My Dog is Better than Yours

Today is National Dog Day. And although my 12 year-old yellow lab lacks the ability to read, what he does have is a keen sense of sarcasm. So what better way to honor him than by writing a post detailing all of the reasons why he is, in fact, the greatest dog to have ever lived?

10 Reasons Why Bode is Cooler than Your Dog:

1. He’s photogenic. Just look at his face. LOOK AT IT. If you could snuggle this photo, you would. Don’t lie.

Hello, friend.

Hello, friend.

2.He’s a creep. And he embraces it. Bode is always lurking somewhere, just casually staring you. Like you’ll let him outside, won’t see him for a while, and then you’ll just look out the window to see him staring at you like this . . .

Here he is just hanging out in the woods. With devil eyes. Casual.

With devil eyes. Casual.

3. He loves my mom. Bode has an undying loyalty to this woman. His only goal in life is to be as close as possible to her at all times. He will do whatever it takes to succeed.

She went in this room and closed the door. This is how he waited until she came out.

She went in this room and closed the door. This is how he waited until she came out.

4. He enjoys a good cuddle! Bode will snuggle with you any time, any where. Probably even if you didn’t want to snuggle. Most likely even more so if you’re afraid of dogs and you tried to resist him. And 100% if you sit on the floor, you will cuddle with him. You have no choice. Why would you sit down there if you didn’t want him in your lap?

"Love me." - Bode

“Love me.” – Bode

5. He appreciates a good fort. Bode’s hobbies include eating, sighing loudly for no reason, and squishing himself under furniture. I’m not really sure how he fits under my parent’s coffee table. He just does. And it’s adorable. But the real hilarity ensues when he tries to get out. How he moves is best described by the word “scuttling.” He looks like a crab.

Under the table, where the spooks can't get him.

Under the table, where the spooks can’t get him.

6. He looks good human clothes. Slippers? Don’t mind if I do! Hats? Certainly, good sir. Bode looks dapper no matter what accessories you force him to wear. But I think it’s the slight look of, “Must you really, with the clothes and the photos? Psh, humans,” in his eye that really pulls his looks together.

Bode Hat

He looks like a train conductor.

Shoes.

Shoes.

7. He’s sassy. As a puppy, Bode once ran up behind my mom and jumped a solid 3 feet into the air, just so he could nip her on the bum. Then there was the time that my sister tried to give him a treat and he rejected it. He took the treat in his mouth, gave her the hairy eye-ball, then actually tossed his head and released the treat back at her. He’s always judging and always dolling out the sass.

Throwin' shade.

Throwin’ shade.

8. He’s surprisingly good at catching things. One time, one of our neighbors free range chickens roamed a little too far down their driveway, and Bode caught him. He picked the chicken right up in his mouth, but gently so he teeth didn’t dig into him. And then he came running towards us all proud, showing off. My mom saved the chicken and brought him back to his home, but he might have died from a heart attack shortly afterward.

One time I threw a ball for Bode and he came back with this pear.

One time I threw a ball for Bode and he came back with this pear.

9. He’s majestic. Most of the time he’s a total goofball, but every now and then he will catch you off guard and look like one of those dogs in the lab calendars we’re always buying my mom for Christmas (she likes those, right?).

Gazing off into the distance.

Gazing off into the distance.

10. He’s just an all around good boy. And that’s all there is to it. As much as I may complain that he smells or licks my face while I’m sleeping or gets little white hairs all over my clothes, he is the best dog in the world. And I love him.

Love Bug xoxo

Love Bug xoxo

In conclusion, your dog is probably pretty great, but my dog is better. Happy National Dog Day, to all my four-legged friends out there.

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5 Things You Don’t Need to Buy for Back-to-College

They say the hardest part of college is getting in. But I think it might actually be the packing. Right now, around 20 million college students are preparing to head back to campus and there’s no shortage of retailers out there telling those students just how badly they need this or that to make their dorm room complete. Some things, like flip-flops for the shower or duct tape, are actually integral to surviving life in the dorms. Others are just a drain on precious funds that could be used for books or late-night pizza deliveries (to help power your studying of course). Here’s 5 purchases you can skip to save some money in your back-to-campus budget.

