A Peek Inside Humpus Bumpus

The following post is written by Christina LaPlaca, a high school student and part of the Honors Mentorship Program at Forsyth Central.

While it may seem a bit small on the outside, Humpus Bumpus is a truly enormous bookstore with a beautifully creative layout. It’s deals and expansive amount of literature options only makes it all the more wonderful! Whatever it may lack in space, it more than makes up for through its creatively designed “themed rooms” and extremely low prices. This is a bookstore where imaginations can run wild, all while satisfying the constant thirst for a good read. If you are a book fiend, Humpus Bumpus is the perfect place to relax, browse, and buy.

As if it weren’t enough that the rooms were so unique and aesthetically appealing, each of them represent a different type of writing, targeted for different audiences. The Pink Room, for example, tends to be geared more towards love and romance novels, and there’s a room devoted to children’s books. They even have a room just for rare books; if you want to go in, though, you need to make an appointment. Selling everything from new to used books, this charming little place has everything for everybody! They even have a policy that any used book you bring in and sell them, they’ll give you up to 30% of its cover price through store credit, which can be used for a 50% off deal in their Used Books section. And, just like the library, will order any book they don’t have in stock, free of charge!

The literature options and creative layout of the building aren’t their only strong suits, though. Open in 1987, this bookstore’s mission was to be host to such a comfortable and welcoming environment so as to encourage people to not only find the book they are looking for (along with a few hidden gems along the way), but to also meet new people and feel comfortable while doing so. They make everything as easy as possible for their customers, and do their best to make each and every one of them feel special.

Whether you’re just dropping by or are a long-time veteran of the bookstore, Humpus Bumpus is a wonderfully original and interesting place, whose experience far exceeds that of the usual Barnes and Nobles and even the go-to library. Going here is a surefire way to make your day, and even create some new experiences along the way.

Connect with Humpus Bumpus Online: Website | Facebook


Christina LaPlaca is part of the Honors Mentorship Program at Forsyth Central High School. She recently shared some facts about herself. You can read that article here.

To learn more about Christina and our other contributing writers, click here.

Easy Ways to Dig Out of Debt

Easy Ways to Dig Out of Debt

It is tax season again, and that means millions of Americans are combing through financial documents in order to get the correct information and hopefully get a decent return. It might be more noticeable now than at any time of year that you have some debt to tidy up. You may have student loan debt, a hefty mortgage, or extensive credit card debt to pay off. No matter how much debt you have or where it comes from, you can’t get out if it without a solid plan. These are some easy ways to dig out of debt.

Vow to Stop Borrowing

If you want to get out of debt, the first thing you need to do is stop taking out more money. Decide that you are not going to open any more credit cards, or stop shopping for homes you can’t afford. It is time to narrow your focus and take away all of those tempting distractions. There will be time in the future to spend, but this is a time to tighten your belt on expenses.

List Your Debt

List all of your debts in detail so that you can tackle them one by one. Name the creditor, balance, minimum payment, and interest rate. Include loans and any other expenses you owe. It may help to create an excel spreadsheet that you can easily change over time, or to write it down in strategic categories. It may help to list your debts from largest to smallest or smallest to largest. You can list your debt in a technique called laddering. In laddering, you list your debts according to the highest interest rate and end with the lowest Try tackling your debt list one at a time. Paying off your first debt can feel like a huge accomplishment and give you the encouragement to keep going. List it out in a way that works for you.

Create a Budget

A realistic and reliable budget is important whether or not you have debt. It keeps you on track to achieve your goals and pay off your expenses, as well as save for unexpected costs. A budget is vital because it keeps your debt in check with all of your other monthly expenses, including auto insurance, medical insurance, gas, groceries, etc. By keeping up with and balancing your budget, you can see your hard work in action. You will soon find that some of your expenses can easily get out of hand, such as your daily lunches out of the office. Be conscious of reducing those expenses so you can put more money into getting yourself out of debt. Some people find that a faster way to get out of date is to pick up an extra job. Many may pursue a temporary job that will last them until their debt is paid. A college graduate may work multiple jobs, or have a tutoring job on the side for high school students. Find a route where you can make more income and you will be sure to decrease your debt quicker.

