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Personal Freedom vs Living Costs

We are brought up thinking that money can buy happiness, but freedom of time is what really leads to happiness. Yes, having money can give you the ability to choose how you spend your time, but this has more to do with your cost of living than it has to do with how much you make. If you can reduce your cost of living to the point that you are living substantially within your means, can stay as debt free as possible, can build savings and wealth, and can find ways to earn money that either doesn't require your time (like residual income) or is time you would be spending doing what you love to do anyway, then that will lead to true security, personal freedom, and happiness. Think of it kind of like a business. In business, you want to generate profits and invest those profits to build more profits. Here you want to generate time savings and invest that time to generate even more time savings. To generate that savings, you need to first consume less than you produce, then s
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Free Custom Email with Google Domains

I have a few custom domains registered with Google Domains, and one in particular I wanted to start using as an email. I thought my only option was to pay the $6/mo for Google Workspace until I found that a Google Domain comes with 100 free aliases. Not only does this allow auto-forwarding of that email, but there is a way to even send email using the custom email address by doing some tweaks to an existing Gmail account. Here are the steps to take: Step 1 - Create the email alias Assuming you've already registered your custom domain through Google Domains, log into your Google Domains account at . Find the domain that you want to create the email for and click "Manage" on the right side. Go to "Email" on the menu on the left. Scroll to the bottom and click "Add email alias". Enter the beginning part of the email (note, it fills in the @yourdomain part automatically). Then pick an existing email account to forward your new

Government Unclaimed Property

I recently received a notice in the mail from the State of Colorado letting me know that I had unclaimed property that the state had received. I knew states did this through my work where we had checks that were not cashed by former associates so we sent that money to the state to hold in the associate's name. But I didn't think of checking if I had any unclaimed property myself until I got that notice. States keep online databases where anyone can search whether there is unclaimed property on file. Colorado's is . If you live in a different state, then do an online search for "______ state unclaimed property" and try to find the official state's website. The US Government's site is another resource. They handle certain things that the states don't like unclaimed IRS refunds, bank failure claims, and pension and department of labor claims. The US Government website is

On-the-Go Cold Brew Tea

Now that I have my repurposed kombucha bottle with the label removed , I have started to make myself cold brew teas. They are so easy. I carry some different tea bag flavors in my work backpack. Then I fill up my water bottle with water and drop a tea bag in. I let the string hang over the edge and put the cap on over the string to hold the tea bag in place. I let it "steep" in the cold water for 30-60 minutes for the flavors to infuse into the water. Because the lid is sealed, I can shake it gently to get more water surface to contact the tea bag. Then I remove the tea bag and enjoy! I do this at work, at home, and even in an airport. I'm now saving money by not having to buy bottled water or flavored beverages at the airport after going through security. I used to wait until the midflight beverage service before I got a drink. Now I have a refreshing and delicious drink on me before I even board the plane! Be sure to give this a try with your favorite water bottle (idea

Homemade Goo Gone Label Remover

I recently got a store-bought kombucha and decided I wanted keep and reuse the bottle. Unfortunately, the label was giant and completely wrapped the bottle. I took the steps to remove the label by boiling the bottle in water for 5 minutes. While hot but able to be handled, I grabbed the bottle and peeled the label off pretty easily. But what remained was a crazy amount of sticky glue residue. Now I had the task of figuring out how to remove all that residue. At first I ran it under hot water with dish soap and a scour sponge, but all that seemed to happen was getting the green color of the scour stuck onto the glue. Then I tried vinegar which seems to work for lots of other things but it didn't work either. I realized I needed to do a quick YouTube search to see if anyone has figured this out, and sure enough someone had. A Place To Nest video had a super simple recipe that worked for her project. I figured I'd give it a try for mine. The recipe was two ingredients - one part

Tahini Sauce Recipe

It's funny what inspires me sometimes to research and try a new recipe. This tahini sauce is such an instance. I had a bunch of celery that needed to get eaten ASAP, but I don't enjoy eating it plane. My go-to is typically peanut butter but I wasn't in a peanut butter mood. I have hummus on hand but don't love the combo of celery and hummus. Obviously ranch is great but I didn't want the dairy and don't have the ingredients to tackle a dairy free version. What I did have on hand was a jar of tahini which is basically the peanut butter version of sesame seeds. I know it is a key ingredient in hummus but started to realize from Mediterranean restaurants that tahini can be made into its own creamy sauce. So that's what kicked off my research. It turns out that creamy texture doesn't require dairy at all. It's magic that happens when you whisk/blend ice cold water with tahini. Add a few other key flavors like garlic and lemon and voila, you have a delici

