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The Super Bowl Will Cost Us $15 or Less

One of my newsletter subscribers, Pedro, asked me what I thought about the Super Bowl.  I replied in today’s newsletter that it’s awesome since it gives us a reason to socialize, eat, and gamble.  I forgot to mention that I also think it’s cheap fun.  :-D

Our Super Bowl Cost

My husband and I will be bringing cheese dip and chips to a Super Bowl party (there’s $5) at my in-laws.  We’ll also be throwing $5 each into a “squares” pot.  That’s a form of gambling since you get 1/4 of the pot if the quarterly scores end in the numbers you end up being randomly assigned on a grid.  We usually don’t win, but the year we did has paid for the rest, LOL.  Yep, the Super Bowl is costing us $15 for a whole afternoon and evening of entertainment.  Plus I could win even more than we spent.  I call that a win in general!

This Year’s Super Bowl Will Be Slightly Special…Deflate-Gate

If you have heard of “Deflate-Gate”, you probably laughed (like me) at the name.  And you know that the New England Patriots were found to have been using footballs that were missing about 2 pounds of air pressure in the game that let them into the Super Bowl.  Missing air pressure makes the balls easier to handle.  It’s like throwing a spitball in baseball (altering the way the ball flies by putting saliva on it).  It’s cheating.  And it’s stupid since professional American football players should be able to handle a properly inflated football.  It was unnecessary, stupid cheating that will probably lose the Patriots at least one draft pick next season.

So there are now a ton of people who want “the cheaters” to lose.  I still don’t really care since I rather play sports than watch them (not football though – it looks idiotically painful).  But I do want the Seattle Seahawks to be so motivated that this is their best football game ever.  That would make my snacking and gambling even more fun.

What are your spending on the Super Bowl?  Are you looking forward to it?

P.S.  Funny Deflate-Gate Memes

Deflate-gate 1

Let’s start with the pre-teen humor that made me giggle…

Deflate-Gate 2

Then we’ll move on to the one that’s funny because it could be true…

Deflate-Gate 3

Lastly, the poor 12th ball…

What Do You Pay for Your Internet?

We cut cable in August 2014, but we kept AT&T Uverse High Speed Internet.  We pay for their highest speed option and it comes to $55 a month.

It has some service issues a few times a month for about an hour, which is really annoying, but I assumed this happened with lots of companies.  Yet a couple of our friends thought they paid $10 less with Comcast (though they have cable too, so it’s not a direct comparison), and they felt like theirs was faster.  I can’t find a ton online, so I’ll be calling around and asking for quotes.  But where should I start?

High Speed Internet

“High Speed”…I don’t think so.


What do you pay for your internet?  What company are you with?  Do you know if it is in Texas or not?  I really appreciate your feedback!  :-D

Have You Seen Revolution? What Would You Do Without Power?

I’ve been watching the tv show, Revolution, and I just keep thinking about how insane my life would become without electricity.  I won’t ruin the show or do any plot spoilers, but it starts out showing a quick glimpse of the world without the use of any electricity or electricity-related items all caused by a mysterious something that happened 15 years ago…


The Obvious

Okay, so no electricity equals the end to our life as we currently know it.  In the show, people turn cruel and only the strong or smart or cunning seem to survive.  I hope we wouldn’t turn on each other quite as quickly, but rioting and general people-ness probably doesn’t lead to anything good.

I think my husband and I would spend the first weeks seeing if we could gather friends, family, and supplies for a hike to the country.  We live in hurricane territory, so water, canned goods, and non-perishables are on hand for most of us anyway.  We live in Texas and my family lives in the country, so we have guns and ammo enough to last a while too.  The trick would be to make it to the library for survival books and to find a defensible, rural location off any beaten path.

Would I Survive?

We’d have a solid shot at survival.  We’d hit the roads earlier than most – 2-3 weeks after everything stops working.  I can admit defeat and give up the vast majority of my possessions pretty easily if my people are with me.

There are several rural, defensible, and fertile areas about 45 miles from my house with the side benefit of being near my grandparents (who couldn’t really walk far).  That would take us 1-2 days of solid hiking depending on the overall health of who we can round up.  We’d spend the hottest daylight hours studying the books about survival, wild life, hunting, farming, etc.

Once we reach my grandparents, we could start farming, laying traps for animals, and making weapons that can’t run out of ammo.  We would simultaneously build up a warning system around our territory and build highly secure panic rooms that we could live out of and retreat to when strangers come a-calling.

Since electricity isn’t an option, all of this will take a while to get rolling along.  In the early days, we would need to patrol and have shifts.  All of these apocalypse shows have taught me that groups survive longer that stay alert and have their guards watch from secreted positions instead of walking around in the open.  Guerilla defense, lol.