Change Your Habits

It is one thing to create a budget, and it is another to stick to it. It can be a little too easy to pull out that credit card on a night out with friends or go outside your budget for the latest trend. However, during this time you must be diligent; your future financial success depends on what you do now. If you need some help, consider taking out cash every week for other expenses, such as groceries or going out to happy hour after work. Decide that you will only stick to your cash so that you don’t go outside of your budget. Tricks like these can help steer you on the right path.

Have a Timeline

It helps to create a timeline in which you want your debt paid off. If you are trying to pay off owed taxes, then know that IRS tax payment plans help people across the country pay back owed taxes. Perhaps you want to pay off your credit card debt in a year, or you are a recent graduate living at home and paying the majority of your paycheck toward your student loan. Having a timeline will make your dream of paying off debt appear achievable and tangible.

Disclosure: The content written in this article was provided by as a guest post from Adam Pepka.

More about Adam:
Adam is a real estate doyenne and finance guru currently residing in Tucson, Arizona. His real estate investments in several states keep him constantly on the go, and his passion for writing has found him penning pieces with unique insights on everything from landlording issues to investment advice.

Tools for 2017 – Relax!

tools for 2017

Tools for 2017 – Relax!

Each week on Tuesday for the month of January we are sharing Tools for 2017. To check out the other week topics – click here: Week One – Getting Healthy with Fitness or Week Two – Finances.

Life is busy, hectic, and responsibilities are at an all time high. To put it simple life is stressful! I know it and you know it. But what do we do? Well, I think we all just need to relax. We need to carve out time to rejuvenate. Now I know that’s hard because I stay pretty busy myself. But, I have found that you can replace some other things you do with times of rest and rejuvenation.

Here are some examples in no particular order:

  • Instead of watching tv – read a book

If you have a Kindle check this out: Join Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial

  • Instead of going out shopping – get a massage

You can see a round-up of the spas or massage therapy options in Cumming by clicking here.  If you’re looking for a deal – Groupon has plenty of options for places in or near Cumming. Click here to see what deals there are. And Bliss Mama Wellness has a great special for the New Year: 90 minute hot stone massage for $89 (regularly $125) and $69 for a 1 hour aromatherapy massage with a full body steam treatment in the tabletop steam tent.To schedule, go to www.blissmamawellness.com.

  • The weather has been nice outside this past week, so instead of running errands – go for a walk every once in a while

Forsyth County has great walking trails between all our 20+ parks and the Greenway. Enjoy them! Click here for more info on our parks.

  • Instead of getting lost on social media – disconnect more

I just read this blog a few years ago and it really inspired me. We do spend too much time on our phones. It’s a great practice to disconnect nightly. We don’t need to escape on our phones. Click here to read the blog on divorcing your phone.

  • Instead of cooking at home – go out to eat

I have it factored into our schedule that we eat out at least once a week. This takes the pressure off me from cooking every single night! It’s like a night off. And those nights are always less stressful for me. Maybe even pick a night where the Kid’s Eat Free from our directory!

  • Make time to pamper  yourself every now & then!

Bliss Mama Wellness is hosting an event on February 3rd that would be perfect to pamper yourself. For more information and to RSVP, click here.

What else might you add to our list of ways to RELAX?

6 Mistakes Novice Landlords Make

6 Mistakes Novice Landlords Make

Becoming a landlord can be a process of trial and error. You will learn how to communicate with tenants, how to handle situations in which you must exert your authority, and how to maintain your property in an efficient manner. You have the potential to become an excellent landlord, but you will have to learn the ropes and become successful in the long-run. Here are six mistakes novice landlords make and how to avoid them.