  1. Memory Foam Mattress Topper – I feel like almost everyone I knew in college had one of these on top of their dorm-room bed, as if the 2 inches of foam makes a crappy twin mattress magically softer and more luxurious. I’ll let you in on a secret: I’ve slept in dorm beds with the memory foam and dorm beds without it and you can’t tell the difference. Save yourself the $30-$100 by skipping the memory foam and investing in good pillows and a cozy comforter instead.

    This one from Target also claims to have a "fresh scent." Does that creep anyone else out?

    This one from Target claims to have a “fresh scent.” Because that’s not creepy at all, Target.

  2. Iron and Mini Ironing Board – I never ironed anything in college. Not once. Because sweatshirts do not need to be ironed. Unless you’re a business major who has to dress up for class or maybe a hipster who has decided to bring Perler Beads back into fashion, you won’t use an iron again until you have a real job.

    I used to love Perler Beads! Maybe I'll bring them back . . .

    I used to love Perler Beads! Maybe I’ll bring them back . . .

  3. Shoe Organizer, Pencil Organizer, Organizer Organizer – The retail industry truly believes that college kids are unorganized. And while they’re probably not wrong, in my experience none of the myriad of different plastic contraptions they have come up with to help students be more organized actually work. Instead of buying expensive organizers, invest in those big plastic storage bins, especially the rolly ones that can slide under a bed. You can stuff them with whatever fits when you need to pretend your room is clean for parent’s weekend.
    This you will fill with all your stuff you don't have a space for in your room. It's worth the $8 you spend on it.

    This you will fill with all your stuff you don’t have a space for in your room. It’s worth the $8 you spend on it.

    This you either will never use or will cram with so much stuff that it will be impossible to find anything and will be too heavy to hang.

    This you either will never use or will cram with so much stuff that it will be impossible to find anything and will be too heavy to hang.

  4. Mini Fridge – What? No mini-fridge?! Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting that you skip out on this dorm-room staple. Just that there are cheaper options to buying one new, which can cost as much as $300. Many schools now participate in mini fridge rental programs, where students can rent a fridge for the school year at a fraction of the cost of purchasing one. Check online to see if your school participates in a rental program. Additionally, plenty of people have a mini fridge in their garage or basement from their college days that they no longer need. Before you buy, ask relatives or friends if you can borrow theirs or hunt around yard sales to see if you can buy a used fridge for less.
  5. Television – Not gonna lie, I was definitely a kid who thought a TV in my dorm room was a must. What else am I supposed to do in my spare time? Read? It’s not like I was an English major or anything . . . oh wait. But as a reminder, I headed off to college way back in 2007 when streaming TV online was very new, very blurry, and mostly illegal. Now-a-days every student has a laptop, which means every student has access to unlimited television 24/7 (and no commercials). So skip the TV and invest in a Netflix or Hulu Plus subscription. Your wallet will thank you.

Best Weekend Ever

I did 2 AMAZING things this weekend.

Amazing Thing #1 – I baked banana bread without eggs. And it was still delicious. Here’s how it went down:

chocolate-chip-banana-bread

My roommates and I have approximately 10-15 old bananas frozen in our freezer. I have trained them both to throw bananas that are over-ripe into the freezer because they make the best banana bread. But we reached a critical point where there were so many bananas that at least one fell out every time you opened the freezer door. So when the mood to bake finally struck me this weekend, I stopped off  for some chocolate chips, thinking that I had all of the other ingredients to make banana bread at home.

Wrong. We had no eggs. For once we actually tried to be normal human beings and cleaned out our fridge. Which meant that someone tossed my 1/2 dozen eggs that had been in there since Christmas. I’m not sure how long it takes for eggs to go bad, but I think mine had reached the limit and then some. The only thing is, I am a naturally lazy person. And this whole no egg situation meant that I either had to leave my house to get eggs or make the sad decision not to bake banana bread that night.

