Trends the Flu’s Setting this Fall

In order to get the information, health updates, and alerts that you’re concerned about, check out the social media playground this season’s flu is playing on.  I’ve consolidated 12 Flu Tweeps to follow, Facebook pages to fan, and other websites that offer awesome, easy to understand information about this proclaimed pandemic!

Flu Resources – Includes links to official government health and flu resources, information to share with co-workers

Social Media – Easily track influential outbreaks in your area (and internationally), follow Flu tweets, and get Facebook updates instantly AND directly from the government sponsored resources.

Flu Resource Websites

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s website


  • Free printable materials – includes flyers, posters, stickers, and toolkits.

CDC Social Media for H1N1’s website

  • Interactive Maps – find state resources, news on seasonal and N1H1 flu, state health department RSS feeds and Twitter updates
  • H1N1

WHO’s H1N1 website

  • World Health Organization offers worldwide updates and news feeds including a RSS feed for the Pandemic (H1N1) 2009.
  • WHO news via Twitter @WhoNews
  • Information for individuals, businesses, FAQs, etc.

Flu Trending across the US, Australia, & New Zealand

Google Flu Trends – Google’s done it again!  Based on aggregated Google search data to estimate the current flu activity for the US, Australia, New Zealand, and Mexico (still experimental phase.)  You can track the United States or by state.

Flu-related and Informative Facebook Pages:

  • – Stream reliable, up-to-date information through Facebook!
  • CDC – just one of many social media tools provided by the CDC.
  • American Lung Association – Fighting to help you breathe better!

12 Official Flu Tweeps to Follow:

  • @FluGov – One-stop access to U.S. Government H1N1, avian and pandemic flu information.
  • @CDCEmergency – CDC Emergency Preparedness and Response: increasing the nation’s ability to prepare for and respond to public health emergencies.
  • @CDCFlu – For flu-related updates from the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention).
  • @whonews – World Health Organization’s (WHO) official tweets…get official news about the H1N1 pandemic, as soon as it develops!
  • @WSJHealthBlog – “The Wall Street Journal Health Blog offers news and analysis on health and the business of health.”
  • @riskcomm – bulletins from the WHO and PAHO (Pan American Health Organization).
  • @LungAssociation – “The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease.”
  • @pahowho – Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is an international public health agency with over 100 years of experience working to improve health and living standards of the people of the Americas.
  • @RedCross – “Official twitter stream for the American Red Cross. Follow us for disaster and preparedness updates.”
  • @Reuters_FluNews – “Reuters coverage of the emerging swine flu outbreak”
  • @PublicHealth – “The American Public Health Association works to protect Americans from health threats.”
  • @GetReady – “APHA’s Get Ready campaign is helping Americans prepare for all health hazards, including pan flu, infectious diseases, disasters and other health emergencies.”


Stream videos from official government health agencies:

Fall into Flu Season w/ the Facts: Cold vs. Flu vs. H1N1??

Do you know what the different symptoms between the common cold and the seasonal flu are?  Do you know the difference between the seasonal flu and H1N1?  Do you know how long the virus can live, outside of a carrier?  How long you’re contagious for?

With the onslaught of flu season and as the word pandemic starts to breathe fear into everyone’s H1N1 concerns, I thought an incredibly helpful post would consolidate important news and resources into a single location, broken up into a series of posts.  I tried to keep it in one article and there’s just TOO much information out there.  I verified facts across the multiple government health websites (including the CDC, as well as other reputable online medical resources (like the Mayo Clinic and WebMD) so that you could quickly get the facts.

Let this help you share ONLY information (and not the germs) with your friends, coworkers, and family.

Informational Flu Post includes:

  • Cold vs. Flu – How sick am I?!
  • Detailed Flu and Cold information – How long do symptoms last, how long are you contagious for, how long does the virus live on objects…
  • Seasonal Flu vs. H1N1 – Know the symptoms of the common flu, H1N1, and other “popular” strands of the virus!
  • Preventive Actions – How to keep from getting sick and spreading the viruses if you do have it!

Future posts will include:

  • Flu social media resources – Best flu tweeps to follow and other social media resources
  • Infected – What to do if you do have the flu, when to go to the doctors, etc.
  • Vaccinations – Detailed information about the different vaccinations (who’s high risk, etc.), when and where to get it.

*Hope to post everything by the end of this week!

