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July 15, 2019

Summer Cleaning Hacks that Benefit Yourself & Others

There’s no time like the present. Summer cleaning enables you to streamline your homelife and create space that gives you both practical benefits and personal ones too.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that Americans spend an average of 40 minutes a day cleaning house. That’s not bad, but a few summer cleaning hacks will add some creative ideas to maximize your efforts and make it easier than ever.

Personal Benefits of a Clean Environment

Making your physical space less messy has psychological advantages, says an article on TheWayPointe.com. Research shows that minimizing clutter reduces anxiety and stress.

Science backs up the impact of cleaning, according to a study by the University of California. A messy house creates a rise of cortisol in the body, which is a hormone released by the adrenal gland that typically responds to stress.ZUFKZ4k3

A survey of more than 3,000 individuals found that simple housework decreases stress levels – by up to 20 percent. A UK study showed that when you have a high-stress career, you can lose as many as 33 years of your life.

With those stats in mind, a guide to summer cleaning can actually be a part of your wellness plan. Spending a few minutes a day doing some cleaning is a small price to pay for your mental health.  


Cleaning Your Closet

If you live in a small apartment, you’re probably a minimalism expert. But it doesn’t matter if you have limited space or a massive walk-in closet, it’s easy to find yourself adding to your belongings and causing it to bust at the seams.

One effective system to maintain a clutter-free existence is to use seasonal changes to reduce your excess stuff. You’ve probably heard the suggestion to change the batteries in your smoke alarm during each of the two “standard time/daylight savings” time changes every year. You can use a similar technique to minimize the stress of too much clutter by sorting your clothes with a system of winter and summer cleaning.

When the temperatures rise it’s a good idea to swap your winter clothes for summer clothes and do the reverse, come winter. One of the side benefits is how much easier it is to pick out your clothes each day when there are fewer hanging in your closet.

It’s also a good time to purge. If there are clothes you haven’t worn all year, it may be a good time to donate them. Think of the storage space you’ll save!

For the pieces you’re putting away, put them in the laundry first. Only store clean clothing items. And if you’re putting away your fall boot collection, take them to a shoe repair person first.

  • Here are some practical reminders:
    Don’t forget to put away coats, scarves, gloves, and hats. But keep some lightweight jackets and accessories available in case you go to the mountains or experience some cool summer nights.
  • Store heavy sweaters properly: By hanging cashmere or wool, there’s the possibility of stretching them and when they lose their shape you won’t like the way they look. Always store sweaters folded, even during the winter. When summer rolls around, put them in durable plastic storage bins to keep pests at bay.
  • Pack up bulky items efficiently: If your coats are puffy styles, they take up too much closet space. One way to increase storage effectiveness is to purchase vacuum-sealed plastic bags. Without the extra air, you’ll be left with compact bags of clothing which you can store in the garage or under the bed.
  • Protect your shoes: Save your boots from getting squished by storing them in their original boxes, if possible. You can also purchase plastic bins to store them individually or hang them on space-saving boot racks.

Summer Cleaning Every Day

Simple and easy cleaning habits can change your home, mood, and lifestyle. We all know what these are – they’re little, mundane acts of housekeeping.

It was summed up so well in a commencement speech by Navy Seal Admiral William H. McRaven in Austin, Texas. He’s the author of “Make Your Bed.”

He told graduates to start each morning by making their bed, as he shared lessons he learned from basic Seals training. Every morning his instructors would show up to his barracks room and the first thing they’d do is inspect his bed. He needed to have:

  • Corners square
  • Covers pulled tight
  • Pillow centered just under the headboard
  • Extra blanket folded neatly

“Every morning we were required to make our bed to perfection,” he said. “The wisdom of this simple act has been proven to me many times over. If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride. And it will encourage you to do another task. And another. And another. And by the end of that day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that the little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right. And if, by chance, you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made. That you made. So, if you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.”

There are, of course, many other tasks that need your attention on a regular basis, which is why a guide to summer cleaning is helpful.

Pick a dusting day. Get out your rag and polish every Tuesday, or one day of the weekend to be sure dust doesn’t get caked on your collectibles, furniture and countertops.

Summer typically means running the air conditioner (depending on where you live). Check the vents – they can get a harmful layer of dust and dirt that enters your lungs, negatively affecting your health.

According to HowStuffWorks.com, there are millions of dust particles, pollen, spider webs, hair, dirt and other allergens in your home’s air ducts. Not only is it a health matter, you can also save money on your air conditioning and heating usage.

