Archive for August, 2009

You won’t lose that lovin feeling in your marriage if you keep saving $5 a week.

© 2009, Surprise Kiss. All rights reserved.

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Are your date nights getting boring? You seem to always be doing the same thing because money is tight. You are bored going to the beach, lake, your local park or having that special coffee at your favorite coffeehouse. Just because you always do the same thing doesn’t mean that you can’t change things once in a while. Why not plan to meet for lunch?

Don’t tell your spouse your plans. Make lunch as usual but when you are making the sandwich don’t put the usual meat, cheese, lettuce and tomato. Since the kids are back in school put a note between two pieces of bread.  Write on the note: “Hurry home sweetheart and we will have lunch between the sheets.”

Set the stage for this date. Have a rose petal path leading to the bedroom. Soft music in the background and if it isn’t too hot light some candles. Have fun undressing one another.  Have a light lunch ready. Maybe a little cheese and fruit you could both eat while on your way back to work.

Kicking things up a notch is what memories are made of. Neither of you will ever look at a sandwich again without thinking of that special moment that one of you took the time to do.

Enjoy a quickie afternoon delight with the one you love.

Keep those sparks flying!
JoJo

© 2009, Surprise Kiss. All rights reserved.

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Looking for more ways to save money that you don’t have? You are saying to yourself, “How can I save money that I don’t have?” When you purchase an item and you get a refund or a rebate coupon do you forget to fill out the coupon or do you fill it out and send it in? Once you get the check do you cash it and spend it on whatever? Why not put the money in your envelope instead?  Just one more way to have the extra stash I have been talking about for your romantic getaway.

Some years ago a co-worker was handing over her $5 a week to me to put in her envelope. Well one day she came in bragging that she had just gotten in the mail $12 from a rebate she had sent in.  I asked her what she was going to do with it and she replied “I don’t know, maybe something for me.” When I heard that I immediately put out my hand and said “hand it over so I can put it in your envelope.” She looked at me and clutched the $12 and said “NO……” I reminded her more money more opportunity for more romance. She reluctantly handed over the money and I promptly put it in her envelope. We went through this a couple of times and then she began to hand the money over without me even asking.

When it came time for me to give her the envelope with all the money she had saved she was very surprise to see she had saved more than $260! She had save $360! That was a $100 more than she had planned on, just by putting away unexpected money. This was her first time saving money for a romantic weekend; she and her husband were celebrating their 9th wedding anniversary. She was going to make it extra special with the money she didn’t have!

She had already made reservations 6 months in advance for a 1 night stay to a beautiful bed & breakfast I had recommended in the lovely town of Pacific Grove, CA. This quaint town overlooks the ocean and it is not as touristy as Monterey and Carmel but is a quick drive to both communities. She already knew what she was going to do with the extra money. Her husband has always wanted a little red sports car so she went to the car rental the day of their trip unbeknownst to her husband and rented it! When she drove home  and he seen her driving that cute sporty car he was so excited.  They drove up Hwy 1 with the top down through Big Sur and had a picnic lunch overlooking the beautiful Pacific Coast. They paid cash for the whole weekend including the little red sports car.

She came back glowing and telling everyone what a wonderful time they had. Both she and her husband still talk about that first anniversary celebration they had together. Not only is she putting aside her $5 a week, her husband is doing the same now. Also, they both make sure they put that extra windfall away.

So the next time you get extra money put it in your envelope and don’t count it. You will be surprised by how much extra money you have saved from money you didn’t have!

Keep those sparks flying!
JoJo

© 2009, Surprise Kiss. All rights reserved.

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The Starwood Hotel Collections has a special going on now through December 31st, 2009. Every night you pay regular rate, you can get the next night at 50% off. This means whether you stay 2 nights, 4nights or more, your tomorrows will be that much better. This is based on the best available non-restricted rate and is non-refundable. Advance purchase is required. You can book on line, or call 1-866-924-8703 and remember to mention promo code ZBT.

The Starwood Collection has 8 hotels.  Please see the list below:

1. Sheraton Hotels
2. St Regis Hotels
3. Luxury Collection Hotels
4. Four Points Hotels
5. Westin Hotels
6. W Hotels
7. A Loft Hotels
8. Element Hotels

The hotels require a Thursday, Friday or Saturday arrival and resorts require a Sunday, Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday arrival.

I decided to look at what kind of deal I could get and still stay within my $260. Since my husband and I enjoy the Orange County area of California and it is not to far from where we live, I choose the Westin Hotels in Costa Mesa, CA. They have those wonderful “heavenly beds” and the hotels are always unique to the area and very luxurious. Here is the breakdown on what it would cost for a 2 Nights Stay:

Friday                                  $149.00
Saturday                                  74.00
                                               $223.00
8% Tax (per night)                 35.68
Total                                       $258.68

You have $1.32 left over.  It is possible to stay at a beautiful hotel and have a romantic getaway if you have stashed additional money from the suggestions I have given you previously in my other blogs.  Also, always remember to inquire about parking fees. You will need to take that into consideration.