Cold vs. Flu

In the past week, I have probably looked up the symptoms of a cold and symptoms of the flu several times (every time one of my symptoms changes…)  I consolidated all the symptoms to this simple chart based on information from several top medial resources (Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Mayo Clinic, WebMD):


Common Cold

Seasonal Flu

Runny or stuffy nose



Itchy or sore throat






Chest discomfort







Watery eyes




Rare, Low-grade

102+ F, Frequently



Common, 2-3 weeks


Rare, Mild


Body Aches

Rare, Mild

Common, severe










*NOTE: Colds and the seasonal flu are all respiratory illnesses that are caused by DIFFERENT viruses.

In most of the articles I read, another determinate between differentiating between the flu and a cold is the severity of symptoms.  While many symptoms are found in both illnesses, the flu’s extremeness (i.e. extreme exhaustion, high-grade temperature, extreme chest discomfort) is a good indicator that you don’t just have a common cold…

The Mayo Clinic also offers a flu checklist.

Detailed Flu and Cold information:

Researching this article was incredibly helpful for me (and both my parents are nurses!)  I have included other interesting and important to know information about characteristics of both the seasonal flu and common cold:

Common Cold Seasonal Flu
Length of Illness Symptoms for 4-10 days 7 days with fatigue potentially lasting several weeks
Incubation Period (Time before symptoms appear) 1-3 days of coming in contact w/ virus 2-5 days of coming in contact w/ virus

(Time to avoid ppl)

First 3 days you have symptoms 1 day before symptoms show, up to 5 days after
Flu Spreads

(Tips and tricks to catching flu/cold)

Touching eyes, mouth, nose after making contact (touching contaminated object) with virus (droplets from spit, coughing) Touching eyes, mouth, nose after making contact (touching contaminated object) with virus (droplets from spit, coughing)
Virus Survival

(Length of time virus lives on objects)

Up to 3-4 hours outside the body on skin or objects… Up to a couple of days, depending on the surface!

Seasonal Flu vs. H1N1

This chart was also the consolidated version of multiple resources from WebMD, the Mayo Clinic, the CDC, and (which is a government site dedicated to flu information.)  Although H1N1 is a household term, the specifics of the symptoms is not always known.  Although you don’t have to have the additional symptoms, the following chart can be used as a helpful indicator.

Check back here for’s updated version of symptoms for both seasonal and H1N1 strains:

Seasonal Flu

H1N1 Flu



Coughing and/or sore throat

Coughing and/or sore throat

Runny or stuffy nose

Runny or stuffy nose

Headaches and/or body aches

Headaches and/or body aches







*Although you can have H1N1 without having the additional symptoms, the final 2 are often indicative of the illness.

Preventive Actions (Catching and Spreading Illness)

1 – Wash hands with soap and water, constantly!! The physical friction from rubbing your hands together eliminates additional germs that aren’t killed by hand sanitizer.  (Check back soon for my in-depth post on the effectiveness of different hand sanitizers and why!)

2 – Cover your mouth w/ a tissue when you cough and sneeze…if you don’t have a tissue (and especially if you won’t be able to wash your hands or hand sanitize), cough or sneeze into your sleeve or arm.  (Afterwards, refrain from rubbing said sleeve on your friend’s eyeballs…)

3 – Get plenty of sleep; those who get less than 7 hours have more weakened immune systems!

4 – Help prevent others from getting sick! If you were infected with any kind of flu, the CDC recommends remaining home until you’re fever free (w/o fever reducing medicine like Tylenol or Motrin) for at LEAST 24 hours!

*My next post will go into more details about this!

Great Resources:

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) [Seasonal Flu] – Information from the CDC about the seasonal flu.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) [H1N1 Flu] – Information from the CDC about H1N1. – One-stop access to U.S. Government H1N1, avian and pandemic flu information.

Mayo Clinic [Common Cold] – Includes overview, definition, detailed information, prevention, treatment, remedies, causes and risks for the common cold.

Mayo Clinic [Seasonal Flu] – Includes overview, definition, detailed information, prevention, treatment, remedies, causes and risks for the seasonal flu.

Nine 9/9/09 Events

What are you doing on the 9th day of the 9th month of the 2009th year at 9am/pm?

Sure a lot of people will get married and babies will be born on September 9th, 2009.  Already appreciating September (the month of my birthday), I am excited to announce other ways people are choosing to celebrate this upcoming Wednesday:

1. One Million Random Acts of Kindness@yokoono has been tweeting in support of One Million Random Acts of Kindness being executed on 9/9.

  • Follow @BecomePeace2009 on Twitter (and help make #peace a trending topic!)
  • RAK (Random Act of Kindness) – but BBC Radio also help start a growing RAK trend…read the blog to find out more (and print your own flyers or cards)!

