Neighborhood Swap

Don’t have siblings from which to score hand-me-downs? Consider setting up a neighborhood swap. Everyone brings gently used (or sometimes unused!) items their kids have grown out of and goes home with a stash of nearly-new school clothes without spending a dime. This is especially useful in schools with uniforms since the kids all have to wear the same colors and styles. And it’s a great way to spend some time socializing with your neighbors amidst the chaos of the back-to-school season!

 

Keep Your Receipts

It’s so frustrating to purchase an item and then find it on a fantastic sale the following week. Fortunately, many bigger stores now offer price adjustment programs, so you can get the difference back. Price adjustments are available at stores like Kohl’s, Best Buy, Old Navy, Sears, Target, and Walmart. Be sure to know the individual store’s policies, which can range from one week to 30 days, and bring your receipt, the sales circular featuring the lower price, and your original form of payment (if you used a card) with you to redeem your savings.

 

Personalize for Added Fun

Yes, your child would much rather have the high-dollar binder decorated with their favorite animal, band, or cartoon, but you can save big by buying plain, generic versions. This doesn’t mean your little one has to go to school with boring supplies. Decorate with inexpensive stickers, or encourage budding young artists to draw or paint their own designs on notebooks and folders. You can add fun embroidered patches, pins, or buttons to boring backpacks, and create and print a personalized collage to slip into the front of that bargain bin binder. When tastes and trends change, you’ll be glad you didn’t pay a fortune for items your kiddo no longer wants.

 

Play the Gift Card Game

If you know in advance where you’ll be spending your back-to-school budget, be sure to purchase gift cards through sites like Raise or Plastic Jungle. You’ll find discounts up to 25% on cards through these sites, which you can then use in conjunction with other sales and promotions. It’s like getting free money to spend at your favorite stores! And don’t forget to check out our Raise Coupons for details on all of the hottest cards to purchase.

 

Refurbished Electronics

So your student needs a new computer, phone, or other pricey gadget for back to school. Consider buying a refurbished model instead of a brand new one. Most come with the exact same manufacturer’s warranty you’d get if you bought them new. If you go this route, make sure you’re buying from a reputable seller like Amazon or Newegg, or better yet, look for refurbished models direct from their manufacturers. We’ve got some great deals on Dell refurbished computers to help you save big.

 

Save on Sales Tax

Many states offer a tax-free weekend during the back-to-school season. If you can save just a little bit off every item you purchase, it adds up quickly. This is especially true if you find you have to buy your child a whole new wardrobe because they’ve outgrown last year’s clothing. Check out our handy guide to Tax-Free Weekends 2017, and plan your shopping accordingly!

 

Social Networking Savvy

Make sure you follow and engage with all of your favorite stores and brands through their facebook, twitter, or other social network pages. Many brands are now publishing exclusive savings just for their followers, and if you can combine these with back to school sales and other perks, you’ll be able to stretch your budget even farther. Also, look to see if your preferred stores offer promotions by text or email. You can always unsubscribe once you’re done shopping, and sign up again next year.

Sources:
https://www.realsimple.com/work-life/family/kids-parenting/back-to-school-shopping
http://www.moneycrashers.com/back-to-school-supplies-list-tips/
http://www.consumerreports.org/shopping/how-to-save-on-back-to-school-shopping/
http://www.allyou.com/budget-home/money-shopping/back-to-school-shopping/
http://www.parenting.com/article/10-back-to-school-shopping-tips-that-save-money

2017 Father’s Day Gift & Activity Ideas

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By: Jen M, contributing writer

Father’s Day is Sunday June 18, 2017.

We’ve pulled together a guide full of gift ideas, Father’s Day Factoids and even a list of activities you can do with Dad.  Whether he loves to fish, read or tinker with his car, we have coupons for all types of Father’s Day gifts!

 

HISTORY OF FATHER’S DAY

Ms Sonora Louise Smart Dodd has been credited with the idea of the very first Father’s Day Celebration, after listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909. Sonora’s mother had died in childbirth when she was only 16, leaving her father, Mr. William Jackson Smart, who was a Civil War Veteran, to raise his newborn daughter along with his 5 other children. Apparently he did a good job, because Sonora felt very strongly for fathers due to the amount of love and affection she received from hers.

Taking inspiration from Ms. Anna Jarvis, who was trying to promote Mother’s Day, Sonora Dodd began trying to garner support for Father’s Day. Two of the groups that supported her were the local YMCA and the Spokane Ministerial Association. As a result of her perseverance the first Father’s Day was celebrated in Spokane, Washington on June 19, 1910. Initially the public, and especially men, were hesitant about the idea. But the new holiday slowly gained popularity and it came to be celebrated in different cities across the US.

In 1916 President Woodrow Wilson approved of the idea of Father’s day, primarily due to its increasing popularity. 8 years later, in 1924, President Calvin Coolidge supported the idea of a national Father’s Day to “”establish more intimate relations between fathers and their children and to impress upon fathers the full measure of their obligations”. And, after 4 decades of struggle, in 1966 President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day. Then in 1972, President Richard Nixon established a permanent national observance of Father’s Day to be held on the third Sunday of June.

Sonora Smart Dodd was honored for her contribution at the World’s Fair in Spokane in 1974. Mrs. Dodd died in 1978 at age 96.

 

20 FATHER’S DAY GIFT IDEAS

Part One: Gifts You Can Make And Ways to Save $$$$:

 

1. Keepsake for New Dads

For new dads a gift from the little one can be cute and creative. Of course, not all dad are into the “cutesy” type of gifts, but we will tackle those dads a bit later in this piece. For now, some ideas can include stamping baby’s hand or foot prints on a piece of paper with a frame, or creating a picture or a card with their prints. Messy, sure, but it can also be cute and fun!

 

2. The Daddy Survival Kit

While this is geared more for the brand new dad, you can also be creative and make it work for the dad of a teenager, or the dad of kids who are out of the house. It can combine serious and fun. For the brand new daddy essential items can include: diapers, diaper rash cream, bibs, wipes, pacifiers and toys. You can also include goggles for diaper changes (and nose clips or Vicks Vaporub for under the nose), Visine for red eyes from being up all night, ear plugs, a flask,etc. For the daddy of a teenager maybe some Tylenol for the headaches, ear plugs for the music, binoculars to spy on dates, a gift card to a restaurant or store……for the kids out of the house maybe a nice bottle of champagne to celebrate, a gas card to go visit…….the idea is to be creative while making a memorable and special gift.

 

3. A Picture Gift……Take Your Own

For babies you can take 3 pictures, in 3 different poses, of baby holding the letters D, A and then D and then put them in a frame to sell dad. With multiple kids, each kid could hold a letter. You can take multiple pictures and make a collage. You can pose siblings together, or apart. Or even use old pictures to create a memory board.

 

4. A Picture Gift……..Make Your Own

Sites like Shutterfly or Walgreens have dozens of options (and often has coupons and promo codes that let you save as much as 50%)  to create photo gifts. Ideas include: photo books, calendars, phone cases, mouse pads, playing cards, t shirts, cutting boards, magnets…..

 

 5. A Gift Basket

This one has endless possibilities and can be customized for the special dad in your life. Some ideas include: gift cards, wine, beer, tools, electronics, food items, fishing gear, a t shirt, books, movies, etc.  Shari’s Berries has great ones, plus you can add some chocolate covered berries.

 

6. A Coupon Book

If you are a wife wishing your husband a Happy Father’s day you can include things like a home cooked dinner, breakfast in bed, a spa day……if can be funny, romantic, a bit of both. For kids who want to celebrate their dad they can include things like free yardwork, a car wash, dinner, maybe babysitting younger siblings so mom and dad can have a night out. This can vary by age and relationship but the point is to make it creative and special.

 

7. Decorate A Mug

We did these for my parents one year and it was a hit! You can buy mugs that are blank and you can decorate or customize them however you like. All you need are white ceramic mugs  and Painter’s Pens (You can buy them on Amazon for $10). This will also work with T shirts or wine glasses.