The website offers some steps for cleaning air ducts, including:

  • First turn off power source to heating/air conditioning unit.
  • Get screwdriver to remove duct covers from walls.
  • Using a brush, clean grates and use soap and water if necessary.
  • Vacuum ducts. You may need an industrial strength vacuum, as household units sometimes lack the power to do deep cleaning.olX8MCsV

Kids and Summer Cleaning

They’re home and under foot ... use it to your advantage! Create a list of chores and rewards, so the cleaning gets done and they don’t get bored.

A few summer cleaning chore ideas are:

  • Unloading the dishwasher
  • Folding laundry
  • Vacuuming
  • Cleaning their room

Some ideas for rewarding their work productivity are:

  • Getting extra social time with friends
  • More time on technology
  • Money for movies or treats
  • Tickets to amusement parks/concerts

Summer Party Cleaning Tips

Does the rise in temperatures also mean a rise in social time?

When you’re planning a party at your house, what fills your mind is thoughts of fun and games, but what fills your schedule is a lot of cleaning. Will guests be indoors, outdoors ... or in the pool?

More than just some routine summer cleaning is in order if you’re having a big bash. Real Simple Magazine has some ideas to create an “oasis atmosphere” for your backyard party.

Start your outdoor cleanup project as early as possible, beginning with an assessment of your needs based on time of day you’ll have your party, whether it’s inside or outside, and number of guests.

You have to figure out seating, which is one of the most important factors when it comes to the comfort of your guests. If you don’t have enough chairs, call a rental company. Party guests often prefer tables and chairs, particularly if you’re serving food that requires flatware.

Your lighting may be an issue, especially if it’s a nighttime affair. Says Jimmy Duhig of Creative Lighting Design in San Francisco, in many cases you don’t need brightness – just some ambient lighting. People’s eyes adjust if they’re outdoors while it’s getting dark.

k1GA1LxUAnd when it comes to summer cleaning to prep for the party, it gives you a great excuse to spend a few days out in the yard. Any standing water needs to be drained. Flower beds may need turning, and you have to clean the pool and patio areas.

An article by Swim University includes a guide to summer cleaning your swimming pool. Even if you don’t have waterfalls and high-tech pool covers, there’s maintenance needed.

Each pool has four components, says SwimUniversity.com: the water; the interior wall; the filter system; and the skimmer system.

Your summer cleaning needs to include a plan to keep these features free of buildup, as well as repaired and clear of dirt and mold.

Time for a Summer Car Clean-Out

Summer cleaning also involves a vehicle assessment. When your car is beginning to concern you – making noises and becoming less reliable – you may want to consider a vehicle donation. This one act enables you to get a tax write-off, benefit a favorite cause, and move your old car to make room for a newer one.

A lot of car dealers hold their best sales in July. U.S. News & World Report compares the rise in summer temperatures to the rise in savings on new cars. They posted an article listing some of the best deals, including the percent of the sticker price you can save this month:

Nissan Altima: 22% off
Kia Optima: 19% off
Ram 1500: 18% off
Hyundai Sonata: 17% off
Hyundai Santa Fe Sport: 17% off
Ford Fusion: 16% off
Hyundai Elantra: 16% off
Ford F-150: 15% off

When you’ve decided it’s time for an upgrade and picked out your new set of wheels, there’s still that one problem – what do you do with your old car? Donate it!

If you’re thinking, “I don’t know how to donate my car,” it’s actually very easy. With a simple phone call to Cars2Charities at 855-520-2100 or by going online, you get the ball rolling.


It’s such a win-win. You find someone to tow away the vehicle you don’t need and pocket a tax break at the same time.

And not only that – your favorite nonprofit gets a donation. When you donate car to charity, you choose which 501(c)(3) gets proceeds from the donation.


If you already volunteer somewhere, you can add to their resources with a car donation. And there are many set up for you as well. You can choose a medical cause such as Children’s Hospital or if you want to benefit veterans make a wounded warrior car donation.

A vehicle donation contributes to your summer cleaning goals by clearing out space in the garage or on other parts of your property, which is another shot at lowering your stress. Excess stuff can be burdensome, and if you’re paying for expensive storage units, boat slips or parking spots, it’s another monkey off your back to alleviate yourself from those bills. You can donate a boat to charity or an RV or many other types of vehicles.

Summer cleaning takes many forms and every little bit helps. Some choose one big act such as a car donation to charity, while others find it more beneficial to add daily chores to their schedule. But whether you tackle it all at once or a half hour a day, seasonal de-cluttering gets you off to a great start.