Wrong again! Using the magical power of the internet, I googled “egg-free banana bread” and found this delicious recipe. I was worried at first that it would taste weird because I am generally skeptical of anything that claims to be “vegan” or “healthy,” but the bread proved to as yummy as ever. Here’s the recipe if you want to give it a try:

Egg-less Banana Bread w/ Chocolate Chips

**Note: if you add in ample chocolate chips (which is the only way to make banana bread), this recipe is no longer vegan.

1/4 cup canola oil

1 snack-sized container of applesauce (about 1/3 cup if you’re an adult who doesn’t eat applesauce out of to-go containers)

3/4 cup white sugar

1 & 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

3 very ripe mashed bananas

1 cup chocolate chips (again, optional, but c’mon . . . you know you want them)

_________________

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8×4 inch pan.

2. If your bananas are frozen, place in microwave for 1-2 minutes on defrost. It’s okay if they get mushy, this helps you mash them. 

3. In a large bowl, mix the canola oil, applesauce, and sugar. Then sift in the flour, baking soda, and salt. Finally, blend in the mashed bananas and chocolate chips. Stir well. 

4. Pour mixture into pan. Bake for 60 minutes or until not batter sticks to a toothpick.

5. EAT YUM YUM!

And now that I’ve shared this easy banana bread recipe, onto the more important event from this weekend . . .

Amazing Thing #2 – I went to a One Direction and 5 Seconds of Summer Concert. Judge me if you want! I don’t care. It was glorious. And I loved every minute of it. “And we danced all night to the best song ever . . .”

1D collage

Debit or Credit?

“Debit or credit?” is kind of a trick question. It seems like it should only have two answers (I mean there’s two options in the question, right?). But really, you have three options when it comes to paying with a card at the register. If I just confused you, don’t worry, I can explain.

To start with, remember the basic differences between your debit card and credit card. Debit cards are linked directly to your checking account. They take the place of cash or a check and the money comes directly out of your checking account. Credit cards are a line-of-credit from your credit card company. They are basically lending you money to make purchases up to a certain credit limit, then you pay them back later with interest.

But “debit or credit?” isn’t just a question about which physical card you want to pay with, it’s asking you how you want your transaction to be processed. That’s where the three choices come in. They are:

DEBIT AS DEBIT

In this option you:

  • Swipe you debit card and enter your PIN number.
  • The transaction posts immediately from your checking account (meaning the money is withdrawn from your account in real time).

CREDIT AS CREDIT

In this option you:

  • Swipe your credit card and sign for the transaction.
  • Your credit card company pays for the transaction, you have not yet paid for this item.
  • Your credit card company charges you interest on the balance of your card. You must pay back your balance in monthly installments.

DEBIT AS CREDIT

In this option you:

  • Swipe you debit card and sign for the transaction.
  • The transaction typically takes 1 – 2 days to post in you checking account. The length of time it takes to post is dependent on the merchant, not on your bank or credit union.

This third option is the one people most commonly forget about. Just because you used your debit card does NOT mean that your transaction was processed as debit. The key thing to remember is, unless you entered a PIN, the transaction was done as credit.

So let’s say you went through the Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru to get your morning coffee. They grabbed your debit card, swiped it, and passed it was to you. That was a credit transaction because you didn’t enter a PIN. You might not see that $2 being withdrawn from your account for a day or two, so don’t forget about that transaction when you check your available balance. What your mobile banking shows for your balance might not include transactions run as credit!

Next trick question – “Is one way of using a card better than the others?” The simple answer is – not really. There are benefits and drawbacks to all three options, so the best answer is to do whatever is most convenient for you. As a credit union member and employee however, I will point out that your credit union benefits more from debit as credit transactions than the other two options, so if you want to help out your financial institution I encourage you to swipe and sign with your debit card!

I hope this post helps you feel more confident about your answer the next time you’re at the register. 🙂