 

8. Breakfast in Bed

What dad does not want to sleep in and get waited on by his kids?

 

9. A Poem

You can write a nice poem and frame it. Handwritten is much more personalized but you can print it if you prefer. You do not have to rhyme, just a heartfelt thank you or I love you can mean more than anything that money can buy.

 

10. A Daddy Daughter / Son Day

For many dads (and moms, too) getting to spend time with their kids is the most precious present of all. In this day and age everyone is busy so giving and leads such hectic lives that giving the gift of time can be worth its’ weight in gold.  Need some ideas on what to do? We have those for you in our activities section!

 

Part Two: Gift Suggestions

 

11. A Tie

Go upscale with a Brioni or Hermes tie, or pick something up at Nordstrom. If your dad is the sentimental type, you can even be a little goofy and get something personalized with a picture.

 

12. A Watch

Find a watch to match his personality.  Get together with siblings and set him up with a high end watch, or pick out something sporty or techie like an Apple watch.  For a special touch, you can consider getting it engraved. Need ideas? Take a look at The Ultimate Guide to Men’s Watches in 2017.

 

13. The Hyper Chiller Iced Coffee Maker

It is described as: “Simple yet effective, the HyperChiller is able to chill hot coffee in about a minute — without diluting the beans. If that’s not enough, it’s also able to chill whiskey, wine and any other liquid vice Dad may have. Want one for yourself as well? Buy three and get the fourth free of charge!”

 

14. Beard  / Grooming Products

A beard trimmer, clippers, a shaving kit, an electric razor……Any of these (or all of them) make a great gift idea for dad.  Consider something nice from The Art of Shaving.

 

15. An “Of the Month Club”

Variety is the name of the game and dad can have something new sent to him every month (or every other month, or every 3 months. Most of these options are very flexible). Idea include: cigars, whiskey, movies, craft beers, and meat. Other suggestions can be found here: The 12 Best Monthly Deliveries

 

16. Grill Equipment

Whether it is a new set of barbecue tools or a “Kiss the Cook” apron if dad has a grill than dad will be happy with grill stuff. If your dad is anything like mine nothing stops the grill, not even winter!  My favorite sauce hands down is from Southern Soul, but you can pick out Dad’s favorite.  Check out specials from Lowes and Home Depot.

 

17. Electronics

And maybe a free lesson on technology……which, if your dad is like mine, could be very useful. My dad is a very smart man but when it comes to anything computer related, well, let’s just say hs is a bit behind the times. But even if your dad is a technological whiz there is always some new gadget that he is sure to need. Some suggestions that are pretty cool for 2017: ZUS Smart Car Charger, iDevices iGrill 2 Thermometer, Golf RelayMio Alpha 2 Fitness Tracker, Kindle Oasis E Reader, Equil Smartpen 2 Digital Pen

 

18. Sports Equipment & Memorabilia

No matter what sport your dad is into this is one gift that will never go out of style. If he plays maybe he could use a new set of golf clubs.  Or perhaps a sweatshirt from his favorite team.

 

19. Gift Cards

Not the most personal choice, true, but a gift card allows dad the choice of deciding what he truly wants for Father’s Day.  Whether he secretly likes to be pampered and wants a facial, or there’s some sports equipment he’s been checking out. You can pick up a gift card to Dick’s Sporting Goods, Bass Pro, Cabelas or see deals from GiftCards.com.

 

20. Non traditional Gifts

When people think of Mother’s Day they think of flowers, chocolates, maybe a day at the spa. But when we think of Father’s Day those same options do not come to mind. But why not? Places like Teleflora have options such as Teleflora’s ’48 Ford Pickup Bouquet, From You Flowers offers Father’s Day flowers and gifts and Edible Arrangements has a tasty array of Father’s Day gift ideas. Spas have options for couples as well as for men and many men would enjoy a spa day. So, do not count out the typical “non traditional” gift ideas. You just may be missing out!

 

 

5 FUN FACTS ABOUT FATHER’S DAY

 

1. Humor cards account for about 25 percent of Father’s Day sales.

2. The necktie is consistently the most popular gift.

3. Among seahorses, it’s the male who carries the babies.

4. And, according to NRF’s 2015 Father’s Day Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, the average person will spend $115.57 on gifts. The survey found 75.4 percent of Americans said they plan to celebrate Father’s Day.

5. Father’s Day is the busiest day of the year for collect phone calls.

 

 

10 FATHER’S DAY FACTOIDS

 

1. According to Hallmark, Father’s Day is the fourth-largest card-sending occasion with 74 million cards given every year.

 

2. Sonora Louise Smart Dodd of Spokane, Wash., is credited with starting Father’s Day after hearing a sermon on Mother’s Day. The First local Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910, in Spokane, Washington.

 

3. While Mother’s Day was officially established in 1914, Father’s Day did not go into “official effect”  until 1972!

 

4. Father’s Day is always the third Sunday in June.

 

5. The U.S Census Bureau estimates there are 70.1 million fathers in the United States in 2008. And that there are 199,000 stay-at-home dads in 2015 taking care of children while a spouse works outside the home.

 

6. Fifty percent of all Father’s Day cards are purchased for fathers. Almost 20 percent of Father’s Day cards are given to husbands.

 

7. If you thought Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day was the most connected day of the year, you’re wrong. Father’s Day is the busiest day of the year for collect phone calls.

 

8. In Germany, Father’s Day is celebrated is an unusual way. Men hike with hand-pulled wagons filled with beer, and often partake heavily of that and the local food. According to Der Spiegel, fueled accidents are three times more likely than usual on this day.

 

9. Roses are the official flower for Father’s Day. A red rose is worn in the lapel if your father is living, a white rose if he is deceased.

 

10. Father’s Day cards go farther back than Hallmark. One of the  earliest dates back roughly 4,000 years. Elmesu, a Babylonian youngster,  carved a card out of clay  to “wish his father good health and long life.”

 

 

10 FATHER’S DAY ACTIVITY IDEAS

 

1. Take Me Out to the Ball Game:

Or football, or hockey or basketball. Tickets to the game is never a bad idea.

 

2. Speaking of Tickets:

Not all dads are into sports and that is fine. Another option is concert tickets. Take dad to see his favorite band. Through in dinner and make a night of it.

 

3. And More Tickets:

OK, well, if dad does not want to go to a game or a concert there are plenty of other things you can grab tickets to. Maybe a movie, a museum, a festival, a comedy show, a dinner show, a broadway play…..there are all kinds of dads out there and all kinds of different things you can grab tickets to. You know your dad best and you know what he likes.

 

4. A Trip:

Depending on your budget your getaway may be a few hours, a few days or even a week. Is there someplace you know dad wants to go and has never been? A favorite place he would like to return? Maybe a camping trip, fishing trip, white water rafting? Maybe there are siblings who can pitch in, maybe it is just dad and you, but a trip can be a wonderful gift and a great way to honor that special man in your life.

 

5. Volunteer Together:

This may not be for everyone, but there are some dads who would appreciate a gift like this. You can spend the day volunteering together at a shelter, or putting together bags for the homeless, or working the line in a soup kitchen. This is also a great option for dads of teenagers, as it is a way to show your kids that giving back is important.

 

6. Tackle That Thing You Have Been Meaning To Get To:

Is there a project that needs to be done? Something that needs to be built or fixed? This would be a great chance to offer to get it done, together.

 

7. Take A Class, Learn Something New:

Maybe a father daughter cooking class. An art night. Painting lessons. A drink making class. A foreign language. If you and dad have something special in common, or are just willing to try new things, this is a great opportunity to do so.

 

8. Something Simple:

It does not have to be complicated or expensive or something new. It can be a simple activity like bowling, paintball, an amusement park, a picnic, a day at the beach, chartering a boat, mini golf, dinner and a movie, skiing, hiking.  It can be a family event or just the two of you. Pick a favorite activity and go and do it.