  1. The Rent is Too High. When you are just beginning as a landlord, your first property is your baby. You have probably invested a lot of money in a mortgage, home insurance, renovation, and ongoing costs. It is tempting to start the rent rate high, because after all, it’s your baby, and it deserves only the best. To properly gauge what your rent price should be, browse Craigslist or apartments.com to compare your unit to similar units that feature the same amenities. Most landlords will pitch their units at slightly below market prices, because it will ensure that their units get snatched up quicker to avoid accruing costs.
  2. Failing to Properly Screen Potential Tenants. Screening your potential tenants is a critical—if not the most crucial—of the renting process. The quality of the tenant can make or break your experience as a landlord as well as your finances. Do not jump into a lease agreement just yet—do a proper background check to make sure their history will match their future with you. First, it is essential that you obtain a credit report. Checking on evictions beforehand will give you better perspective on their character. The candidate may be able to hand their deposit and first month’s rent over immediately, but take the time to handle it properly to avoid headaches and financial complication in the future.
  3. Not Taking into Account Gaps in Tenancy. Whether you own one unit or twenty, there is a high likelihood that you will have to endure a gap in tenancy at some point. Factors out of your control will dictate whether renters will sign a lease with you. The economy will go through highs and lows, the national number of renters may decrease or increase with time, and the market demand will grow and shrink depending on the availability of units in your area. It will be wise of you to put funds aside in case this does happen to fill the gaps—this may happen for a few weeks to several months. Prepare yourself to save yourself the worry.
  4. Underestimating Costs of Maintenance. Just like any property, yours will need ongoing maintenance. The garbage disposal will malfunction, the plumbing will fail, a bathroom may flood, and the list goes on and on. Hopefully, you will not encounter too many repair and maintenance issues. However, you will probably deal with some of these throughout your career as a landlord. These repairs will become costly, and if you do not take care of them as quickly as possible, you will have some angry tenants. One tip is to put money aside from your monthly rent dues to add to a fund in case of an emergency.
  5. Inadequately Documenting a Lease. Everything you need from the tenant and everything the tenant needs from you must be outlined in the lease. If you have certain rules you want to enforce—such as non-smoking and no pets—you will have to get it down in writing. Otherwise, the tenant will have the right to do either of these things and more. In addition, you will be leave yourself open to lawsuits, such as if you enter your property without following state and city law. Examine your local laws regarding tenants and landlord to be sure you tighten any loose ends.
  6. Not Enforcing Lease Terms and Conditions. As a first-time landlord, it may feel uncomfortable to enforce the rules you have set in place, but you must in order to maintain what you need. If your tenant is paying rent late, demand a late fee. If your tenant brings in a dog without notifying you, you have grounds to evict them. Be firm—remember that they are not your friends, and that you have terms you have to enforce to protect the integrity of the property you worked so hard to make successful. If you’re struggling with laying down the iron fist, hire a property manager to do the “dirty work” for you.


Disclosure: The content in this article has been provided as a guest post by Adam Pepka. 

More about Adam:
“Adam is a real estate doyenne and finance guru currently residing in Tucson, Arizona. His real estate investments in several states keep him constantly on the go, and his passion for writing has found him penning pieces with unique insights on everything from landlording issues to investment advice.”

Tools for 2017: Finances

Tools for 2017: Finances

Each week on Tuesday for the month of January we are sharing Tools for 2017. To check out the other week topics – click here: Week One – Getting Healthy with Fitness or Week Three – RELAX.

Finances, budgeting, plans, savings, and more! When it comes to finances there is always something to be done. Personally, we made some changes to our finances and it has already made a huge difference!

Here are some examples in no particular order:

  • Use a budgeting app, website or system

This is HUGE for me and my family! There are plenty of options for systems to help you with your finances. Mint.com, Quickbooks, and more. My favorite is YNAB (You Need a Budget). You can check it out by clicking here. I highly recommend it!

  • Implement a cash system

We made this change about 5 years ago. It does take some tweaking but using cash to pay for some items definitely makes you save money! Click here to see more details about this cash envelope system.

  • Speak with a financial advisor

Maybe you could save money on your insurance plan or possibly your mortgage/rent. Or what about retirement? Are you currently saving for retirement?

  • Call your utility companies

Probably about 8 months ago, I called each utlity company one by one to see if they had any deals coming up. I was so surprised. Because of my good payment history, I was able to lower almost every one of my bills. My motto is – it never hurts to ask!

  • Go to a financial class at the Library

The Forsyth County library is hosting a class on Wednesday, January 11th. Click here for more details

Any other ideas for helping with finances?

Ideas for Fun on a Snowday Or Inclement Weather Day in Forsyth County

SnowDayIdeas for Fun on a Snowday or Inclement Weather Day in Forsyth County

When Forsyth County announces that schools are closed due to inclement weather, what do you do? Well, it’s home with the kids for an inclement weather day in Forsyth County. So let the fun begin! I thought it would be great to put together a list of some fun things to do with the kids while you are home.