2. FTD Good Neighbor Day 2009The flower experts are celebrating the 15th annual FTD Good Neighbor Day holiday.

  • Since 1994, FTD has encouraged all neighbors to foster community by offering (through local florists) same-day deliveries of beautiful, FREE bouquets.
  • Customers are encouraged to keep one flower for themselves and offer the rest to their neighbors.
  • Find your local FTD florist here.

3. Monopoly City Streets Google (heard of them??) launches their Google Maps version of Monopoly!

  • Buy any street in the world!
  • Monopoly City Streets blog here.
  • Play against your friends and finally get into the real estate market like you always wanted to, become a property mogul.

4. Beatles Revolution 9 – the iconic Beatles have a lot going on, 9/9:

  • The Beatles Rockband – Comes out for Xbox 360, PS3, & Wii (check back for coupons – I’ll find them!)  Early review from CNET.
  • Digitally Remastered – after 22 years, the digitally remastered versions of the Beatles studio albums will be released, as confirmed by press release:

Please Please Me
With the Beatles
A Hard Day’s Night
Beatles for Sale
Rubber Soul
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Magical Mystery Tour
The Beatles (The White Album)
Abbey Road
Let It Be
Past Masters
Yellow Submarine

5. World Day of Interconnectedness“a shift from I llness to WE llness”…

  • Starting in New Zealand, take time at 9am, to participate in interconnectedness (or oneness) opportunities (formal to informal acts.)
  • Global Events – see what and when countries across the world are participating in.
  • Email a friend
  • Join the group.

6. @BarackObama Don’t just follow him on Twitter, listen to him address a joint session of Congress on health care reform in prime time!

  • Obama’s website highlights concisely.
  • Obama Mobile – somewhat unrelated, text “HOPE” to 62262 for updates from Obama’s camp.

7. Independence Daythe Republic of Tajikistan declared independence on this day from the Soviet Union in 1991.

8. Father Laval DayI’d be remiss to exclude Father Laval Day, the 9/9 national holiday for Mauritius, the island republic off the coast of Africa.

  • Father Laval – Roman Catholic priest and missionary to the local people.
  • Mauritius – famous for being the only home of the Dodo bird!
  • On this day, Mauritians (not Martians…) locals head to his tombs in hopes of benefitting from his post-mortem healing powers.

9. SA’s Bartender Bash w/ YVodkaYVodka who I first read about in @SavorSA’s blog, envisioned a vodka for the ’77-’97, you guessed it!!, Y-generation consisting of young professionals (and +21 college students) who appreciated a top-of-the-line bottle for a bottom-of-the-barrel price.

  • Free Y Vodka to 1st 300 club goers!
  • $2 YVodka all nite!
  • Club Newsletters – Not close to San Antonio?  I imagine this is a BIG after-hours night for a lot of venues…sign up for their email subscriptions NOW to get alerts and coupons for Wendesday (and on your birthday, etc…)
  • Follow @TheYVodka & @ClubRive on Twitter!

Technically it just another day…but make 9/9/09 memorable by taking the time and participating in several, if not all, of the events listed above.  (If you don’t make it to Martian, I’ll understand…)

WoW: Subway Games

Website of the Week (WoW):

Quick Bit: Who know that Subway offered so much? I accidentally came across their website and loved what I found! Not only can you play Scrabble online (I won a couple things instantly!) but there’s plenty of fun for your child as well! I definitely appreciated how much community involvement Subway provides, with their Little League and school support both inclusive and extensive! If you’re a teacher sign up for their Fit Kids (details below) and get your students in the habit of making healthy choices! Opportunities for kids and adults, this site has a lot to offer!

Subway’s and America’s Pastime

  • Subway Triple Play – Your child aching to play and it’s too hot outside? Let them play baseball or softball from the comfort of their own home. Score homeruns, win prizes. Pick a name for your character, even deciding if their playing baseball or softball and if they’re a lefty or righty!
  • Little League Baseball and Softball – Learn about support this league that was recognized recently on ESPN!
  • Baseball Design Across America – Check out baseballs designed by celebrities, purchases go to supporting Little League Baseball and Softball!

Subway Schools

  • Get Fit Kits – Teachers sign up for Random Acts of Fitness for Kids to help encourage kids to embrace being fit and learning healthy habits! Kits include a calendar, reward stickers, a classroom poster, parent/guardian letters (explaining the program), and a teacher’s guide to promoting the program and fitness!
  • Subway School Rewards – Your school will earn a portion of every Subway purchase you make, if you use your Subway card! Search for your child’s school and link your card with it! FAQ here.