 

9. Make Dinner Together:

This can be a fun way to bond and spend time together. Maybe it is a new recipe he has always wanted to try, maybe you want to have a grilling competition, maybe you will burn it all and end up ordering a pizza anyway. As long as you are together and having fun that is all that matters.

 

10. Cross off a Bucket List Item:

Of course, we do have dads that are adrenaline junkies and adventure lovers who are not satisfied with the simple and ordinary. If your dad is one of those (and you are either the same as him or just brave enough to try) then you may want to try something a little more extreme. You may want to rent luxury cars for the afternoon,go bungee jumping, rent a hot air balloon, take a helicopter ride, drive a race car around the track, white water rafting (this can be simple or extreme). Whatever it is, you know yourself and your dad best, so I am sure you will make a great choice.

 

Sources:

http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/11/us/fathers-day-fast-facts/

http://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/smart-living/15-fun-fathers-day-facts/ss-AAh99OE#image=4

http://www.theholidayspot.com/fathersday/trivia.htm

http://www.fathersdaycelebration.com/fathers-day-history.html

http://www.parenting.com/family-time/holidays/10-precious-fathers-day-gift-ideas-new-baby?page=2

http://www.iheartartsncrafts.com/fathers-day-sharpie-mug-kids-craft/

http://www.crn.com/slide-shows/mobility/300080970/25-gadgets-to-get-your-techie-dad-this-fathers-day.htm/pgno/0/9

2017 Mother’s Day Guide: 10 Gift Ideas, Mother’s Day Facts & More

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Mothers Day Guide

 

By Jen M., contributing writer

 

Mother’s Day in the United States is annually held on the second Sunday of May; this year it’s Sunday May 14, 2017.  It celebrates motherhood and it is a time to appreciate mothers and mother figures. Many people give gifts, cards, flowers, candy, a meal in a restaurant or other treats to their mother and mother figures, including grandmothers, great-grandmothers, stepmothers, and foster mothers.

 

10 Mother’s Day Facts

1. The festival of Mother’s Day is celebrated across 46 countries (though on different dates)

2. In 1870 a female activist, writer and poet by the name of Julia Ward (she wrote the “Battle Hymn of the Republic”) suggested a day of peace and strongly advocated other women to stand up against the war. From this plea she was able to get Boston to recognize mothers on the second Sunday of June.

3. Mother’s Day sees around one quarter of all flowers purchased throughout the year falling on this holiday.  Approximately $14 billion dollars is spent on Mother’s Day.

4. In the vast majority of the world’s languages, the word for “mother” begins with the letter M.

5. In what was formerly Yugoslavia, children would tie up their mother on Mother’s Day. The only way she could get free would be to pay her children with treats.

6. In the United States alone, around 122 million phone calls are made to moms on Mother’s Day.

7. Approximately 65% of card sales occur five days prior to Mother’s Day.

8. According to theInsure.com 2015 Mother’s Day Index, the various tasks Moms perform at home would be worth $65,284 (up from $62,985 in 2014) a year in the professional world.

9. 80% of moms say yes to having sex on Mother’s Day.

10. May 9, 1914  was the day that President Woodrow Wilson signs a bill recognizing Mother’s Day as a national holiday.

 

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

10 Gift Ideas For Mother’s Day

1. Flowers

What better way to express your love and appreciation of your mother than with a gift that is both beautiful and fragrant? White carnations have long been the most popular choice on this spring holiday but other popular choices are roses, tulips, scented narcissi and daffodils. You can find deals from 1800Flowers, ProFlowers, FTD and others on this site, or stop by Mom’s favorite florist to custom create a bouquet for her.

A fun flower fact: Not only do florists see their biggest sales in May but flowers are believed to be one of the most popular gifts to send Mom on Mother’s Day largely in part because of Anna Jarvis. She sent 500 white carnations to the Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church, in Grafton, West Virginia with the hope of distributing the mothers. Then onwards, the tradition of sending flowers on Mother’s Day, took root.

 

2. Dinner

Many restaurants offer special menu options, a la carte dining, specials or coupons for mother on their big day.  Online sites like Restaurants.com offer great restaurant gift card packages that are often paired with a second gift, and can make dining out a bit more affordable.

Fun Fact: According to the National Restaurant Association, 38% of consumers go out to eat on Mother’s Day, making it the most popular day of the year to dine out. Of those who enjoy a special meal on that day, 62% do so at a restaurant. Of those who dine out, 59% celebrate at dinner, 51% at lunch or brunch and 22% at breakfast, according to a 2006 National Restaurant Association survey.

 

3. Gift Cards

A gift card is the perfect gift as it takes away the “guesswork”, especially if your mom is on the picky side. Worried that it won’t be personal? Do some digging and find out her favorite store. Maybe a day at her favorite spa or salon. If you have siblings perhaps combine your ideas for a day of pampering  – one buys a gift card to a store for a new outfit, another to a salon for a spa day, perhaps another for dinner.

Fun Fact: According to Mother’s Day Statistics, 24.7% of moms want to receive a gift card on their big day.

 

4. Jewelry

There are so many options to choose from –  you can find something nice regardless of your budget is. Earrings, necklaces, rings, bracelets, silver, gold, birthstones and other gifts are usually on sale around the holiday at stores like Zales.  Personalization is always a nice touch, as are items that incorporate photos of the kids or grandkids, such as multi charm necklaces or bracelets.

Fun Fact: The average spent on jewelry is $96 per person, or 4.2 billion nationwide.

 

5. Speaking of Personalization…

Personalized gifts are great for adding that “extra special” touch. And personalized means much more than getting something engraved. Companies such as Shutterfly (and even Walgreens) have wonderful picture gift options, anything form a t-shirt to a calendar. And they often have specials, too. You can also find a wider selection of personalized gifts at stores like Personal Creations or Personalization Mall, but may brands like Coach will offer the ability to engrave or monogram gifts year round.

Fun Fact: Modern moms have an average family size of two children, while mothers in the 1950s had an average of 3-5 children, and in the 1700s, women gave birth to an average of 7-10 children!

 

6. Candles

Candles come in so many different colors, shapes, sizes and scents that they make a wonderful gift idea for mom.  According to Ebay: Some popular candles that are gifted to mothers are: Peachy Mango Ring candles which contain scented with white peaches, apples, bananas, and ripe mangoes; Lavender lemon scented candles, strawberry rhubarb, vanilla and wild berries.  Looking for something a bit more luxurious? Check stores like Ralph Lauren / Polo.

Fun Fact: Mother’s Day is the third largest holiday in the US for sending cards.

 

7. Candy

I fondly remember those wonderful boxes of chocolates that had all the different kinds – and you never knew what was what without reading the insert that had the candies clearly labeled – or you took a risk and took a bite. But the idea of candy has definitely come a long way from that simple box of chocolates I remember. Now you have such a variety to choose from, everything from chocolate covered strawberries or cherries to Ghiradelli and Lady Godiva, Parisian Pineapples to Champagne Bears.

Fun Fact: Mother’s Day is always the second Sunday in May.

 

8. Gift Baskets

You can get a gift basket made up of just about anything: candy, gourmet foods, chocolate, coffee, teas, wines, spa essentials, gift cards……from simple and budget friendly to expensive and luxurious. You can even customize your own and do all of it completely online. Of course, you can always make it yourself, for a creative (and possibly even money saving) option.

Fun Fact: Traditionally, India celebrates Mother’s Day for 10 days each year during the month of October.

 

9. Electronics

In this digital age this category holds a lot of excellent options to show mom your appreciation. Some ideas: Kindle or Nook eReaders, iPad or Android tablets, Fitbit or other fitness trackers, laptops, a new iPhone, smart watch, digital picture frame, wifi enabled slow cooker or a  smart coffeemaker.

Fun Fact: According to a 2016 survey by the National Retail Foundation:”Shoppers will spend almost the same on clothing and accessories ($1.89 billion) as on electronics ($1.92 billion), but will spend more per item on the latter; that’s why 35.4% of shoppers will give items of clothing as a present to their Mom, while only 13.8% will get them the latest iPad, smartphone or other electronic device.”