One thing that I did notice is the further away from todays date the cheaper the hotel room. Go on line and see what kind of deal you can get and see if one of the other hotels within the Starwood Collection is cheaper.

Check it out at:   www.starwoodhotels.com

Keep those sparks flying!
JoJo

© 2009, Surprise Kiss. All rights reserved.

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Want to go to a Bed & Breakfast for your anniversary and you would like to stay a second night but there isn’t enough money saved? Well there is a book that gives you a certificate for “One Night Free”. This book gives you a great selection of bed and breakfasts and county inns across the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. You can’t beat the value! Each B&B has a brief description as well as their rates, amenities, bed sizes, number of rooms, innkeepers’ names, and what meals are included. Even after you have used the certificate, it is a valuable resource for deciding where to spend your next romantic getaway.

The book is called Bed & Breakfasts and Country Inns, 20th Edition by Deborah Edwards Sakach

My husband and I have used this book before and have had the opportunity to stay at a very nice inn for 2 nights and the second night was free! Just be aware there are restrictions on when you can use it depending on the inn.

The certificate is good for one free consecutive night when you purchase the first night at the regular rate. This offer is valid only at participating inns featured in the book. The certificate is not valid during holidays. bed tax, sales tax and gratuities are not included.

You can purchase a new book at: www.amazon.com. Only purchase the most current book if you want to utilize the certificate that is in the book and only buy new. Do not purchase a used book because you probably won’t receive a certificate or it may not be current. “Buyer beware” if you are not purchasing from a major bookstore. And of course, whether you are going to an inn or hotel, always do your research to make sure this is the place you would want to stay at. 

The Bed & Breakfasts and Country Inns certificate is usually good from January 1st through December 31st.

Keep those sparks flying!
JoJo

© 2009, Surprise Kiss. All rights reserved.

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Saving $5 a week will get that old romantic feeling and “don’t want to get out of bed” back again during your anniversary getaway.

© 2009, Surprise Kiss. All rights reserved.

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Date night should be enjoyable for both of you most of the time. Once in a while it is important that you have a date with your spouse that he/she enjoys. Who knows you might find out you liked doing it also. If it is not your bag that’s OK you have a better understanding of what the other likes doing and why. More importantly, find something that you are interested in doing together. It unifies you as a couple.

My husband and I enjoy cooking together. Sometimes we will take a cooking class or go to a cooking demonstration. We get to try new things and see how they are prepared. Of course we do enjoy watching Food TV and trying their recipes too. One of the most memorable evenings was the first night we were in New York on vacation and we went to the Culinary Cooking School. It was so much fun. Everyone there was from New York and they were amazed that we knew about the cooking classes. We learned so much not only on how to cook but what to do and not do in New York. Locals always know the best places and where to get the deals. I highly recommend doing something like this where ever you go.

Last Saturday our date was attending a cooking demonstration at the Cliffs Hotel in Shell Beach. The cost for the demonstration was $15 a person. This is very inexpensive, considering the food with wine pairing and of course the hotel and surroundings. The hotel is on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Chef Robert Root, Executive Chef, at the Manse on Marsh showed us how to cook healthy, quick meals at home. This included a 3-course lunch made with fresh produce which included wine pairing. It was absolutely delicious! And the best part was all proceeds went to the San Luis Obispo Food Bank.

It was a very enjoyable afternoon. Good food, good conversation and we walked away with some new recipes. Find something that you both enjoy doing together. It might not be cooking but you both may want to learn how to golf, surf, or play tennis, what ever interest you as a couple. You will find you are interested in each other more. It does a marriage good!

Keep those sparks flying!
JoJo

© 2009, Surprise Kiss. All rights reserved.

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Do you have friends that when you get together all they do is complain that their spouse didn’t do something they wanted them to do? You know the ones that never have anything nice to say about their partner because their partner didn’t read their mind. Or perhaps am I describing you? It is important to tell each other your needs and wants otherwise it will most likely never come true. When you talk negatively about your marriage you are sending negative vibes out to the relationship. How can you feel in love with someone when all you are doing is complaining about them?

There is one incidence that sticks in my mind, I was at a function and a friend introduced me to a woman that never sees the positive side of her husband. When I started to talk to her about her husband she told me that when they were dating he used to write love letters to her all the time but now that they are married he had stopped. She missed the love letters and was upset because she never got them any more. I asked her if she told him how much she loved receiving the love letters and would like him to start up again. She said “no”. What I wanted to know was how was he supposed to read her mind? She responded by saying that “it wasn’t the same if she had to ask”. My response was “get over yourself!”