How To Set An Old School Mouse Trap

With my chicken coop, I had signs that I had a mouse infestation because there were mouse droppings present when I would clean it out. I had ignored it for a bit hoping the chickens would just eat the mice but I must have vegetarian chickens. So I decided to buckle down and buy some traps. I prefer the simple, cheap, old school traps. I've tried a few other contraptions but nothing beats the cost and effectiveness of the old school method. Given the amount of time that had elapsed, I figured I might have a family so bought eight traps figuring that would be plenty. I set them using the method below and as I'd catch one, I'd repeat the process. Well, I set the first one and caught one no problem. Then a second the next day, and again no problem. Then a third, then fourth, then I kept catching them. Before too long, I blew through all eight traps! Back to Home Depot I went. I bought another eight just to be sure. Then caught number 9, 10, 11, 12. Sheesh, still no end to this

Black Bean Soup Recipe

One evening when Denver was in the middle of a late winter cold spell, I was in the mood for a nice hardy vegetable soup but I wanted a black bean/tortilla soup flavor. So I searched online and one of the first recipes I discovered served as great inspiration. It is the Simply Recipes Black Bean Soup recipe. What I like about it and hadn't thought of before was to use the standard vegetable stock trinity (onions, celery, carrots) in a black bean soup while still adding the cumin and chile powder flavors. It gave the soup more depth of flavor than just using the spices alone. Then adding the sweet potato and red peppers helped bulk the soup up and turn it into a meal. I skipped the ham hock part but that would give it even more depth of flavor. Be sure to give this recipe a try when you are in the mood for something homey and warm. Ingredients 1/2 pound dried black beans, rinsed and cooked in a pressure cooker or 2 14oz cans drained 2 tbsp olive oil 1 cup chopped onion 1/4 cup chop

10 Arm and Shoulder Stretches

I do these 10 arm and shoulder stretches every Wednesday and Saturday morning. I do 10-15 reps or hold each stretch for a count of 30. As with any exercise, it is important to learn proper technique and position to avoid injury. Before doing any new exercise routine, consult with your physician and fitness trainer.  Shoulder circles Neck stretch and chin tuck Arm circles Overhead triceps stretch Arm across body stretch Arm stretch from cow face pose Clasped hand stretch Reverse prayer stretch Cactus to eagle arms stretch Doorway stretch arms bent and straight

10 Hip Strengthening Exercises

I do these 10 hip strengthening exercises every Tuesday and Friday morning. I do 10-15 reps or hold each stretch for a count of 30. As with any exercise, it is important to learn proper technique and position to avoid injury. Before doing any new exercise routine, consult with your physician and fitness trainer.  Side leg raise Side leg front kick Side leg back kick Side leg sweeps Side leg circles forward Side leg circles backward Side lying bicycle Toe to knee taps - I can't find an image of this way but on your side bend your legs and put them together then lift top leg and touch knee to knee then foot to foot. Repeat for a count of 10. Hip dip Side plank

10 Key Pre-Activity Stretches

Stretching truly is one of the best ways to prevent injury, especially when getting ready to do a physical activity. There are a few schools of thought on the best pre-activity routines to warm up your body. What I find works for me are a few critical stretches that loosen the major muscles. I also make sure that I ease into the activity doing some warm-ups to activate the muscles and get my heart rate up. The combo of the two has helped me stay injury free in my later years. Here are the 10 key stretches I do before an activity. I also do these stretches as part of my normal morning routine every Monday and Thursday. Standing hamstring stretch Standing hip flexor stretch Standing quad stretch Abdomen/oblique side stretch Forward bend lower back stretch Chair pose glute stretch Standing calf stretch Triceps stretch Deltoid/shoulder stretch Self hug to wide arm stretch https://www.tampabaysp

10 Shoulder Strengthening Exercises

I add these 10 shoulder strengthening exercises to my Wednesday and Saturday routine. It is best to use very light weight, a stretch band, or no weight at all as some of these can cause shoulder injury. These are all about improving range of motion and strengthening micro muscles and joints so you don't want to load on weight. Before doing any new exercise routine, consult with your physician and fitness trainer. Internal and external rotation Goal post rotations Wall angels Front and lateral straight arm raise Upright row Shoulder shrug Wide chest fly Cross body clean and press Bent over scapula retraction Bent over lateral raise

10 Arms and Core Bench Exercises

I add these to 10 bench exercises for arms and core to my Tuesday and Friday routine. I like to use dumbbells for these. Start with very light weight just to get your muscles used to the motion. Then over time add a bit more weight. Be sure to learn proper technique and never have more weight than you can handle to avoid injury. Before doing any new exercise routine, consult with your physician and fitness trainer. Bench press - traditional and single arm Fly Pinch press Tricep extension Dumbbell pullover V ups Leg raises Penguin taps Bicycle crunch Sit ups