 

10. Other Ideas

Some other popular ideas for Mother’s Day include: travel gifts (this could be as simple as a day trip or an evening cruise), perfume, books, tickets (concerts, sporting events, comedy nights), cookware and kitchen appliances.

Fun Fact: There are 85.4 million moms in the US!

 

 

10 Ways to Save on Mother’s Day

 

1. Homemade Gifts, Part 1: Make Memories, Don’t Buy Them

A picture really IS worth 1,000 words and you can make some wonderfully creative gifts that will be treasured for years to come. A photo collage can be fairly inexpensive to make – collect pictures from family and friends and create a montage of memories in a picture frame. Or even on a large piece of poster board that you can have laminated. You can also buy multi picture frames from the dollar store or retailers such as Target or Walmart – or create your own! Sites like Pinterest can help you find creative ideas. Another idea is a Memory Book – pictures, newspaper clippings from important days, handwritten memories from friends and family, poems, artwork…….

 

2. Save On Flowers and Other Gifts with Online Coupons & Discounts

Most online retailers offer coupons and discounts for Mother’s Day starting about 3 weeks out.  In addition to standard % and $ off discounts, you can sometimes find offers for things like free engraving or monogramming.  If you tend to wait to the last minute (see #5 below!) you will also likely find offers for free or discounted expedited shipping.  Also, if you do not have Amazon Prime you can sign up for a free 30 day trial and take advantage of free shipping on thousands of items.

 

3. A Mom Day

If your spouse or girlfriend is a mother of young kids consider a “Mom” day. Let her sleep in, bring her breakfast in bed, complete with homemade cards, set up a “Mom Spa” in the living room where you can offer manicures and pedicures, mom does no chores for the day……..the idea is to be creative and show mom how much she is appreciated. Depending on the ages of the kids they can help a little, a lot or not at all. But, that is what it is all about, right? Appreciation for a Mom, whether she is your own mom or your kid’s mom.

If you don’t have very young kids (or, alternatively, older kids that are out of the house) you can still be creative – start the day of with breakfast in bed, perhaps a nicely written poem in place of the handmade cards, a more adult “Mom Spa Day” featuring a massage, and you can still do those manis / pedis!! But you get the idea. Make the day all about her.

 

4. Homemade Gifts, Part 2: Gifts From the Heart

There are so many options that can be made fairly inexpensively. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

* A Coupon Book that she can “redeem” throughout the year and could include things like a Mom/Daughter or Son Day (if it is for your mom), Get Out Of Doing This One Chore For The Day, A Massage (For Spouse), etc.
* A customized Gift Basket that you make yourself – it can be themed (food, travel, music, beauty, etc.), it can contain items bought from a Walmart or Dollar Store, or Cost Plus World Market, and you can even load it up with a bunch of $5 Starbucks gift cards or $2 scratch-off lottery tickets.
* A Book Of Recipes that you can put together from online recipes or from friends and relatives.
* A home cooked meal, a opposed to visiting a crowded restaurant. Mother’s Day is the busiest day of the year for most restaurants (Believe me, I know. I managed restaurants for years!)
* Flowers that you picked yourself.
* A poem or song.
* Take the kids out for the afternoon and let mom have the whole house to herself!

 

5. Plan ahead – Place Orders / Make Reservations in Advance

Most of us will spend more money if we wait until the last minute,  since we have lower standards and do not want to get stuck empty handed. Also, many flower delivery places have cheaper delivery fees if  you have the order delivered on the Friday (or sometimes even the Saturday) before.

 

6. Airline Miles or Reward Points

If you have a credit card that has reward points (airline, hotel, etc.) consider giving them to mom to use for a trip or a weekend getaway.  You can even go with her and make the experience twice as nice.

 

7. A Group Gift

If you have siblings, you can all contribute to a group gift and share the cost.

 

8. Deliver Flowers Yourself

Many flower shops charge a service fee and a delivery fee. You can save the fees if you simply purchase the flowers and deliver them yourself.  Just be aware that some florists charge more for flowers than the online florists, so ensure you’re getting a great deal.

 

9. Make A Card

Cards are expensive. But, you can easily make one online, for free, and either print it or email it. You can even include a photo!  Another option that I use myself on a regular basis is Walgreens Photo. You can design your own cards, with or without a photo, for as little as $1.99 each. And most have same day pickup!

 

10. Simple Can Be Just As Nice

There are many free or low cost activities that you could do with the mom in your life. Go on a picnic, spend the day at the beach, go hiking, bowling, boating,  go exploring (take a drive and see where you end up), take a class, cook dinner together, etc.  In the end, what she really wants is to spend time with you…. you could even watch a movie from our list below.

 

 

Mothers Day Movies

Popular Mother’s Day Movies

What better way to spend the day than watching some of these favorites:

1. Mrs. Doubtfire
2. Julia and Julia
3. Fried Green Tomatoes
4. Erin Brockovich
5. Steel Magnolias
6. Beaches
7. The First Wives Club
8. Philomena
9. The Kids Are Alright
10. The Sound of Music
11. Rabbit Hole
12. Ricki and the Flash
13. Freaky Friday (The original and the 2003 remake)
14. Terms of Endearment
15. Mask
16. Places in the Heart
17. Hairspray
18. Mamma Mia
19. The Turning Point’
20. And, last but not least……Mommie Dearest
Funny Mother's Day Quotes

10 Funny Mother’s Day Quotes

 

“Somebody up there has got it in for me. I bet it’s my mother.”  – Mamma Mia

 

“I want my children to have all the things I couldn’t afford. Then I want to move in with them.” – Phyllis Diller

 

“I can’t believe you’re going to a therapist. You know, they’re totally going to ask you about me … They always want to ask about your mother. It’s OK. Say whatever you want. But make sure you start with “my mother’s very hot.” –Gilmore Girls

 

“I just want you to know, if you ever need anything, don’t be shy, OK? There are NO rules in the house. I’m not like a *regular* mom, I’m a *cool* mom.” – Mean Girls

 

“Oh, Harry, you’re an angel. If your mother hadn’t been such a bitch, we could’ve shared something important.” – Beaches

 

“My momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” – Forrest Gump

 

“When your mother asks, ‘Do you want a piece of advice?’ it is a mere formality. It doesn’t matter if you answer yes or no. You’re going to get it anyway.” – Erma Bombeck

 

“My mother tried to kill me when I was a baby. She denied it. She said she thought the plastic bag would keep me fresh.” – Bob Monkhouse

 

“You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can’t Fool Mom.” – Captain Penny

 

“Of course I have a secret identity. Can you see me in this at the, at the supermarket? Come on! Who’d want to go shopping as Elastigirl, know what I mean?” – The Incredibles

 

 

Sources:

http://www.mothersdaycelebration.com/mothers-day-history.html

https://osr.org/blog/tips-gifts/20-fun-facts-about-mothers-day/

http://www.lifebuzz.com/mothers-day-facts/

http://www.theflowerexpert.com/content/giftflowers/flowersandoccassions/mothers-day-flowers

http://www.statisticbrain.com/mothers-day-statistics/

http://fortune.com/2016/05/08/mothers-day-spending/

https://www.homewetbar.com/blog/mothers-day-history-facts-trivia/

http://www.homelife.com.au/craft-diy/diy/20-best-ever-mothers-day-movies

http://www.seattletimes.com/entertainment/movies/for-mothers-day-ten-great-movies-about-moms/

https://www.timeout.com/newyork/movies/best-mothers-day-movies

https://www.babble.com/entertainment/the-best-movies-for-mothers-day/

http://heavy.com/entertainment/2016/05/mothers-day-movies-2016-quotes-lines-films-funny-tv/

http://www.reellifewithjane.com/2011/05/happy-mothers-day-ten-quotes-movie-moms/

http://www.dayformothers.com/mothers-day-quotes/funny-mothers-day-quotes.html

https://www.simplethriftyliving.com/creative-ways-to-save-on-mothers-day-gifts/

 

12 Valentine’s Day Factoids: The Battle of the Sexes

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We polled 100 people to learn more about how they feel about Valentine’s Day, and how men and women differ in their thinking and behavior. The results are summarized below in a pretty infographic.

