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Travel

Cheap Ways to Have Fun in Upper Manhattan (Harlem area)

Posted by Frederick Parker on

It is not impossible to relax and have fun on a tight budget. Yes, having money can certainly make things easier, but there are little tricks out there if you keep an open mind and learn to think outside of the box.

First and foremost, learn to have a sense of humor about your financial situation. Unless you’ve murdered someone (which, if you have, shame on you, but see my article “Top Ten Reasons to Have Trunk Space”), remember that with time and patience, most things, including money troubles are reversible. Remember that you are not the only person struggling given the current state of the economy, and that there are always ways to still relax and have fun if you do your research. Even in NYC, one of the most insanely expensive cities on the planet.

If You’re a Foodie…

At the risk of stating the obvious, eat in. There are certainly plenty of specials out there, but nine times out of ten you would be amazed at how much you’d save if you simply ate at home more often. If you really love to go out, sign up on your favorite restaurant’s website so you can keep yourself up-to-date with any upcoming specials. Designate one night a week or every two weeks, depending on what you can afford, and make going out a special occasion where you get all dressed up and spend time with someone other than your dog. If you’re new to the area and don’t know of any places, but love eating out, check out “Frizzante,” on 117th and Frederick Douglass Blvd. It’s an adorable, atmospheric Italian bistro that offers a very reasonably priced menu.

Most entrees are $10 or under. Not one for Italian? Located at #964 Amsterdam Ave., Sushi Suma is probably the cheapest (without sacrificing on quality) Japanese restaurant in the area. They have free delivery if you order out and have some terrific sushi and sashimi deals. (On a side note, a brand new three level supermarket just opened up on 118th and Broadway called Best Ever Market. The selection is incredible. It has everything from fresh lobster to balogna and the prices are the cheapest I’ve seen anywhere in Harlem.)

If You’re a Spa Fanatic…

When I initially moved here, I was amazed at how many places offered mani/pedi specials for as low as $19.99. Is it more fun to visit the fancy ones that smell like candy and fan you down with a giant peacock feather while you get your nails painted next to Jennifer Aniston? Mmmmmaybe. However, there are tons of little gems on Broadway (between 110th and 90th), for example, that are much more cost effective and get the job done. No, they do not feed you grapes while charging your i-pod, but you are much less likely to leave feeling guilty about how much money you spent, and take it from someone who’s experienced both ends of the luxury spectrum, your toes will look the same walking out either door.

If You’re a Movie Goer…

There is a theater on the corner of 74th and Broadway that has a great morning special. If you don’t mind seeing movies that early, all shows are half price before noon. Also, I would highly recommend NetFlix. My fiancée and I have been using this service for the past four months and only pay about $9 a month. They also offer full seasons of television shows, in case you are considering cutting back on your cable bill by foregoing HBO. You can keep the movies for as long as you want and there are never any late fees.

If You Don’t Like Anything I’ve Listed So Far…

There are tons of museums to see in NYC. Most of them offer children’s, student, military, and senior citizen discounts. Before visiting a museum, be sure to visit its website to see if they are offering any discounts or coupons. The majority of places do. Remember, EVERYONE is being affected by this economy and as many people have cut back on outings in order to save, places will do what they can to get your business. (Fun fact: Once a month, the Natural Museum of History will turn itself into a night club. See its website for details.) Also, provides some terrific tips on cheap things to do in NYC from people who’ve lived in the city all their lives.

Hopefully, this has provided some insight and helpful tips on having fun in upper Manhattan. If not, let me know and I will be happy to return to the drawing board and do some more research. I have only been living here for about five or six months, so this is based solely on what I’ve learned living here thus far. Thanks for tuning in, and remember not to let your light pockets weigh you down.

 

Travel

Mini Carnations Fun to Grow and Have Indoors

Posted by Frederick Parker on

The mini carnation is like the regular sized carnation but it is smaller. Mini carnations have the same great color and fragrance as the regular sized carnation only in a smaller package. The mini carnation is easier to grow then a regular sized carnation and can be easily grown in a flower garden.

The mini carnation likes to grow in full shade. You can grow the mini carnation on a patio in a flower garden or on a window box. Where every you grow mini carnations it should be irrigated. Keep the mini carnations in moist soil that is well drained.

The mini carnation will produce beautiful fragrant blooms and as it does you should pinch off the old blooms to allow the new blooms room and energy to grow. Do not let the mini carnation freeze or it will die.

Rock gardens are a good place to grow mini carnations. The mini carnation grows well in a rock garden since it is a native of alpine habitats.