Subway’s Kids

  • Subway Kids – a portal to tons of different online games and activities. Watch healthy shows, get the Fit Tip of the Day widget for download, and personalize the screen viewer.
  • Games – Refresh my Memory, Pants Dance Game,
  • Help you Neighborhood – learn how playing hoops can help raise money for the American Heart Association!

Subway’s Fresh Buzz

  • Subways Fresh Buzzplay online games, signup for exciting offers and checkout local Subway events!
  • Family Alaskan Adventure – Tell Subway about your family’s greatest adventure to enter for a chance to win a family vacation to Alaska!
  • $5 Livenation Tickets – Buy a $5 footlong and get a $5 Livenation concert ticket!
  • My Subway Card – pick out one or personalize, add money online, purchases made with card go towards support school! Check out details here.

Subway Scrabble

  • Play Scrabble – Register to play or claim instant winners! For another month and a half, visit the site each day and Subway will GIVE you a free letter for the playing board! Each letter also comes with a free Spin for instant prizes!
  • FREE Letter – Top right corner boasts a onetime button to click…tell people what you’re playing and get a FREE letter!
  • FREE Random Letter of the Day – use “DFMF-BBPB-QZMF” each day to be rewarded with a random letter to play with!

Use the following game codes once:


Game Code



















Random Letter*


*Only game code that can be used more then once!



E-mail Group:
Sign up for their newsletter to get the buzz!

WoW: Pingg – the Party Request & Response Site!

Website of the Week (WoW):

After exploring 5-6 different online invitation sites, my favorite is Pingg, an online invitation site with exactly the kind of functionality, versatility, and intuitiveness that I’m looking for.

To be fair, I also signed up and tried the following:

…but the site that impressed me the most was Pingg.

Quick Bit: From a geeky standpoint, ping is a networking term/tool used to test if a server (“host”) is reachable. If you try to log onto a website but get a blank page, you can send out a request for a response (i.e. ping) from that website to make sure it is up (letting you see if something is wrong on your end or their end.) Since this is an online invitation with a “host” who’s sending out requests for responses, I thought this was very clever and wanted to let you know where the name probably came from.

This website boasts an incredibly CLEAN, intuitive interface. Although I’m comfortable maneuvering around websites, not everyone is. I’m not going to advertise an awesome website the average internet users can’t figure out. For me, this website is a complete one stop shop.

Send any combination of the following:

  • Online invitations – charity events, showers, special events, grand openings


  • E-cards – Save the date cards, announcements (Birth, promotion, grand openings…)


  • Printed versions – wedding invitations, birthday parties, dinner parties, holiday parties

Your Pingg Dashboard keeps track of current (and past) events, sorted by date (sort also by event name.) Copy details from a past event easily, so you never have to start from scratch. Select from free or premium images to attach to invite – stunning photography, incredible choices in both sections. I’ve used this site for several parties I’ve thrown with 50+ attendees and did not lose track of one response.


  • Entertainment Tips
    – loaded with hints for every affair, in addition to invitations, Pingg has an entire section dedicated to a diverse range of party help tips!
  • List Manager
    – saves past invitees by group in address book, no need to retype the same thing twice, EVER! Drag and drop contacts from one list to another, add tags (i.e. “VIP”, “SA Friends”, etc.)

    Another feature I liked was being able to paste in a spreadsheet of my guest list instead of having to update list manually, person by person!

  • Dashboard – for each event, you’ll have an event dashboard which helps you manage guest responses. See which emails failed to be delivered, keep track of who said “yes”, “no”, “maybe”, or hasn’t responded yet (and only send updates to those who haven’t/have responded). You can also see who’s “viewed” the invitation but not responded.

    Easily export your entire guest list to spreadsheet format for additional sorting functionality.

    ***Party Tip: Print out the list ahead of time and easily write down who gave what for the guest of honor if presents are involved (so right next to the gift giver, you’ll already have all the contact information!)

  • Facebook/Twitter – easily post invites as Tweets in Twitter or Messages/Wall Posts in Facebook. Send reminders/links to invite website to remind guest about event.
  • Money Collections – instead of collecting cash at the party or coordinating ahead of time, Pingg allows easy online donations through PayPal so guests can contribute to a group gift, party expenses, or even charitable events. You can display goal amounts for charities or keep that information private.

