Thursday, June 30, 2011

Library makes Holiday Travel a Breeze

Hope you're heading somewhere fun for the long weekend! My husband and I are going camping at our family farm! And then next week, I'm headed to Myrtle Beach for a week-long vaca. I can't wait to unplug for a while!

Before you load up the car for your holiday road trip, stop by your Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County branch, where you can:
•       Grab books on CD for everyone to listen to during your travels.
•       Check out portable Playaways: About the size of a deck of cards, Playaways come loaded with an audio book. Just press and listen. Everyone can listen to their own book.
•       Download free music from thousands of songs in over 100 genres. Best of all, they’re yours to keep forever. Check it out!
•        Lighten the load by downloading books to your eReader or your mobile device. Available to download 24/7! No late fees! Click here to learn more.

Don’t forget that all the books you read and/or listen to moves you closer to winning a free NOOK Color and Reds tickets as part of the library’s Summer Reading program, which continues through July 31.  Log onto and register the whole family.

Not sure what to read? Once you’ve registered for registered, you can browse more than 100,000 book reviews left by other readers who are in the summer reading program.

Get FREE eBooks, as an added bonus. You’re halfway through the Library’s Summer Reading Program and there’s so much reading left to do! Not sure what to read next? From July 1-9, let the Main Library’s TechCenter staff help! Bring your Nook, Sony Reader, Kindle, flash drive, or blank CD and we will give you 45 free eBooks to help you get through the next month! Classics, computers, philosophy, history, and more are all included. No library card or registration required.
There's still time to register for SummerReading and log books to win prizes -- including a NOOK Color.

Have a great weekend! Safe travels!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Fab Fuel-Saving Tips

I love taking summer road trips! But there’s one thing I’m dreading this year (even more than I’m dreading bathing suit shopping): the price of fuel. It’s more than $4 a gallon now! Yikes! So I did a little digging to see how I can ease the pain at the pump – and on Mother Earth!

I found some good tips from the EPA. The first tip has to do with saving gas itself. The number one tip would be to only use your car when necessary. If you are in walking distance, go ahead and walk, even if you have to bring your work shoes with you to change once you get there. Do me a favor, though and wear some cute flats, instead of gym shoes and socks with your work outfit. Not chic! But getting in a little exercise instead of into your car is healthy for you and your budget - and that IS chic!

If "not driving" isn't an option, you might want to consider a hybrid. I recently reviewed the 250h and I was really impressed.

The next tip is to combine errands into one trip. I don’t know about you, but my daily to do list is full of places to go and people to see. So I try to communicate as much as possible via email, Skype or phone. When I do schedule meetings, I’m strategic about scheduling them when I will be in that area. If you need to move things around to make it convenient, people are actually more understanding about it than you'd think (because YOU are visiting THEM). Plus, scheduling your meetings like this saves so much money, time and stress.

When I need to run errands, I now list them out and plan the best route before I get in the car. A little pre-planning will save you time and money. Also, try to choose businesses that are conveniently located nearby one another. Starting up your car and only driving short distances, especially in city traffic just wastes fuel. 

I learned that one of the biggest things you can do to save on fuel is keeping up on the maintenance of your vehicle. Especially for us women, it can be easy to forget about changing our oil or getting new tires, but keeping up with your vehicle and taking care of problems as they happen, can not only save fuel, but also extend the life of your vehicle.

I also learned tips for saving fuel as you drive. Like when you’re in a traffic jam, and you want to speed around someone, only to soon thereafter come to a complete stop…over and over again. This can waste your fuel big time. The EPA recommends going easy on your car's breaks and gas pedal. Ease your car into a stop and make sure to go easy on the gas pedal, too. Running late makes your heart race and your tank tremble. So, next time, leave the house earlier to avoid damaging your car and guzzling gas. Easy for me to say, though…. I’m always running “fashionably late.”

If you get into a traffic jam, (which NEVER happens in Cincy, right? Ha!), then be sure not to keep your car in idle for too long. By turning off your car in a long wait, it can avoid an overheated engine. Also, if you are grabbing fast food on the way home from work or for lunch, go inside to eat instead of in your car in the parking lot.

For us women, this one is a big one: Avoid carrying unnecessary weight in car and trunk. Women are notorious for using their trunks as another large handbag (helloooo, did you read my first blog?). For you guys out there who carry your tools and sports equipment in the car, this one goes for you, too. As convenient as this “storage” can be, it can drain your tank (and wallet).  

If you are going to treat yourself or family to a long trip and have to carry luggage, avoid using the roof tracks. Place the luggage inside the car or trunk to avoid your vehicle from “dragging,” which can use more fuel than needed. In this case, “aerodynamic” is synonymous with “fuel economy.”

Now, for the last tip. Buying a nice sports car (I’m currently pining over the Lexus LFA) is an amazing luxury, but speeding isn’t a luxury when it comes to the amount of fuel you use. In fact, by going 55 mph instead of 65 mph, you can save up to 15% more fuel. Who knew that not speeding could save us more than a speeding ticket? 

With these tips in mind, we can pinch a few more pennies at the pump. And maybe that itsy bitsy teeny weeny bikini won’t be so scary if I take my own advice and walk more, drive less! That sounds good to me!

Thanks to BreeAnna Smith, my intern, for helping put this blog post together.