You can keep a bouquet of mini carnations in the house in a vase of water. When you pick out mini carnations for a house arrangement take mini carnations with buds that are just opening up. Don't take a stem of mini carnations with more then two flowers on it or an indoor bouquet. And don't take any mini carnations that are turning brown around the edges.

Mini carnations are a great flower to grow in your garden. You can grow mini carnations in a flower garden a flower pot or a window box. You can even grow mini carnations in a rock garden. A beautiful rock garden that has mini carnations growing in it is a very pleasing garden to have.

A flower arrangement that has mini carnations in it or only has mini carnation in it is a beautiful flower arrangement to have in your home. The mini carnation has a light fragrance that can fill a home with its fresh clean fragrance. Mini carnations have a sweet smell that is relaxing and very pleasing. You can make an entire garden with all mini carnations in it or you can have mini carnations growing among other flowers. Mini carnations will enhance any flower garden.

Grow mini carnations in your garden for a lively addition that adds great fragrance to the area it is in. You can find mini carnations at a plant nursery where you live.

 

Travel

Spring Fun: Kid-Friendly Events in Tampa, Florida

Posted by Frederick Parker on

With spring time quickly approaching many families with kids are looking for fun activities to do in Tampa, Florida. Florida has many great kid-friendly events going on right now with more on the way! Here is a look at some fun, kid friendly events happening in and around Tampa, Florida.

The Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City Florida is perfect for kids and families to get out and have some family fun! The Florida Strawberry Festival will be going on from March 3rd through March 13th and will feature activities including games, midway rides, exciting entertainment and delicious food. The midway will have all different kinds of rides including rides that are age appropriate for younger children and fast, exciting rides for older kids and teens looking for a thrill! Tickets can be purchased for rides or arm bands that will allow unlimited ride access can be purchased for a set price varying between $19-$25. Ticket prices to get in are $5 for kids ages 6-12, with adult prices being $10. Children 5 and under are admitted free and advanced ticket prices are available.

Take a step back in time by visiting the Tampa Bay Renaissance Festival. Open on weekends from February 26th through April 17th families can experience a different theme each weekend. Dressing up is encouraged and just adds to the fun atmosphere. There are neat events such as lively music, stage events, human chess game and live armored jousting! For families with pets there is a special pet weekend where you are welcome to bring your pet, in costume of course! Gate admission is $17.95 for adults, and $9.95 for children. Advance tickets can be purchased at a discounted rate at MOSI, Walgreens and Circle K convenience stores. There is free parking available.

The Harlem Globetrotters are going to be at the St. Pete Times forum on March 12th. Families will enjoy seeing all the amazing tricks these talented athletes can perform. They are even going to attempt their first ever 4 point shot! There are two showings at 2 and 7 p.m. The Harlem Globetrotters have always put on an amazing show and it is a lot of fun for kids of all ages. Ticket prices vary and can be purchased Ticketmaster.

Sources Cited: My own research.

 

Travel

Five Fantastic Fun Free Things to Do in Columbus Ohio

Posted by Frederick Parker on

With the economy in shambles right now, people are looking for inexpensive ways to entertain themselves. Columbus offers a lot for those on a budget. There are plenty of parks & playgrounds. Sometimes you want something different. Here are five activities that are free (though some do charge for parking).

  1. Columbus Jazz & Rib Fest – July 24th thru July 29th, 2020. Come enjoy great music and good eats at this free festival in downtown Columbus. The event celebrates it’s 30th year with a move to the Arena District. Stages in McFerson Commons and North Bank Park will keep the music flowing. BBQ Rib aficionados will enjoy the variety of tastes with 10 states and Canada represented amongst the rib vendors.
  2. Gallery Hop – First Saturday of every month, Short North. The event takes place from 4pm to 10pm. Storefronts along High Street from Fifth Avenue to Goodale Street feature works of art from all sorts of mediums and artists. Many stores will be open later and morph into galleries displaying art from local, national, and international artists. Performance artists (think singers and actors) also have space and will be performing. This year is the 25th anniversary of the Art celebration in the Short North.
  3. Red White & Boom – July 3rd. The Midwest’s premier fireworks spectacular takes place every year in Columbus, Ohio. RWB takes place every year around July 3rd in downtown Columbus. Fireworks are set to a soundtrack and launched right over the Scioto River. There is a charge for parking in downtown which varies by proximity to the festivities. Bus service is also available at a reasonable rate. The fireworks take place at dark, but there are plenty of activities during the day with live entertainment and even a Midway!
  4. Festival Latino – August 15th & 16th, 2020. Celebrate the Latino culture with music, food and dance! Latino bands from Ohio and across the country will perform. There is plenty of food and entertainment for the whole family to enjoy. The festival takes place downtown by the river.
  5. Circleville Pumpkin Show – October 20th thru 24th 2020. This is actually in Circleville which is about 45 minutes south of Columbus. Circleville’s pumpkin show is one of the largest in the nation. There are numerous parades, rides and of course-fair food! You can find about anything pumpkin-flavored and some of your fair favorites like a deep fried candy bar.