Once we are in a surviving routine, we could preserve our food and save up the extra for trade or bribes.  Honestly, surviving may just happen.  BUT, I am not 100% sure that I would be able to enjoy a life of plain survival.  I’d probably have to start a new hobby or figure out some way to feel useful to the world again.  Surviving by itself is not my idea of a long term goal.

What would you do without electricity?  No motors, no internet, no anything comfortable?  :-)


Vacation Planning Gets Trickier with More Businesses…

It’s that time of year again.  Time for the Board Game Geek (BGG) Convention in Dallas!  Last year, I actually tackled someone.  I wonder how much more awesome this year will be?!

Oh, and the coolest part is that for the last two years, I was just a normal attendee.  This year, I’m a Team Geek volunteer and hope to get to know everybody by the end of our 5-6 days there!  It’ll mean more work since I will be helping where needed a lot of the time, but it also means getting to know the organizers and even other attendees better.  That’s my favorite part of any event.


Juggling Work Requirements

As excited as I am to be throwing down with my fellow geeks, I have two full-time businesses to handle too.  For my online world, we’re getting free WiFi at the BGG hotel.  I plan to steal about 3 hours from each day to squirrel myself away to answer my emails and keep the blog ad campaigns chugging along.  I may miss a few days of posting, but I’ll try my best to stay on top of that as well.

For my pet sitting business, Crystal’s Cozy Care, I am in the midst of list-making for my two helpers.  Mandy will be handling morning and evening jobs at two homes from Wednesday through Sunday, and J will be staying overnight at the home I am currently living in with two Australian shepherds and a kitty.

I am making checklists to help each of them stay on track without having to waste time wondering if they missed anything.  They’ll also keep me apprised with daily pictures and updates.  My goal is for all of the animals to be properly spoiled and every human client to be happy with our services despite me not being there.  It’s actually a very attainable goal.  They already knew about the plan and everyone is on board.

Needing a Vacation from the Vacation and NOT Getting It

My only real worry right now is that I will be at a gaming convention, living in a hotel, for nearly a week.  When we get back, I am going to be exhausted, but still not done.  I will continue living at the Australian Shepherds’ home until early December 1.  So, I will be commuting from their house to my own and family homes throughout the Thanksgiving holidays.

All of that said, have some patience with me for the holidays if you notice a few missed posts or something.  Sometimes I operate better than ever when stressed.  Other days, I have problems tying my freaking shoes, LOL.

No matter what, let’s all look forward to a kick-butt end to 2014!  I plan for these holidays to ROCK!!!

Birthday Party Potluck Slumber Party – Budget Friendly and Delicious!

My birthday is towards the end of the year.  Last year, my husband secretly organized an actual surprise birthday party for me and some of my friends at my favorite Greek place.  I was blown away and it was great!  I was literally speechless for several minutes, which never happens.  This year, we were going to be a little more low key but also awesome.  :-)


Birthday Party Potluck Slumber Party

It’s just not right to have two surprise parties in a row, right?  ;-)  That said, my friends have started planning a birthday potluck for me.  It will be themed “Crystal’s Favorite Foods” but I am thinking that everyone can just bring their general favorites.  There will also be drinking.  We’re developing my signature drink, “The Crystal”, which will probably be a rum and fruit juice blend of some sort.  Then anyone who doesn’t work the next day gets to stay for the bad movie night slumber party!  It’ll most likely be shark, alligator, and snake movies that we can talk over and mock incessantly.  Overall, it’ll be an evening of hanging out and just having fun.  It sounds awesome!!!  I’m pre-excited and it’s over a month away, LOL.

The best part is that none of my friends will need to go to broke for all of us to have a great time.  Everyone is bringing a dish or drink.  It’ll be at my house.  We aren’t burning money in my non-existent fireplace.  It’ll be fantastic and no one will be out more than $10-$15.  :-D

Cheap and Fun Party Tips

  • Invent Your Own Drink!  Juice, soda, alcohol, etc.  Pick your favorite and create a “Your Name Here” Cocktail!  Way cheaper than going out.
  • Decorate with things you already have.  Beach towels and blow-up floats can lead to a beach-themed party.  Movie posters and popcorn is a Hollywood party.  80’s music and crazy clothes would be awesome too!  Honestly, anything can be turned into a theme.
  • Potlucks.  What’s yummier than everyone bringing tasty food?!
  • Movie night!
  • Slumber party!
  • Board game night
  • Multi-player video games
  • Play games like hide-n-go-seek and freeze tag!  Be kids again!
  • Pool party if your birthday isn’t in the winter and someone in your group has a pool…
  • Grilling on the BBQ!  Just turn it on and have your guests bring whatever they’d like grilled up.
  • Picnic party at the local park
  • Camping party if you and your friends are into nature

In short, think of times that you are the happiest, combine some of them, and have a great birthday!!!