As we continued our conversation I found out that every night he rubbed her feet before they went to bed. Now that is a very loving thing he does. My husband doesn’t rub my feet before I go to bed. He is usually asleep before I am. All she had done was fixated on what he doesn’t do.

Why is it that we expect our spouse to be psychic? Are you psychic? Do you expect your friends to be psychic? Probably not. Ask for what you want and if your spouse still doesn’t do it, get over it. They probably do other things for you that you haven’t even noticed.

In our marriage my husband and I always express what we want the other to do. One of the things that I always expect is a card on any special occasion. He knows that is what is expected and I do remind him to do it teasingly. Sometimes I am even with him when he stops to get it. He does choose the card and always gives it to me at the appropriate time.

So get over yourself and don’t expect your marriage to be psychic. Look for the little things that your partner does for you. You’ll feel better about your relationship and be more in love because of the way you view your marriage.

Keep those sparks flying!
JoJo

© 2009, Surprise Kiss. All rights reserved.

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Last Sunday my husband and I decided to drive 1 hour north from where we live to the quaint town of Paso Robles, CA. This area is becoming quite well known for their award winning wines and one of the nice things about visiting this community is it isn’t as touristy as Napa has become. Toward the end of the day we decided to try and locate a particular winery called Opolo Vineyards. Their Merlot is absolutely delicious.  It is 5 miles off 101 Hwy and another 5 miles on a lovely winding country road.

We went there thinking we would purchase a bottle of Merlot and check out the winery but actually walked away with their 2007 Opolo Mountain Zinfandel. It is absolutely delicious and apparently not only is it their most popular wine but their Zinfandels are award winning.

The main reason I am telling you about Opolo Vineyards is that while we were in the tasting room the wine server told us that they have a bed and breakfast on the vineyard! Well of course this caught my interest and I wanted to check it out and let everyone know about this little jewel! The server was kind enough to introduce us to one of the owners,  Paul, who happened to be in the tasting room and asked him if he would mind showing us the rooms. Mind you it was 5:00 PM and closing time but he were very gracious and would be happy to take us to their little Inn.  We even offered to come back another day because we understood it was Sunday and at the end of the day. He just smiled and said follow me.

The Inn at Opolo is an intimate Inn, with only 3 rooms. The rooms are beautifully decorated with wonderful professional pictures of the winery hung on the walls which were taken by Paul and his family.  The spacious rooms have fireplaces, soaking tubs and showers. A bottle of Opolo wine is sitting on an end table for you and your spouse to enjoy. The room also has French doors leading out to a balcony overlooking the vineyard with 2 lounge chairs for you to sit back and relax.  Since you are out in the county it is very peaceful and quite. Afternoon appetizers and wine are laid out in their community kitchen and a full breakfast is served in the morning there. For an additional $75 per person they will serve you a gourmet dinner in your room but you need to let them know several days in advance. You are required to stay a minimum of 2 nights at the Inn. FYI, weekdays are a little cheaper than weekends.

Here is the breakdown on how much you will need for this special anniversary getaway. I choose to look at the fees for a weekday 2 night stay.

Room Rate: $265 per night  $530.00
Tax Fee: 17.25% (2 nights)       91.43
Total:                                   $621.43

To be able to pay cash for your anniversary weekend you will need to save $12 a week. Please remember you will also need to put aside additional money for food expenses that the Inn doesn’t provide. Check out the Inn at:  www.opolo.com

A special occasion sometimes calls for a special place, remember you paid cash and $12 a week was all it cost you!

Keep those sparks flying!
JoJo

© 2009, Surprise Kiss. All rights reserved.

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I know that I have mentioned different ways to save extra money along with putting $5 a week away. Another way to have extra money you hadn’t planned on is with your debit card.  Have you thought about getting a debit card that rounds up every purchase you make on your debit card and puts the extra into a savings account for you!

So if you buy a $4.50 sandwich at lunch, you will have $5.00 debited from your checking account and 50 cents of it will go into your savings account! It’s surprising how fast that could add up and you would have more money for that romantic getaway you have been planning.

I have done this on my own before we had debit cards. When I purchased something from my checkbook I would always round it up to the nearest dollar amount. You will be surprised depending on how much you use your card at how fast you can save an extra $100, $200, etc.

Call your bank and see if they offer the “Keep the Change Debit Card”. If they don’t Bank of America was the original bank that started this great savings promotion. You can find out more about their program by contacting them thru their website or go into one of their local offices.

Check it out at: www.bankofamerica.com

Who says you can never find extra money to put away for that romantic weekend?

Keep those sparks flying!
JoJo

© 2009, Surprise Kiss. All rights reserved.

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