These are in no particular order:

  • Build a Fort: You can use chairs, the couch, blankets, sheets, and more! See how big you can make it. My kids absolutely love this!
  • Have a Movie Day: I like this because we can all sit and relax together.
  • Play out in the snow: Sledding, building a snowman, snowball fight, snow angels, and more!
  • Stay in your PJs all day: This is my personal favorite!
  • Have a picnic for lunch or dinner:  You can make all kinds of finger foods and eat on the floor.
  • Print a free activity for the kids: Here is a great website resource I found – click here
  • Have a baking party: Who doesn’t love to make cookies!?
  • Make Snow Paint: I love this idea because you can use the paint outside in the snow. You can find the recipe by clicking here.
  • Have a coloring contest: You can either use coloring books or blank paper. Let the imaginations go!
  • Make play dough: This recipe can be made to look like snow.  Click here to see the recipe.
  • Make Snow Ice Cream: Here is my favorite recipe, click here.

What is your favorite thing to do at home with the kids on a snow day?

Tools for 2017 – Getting Healthy with Fitness

Tools for 2017 – Getting Healthy with Fitness

Each week on Tuesday for the month of January we are sharing Tools for 2017. To check out the other week topics – click here: Week Two – Finances or Week Three – RELAX.

Do you know what the top New Year’s resolution is? Drumroll please . . . it’s to get healthy! Everyone needs to change their habits and get healthy in some way. This week we are discussing getting healthy with fitness.

Here are some examples in no particular order:

  • Join a Gym

There are plenty of gyms around Forsyth County and Cumming GA. But we will highlight a few:

1. Cumming Strength & Fitness: My good friends run this particular gym. Anyone that has tried it has ended up joining. Check them out by clicking here.

2. YMCA: This gym is a great facility – they also have childcare! Click here for more info.

3. Cumming Dance Academy: Ok, I know it’s not technically a gym. But dancing is a great work out! Click here for class information.

4. Anytime Fitness: There are three locations in Cumming. This is a great gym because it’s open 24 hours a day. Check it out by clicking here.

5. OneLife Fitness: Great classes, gym equipment & childcare at this gym located close to Vickery Village or Windermere. Click here for more information. 

Also, we have a round-up of all the reader recommended gyms in Cumming.

Click here to see that list.

  • Exercise at Home

There are plenty of exercises that can be done at home. Here are a few examples for you:

1- You could take a walk or run around your neighborhood.

2 – Early morning workouts in your home. I like to do squats, jumping jacks, crunches, and push-ups. That really gets my blood pumping! After coffee of course. For more ideas you can check out our Pinterest page by clicking here. I created a whole board on fitness tips and ideas.

3- Make better choices. What I mean by that is . . . instead of riding the elevator take the stairs or park father away from the store so you have to walk more. I wear a fitbit and it helps me to take more steps. I try to do at least 10,000 steps per day!

  • See a Chiropractor

Vickery Chiropractic in Cumming Ga

I go to the chiropractor every 4 weeks to get adjusted. I fully believe that keeping everything in line helps me to be healthier. We would recommend Vickery Chiropractic. Click here for more information.

  • Dance!

This is my favorite way to get fit! Most nights during the week after dinner, we turn up the kid’s dance mix on Pandora, and have a dance party. The kids love it. And we all get a great workout! Plus it’s lots of fun with the family.

Any more ideas for getting healthy with fitness that you could share?

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links – meaning if you purchase the deal from the links provided Cumming Local will receive a small percentage of the sale. Cumming Local is thankful for all our sponsors and affiliates as it allows us to keep this site up to date & active!

Movie Review: Rogue One – A Star Wars Story

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The following post is written by Christina LaPlaca, a high school student and part of the Honors Mentorship Program at Forsyth Central.

The newly franchised addition to the Star Wars productions, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” certainly makes for a wonderfully entertaining excursion for all of the life-long fans out there! With unexpected duels, newly developed characters, impressive action, and, of course, reference to the original movies, this prequel is sure to satisfy the curious hearts of supporters everywhere.