Here’s some of what we learned:

  • 33% of people felt like Valentine’s Day is an obligation, but admitted that they have fun anyway or that it makes their partner happy
  • 32% plan to spend at least $50 on the holiday
  • The number one gift that will be given is a greeting card, at 44%
  • 42% of men will be giving flowers, with roses being the #1 type
  • Men wait until the last minute to do their shopping, with 57% waiting until the day before or later (some on the day after because they usually forget!)
  • While men give roses 47% of the time,  only 33% of women said it was their favorite type of flower
  • Men and women both said that Pretty Woman was their favorite Valentine’s day movie

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Valentine's Day Facts Infographic

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Tax-Free Weekends 2017 (Sales Tax Holiday)

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backtoschool_taxsavings

Did you know that you can save even more on certain weekends throughout the back to school season?

You can! Many states offer the opportunity to buy clothes and school supplies without having to pay sales taxes.  Below you’ll find a list of states along with the corresponding tax free weekend dates in July and August for 2017. Need more details?  Just click on the name of the state to get additional information and exclusions.

 

STATE

WHAT’S INCLUDED?

DATES IN 2017

AlabamaClothing, Books, School Supplies, ComputersAugust 4th to 6th
ArkansasSchool Supplies & ClothingAugust 5th & 6th
ConnecticutClothing & ShoesAugust 20th to 26th
FloridaClothing, School Supplies & ComputersAugust 4th to 6th
GeorgiaClothing, School Supplies & ComputersJuly 29-30th
IowaClothingAugust 4th & 5th
LouisianaPersonal Property under $2,500August 4th & 5th
MarylandClothing & ShoesAugust 13th to 19th
MississippiClothing & ShoesJuly 28th &  29th
MissouriComputers, School Supplies & ClothingAugust 4th to 6th
New MexicoClothing, Computers, School SuppliesAugust 4th to 6th
OhioSchool Supplies & ClothingAugust 4th to 6th
OklahomaClothingAugust 4th to 6th
South CarolinaClothing, Computers & School SuppliesAugust 4th to 6th
TennesseeClothing, School Supplies & ComputersJuly 28th to 30th
TexasBackpacks, Clothing & School SuppliesAugust 4th to 6th
VirginiaClothing & School SuppliesAugust 4th to 6th

Happy Shopping!

Top Shops for Back to School Shopping

Kohl's Coupons
Kohl’s
Macy's Logo
Macy’s
JCPenney Logo
JCPenney
Target Coupons and Codes
Target
Staples Coupons
Staples
Overstock
Overstock
eBags Coupons
eBags
Best Buy Coupons
Best Buy

 

2017 Super Bowl LI Fast Facts & Best Super Bowl Ads

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We’re less than a month away from the 2017 Super Bowl and wanted to give you all of the info you need for the big game.  Below you’ll find the date, location, schedule for Super Bowl LI, as well as the top foods served, top categories shopped, and best Super Bowl ads of all time.

 

HISTORY OF THE SUPER BOWL

The game was created as part of a merger agreement between the NFL and its then-rival league, the American Football League (AFL).

It was agreed that the two leagues’ champion teams would play in the AFL–NFL World Championship Game until the merger was to officially begin in 1970. After the merger, each league was re-designated as a “conference”, and the game has since been played between the conference champions to determine the NFL’s league champion.

Currently, the National Football Conference (NFC) leads the league with 26 wins to 24 wins for the American Football Conference (AFC). The Pittsburgh Steelers have the most Super Bowl victories with six.

(Source: Wikipedia)


2017 SUPER BOWL DATE, LOCATION & SCHEDULE – SUPER BOWL LI

 

TEAMS:

Falcons vs Patriots

LOCATION:

NRG Stadium | One NRG Park, Houston, Texas 77054

DATE & SCHEDULE:

Game day – February 5, 2017

11:00 AM CST: Super Bowl LI – Parking Lot Opens
1:00 PM CST: Super Bowl LI – Entry Plazas and Stadium Gates Open
4:15 PM CST: Super Bowl LI – Team Warm-Ups
5:00 PM CST: Super Bowl LI – Player Introductions and National Anthem
5:30 PM CST: 2017 Super Bowl – Kickoff Time!

TELEVISION DETAILS:

Super Bowl LI will be televised nationally on FOX.

ANNOUNCERS:

  • Joe Buck (play-by-play)
  • Troy Aikman (analyst)
  • Erin Andrews (sideline reporter)
  • Chris Myers (sideline reporter)

2017 SUPER BOWL NATIONAL ANTHEM SINGER:

The National Anthem will be sung by country music star Luke Bryan.

2017 SUPER BOWL HALFTIME SHOW:

Lady Gaga will headline the 2017 Super Bowl halftime show.  The show is officially called the PEPSI ZERO SUGAR SUPER BOWL LI HALFTIME SHOW and will be aired on FOX at NRG Stadium in Houston on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017.

(Source: NFL.com)

 


TOP 5 PURCHASES DRIVEN BY SUPER BOWL

 

  1. Food & Drinks

    Almost 80% of people will buy food and drinks for Super Bowl parties.  Scroll down to see the top 10 foods served, and make sure to take a look at our grocery coupons before you go shopping.

  1. Televisions

    Nearly 9% of people splurge on a new TV for the big game.   Do you fall into that group? We have deals on TVs from brands like Vizio and shops like Best Buy.  Need a new provider? Check out our A&T Uverse and DirecTV coupons.

  1. Furniture

    What are you going to sit on while you watch your new TV?  An estimated 4 million people will buy new furniture, couches and entertainment centers for their Super Bowl watching parties.  Check out our deals from Ashley Furniture, Kohls, Overstock and other furniture stores.

  1. Team apparel

    Who are you rooting for?  10% of fans will pick up clothing and accessories to support their favorite team.  New jersey? Check. New hat? Check. Sweatshirt? Check.  Find deals from NFL Shop and others.

  1. Decorations

    8 million decorations are purchased for Super Bowl parties. That’s a lot of flags, paper plates and balloons!

 

(Source: NJ105.com and NRF)

 


TOP TEN FOODS SERVED AT SUPER BOWL PARTIES

1. Guacamole

2. Chicken Wings

3. Chili

4. Subs & other Sandwiches

5. Shrimp

6. Ribs

7. Pizza

8. Potato Chips

9. Hamburgers

10. Popcorn

(Source: Bleacher Report)

 


 

TOP 10 SUPER BOWL ADS OF ALL TIME

Often times, the commercials are more entertaining than the games, and end up circulating long after the game ends.  While some ads have crashed and burned, or have left you wondering what product was being advertised, countless others have resonated with millions of us.  From Apple’s 1984 to the Volkswagen Force ad that exploded on social media, here are some of the all time favorites.

 

Feeling nostalgic? Click each link below  to view the ad on YouTube.

10. VOLKSWAGEN: THE FORCE (2011)

9. PEPSI: CINDY CRAWFORD (1992)

8. REEBOK: TERRY TATE, OFFICE LINEBACKER (2003)

7. NIKE: MICHAEL JORDAN AND BUGS BUNNY (1992)

6. BUDWEISER: BUD FROGS (1995)

5. CAREER BUILDER: MONKEY OFFICE (2006)

4. COCA COLA: MEAN JOE GREENE (1979)

3. APPLE: 1984 (1984)

2. PEPSI: YOUR CHEATIN’ HEART (1996)

1. MCDONALD’S: LARRY BIRD VS. MICHAEL JORDAN (1993)

 

(Source: USA TODAY)

 


Valentine’s Day Ideas, 10 Savings Tips & Guide

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Valentine’s Day (February 14th) will be here before you know it, and we wanted to do our part to help you save money and have a fun time, whether you’re planning a day with your significant other or looking for fun activities to do with your kids.

