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Making the Most of Summer Vacation
For a time of year associated with rest and relaxation, summer vacation is a surprisingly busy few months. Once school ends, kids and parents want to fill their days with as much fun as possible and avoid wasting time being bored. In preparation for summer, my son, Grant, has been taking swimming lessons. He’s doing a great job, and I expect he’ll be a real Aquaman before school’s back in session. Usually, Grant would want to show off his new skills and spend as much time as possible at the beach, but this year, he’s going to be a bit more landlocked. Over the summer, Grant will be visiting family in Chicago. This is a big trip for a nine-year-old, but I think Allison and I are more nervous about it than he is. Grant’s excited to see his family and visit the city he used to live in. Someone who certainly isn’t excited for Grant’s trip is Aidan, his younger brother. I know he’s going to miss Grant while he’s gone, and I’m worried he’ll be a little lost without his big brother. Aidan isn’t dreading summer by any means; he’s excited with the promise of being able to ride his own bike. Of course, at 2 and a half, he’s nowhere near ready to take on the “big kid” bike, so he’s still learning how to scoot around on a tricycle. He’s slowly getting the hang of it, and he really wants to ride around like his big brother. By the time Grant gets back from Chicago, I think Aidan might be able to do just that! However, our boys aren’t the only ones with big plans this summer. Allison and I hope to find time to visit Santa Barbara and see our friends. The four-hour drive feels much longer when you’re balancing kids’ school schedules and work. With the extra free time, we’ll be happy to make a trip out of it and enjoy quality time together.
It’s been too long since we’ve been able to spend a night walking around downtown Santa Barbara or enjoying dinner on Stearns Wharf. We’ve also missed the Santa Barbara beaches, which are absolutely stunning. Our friend’s home is close to the ocean, so regular beach access isn’t a challenge. Laying on the beach in Santa Barbara is truly special, especially when I get to enjoy the sunset with my beautiful wife. Thinking about it, I might have to create a checklist so I can make sure we all enjoy this summer to the fullest. Though, just going with the flow feels like it would me more in the spirit of the season. Whatever we do, I’m sure we’ll have a fun time.
I hope everyone has a great summer, and don’t forget your sunscreen!
- Ron Wilcox
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4 Drink Hacks to
KEEP YOUR BEVERAGE COOL
The sun is summer’s greatest ally — and greatest enemy. For every sun-soaked day at the beach, there are sunburns trying to ruin the party. With every excuse to drink an icy beverage, the sunshine’s more determined to keep the drink from staying cool. These hacks will allow you to enjoy the benefits of the summer sun without the side effect of a warm beverage. First, let’s say you just got home from the grocery store where you purchased a 12-pack of your favorite soda. You’re thirsty and it’s room temperature at best , right? Patience is a virtue, but there’s nothing wrong with accelerating the process. Fill a bowl with ice water and add a teaspoon of salt, then submerge a can of soda in the bowl . This process will cool your drink more than twice as fast as just putting it in the freezer. This other example requires less work, but it takes more freezer space. And if you’re like the rest of us, your freezer is pretty packed in the summer! Wet a paper towel and wrap it around a bottle or can before you place it in the freezer . The contents inside will cool much more quickly. If you have more time to plan, this hack will keep your drink cold for longer. Ice doesn’t fit in a bottle, and freezing your beer or other beverage will get you to Slushy Town in a hurry. Fill an
empty bottle about halfway, put the cap on, and place it in the freezer on its side . When it’s frozen, pour your favorite beverage inside — the ice from top to bottom will keep the contents cool on the go. Bonus Hack: This has nothing to do with the sun, but is still a neat way to make drinking your beverage easier. If you go fancy and use a straw when you drink from a can, you know how hard it is to get the straw to stay put. Spin the can’s tab around and feed the straw through it . Now you’ll have a well-behaved straw that doesn’t shift around when you need it to be there for you. The sun is hot, and the summer is long. You need the comfort of a cool beverage to help you get through it. Keep cool, wear sunscreen, and have fun!