Rogue One is about a common criminal, who also doubles as the daughter of an imperial scientist, striving to find a way to win her freedom by helping the rebel cause collect valuable information. Through this epic two hour movie journey, the protagonist – Jyn Erso, finds herself caught between her devotion to her friends, the love for her father, and the impending urge for freedom tangibly felt across the galaxy. It’s a heartbreakingly tragic story; one quite unlike the rest of the Star Wars franchise. While the rest of the movies involved the inclusion of The Dark Side, there are always silly puns from the sidekick, intense sass from the robots, and general fun from the entirety of the cast. This movie, however, constantly took on a more depressing mood; while it was immensely entertaining, it remained dark throughout its entirety. While I did see a few younger children in the audience, this may be an experience best shared with your older, teenage kids.

Despite the intensity of the storyline, there are many other remarkable aspects of the movie that make it outstanding. The animations and special effects are quite literally out-of-this-world, and every minute will leave you breathless. The variety and multitude of twists and turns will leave you on the edge of your seat and the conclusion will leave you breathless. The conclusion may even make you slightly angry.

While this may be a movie best seen with older kids, it will certainly be one for the books, and is definitely my favorite of all of the Star Wars’ movies.

For tickets to see this movie at AMC Avenue Forsyth 12, click here.


christinalaplacaChristina LaPlaca is part of the Honors Mentorship Program at Forsyth Central High School. She recently shared some facts about herself. You can read that article here.

To learn more about Christina and our other contributing writers, click here.

Gift Ideas for Teenagers

giftideas-teenagers

The following post is written by Christina LaPlaca, a high school student and part of the Honors Mentorship Program at Forsyth Central.

Well, it’s that time of year again! Along with the many parties we schedule and the trees that need decorations, Christmas can easily take a turn for the worse, and morph into a season of overwhelming anxiety, rather than one of love and cheer. We can be too busy trying to keep our schedules intact, protecting them from the intense scribbling of appointments and dates. Sometimes it’s hard to find time to breath, let alone find time to be able to search for the perfect gifts for your family! And even if there is availability, it can be a challenge in and of itself to simply find out what your kids may want (especially if they’re teenagers). Because this can be a difficult task, we at Cumming Local have taken the time to make a list of all of the top items each and every teenager will want under the tree this year!

Makeup:

As a young lady myself, I can personally say that makeup options can always save the day during the Christmas season. If your teenager is anything like me, they are stunningly always running low on supplies. Just get a list of what they need, make a trip to Ulta, and their Christmas can be made!

Jewelry:

One thing that can always make your teenage girl melt into your little girl again is to give them something that symbolizes your love for her. What better way to show her than jewelry of some kind? Whether it be a simply necklace or a sparkling ring, your teenage girl will be beside herself with overwhelming gratitude and appreciation.

shop-for-good-and-serve-together-2016-2

Cumming Local & Just One Africa is hosting a Shopping Event at the Cumming Library on Monday, December 19th. You can drop in anytime between from 3-5pm. We invite you to swing by and grab some jewelry for you and your teenager. Your purchase will be loved by your teenager and also provide clean drinking water in Africa. Click here for more information.

Videogames and Appliances:

One of the greatest presents a teenage boy can receive under the tree Christmas morning is an Xbox 360; it represents a way in which they can escape from an extremely stressful reality, and just have fun. There is always an opportunity to extend the presents with this gift, too; videogames and updates can be bought as well, further enriching the amazing gift that they’ve already received.

Sports/ Fan Gear:

With college football and basketball as well as NFL and NBA in the forefront of many high schoolers’ minds, this is the perfect time of year to get them gear that will help them to perfectly represent their team. Whether it’s apparel, cups, or even blankets, this gift will surely get them excited about the rest of the season.

Technology

In this day and age, kids always have their heart set on the newest device or appliance, and Christmas may just be the perfect time to give in, even if it is just this once. Since the arrival of the newest iPhone, kids have especially gone a little “techno-crazy”. While this may be more of an expensive gift, the excitement that will surely light up on their face will make it all worth it.