 

We want to help you find the perfect gift, and save on it, plus find fun ways to make the day or week special.  After you have the perfect idea in mind, check out our deals for flowers, jewelry and more.

 

In our Valentine’s Day guide, you’ll find the following:

  • Valentine’s History
  • Valentine’s Week
  • 10 Savings Tips
  • 10 Gift Ideas for Valentine’s Day
  • Top 10 Flower Types Given at Valentine’s Day
  • Top 10 Valentine’s Day Movies
  • 5 Valentine’s Day Activity Ideas for Kids
  • 5 Sites with Romantic Quotes
  • 3 Great eCard sites

Valentine’s Day History

Valentine’s Day has a somewhat confusing history; it is believed to have arisen from an ancient Roman fertility festival, Lupercalia. Towards the end of the 5th century, Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine’s Day and deemed Lupercalia ‘un-Christian’. Valentine’s Day became more commonly associated with love towards the Middle Ages, and the earliest Valentine greeting is dated 1415! (Source: history.com)


Valentine’s Factoids

We ran a survey in January to see how men and women differ in their thinking about the holiday.  You can find a summary of the stats below.

valentines-day-facts

Want to share this on your own site, visit the Valentine’s Day infographic page to get code you can use to embed it easily.


 

Valentine’s Week

The Valentine’s Week is from February 7th to February 14th and gives lovers an opportunity to share their affection with one another.  The week has special gifts that are to be exchanged each day.  While you may not have heard of “Valentine’s Week” we think this is a cute way to celebrate your friends and loved ones.

  • Rose day – Give red, yellow, or pink roses to different people.
  • Propose day – Propose your feelings, affection or even marriage to your sweetie.
  • Chocolate day – Spread happiness by giving chocolate.
  • Teddy day – Give small and big teddy to your loved one.
  • Promise day – Use this day to make promises you’ll keep and honor those already in place.
  • Hug day – Spread affection by gifting hugs to everyone you hold dear!
  • Kiss day – Kiss your loved ones in whatever way you see appropriate.
  • Valentine’s day – Celebrate with your sweetie in a way that’s special to you both.

(Source: valentine-week.com)


 

valentines-day-savings

10 Ways to Save at Valentine’s Day

 

1. Eat at home instead of going out – Restaurants can be expensive, and reservations are sometimes hard to come by on February 14th. Instead, try bringing the celebration into an intimate setting, like your own home. Light some candles, bring out the fancy dinnerware and enjoy a quiet evening.

2. Order your flowers early – If you really want to get your sweetie a bouquet of flowers, be mindful BEFORE the 14th! The earlier you place an order, the more money you could be saving (especially on shipping costs). Plus, the earlier you shop the better selection you’ll find. Make sure to check out other options in your budget; there are many affordable flowers that are just as beautiful as roses but will cost less!

3. Keep it simple – If you and your sweetie want to go out, have fun with it! Try bowling, mini-golfing or laser tag for a unique Valentine’s Day date. It’s a budget-friendly and fun way to do something special without breaking the bank.

4. Keep gifts from the heart – Rather than spending money on expensive jewelry or fancy gadgets, give your special someone a gift made by you. Whether it’s a scrapbook or song, the personal touch is what matters! You’ll be saving money and giving your sweetie a gift that they’ll know you put time and effort into.

5. Alternative flowers – While roses are the most popular Valentine’s Day flower, they’re fairly expensive. For a flower that lasts longer and won’t break the bank, try looking at paper flowers, aka origami. Origami tutorials are all over the internet, and you can use paper from your loved one’s favorite comic strip or favorite color.

6. Rent your duds – So you decide you want to dress up and hit the town with your Valentine. Instead of buying a new outfit for the occasion, rent it! Check out sites online that offer outfit rentals and find the perfect, budget-friendly clothing for your night out.

7. Look local – Depending on where you live, there may be free live music, tours or other budget-friendly events to treat your Valentine to. Check your local community calendar for ideas, or look on Facebook for events near you! You may find the perfect way to spend a night without spending money.

8. Plan ahead – While Valentine’s Day can sneak up quickly, planning ahead can save some time and money for you and your loved one. Looking at your budget ahead of time, making some adjustments and finding expenses to cut could be just what you need to save up for a special holiday. Saving money back for Valentine’s Day is another great option too!

9. Take advantage of coupons – Take advantage of coupons offered by the major flower shops like Proflowers, 1800flowers, FTD, Teleflora, as well as jewelers and other site types. You can also find deals from sites like Restaurants.com and Spafinder to help plan a fun day.

10. Remember the reason for the holiday – Valentine’s Day is a special day for you and your sweetie. Forget about the price tags, fancy things and keeping up with the Joneses. Enjoy your time together and celebrate each other.
(Sources: rd.com, today.com, huffingtonpost.com)


valentines-day-gift-ideas

10 Gift Ideas for Valentine’s Day

 

1. Greeting cards – What’s more simple and classic than a Valentine’s Day card? From funny to romantic, cards are the perfect gift for anyone special, like a spouse or child. Send it in the mail or deliver it by hand and watch your sweetie light up!

2. Candy – Remember the conversation hearts? Valentine’s Day gifts often include candy and chocolate, even the unique chocolate-covered strawberries! Get a little something sweet for your sweet something.

3. Flowers – Who doesn’t love smelling fresh flowers? While red roses are the most popular for Valentine’s Day, there are a bevy of beautiful bouquets to choose from at your local florist. Pick out some pretty posies for your loved one!

4. An evening out – Treat your special someone to a romantic or fun adventure. Common date night ideas include dinner and movies. Whether it’s down the street or in the big city, a special night out with your Valentine could be a great gift and getaway.

5. Jewelry – Get a little something shiny for your sweetie! Jewelry is a popular gift for Valentine’s Day, and there are options for many different budgets. Whether it’s diamonds or pearls, gold or silver, it’s sure to please! You can find deals for sites like Zales online.

6. Clothing – Sexy or sweet, you decide! Gifting your sweetie something to wear for your night out, or night in, is a gift idea that keeps on giving. If you aren’t sure what size or color, take your special someone shopping on your night out for their gift.

7. Gift Cards – It’s a one-size-fits-all gift that gives your loved one the power. Clothing stores, department stores and online stores are great options for finding gift cards. Give your sweetie the ability to treat themselves to a gift of their choice.

8. DIY Gifts – Give your sweetie something straight from the heart. With Pinterest’s help, there are tons of ideas and tutorials to help you create the perfect gift. Put a little time and thoughtfulness into a gift that will mean a lot to the recipient.

9. Stuffed Animals – When you’re not around, your sweetie will still have something to snuggle. Pick from pint-sized plush animals to life-sized teddy bears. It’ll be a great reminder of you, and can be a great kid’s gift as well!

10. Books – For your bookworm Valentine, a new novel or book series may be the perfect gift for them. With Amazon Kindle, you can download the perfect book right to their device. Gift them a new read and cuddle up before opening the cover.
(Sources: heavy.com, mashable.com)


valentines-day-flowers

Top 10 Flower Types given for Valentine’s Day

 

1. Roses – While they’re the most popular Valentine’s Day flower, these little pretties have some significance. Red is the most popular color for the occasion, but white, pink and yellow are other great choices. Roses are believed to symbolize romance, beauty and perfection.

2. Gerbera Daisies – These flowers can bring a pop of color to your bouquet. Cheery and playful, these daisies are an affordable way to still surprise your sweetie. These flowers are believed to symbolize beauty, innocence and purity.

3. Tulips – Looking for something elegant? These flowers are a great bet for a classic look without breaking the bank. Tulips are believed to symbolize warmth, perfection and comfort.

4. Alstroemeria – Also called Peruvian lilies, these flowers are hardy and easily found in your local market. With bright colors and long-lasting petals, they’re sure to please your loved one. These flowers are believed to symbolize friendship and devotion.

5. Casa Blanca Lilies – Want your bouquet to exude elegance? Opt for these white Oriental lilies that will leave a breathtaking aroma. These flowers are believed to symbolize beauty, class and style.