For more ideas on things to do in Columbus & Central Ohio, the Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau is a great place to start. You can visit their website at . They even have a few storefronts in some of the local malls!

Some details on events were gathered from the following sites:

Columbus Convention & Visitors Bureau:
Short North Association:
Red White & Boom:

 

Travel

Crazy Horse Restaurant in Hagerstown, MD – Great Fun, Decent Food

Posted by Frederick Parker on

The Crazy Horse Steakhouse and Saloon in Hagerstown, MD is located at 104 Railway Lane, and is right across the way from the Valley Mall. I would give this restaurant 3.5 stars for the food and 4 stars for the atmosphere and entertainment. I would overall recommend trying this restaurant at least once to take yourself back to the ol' west and enjoy a relaxed country western setting where no ties are allowed!

Food and Pricing

The main draw to this restaurant is the selection of steaks and wild game. Two favorites of mine are the filet mignon and prime rib. The prime rib has a good flavoring and is a medium quality piece of meat. However, I find that the other steaks go best with some type of sauce, like A-1. The filet is available as an 8 oz cut for $16.99 or 6 oz cut for $15.99. The prime rib goes for $16.79 for 11 oz, and $14.79 for 8 oz. Other types of steak are available and range in price from $14 to $20. Wild game is also served. Each night, one selection is featured, such as quail, elk, or caribou. This dinner ranges from $19 to $22.

Other menu selections are available such as pasta primavera, fresh fish of the day, and barbecue ribs. The overall price range for meals is $12 to $22. A salad and side order comes with each dinner. Appetizers run from $6 to $9, and include a Texas Onion, buffalo wings that are available with a jack daniels sauce, buffalo sauce, or barbecue sauce, and fried gator tail. The desserts are limited and range from $2 for a chocolate sundae to $5 for a fudge brownie with ice cream.

I would recommend trying the fried gator tail- you won't find this served too many places in Hagerstown! For dinner, I would try the prime rib or the barbecue ribs- which have a great flavor. For dessert, have the fudge brownie!

Setting and Hours, Events…

The setting for the Crazy Horse Steak House in great. When you walk in, there are swinging doors like you are in an old country western bar or saloon. You have to dress casual to fit in- like with jeans. Anyone caught with a tie is warned at the front door to take it off, or else the waitstaff will cut it off and hang it on the wall! For birthdays, they take your picture with a Mexican or Western hat with a polaroid and give you a copy. I don't necessarily enjoy country western bars in general, but I like eating somewhere that provides a unique atmosphere such as this. It's something different, not just like every other restaurant. The whole place is decorated and designed to give you the country western feel, and it seems very authentic.

The Crazy Horse is open on weekdays from 4 to 10 pm, and they stay open until 11 pm on Friday night. Saturday hours are noon to 11 pm, and Sunday hours are noon to 10 pm. The bar has televisions where you can watch sporting events while having a drink with friends. On Saturday nights, karaoke is hosted from 9 pm to 1 am. There is usually a large crowd, so don't plan on getting to sing more than two songs even if you come early and stay light. Karaoke seems to draw large crowds in Hagerstown, MD. On Sunday nights, the band Ted and Tom plays, featuring mostly laid back classic rock music. The setting of the bar is still country western, but instead of booths, there are high-top tables where you sit in high chairs. If you are dining, I would recommend sitting in a booth in the restaurant part for added comfort. The high tables can become uncomfortable after awhile, especially if you are too short for your legs to reach the floor while sitting!

Service

The service is generally decent in the Crazy Horse. Everyone usually seems pretty friendly. The wait staff in the restaurant are usually very helpful at giving recommendations on what to order and discussing the specials. In the bar sometimes the service can suffer, because often there is just one or two bartenders and one or two waitresses. This usually only happens on a weekend, and only if you are ordering food. Eat in the restaurant if you wish to dine on the weekend.
The nice thing about this place is that some of the bartenders have been there awhile and the crowds on Saturday for karaoke are familiar, so the feel becomes very close knit once you become a regular.

Overall

Try this restaurant at least once, even if you just come on a Saturday night to sing karaoke. If you choose to dine, there are many options available to please the palette. The country western ambience itself justifies paying a visit, and it is a great place to bring a guy for his birthday dinner! (Or a tomboy female!) There is always something interesting going on, whether it be a friendly smile or a busy bar setting with a band or karaoke dj.