July 07, 2019

Summer Vacation Trip Ideas: Over-the-Top Not Overpriced

Planning a summer vacation sounds like an expensive proposition, but it doesn’t have to be costly to be quality. You just need to know some tricks of the trade.

Destination: Inexpensive Location

A travel blog by Southern Californian Kristin Addis offers money-saving hints in a wide variety of categories, from trips for solo females to resources such as itineraries to budgeting.

She travels solo all across the globe and delves into the world of locals to tap into each culture. Whether it’s a short jaunt or a long-term vacay, she and her team at Be My Travel Muse have information to share.

1YWxBsVJIf you want to go outside the U.S., an article on the website offers you some ideas if you’re planning a cheap vacation.

You can see Laos for $30 a day, according to Be My Travel Muse, though places to stay are actually a bit more expensive than other Southeast Asian destinations. What makes it a cheap vacation is that the activities are so reasonably priced.

The article describes one waterfall in Laos as the most beautiful in the world and it costs the traveler just $2.50. The writer went inner tubing on the Vang Vieng River one day for $7 and got a “tiger balm massage” for $6.

To get around Laos you can rent a motorbike inexpensively, for about $6-$15 for the day, but the best part of the deal is that it takes you to outlying towns where prices are even better. Nice rooms are about $35, it says, and meals total $3-$9 per day.

Vietnam is also about $30 a day – another cheap vacation venue – if you follow these tips.

Food in Vietnam is estimated at about $5-$10 a day. The street food was both the cheapest and healthiest, according to the travel writer. She ate soup with noodles, broth, pork and cilantro for $1.50. You can rent a motorbike there as well, but traffic is pretty bad, so the best summer vacation trip ideas include trains and buses.

Though it’s not typically at the top of the list of “where to go on summer vacation,” Romania is within your reach for just $33 a day. The towns are charming and a lot of activities are free, the article says – and better yet – a lot of tourists don’t know about them.

Stroll from village to village with history from medieval times or enjoy one of the country’s picturesque parks.

For accommodations, hostels are perhaps the cheapest route at $10-$15 per night. One way to save money on food is to eat breakfast at hostels and eat your biggest meal at lunch. If your hostel has a kitchen, you can cook your own dinner using produce and other fresh food from the market.

If it’s always been your dream to travel to Greece, you probably didn’t know it was a cheap vacation at $40 per day. The price to get there dropped after the debt crisis of 2010, which helps, but avoid summer months for the best prices on travel.vbHGwLQZ

For food, like anywhere else, it pays to make your own if you can. Some of the least expensive summer vacation trip ideas include taking a picnic down to the beach to enjoy the coastline of Greece.

Free walking tours are available and if you island hop, check prices and limit number of transfers.

You can find accommodations for as low as $10-$15 per night and if you split the cost of a rental car, you can get the price below the daily cost of a scooter rental, which is about $25-$30.

Where to Go on Summer Vacation if you Backpack

If you’re planning a summer vacation and want moneysaving advice, a website called The Broke Backpacker has some suggestions if you’re willing to travel that way. Some parts of the world are as inexpensive as $10 a day, notably India and Eastern Europe. 

The Broke Backpacker’s “Ultimate List of Cheap Countries to Visit” includes:

  • Iran, which is often overlooked. It’s the easiest to hitch a ride, he says, and citizens will invite you to their homes, so sometimes you pay nothing for accommodations.
  • Venezuela is also on the short list if you’re planning a cheap vacation. He says he buys 60 beers for a dollar and five-star hotels cost just $2 per night. Taxis cost approximately a quarter and multiple-day mountain trips are under $100.
  • Pakistan has picturesque mountains and extreme hospitality from locals, so The Broke Backpacker says its virtues are underestimated when planning a summer vacation that knocks it out of the park. He couch-surfed through the country and said your travel costs can add up unless you catch rides with friendly natives. Food in Pakistan is just a few dollars per meal and camping in the Karakoram Mountains is free.
  • India is one of the better-known cheap vacation travel destinations and years ago he backpacked through the country for a year for less than $3,000. He estimates a cost of $10 a day for the frugal traveler. To save money in India you need to be willing to use slow means of travel, however. For instance, taking the train over a 12-hour period is $16.50 for a sleeper.

Planning a Summer Vacation with Safety in Mind

Planning a cheap vacation makes little sense if you’re going to be dodging thieves or constantly watchful for violent behavior. Countries have rankings when it comes to safety stats too, and it’s a good idea to check those before making decisions.

qocpsd7ZA website called SkyScanner.com posted a list of countries with the highest safety statistics for travelers. It stems from the U.S. Department of State, which combines a number of factors to assign each country a ranking.