6. Orchids – These delicate and beautiful flowers are perfect for those a little on the wild side. Orchids are exotic and incredibly beautiful, although sometimes finicky to care for. These flowers are believed to symbolize love, beauty, luxury and strength.

7. Carnations – Classic and affordable, carnations are a sure bet for your bouquet. They come in a variety of colors and can add some cheer and pep by way of their fun hues. Carnations are believed to symbolize fascination and new love.

8. Sunflowers – Bring some sunshine into a dreary Valentine’s Day with bright, yellow sunflowers. Their large heads and big, bright petals could provide your sweetie with a much-needed pick-me-up. Sunflowers are believed to symbolize warmth and happiness.

9. Irises – If you’d like to break up your bouquet a little, consider bringing in some irises. With a faint aroma and deep color, they provide contrast and strength. Irises are believed to symbolize faith, hope and royalty in some cases.

10. Gardenias – Looking to really stand out? Consider a single Gardenia stem, loaded with fragrance and beauty. This flower is believed to symbolize purity, joy and deep, old-fashioned love.
(Source: womansday.com)


Top 10 Valentine’s Day Movies

1. Love and Basketball – while there’s plenty of romance, the basketball tie-in will keep your beau entertained.

2. Pretty Woman – Who doesn’t love Julia Roberts and this story of change?

3. The Notebook – If you’re looking for a sappy love story, this is the ultimate pick.

4. Dirty Dancing – Get your groove thing on with Patrick Swayze and watch young romance bloom.

5. Say Anything – Remember the iconic boombox scene? Relieve high-school romance once again.

6. You’ve Got Mail – With Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan remind us what life was like before Tinder and social media, a feel-good watch for anybody in a rom-com mood.

7. The Wedding Singer – For those wanting a little comedy, Adam Sandler provides just the right amount.

8. Love Actually – Watch if you love British accents and romance galore.

9. Bridget Jones’ Diary – Bridget gives us a dose of laughter and relatable experiences in her tumultuous love life.

10. The Wedding Planner – Watching J. Lo go from planner to bride gives us all hope that love can be found in the most unexpected places.
(Source: fandango.com)


 

5 Valentine’s Day Activity Ideas for Kids

1. Beaded Ornament craft – Need an excuse to craft with the kiddos? Make a heart out of beads to symbolize love! This could be displayed in a window or rearview mirror when completed by little hands.

2. Heart Healthy games – Instead of referring to hearts only as a symbol of Valentine’s Day, incorporate some heart health! This game provides a fun way to get some physical activity into your youngster’s holiday. After a few V-Day sweets, try playing this fun game.

3. Personalized treat bags – Needing to put together party favors? Include your kiddo and personalize baggies with their picture! Having a helper fill and put together favors keeps them busy and excited to gift to others.

4. Wine Cork Love Bug craft – Do you have a few extra wine corks in a drawer? Use them to help little ones make love bugs! Decorate with color, google eyes and other accessories.

5. Musical Hearts game – Need a game that’s also great practice for reading? Musical Hearts is a great way to get kids moving, reading and developing motor skills. Set up your handmade hearts in an open area and grab some music!


valentines-day-quotes

5 Sites with Valentine’s/Romantic Quotes

 

1. Wishesquotes.com – Need a short quote or something sweet for a card? This site has got it all, from sappy to silly. Find just what you need to fill in that spot.

2. Guy-sports.com – Feeling funny or cheesy? This site has got some great one-liners to get your sweetie giggling. A few romantic quotes can be found between the laughs.

3. Latintimes.com – While this sites gives ideas on what to write in greeting cards, many of the quotes and sayings are perfect for other uses. Romantic and loving, they’re sure to warm hearts. Use them in letters, engravings and other places where words matter.

4. Yourtango.com – This site provides sentiments perfect for anyone this Valentine’s Day. Whether it’s for a spouse or child, loved one or friend, these quotes fit the bill. Read through and find the perfect one to please your sweetie.

5. Telegraph.co.uk – Do you love quoting movies? This site has the most romantic quotes from movies including Dirty Dancing and Sense and Sensibility. Find your favorite and reminisce romantic movies with your lover.


valentines-day-cards

3 eCard Sites To Check Out

 

1. Ojolie.com – If you’re looking for beautiful and entertaining cards, look no further. This site has animated cards that are sweet and romantic, perfect for your long distance sweetie. Pick your favorite and personalize!

2. Someecards.com – Feeling a little sarcastic or funny this holiday? This site has the classic cards we’ve seen on social media, laced with sarcasm and hilarity. Pick one for a sweetie with a good sense of humor.

3. Groupcard.com – Looking for simplicity? These cards are pretty yet simple and get right to the point. Send one to someone who needs loving thoughts this Valentine’s Day

We hope this guide was useful! You can find more Valentine’s Day coupons at OfficialCouponCode.com.

9 Ways to Save Money at the Holidays

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The holidays are our favorite time of year, but they can also be a stressful and expensive time. You may have to balance work with getting the house decorated, shopping for presents and hosting family members or arranging travel.

In addition to taking advantage of our deals, we’ve compiled some tips for you to save money this holiday season:

 

1. Bundle Orders:

Plan your gift list ahead of time so you can bundle orders to save on shipping costs if there’s a threshold.

 

2. Get Extra Rewards:

Sign up for rewards programs from retailers  so you can get additional rewards.

 

3. Use Cards Wisely:

You often save money by using credit cards over the holidays, but if you don’t pay them back, those savings will end up costing you more than you saved. Only use a credit card when you can afford to pay off the balance before the end of the month.

 

4. “Avoid Knock-off Brands:”

says Jonas from ConsumerSafety.org. While knock-offs can be much cheaper, they often skirt safety testing, and may contain hazardous materials, or break easily.

 

5. “Jump Online:”

says Michelle Hutchison, Money Expert at finder.com. Many sites price match or offer coupons, so it’s definitely worth surfing the web to save before braving the crowded holiday malls. Come holiday time, some online stores also throw in special deals like free shipping or complimentary gift wrapping, so keep an eye out for added bonuses!

 

6. Buy in Bulk:

Buying items in bulk generally come at cheaper price than if you were to purchase them individually. If you have a handful of people to buy for, consider picking up a packaged deal at a discount.  You can typically find these online or at stores like Costco.

 

7. Think Outside the Box:

If you have a large extended family that you’ll be catching up with during the holidays, it can get quite expensive once you’ve purchased gifts for each aunt, uncle and new nephew.  If you celebrate Christmas, for example, consider purchasing Christmas sweaters for every family member.  Have everyone change into their ‘costume’ for a family portrait.  Afterwards, print the best family picture and send each family member a copy (you can even put it in a nice frame).  This can be a cheaper alternative to more expensive gifts, especially if you have a large group to shop for.

 

8. Negotiate:

For more expensive gift purchases, “I simply ask for a better price,” says Bob Ellis from Bavarian Clockworks . Most people are uncomfortable negotiating, but avoiding a little discomfort can cause them to miss out on huge discounts. While less common with larger retailers, many small businesses are willing to lower their asking price to get business done. You will rarely get what you don’t ask for.

 

9: Offer “Memories Instead of Stuff:”

says Catherine Scrivano of CASCO Financial Group. This involves giving someone a calendar with dates planned with events, something simple like a planned picnic, sometimes elaborate like tickets to an event that is in the coming months. The opportunity is to do something different. Your gift is not buried among the others. From a financial standpoint, you can spread the cost over the year.

 

Happy holidays!

Life After Halloween: Other Excuses to Wear Costumes

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santacostume

Halloween truly seems to be the only time of the year when there is non-stop buzz about costumes. After all, dressing up is at the center of this holiday that boasts $8.7 billion in consumer spending.

Between the months of September and October, Halloween retailers rake in the majority of their yearly revenue with a large portion coming from costume sales. The web becomes flooded with Halloween coupons, local retailers—from drugstores to department stores—stock up on Halloween costumes and accessories for the season, and social media marketers hone their skills targeting one of the most competitive retail industries.