What’s on your cheap party tip list?

Hair Dying Experiment Update – Meet Magenta!

It’s been about 6 weeks, and my hair just changed again.  :-)  Someone asked me this past weekend why I’m not happy with what God gave me.  I asked if they only eat one thing all of the time.  They laughed and said no.  I just looked at them with a “duh” face until they laughed again and said “I get the point”.  I then just explained that I love my real hair (strawberry blonde) and just wanted to love other colors too!  That said, I’ve continued my hair coloring saga…

Colors So Far

Crystal Loved Her Purple Hair

Manic Panic Ultra Violet – Dyed August 17, 2014 and lasted about 5 days at this color.  Faded quickly and was gone completely in 2 weeks.

Crystal with N'rage Cobalt Blue Hair

N’Rage Cobalt Blue – Dyed September 1, 2014 and stayed vibrant until September 10, 2014.

Crystal Stemberger at Fincon14

Ion Brights Sky Blue – Dyed September 12, 2014 and stayed bright until the beginning of October.  Then it started fading to a blue-green color.  That hadn’t completely faded when we moved on…

Ion Brights Magenta

I will say that the Ion Brights Sky Blue lasted the longest so far!  Heck, it wasn’t even all the way gone when we decided to move on to Ion Brights Magenta.  We even tried a homemade hair color stripper made from baking soda, dandruff shampoo, dishwashing soap, and a splash of orange juice…my hair looked like Ursula from The Little Mermaid while we waited out that hour before washing it out.  Hahaha!

Homemade Hair Stripper

Looks awesome, right? ;-)

It worked pretty well, but my hair still held onto a little of the blue.  My friends, Mandy and Dee, and I decided to move onto Ion Brights Magenta anyway.  :-D

Ion Brights Magenta

Ion Brights Magenta – Dyed October 23, 2014

I’m enjoying this one a lot.  It should last through Thanksgiving.  :-)  Honestly, I sometimes forget that my hair has been brightly colored since mid-August, and now I bet I start forgetting what color I am on any given day, LOL.  That said, I am still having quite a bit of fun!  And we still have Fuchsia and Aquamarine to try out.  ;-)

What do you think?

Another Successful Halloween Party and Potluck!!!

We hosted our annual Halloween bash again this past Saturday and it was FANTASTIC!!!  I didn’t have pet sitting and all of the house stuff is pretty much wrapped up, so I was finally able to let totally loose for the first time in weeks!


The theme was “comic books”, but we are really open to every costume imaginable.  I dressed up as Cat Woman for half the night and then switched to the Black Widow since the cowl was getting restrictive.  Mr. BFS wore a Batman t-shirt, LOL.

Some of the Girls at Haloween 2014

Left to Right: Me as Black Widow (and yes, my hair is Magenta now), Anne as a flapper girl, Isabelle as Snow White, Ivy as a SHIELD agent, and Mandy as Marilyn Monroe.

Mandy was a classy Marilyn Monroe.  Her boy, H, was Hugh Heffner.  Dee was Max from Where the Wild Things Are and her guy was a giant teddy bear.  We also had Will as the Tenth Doctor, Ivy as a Shield Agent, and Isabelle as Snow White.  Other characters included a sexy Minion, a flapper girl, Scott Pilgrim, a renaissance gypsy, her guard, and a bunch of other guys who went with the t-shirt idea for Spiderman and Super Man.


I made red beans and rice for the crew, some witches fingers, and bought some more awesome cupcakes from my mother-in-law’s site, Veranda Delights.

Mr. Bones the Cupcake Man

Mr. Bones the Cupcake Man

Jack-o-Lantern Cupcakes

My mother-in-law made the top left one look like my husband (glasses, goatee, and all), LOL!

All sorts of other yummies were brought and made too:

  • Deviled eggs
  • Pigs in a blanket
  • Dirty rice
  • Alcohol/Jello Shots
  • Stuffed dates
  • Candied apples
  • Cream cheese cake
  • Candy
  • Grapes
  • Chips and dip
  • Tons of other stuff that drunk Crystal ate but now can’t remember…


I spent most of the night talking, drinking, playing cards a little, and even dancing a little.  About 17 jello shots, 3 cake vodka shots, and some “Level-Up” punch later, I was sleeping pretty soundly on the couch.  Thankfully, I do always remember to drink a ton of water, so I woke up refreshed and happy for the full night’s sleep, HAHAHA.

The rest of the group also spent a lot of time just hanging out, playing board games like Sentinels of the Multi-Verse, and eating.  Our group knows how to have fun.  :-)  It ended up being a smaller group than last year, but there were still 21 of us.  :-D  I’d call it a great success!

Do you host Halloween parties?  What are your spooky traditions?