    ***Right now they’re also working on selling tickets through your website for events!

  • Reminders – instead of having to remember to remind you guests, upon creation of the invite, schedule a couple reminders to RSVP (or come in costume, whatever!) I recently sent out an invite 3 weeks before a “Stock the Bar” engagement party, scheduled reminders for subsequent Fridays, including the day of the event.
  • Thank You Cards – you just threw the event of your life, you’ve cleaned up the house, do you really want to write thank yous? Write them, personally, to each guest, thanking them for attending…and Pingg will send it out AFTER the event! No more looking for addresses, remembering who attended, Pingg will send individual responses!
  • Personalized Party Website – personalize your event website that is automatically created when you create an event OR save the date e-card. Guest can RSVP, leave comments, see who else is attending. You can add pictures, Flickr albums, gift registries, other links, Google maps to the party, etc! You can even edit the website’s URL so it’s easily included in online or print invitations.

Details about all features here.


  • COMPLETELY FREE for online invitations, ecards, websites, guest management, and more! Only pay for printed postcards or cards/envelopes, premium images (free images are fine!), and non-ad websites (regardless, ads are unobtrusive.)
  • Let Pingg Print/Mail/Stamp – Use promotional code “PRINT20” at checkout and Pingg will take off 20% (you don’t have to but if you are printing anyways…)



E-mail Group: – Register for an account to receive promotional newsletters and to start sending invitations today! Newsletters aren’t too frequent, sent monthly, with additional emails sent around major holidays. Well worth it.

Career 101: Finding a Career Field

Inspired by the current state of the economy and job market, this new series of posts will cover the following topics:

  • Finding a Career Field – getting over Peter Pan syndrome and deciding what you want to do when you grow up.
  • Finding the Perfect Job – where to look when everyone else is looking!
  • Landing said Perfect Job – get the competitive edge in this uber-competitive market
  • Keeping said Perfect Job – without living in free of losing your job, quickly move up the chain of command in your new position.

I graduated from high school in the top 10% of my class, enjoyed my classes, had fun learning…no clue what I wanted to major in. Committing to one major consistently lead to hyperventilating…that’s why I’m taking the time to focus on that possibility. You might have already graduated with a bachelors degree AND master’s degree but still don’t feel completely comfortable in your current field. This post is about gaining insight to yourself based on very scientific approaches. 🙂

I knew that I wanted to work flexible hours, I wasn’t always detail oriented, and definitely enjoy thinking outside the box. Before college, I thought Aerospace Engineer was for me. I liked math and science and I was a member of the Aviation Club at my elementary school. I started college, got cold feet, worried I wouldn’t hack the math and declared an Architecture major. That lasted for a semester before I switched to Psychology after an elective class opened my eyes to this introspective career choice. Then I had my daughter and thought, well, can I afford to be in school for at least the next 7 years before making good money in a field that I might not even want to be in, in 7 years? I took a broad range of elective classes, looking for my sweet spot. On a whim I took an intro computer programming class. I had always played around with electronics growing up, taking them apart, fixing them. I was also the resident computer expert. I took the class and aced it (with 100%…) and was hook. It was the perfect field for me and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I may retire and go to culinary school…but for now I <3 it.

Who am I? – During the journey of self-discovery I found the following online resources to help me figure out what I liked, didn’t like and other things to take into consideration. You’re worth it – spend a little extra time now so you can find a position you love.

  • Personality Testmany people are willing to join EHarmony in hopes of finding their perfect match. A career should be NO different, a couple strategic tests can help you identify the following:
    • Have to Have’s – characteristics of the job/career that you HAVE to have in order to enjoy/love/be successful.
    • Can’t Have’s – is it important to you to go to work at 8 and leave at 5, everyday, Monday through Friday? I needed a more flexible work schedule, as a mom and as an ADD-er. Listen to yourself, these are IMPORTANT
    • Nice Have’s – it would be nice to have in the job description but you don’t have to. While Can’ts and Have’s are non-negotiable, this list could help you narrow a close choice or hard decision down.

    NOTE: Make this list now so that when you are job hunting you don’t cater your list to the job you found. This list can change over time but you just like in dating, you don’t want to be blinded by the initial glitter and find yourself trapped in an unhappy job a couple months later.

    The Jung-Meyer-Briggs Personality test is a GREAT place to start. You’ll be amazed at how a simple, short test can accurately depict your personality type. Once you get your results, Google it…mine, consistently is ENFP:

    General: ENFPs are both “idea”-people and “people”-people, who see everyone and everything as part of an often bizarre cosmic whole. They want to both help (at least, their own definition of “help”) and be liked and admired by other people, on both an individual and a humanitarian level. They are interested in new ideas on principle, but ultimately discard most of them for one reason or another.

    Test takes 5-10 minutes…take it! Afterwards, that site will also link you to possible career options and detail type descriptions. Find out what personality types you’re compatible with and more importantly, WHY! It’ll also list famous people with your personality type.