This means, special deals will be found everywhere!  Retailers are desperate to clear out seasonal inventory and consumers have the upper hand in selecting from millions of options. Online retailers like WonderCostumes.com, for example, offer free shipping on all orders regardless of value and allow the promotion to be combined with their coupons & sales.

 

By default, most shoppers associate the word “costumes” with Halloween, but is there actually a market for costumes out of season? Absolutely!  And when there’s a market, there’s an excuse for you to wear costumes and get great deals on them.

The costume industry is very diverse and there are as many themes as there are holidays, movies, TV shows, comic books, and so forth.

Costumes are used for birthday parties, productions, festivals, promotional themed events, other holidays with mascots and even weddings; these are events that stay relevant all year. Although the use of costumes is virtually limitless, there are selected major seasons that stand out as dress-up occasions that could appear far more meaningful than for Halloween!

Before you mark Halloween’s end as the conclusion of your dress-up experience, consider these other seasonal periods that while fun, also help costume retailers drive sales out of season. These are also times where great opportunities exist to check out special deals and coupons for costumes are available.

 

THANKSGIVING

Occurring just after Halloween, Thanksgiving generates greater numbers for costume shops than you might imagine. Maybe it’s the residual Halloween spirit that inspires dress-up activities; nonetheless, Thanksgiving themed costumes are hot sellers.

Halloween shops make a smooth transition into the Thanksgiving season as pilgrim, Native American and turkey outfits serve as a buffer for the dwindling sales. Timing could not be better for this short burst of sales just before the next major season for costumes—Winter holidays.

Schools are almost solely responsible for the much-needed sales in November.  Between school recitals, Thanksgiving re-enactments and classroom activities, educators and school event organizers require kids to participate by wearing costumes. SchoolCostumes.org is an example of a site catered specifically to promote the use of costumes in educational settings. Their Thanksgiving costumes are a prime example of outfits that generate sales during the month of November.

 

CHRISTMAS & WINTER HOLIDAYS

It’s not surprising that Christmas is also one of the best times of the year to wear costumes besides Halloween. Christmas is the biggest holiday season in terms of retail sales, and when combined with other winter holidays, consumer spending supersedes every other major seasonal industry with a hefty $626.1 billion spent in 2015. Compare that to Halloween’s $6.9 billion during the same year!

Christmas alone calls for a wide array of character outfits ranging from Santa suits to snow men mascots and helpful elves. Go to the mall during this season, see the bell ringers on the streets, Christmas themed amusement parks, and it will be no wonder how indeed, costumes are required far beyond just the Halloween season. Specialty Christmas stores like Bronners feature Santa suits and accessories to compliment the rest of their “Christmas Wonderland” with decorations and props. Again, this is an opportune time to shop for costumes as you may be able to use Christmas coupons toward your purchase.

 

COMIC-CON SEASON

Technically, “comic-con season” runs all year since there are so many conventions and cosplays happening every month. However, most of the large conventions take place over the summer.

The biggest comic convention in the world is the San Diego Comic-Con, which happens in July every year and most recently attracted around 130,000 guests from around the globe.

Smaller regional conventions around the country ride the buzz-wave brought upon by the SDCC and host their biggest events around the same time. The Florida Supercon and L.A.’s Anime Expo are examples of major regional events that also happen in July.

This provides retailers like SpiritHalloween.com with a unique opportunity to target their audience with special deals on cosplay costumes around that time of the year.

 

AND SOME OTHER TIMES OF THE YEAR

In addition to the three major seasons mentioned, there are still many “mini-seasons” for costumes as well!

Celebrations like Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo help keep costume shops in business in the early months of the year.

Schools also help significantly during holidays that provide learning opportunities, like President’s Day, Columbus Day, Fourth of July and even Earth Day. There are even exclusive school events that require the use of costumes such as the NEA’s Read Across America—a Dr. Seuss themed program that promotes reading as a pastime to children all over the country.

In conclusion, costume stores have a lot to look forward to throughout the year, and you have plenty of excuses to dress up.  Consequently, special sales on costumes are available all throughout the year. If you’re a good planner, it may be even more beneficial to shop costumes for Halloween during these other seasons since promotions are typically better during “down time.” Combine that with these helpful Halloween saving tips and you’ll maximize your savings.

 

– Guest post by Mario Serna of WonderCostumes.com

2016 Olympic Sponsors, Guide & Savings

Seasonal

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We’re excited about the upcoming Summer Olympic games in Rio and have pulled together some helpful information so that you can watch all of the games you want to see and cheer on your favorite athletes.

Since we know you might want to do a bit of shopping while you’re watching the games, we’ve also put together a list of Olympic sponsors along with links to their discount pages if they have one.

Fast Facts about the Summer 2016 Games:

  • Location: Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
  • Athletes Participating: 10,293
  • Events: 306
  • Sports: 28
  • Opening Ceremony: August 5, 2016
  • Closing Ceremony: August 21, 2016
  • (Source: Wikipedia)

When are the Olympic games?

The games kick off on August 5th and end on August 21st.

What sports events will take place during the Olympics this summer?

Although swimming, track and gymnastics seem to get the most discussion, here’s a full list of sports that will be played at the summer games:
Archery, Badminton, Basketball, Boxing, Canoe/Kayak, Cycling, Diving, Equestrian, Fencing, Field Hockey, Golf, Gymnastics, Judo, Modern Pentathlon, Rowing, Rugby, Sailing, Shooting, Soccer, Swimming, Synchro Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis, Track and Field, Triathlon, Volleyball, Water Polo, Weightlifting & Wrestling.

When and where can I watch my favorite event?

The events will be covered by NBC this year, and you can find the full Olympics TV schedule on their site.

Who are some of the top Team USA olympic athletes?

We know that each of you have your own favorites, but here are some names that you’re likely to hear this year: Gabby Douglas, Missy Franklin, Ryan Lochte, Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky, David Boudia, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, Serena Williams, Venus Williams. For a full list of athletes, visit the 2016 Olympic Team site for Team USA.

Which companies are Olympic Sponsors this year?

(Note: We have active coupons for any of the sponsor names that are linked)

Top Sponsors:

Although Under Armour is not an official sponsor, they have been seen on many of Team USA’s athletes.

Worldwide Sponsors:

  • Coca-Cola
  • AtoS
  • Bridgestone
  • Dow
  • G&E
  • McDonalds
  • Omega
  • Pansasonic
  • Samsung
  • P&G
  • Visa

USA Sponsors:

  • 24-hour fitness
  • Adecco
  • Airweave
  • AT&T – (ATT Wireless | ATT Uverse)
  • B&W
  • bp
  • Budweiser
  • Chobani
  • citi
  • Deloitte
  • DeVry University
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods
  • The Hartford
  • Hershey
  • Highmark
  • Hilton Hotels
  • Jet Set Sports
  • Kelloggs
  • Liberty Mutual
  • Milk Life
  • NBC
  • Nike
  • Oakley
  • Ralph Lauren
  • Smucker’s
  • TD Ameritrade
  • United Airlines
  • USG

Licensed Sponsors (Who’s making cool Olympic gear?)

  • Airweave
  • Alex and Ani
  • Asset Marketing Services
  • Bensussen Deutsch & Assoc (BD&A)
  • Boelter Brands
  • Cirrus Fitness
  • Duck House Ltd.
  • Earthwhile Enterprises
  • Fathead
  • Getty Images
  • Honav
  • ISM
  • KT Tape
  • Lion Brothers
  • Museum Editions
  • Nike
  • Oakley
  • OC Tanner
  • Omega
  • OpSec Security Inc.
  • Outerstuff
  • Polar Bottle
  • Pyramid America
  • Ralph Lauren
  • Staples Promotional Products
  • Survival Straps
  • Swarovski Crystal
  • Team Fan Shop
  • Topps
  • Vermont Teddy Bear
  • WinCraft

Go Team USA!


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