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Guerilla Credit-Building Secrets
with pretty much all creditors. After all, it can’t hurt to ask! And did you know that checking on the score actually hurts it? No, really — the more times your score is checked, the lower your score will be. This is especially true when others run credit checks on you. That means that a good way to have great credit is to avoid situations where your credit will be checked. For example, if you move homes but still are covered by the same utility companies, you should try to hang on to your old accounts instead of opening new ones, which requires a credit check. From water and gas to cable and internet, it’s worth it to hang on to your old accounts. Here’s another sneaky way to boost credit. Turn in your library books on time! That’s right, even the library is against you when it comes to credit scores. Late books mean
Does your credit score give you ulcers? If so, you’re not alone. According to Forbes.com, nearly one-third of Americans have credit scores lower than 601, which is the line between “okay” and “bad” credit. You’re also not without options, and we’re not talking about the same tired credit- building advice you always hear. These tips are on the down-low, but they’ll take your credit sky-high. Want a better score? Have you tried asking? No, it’s not a joke. Let’s say you missed a payment on your car, but you caught up the next month, and it’s all taken care of — except for the ding on your credit score. Ouch. But you can still get that ding repaired. All you have to do is ask, in a goodwill letter to the company or bank that loaned you the money for the car. It helps if you’re polite and haven’t missed past payments, but you can try this
fines, and those fines will lower your credit if they get taken to collections. You don’t want that, so take your books back before they’re overdue. Last but not least, as tempting as it is to close out old lines of credit — especially after struggling to pay them off — it’s better for your score if you leave them open. You don’t have to use them, but you’ll see a dip in your credit score if you totally shut them down. As good as it feels to be rid of old debts, you don’t want to do all that work and still have bad credit!
SENSATIONAL Summer Salad
It’s officially the season of salads, and fruit salads are summer’s specialty! Enjoy this tasty dish as a side or main course. For some added protein, toss in a handful of slivered almonds or chopped pecans.
• 1 pound strawberries, thinly sliced • 3 medium peaches, thinly sliced • 1 cup blueberries 1. In a medium serving bowl, combine the strawberries, peaches, blueberries, and basil. 2. Drizzle lemon juice, maple syrup, and balsamic vinegar on top. DIRECTIONS:
• 1 heaping tablespoon fresh basil or mint, chopped • 2 tablespoons lemon juice • 1 tablespoon maple syrup • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar 3. Gently toss to combine. 4. Serve immediately or chill for later.
Recipe inspired by CookieAndKate.com.
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Inside This Issue Summer Fun PAGE 1 4 Drink Hacks to Keep Your Beverage Cool PAGE 2 Testimonial PAGE 2 Guerilla Credit-Building Secrets PAGE 3 Sensational Summer Salad PAGE 3 Local Bay Area Events PAGE 4
Breath of Fresh Air I HATE HAMLET Where: Northside Theater, San Jose, California When: June 15 through July 9; See website for showtimes Admission: $17–22 Website: northsidetheatre.com With his career in limbo, a successful actor, Andrew, moves to New York City and is invited to play Hamlet on stage, a role he truly despises. Fortunately, legendary actor John Barrymore arrives in full costume to help Andrew see the delights of the stage. Unfortunately, John Barrymore passed away in 1942, and his ghost seems determined to haunt Andrew’s apartment and send his life spinning. Grab your tickets and get ready to laugh at an outrageous play the New York Times calls, “unapologetically silly and, at times, hilarious.” LOS GATOS PLEIN AIR ART & WINE FESTIVAL Where: Los Gatos Town Plaza, Los Gatos, California When: June 16–17 Admission: Free Website: lgpleinair.org Returning for the ninth year, Los Gatos Plein Air Art & Wine Festival is an amazing event held by the community, for the
community. Celebrated artists from across the country descend upon Los Gatos to paint, mingle, and raise money! Art will be auctioned off and the proceeds will go to art, music, and science education in Santa Clara County. Enjoy a glass of wine from the vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains, meet talented artists, and help make sure a love of art survives in our community for generations to come. Where: Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, San Jose, California When: Saturday, July 1, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission: $10–15 Website: summerveg.com The California Summer Veg Fest is an event unlike any other. Here, you’ll find a festival full of games, music, fresh foods, and a diverse vendor marketplace that is 100 percent cruelty-free. Presented by Wilde Dreams, this beloved event celebrates the fun of life while helping to establish a better environment for animals across the world. This is an experience for the whole family, so don’t let anyone miss out on the fun! CALIFORNIA SUMMER VEG FEST
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