  • Occupation Outlook Handbook
    – although you can buy the printed version of this inclusive career book, DON’T! Search easily online and browse through multiple fields. Search for something specific or browse through numerous jobs – each including the following sections:
    • Nature of Work – detailed job description
    • Training/Qualifications/Opportunities for Advancement – lists job requirements and nice to have’s employers are looking for
    • Employment – details about self-employment, nationwide employment…
    • Job Outlook – are there going to be any positions when you get out of school? Is employment on the rise or fall? Based on statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics…
    • Earnings – average salaries for different positions within that field
    • Related Fields – sounds good but not quite? Lists similar positions within the site.

    Check out sources for the handbook, by state, and also their hints and suggestions about job hunting. I especially liked these questions to ask yourself when evaluating the position before accepting.

You could spend hours, days, months, years pouring over the information in the 2 sections. I think it’s great to take the test every couple of years or re-read about your field. Does it still work for you? Have your tastes changed?

Please also take the time to make the following list and stick it on your mirror or fridge. Make a list of 10 things you HAVE to have in your career, 10 CAN’T haves, and WOULD LIKE to haves. Writing it down will force yourself to think about it. Make the time. Even if you have a job, check the list – it’s it what you still want? Are you in it for the right reasons?

Check back next week for the next postFinding
the Perfect Job.

*FYI – I graduated debt free from college by helping friends and peers through the entire life-cycle of their job search.

No wheelin’ & dealin’ at Discount Tires!

I have a few mantras in life and they all include saving time and money.  As I’ve gained experience through the years, one of the best ways to do this is not only by taking the time to find coupons and specials…but through preventive measures.

 Let me give you the perfect example.  Tire maintenance.  I can spend outrageous amounts of money buying all 4 tires at once (as I did today) OR I can go to Discount Tire and take advantage of their FREE to EVERYONE air pressure and tire check drive ins

As I sat there for a little under an hour, I saw elderly ladies, tattooed motorcyclists, soccer moms, and a 360, pull up, get out and grab a free water.  Literally by the time they sat down, took a sip, and opened a magazine, their name was being called as I wistfully watched on.  Although not everything can be prevented…a lot can.  Take the time to let them check your tires and air pressure; it makes their job easier when you come in a rush, expecting them to see instant results.

Let me tell you, the Discount Tire I went to, off Bandera and 1604 treated me, potentially the perfect sitting duck, incredibly well.  I came in armed with my tire size and the brand I was looking at (based on online reviews) prepared to face the judgment of my poor tire maintenance.  They didn’t judge, they said not to list to the website, just call – there are often appointments available.  They even drew pictures so I could understand the difference between steel and alloy rims.  They scheduled me for a time and when I came, they drove my car in immediately.

I watched many disgruntled customers come in, disgusted to find their cars ready without being alerts on their cell phone.  I watched and their cars were ready just as they got there.  There are a lot of younger mechanics working as quickly as they can, there was no admin, manning the front.  They all efficiently took turns.   I was just so impressed with this well oiled machine.  They kept their sense of humor and just brought a lot of light to the room. 

Be patient, they are trying and they want to make it as easy as possible for you.

They broke the bad and worse news to me gently – I’d need 4 new wheels and 4 new tires.  (NOTE: wheels <=> rims are used interchangeably.)  They showed me why, they showed me what to pick and why, and they did it without making me feel miserable. 

Find the nearest store to you!  And go in armed with current promotions.  Don’t forget to subscribe to their mailing list with specials.  Become a Fan on Facebook and follow on Twitter, I am!

When I go back in 50 miles (just so they can make sure everything is working out as designed) I will bring not only a smile but cookies and other baked goods.  Also, they’ll sign you up for email reminders, whenever you need to come in for your FREE rotations…

BUXR – hot deals this week!!!

You may have noticed I’ve added a new side bar widget “Current Deals @ BUXR.”  I have found incredible deals at and now you can too!  Don’t wait for me!  Sign up for an account now:

This site also offers a lot of incentives to spread the word and find your own great offers to share.  Monthly and daily monetary awards are given out for best offers found, details here.  Once you join and Buxr and refer friends who signup and buy products you’ll get a commission (2-10%) of whatever the site makes!  People have made thousands of dollars!  Even if you’re just buying you’ll still get a nice little kick back.

I had a hard time finding the “Affiliate Tab” mentioned in the FAQ…so I included it.

From their “About Me” section” on using BUXR:

  • Browse the shopping deals we pick and post daily in our shopping section and save money buying stuff. Look at it as an opportunity to get more for less, to treat yourself to an occasional gadget and not break the bank.
  • Bargain hunting should be fun and we have tried to spice it up with our daily and monthly contests. You don’t need to do anything special though, you participate whenever you submit deals to Buxr or vote deals up/down on our website.
  • If you have a blog or website, you can share our shopping deals with your readers/visitors and earn a commission when they buy stuff.