Giftcards:

Sometimes, finding that one, perfect gift for a picky kid can cause a lot of unneeded stress; the solution, however, lies in the beauty of a giftcard. No matter what your child might be like, just know that not a single teenager would ever turn down a gift card. Whether it be a Starbucks card wrapped in a coffee cup, or even one for Bass Pro Shop, this little trick will show your teenager that you not only care about what their interests are, but that you also know that they may want to choose the gift themselves. It can allow your teenager to feel special and be able to express their urge for freedom at the same time: all gift wrapped in a little bag!

Here’s the giftcards that are considered favorites for teenagers:

  • Starbucks
  • Charming Charlie
  • Chick-Fil-A
  • Visa
  • Dunkin Donuts
  • Game Stop
  • Barnes and Noble
  • Bass Pro Shop
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods
  • Target
  • Dairy Queen

Money:

Teenagers go throughout high school, stuck between the blurry lines of dependence on their parents and independence that the gain within themselves. As silly as this may seem, most kids nowadays just want to have some spending money. It gives them a sense of freedom that they haven’t felt before; this may be the perfect chance to show them that they can make the simplest little thing blossom into an opportunity for maturity and responsibility.


christinalaplacaChristina LaPlaca is part of the Honors Mentorship Program at Forsyth Central High School. She recently shared some facts about herself. You can read that article here.

To learn more about Christina and our other contributing writers, click here.

Dunkin Donuts or Donut Connection?

ddordc

Dunkin Donuts or Donut Connection?

The following post is written by Christina LaPlaca, a high school student and part of the Honors Mentorship Program at Forsyth Central. She recently went to discover the answer to a question we all have in Forsyth County – Which is better (in her opinion)…Dunkin Donuts or Donut Connection?

This unanswerable question has been running through the minds of the people of Cumming ever since Dunkin Donuts opened next to the Donut Connection off of exit 17; not many people know where to turn anymore.

Because this controversy has sparked such a curious rivalry between the two donut shops, everyone is wondering where they can get their delicious treats and warm coffee. There is, however, a way in which this can be dissolved. This week I decided to put the shops to the test. While it may have seemed to be a trying task, I went in and tried these donuts without hesitation, and am ready to give my final results.

254582_10151426532068238_261043638_nDunkin Donuts:

 This donut shop is filled to the brim with delectable treats and quick service. I’m not kidding; their drive-thru line takes a total of three minutes tops. Their food options range from jelly-filled donuts to Turkey Cheddar and Bacon sandwiches, and each is just as tasty as the last. Does this superb efficiency, though, take away from the overall experience? Sometimes, people may go in, get their food, and continue to rush along through the rest of their day without connecting with anyone. For those of you who are always on the go, though, this may be the perfect place to stop on a quick breakfast run. The employees will work tirelessly to get your order out to you on time and with ease; their hard work is definitely what makes this donut shop such a bustling place!

Connect Online with Dunkin Donuts: Website | Facebook

donut-connection-logoDonut Connection:

Donut Connection has a cozy, almost serene mood that accompanies its fun and modern setup. With the layout of a more customized Starbucks and the glow of its personable staff, this donut shop stands out for more than its delicious treats. While the coffee, smoothies, donuts, biscuits and bagels are simply mouthwatering, the employees are what truly make this place shine. While waiting on your order, the cashiers happily talk with you, and even try to make a casual connection with you. They make you feel special, which can be worth more than any simple donut. While this process may take a little longer to get to your food, the experience is certainly worth whatever wait you may endure.

Connect Online with Donut Connection: Facebook

In Conclusion:

Both stores are famous for their yummy donuts, fresh coffee and quick service, but which one stands out above the other? Quite frankly, they both rise above and fall short in their own ways. While one may be quicker, the other focuses on making each visit as warm and personalized as possible. Either way, both Donut Connection and Dunkin Donuts are two stores that live up to the high standards this city is holding them to.

Please note that both of these businesses are franchises that are owned by local people in Forsyth County. Cumming Local supports all businesses in Forsyth County and our hope is that this article provides some information about both donut shops. As we stated in our conclusion, we enjoy both Dunkin Donuts and Donut Connection. 

Which wins the battle in your opinion?


christinalaplacaChristina LaPlaca is part of the Honors Mentorship Program at Forsyth Central High School. She recently shared some facts about herself. You can read that article here.

To learn more about Christina and our other contributing writers, click here.