Look at all the things I’ve found on BUXR today!

  • 100 FREE 4×6 Prints (new members only!) from Snapfish, sign up now!
  • $5 off $25 @ Payless which comes in handy if you have kids heading back to school.
  • Fantasy Football?  Seasons coming up so host your NFL Draft Party @ Dave & Buster’s and get all kinds of GREAT incentives!!!!
  • EL POLLO LOCO is offering FREE Pollo Bowl with purchase of a Pollo Bowl
  • FREE Chocolate coupon through September!  Sign up for a reminder – every Friday visit the website and receive a voucher for M&Ms, Snickers, Twix, Dove, 3 Musketeers, or Milky Way.
  • Pizza Hut – Get 20% off any ONLINE order
  • Office Depot – $15 off $50 Purchase Printable Coupon
  • Bath & Body Works – Hand Soap Event (all kinds of fun discounts and freebies!)
  • Victoria’s Secret – 40% OFF Any Single Clearance Item + FREE Shipping
  • Office Depot – $20 off $80 Purchase
  • Amazon Prime – 3 months trail
  • 25 Favorite Very Veggie Tunes (MP3 Downloads) $1.99, regularly $22.76!
  • Webcam 2 Pack!
  • Panda Internet Security 2009 – 3 User Panda Security licenses included!  FREE after rebate.
  • Thinking about making an iPhone purchase?  Refurb Apple iPhone 3G 8GB w/ 2-yr Contract – $49.99 from AT&T!!!!!!!!!!!!

8 reasons to follow Geekette Bits…

Taking advantage of all the social media opportunities, I have tried to reach out to possible readers through multiple channels.  Something incredibly important to me and the goal of my entire blog – make your life easier…by saving you time and money!

Everything I do on my blog should do just that and here’s 8 ways I tried to take advantage of Web 2.0:

  1. Follow me on Twitter! @geekettebits
    Follow me on Twitter!Not only will you be alerted of new posts – you’ll also see them conveniently with everyone else status updates!
  2. Friend me on Facebook! facebook
  3. Once you add me on FB and Twitter, check out who I am following.  Businesses local to San Antonio, websites that offer GREAT deals, get the scoop before I do!  Or if you don’t want the extra noise, check out my profile to see the alerts without having to add anyone!
  4. iGoogle Gadget – have a personalized Google homepage?  Add the Geekette Bits Google gadget there!  See quick summaries of the most recent posts! 
  5. iPhone – my site is mobile friendly!  Got an iPhone?  Doesn’t have to be 3G but it’s very iPhone friendly!  Bookmark me!
  6. rss-feed-pinkRSS Feed – don’t want to mess with those other tools?  Just subscribe to RSS feeds directly!!
  7. Leave Comments sign up for my site through Google Friend Connect to leave comments, good and bad on my posts.  Let me know what you really would’ve like information on OR what you’d like to see next time!
  8. Google Maps – I have 3 right now…whenever I post about something I try to also include it in one of 3 maps:
    • Lil’ Bits – take a quick glance on a Saturday morning to see what’s free and close…or look to see a map view of kid friendly places!
    • Geekette HotSpots – just places I think are worth checking out!
    • Great Bytes – places I’ve reviewed or want to check out or will eventually blog about!
    • Links can be found at anytime on the right hand column of my blog “Bitmaps”.

Notable FREE stuff this week online and/or in-store

FREE Tote Bag from Worl d Market (Folow on Facebook or Twitter)

FREE Mocha Mondays – free 8 oz mocha (or 7 oz iced mocha per person, per visit) @ McDonalds every Monday until August 3rd!  Follow on Twitter.

FREE Chili Dog or Small Cone July 14th from 5pm-8pm @ Wienerschnitzel!

FREE Amazon E-Books for download.

Fee FREE Summer weekends – National Park Service will offer three fee-free wewekends this summer to encourage Americans seeking afforable vacations to visit their national parks.  Additional offers by local parks.  June 20-21, July 18-19, August 15-16 waived entrance fees!

FREE ABCs of Safety Coloring Book includes 28 pages of activities (not just coloring, connect the dots, word de-coders, etc.) to go through with your children.  Not only will it kill time during the long summer break but also educate your children on the ABC’s of safety.

Planting a family tree…

After going through several different websites, I have found the best online resource for keeping track of your family tree.

Geni (Time’s 50 Best websites of 2008) allows users to add relatives in an incredibly user-friendly interface.  Once added, new users can edit details about their section of the tree.  Family members can post pictures, videos, comment on items, and insert contact information.  Birthdays are easily displayed in various forms, calendars, list views.

Detailed profile questions to be filled out by that relative encourage latest news sharing.  Updates can be sent out from site without having to constantly check.  Statistics are also displayed (number of boys/girls, siblings, posts, etc.)

I recommend this site for anyone who would like to keep track of their continuously growing family.  Within minutes I was able to add my sister, parents, their parents, their children, etc…you can also upload pictures for each individual for quick glances.

Geekette Bit’s best pick for online grocery lists…

Old Mother Hubbard’s pantry was bare…and so is mine.  Attached by a magnet to my fridge is a pre-written checklists of typical grocery purchases.  I can quickly check the boxes (divided by aisle in the grocery store.)

This let me to google “online grocery lists’ to find out what my other options were.  Out of the 10 websites I investigated/joined…2 stood out in my mind the most.  Both have great qualities…if they had a baby, that website would be the perfect blend of both worlds.

1.  Zip List – pretty encompassing website, pretty interface.  Upon sign-up you start typing the name of each product you need to purchase and suggestions from a pre-filled database will be displayed.  It adds item based either on generic or specific brand names.  If you item is not already included in the list easily add it.  You control what and how many items – you can create shortcut names for items used often.  You can add to the list via text messages, email…and you can also send the list to other shoppers in your circle of friends and family.  Multiple stores can be selected so you can also organize your trip by location (stores included in the list were not only local grocery stores but also gas stations and Home Depot/Lowes.)  Once everything has been selected you can organize the sections by aisle location.  You can also group products by recipe, keeping track of purchases that way as well.

2.  Grocery Wiz – this website has a pretty interface and more importantly, the one feature Zip List does not.  Ability to browse through categories.  If Zip List had this feature I would definitely be psyched!  Another nice feauture this site boasts is alerting users of coupons currently availible for particular products.  When hovering over items with coupons, the coupon value will display and link you to the printable coupon.  Check out their sister site: Camp Wiz.

For those who just want to browse through standard grocery items, check boxes, and print a list of only those selected items this site will get the job done.  Easy interface for someone who just wants to get in and out without forgetting the necessities.

Go above and beyond for those who do it everyday…

Military jokes in Reader’s Digest are one of the first columns I check in my monthly subscription.  In some shape or form, everyone can find some relation to the military.  Since 1868 to remember those fallen in the Civil War, Memorial Day celebrates those who died serving our nation.

On this day at 3pm we also take a moment of silence to honor the National Moment of Remembrance.  During this time, across the country, participants include MLB games stop and all Amtrak trains blow their whistle.

Official US Government provides information about everything from grilling tips, background information on the holiday to travel information.

Want to help a soldier and their family? Check out a few listed below…there are hundreds of opportunities – I don’t have the bandwidth to find them all…

Besides writing letters, do this for the troops…

  • DOD Community Relationstake 2 seconds to write an encourage note and then read the deeply appreciative letters they wrote in response.
  • Operation Dear Abby – even those without internet access will get print outs of the messages you take the time to write.
  • Soldiers Angels request cards for your deployed soldier and/or their families or join the Cards Plus Team to take the requests that flood the sites for supportive words.
  • Angel Bakers – can you cook brownies in a box? Then you can send homemade treats to a soldier who misses his country and home.
  • Chaplains Support Team – support those chaplains deployed with our troops by sending cards, care packages, and other supplies they need. They bring strength before battle in horrific warzones…they need our support too!
  • Operation Phone Home – for only $13 you can send Global prepaid calling card so a deployed personnel can call home. The cards include personalized recorded messages and help them stay connected to the world they were called to put on pause.
  • Operate SOS: Kidswhile deployed, soldiers come across local children begging for money, food, anything they can sell. Without thinking of their own needs, soldiers request items be sent from the states to them for the children. Donate items or money.

Finally check out my other post about becoming a foster parent for a deployed soldiers’ pet, give them the peace of mind while they protect our country.

Welcome to Geekette Bits!

Welcome to  There’s a million blogs out there, why read this one?  The goal of this site is to incorporate my love for everything nerdy with my desire to save money and time.

I have a knack for finding sites that other people don’t.  I have been known to save hundreds of dollars.  Especially with the economy the way it is, I want help others out with bits and pieces of information I take the time to find about everything from money, to clothes, to traveling.

I’ll also include little food bytes about local San Antonio eateries I’ve enjoyed recently…I have an insatiable taste for GREAT food!

I’m excited to hear what you have to say, comment back!