Some of the countries with the highest travel advisories are:

Zambia: Victoria Falls is one of its most desirable tourist sites. Nature also surprises visitors with the proliferation of lions, zebras and the second-largest wildebeest migration in Africa. It doesn’t speak to its rank when planning a cheap vacation, but it’s very compelling.

Slovenia: It’s 7th on the Global Peace Index and it’s a country awarded with the “Green Capital of Europe,” which is Ljubljana. There is hiking in the Julian Alps, as well as biking and rowing on Lake Bled island.

New Zealand: It’s the second safest country in the world behind Iceland. This group of Pacific Islands boast a series of subtropical, volcanic and glacial landscapes, which is why so many tourists make it their choice with planning a summer vacation.

Cheap Vacation Flights

Shopping for plane flights can take a lot of time and finesse, especially when you want to know where to go on summer vacation that’s cheap to get to.mzHoVrKz

You can typically find sites that compare several different travel sources, sometimes lining up a package that includes hotels and flights together for added savings. Some of the best known are Expedia, Kayak, JustFly and CheapFlights.

You can also subscribe to the airlines directly, which is sometimes an advantage. You usually input your email address to get deals and announcements about seasonal offers.

  • Tips for savings on flights include:
    Fly on weekdays, as flights are typically cheaper Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. You’ll pay more if you fly on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays.
  • Check for the cost of luggage vs. carry-on bags. If it costs money to check a bag, see if you can pack tightly enough to just bring a carry-on sized bag. Anything that trims your costs will make it easier to plan a cheap vacation.
  • Plan a cheap summer vacation all year round by using a credit card with travel miles. Numerous banks and credit card companies have airline points, which greatly reduce flight expenses. 

Summer Vacation Trip Ideas for Accommodations

Where you stay makes a big difference when it comes to your budget. There are, of course, sites such as Priceline.com where you name your cost and that’s a beneficial and widely-used option.

HotelTonight.com is an app that gives you access to deals. You fill in your destination and dates and a “digital concierge” lays out options. They have heavily discounted room rates – especially if you have flexibility with your travel dates. Hotels have quotas, so the website can also offer you help with last-minute bookings.

If you thought Groupon was only for massages and piano lessons, you could be missing out on cheap vacation ideas. It’s a global entity, so there are Groupon deals everywhere.

coHqy6FBTo vet these summer vacation ideas you find on Groupon when planning a summer vacation, use apps like Yelp to read reviews and find more resources. 

Another great source of information is to simply ask locals. Even before you reach your destination you can pinpoint not-to-miss sites, activities and restaurants. If you’re using Air B&B, you can message your host, of course. And call places of interest directly – museums, theme parks, etc. – for hours and dates they are open.

One of the best summer vacation trip ideas is to purchase transportation passes or tickets in advance. Often there are bus or train ticket discounts, depending on your destination and when you board so you can make it a cheap summer vacation rather than the other way around.

Planning a Summer Vacation with a Vacation Voucher

A discount program such as a car donation vacation voucher can cut your expenses by offering you deep sale prices on vacation destinations. You simply choose from the vacation hotels listed and it often requires a small deposit.

Cars2Charities has a vacation voucher program, which means when you donate a car to charity you can benefit from the offers. So, the added bonus is that the value of a car you no longer need is converted to support for a cause you care about. You also get the tax deduction, which saves you money as well!

Planning a cheap vacation is something you can consider all year round, whether you’re upgrading your car or applying for a new credit card. If you’re getting deals sent to your email you’ll be apprised of where to go on summer vacation or when to plan a trip to take advantage of the best discounts. AwU3pfQB

It may take some effort but most people, when planning a summer vacation, want to spend as little of their hard-earned money as possible.

July 03, 2019

Family, Friends, Food & Fireworks – It Must be the Fourth of July!

Most of us know why we celebrate Independence Day, even if we aren’t mindful of its origins.

History of the Fourth of July Holiday

Today it’s the equivalent of an evening of fireworks, but the Fourth of July has been a federal holiday since 1941, says the History Channel website. President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave a speech on July 4, 1941, before the U.S. had entered WWII. He compared the struggle for independence in 1776 with the Allies' fight for freedom overseas.

But what Independence Day is actually commemorating, of course, began in the 18th century. Independence Day history starts with the first battles of the Revolutionary War, which broke out in April of 1775.2Htyjkk6

American citizens who wanted to be independent from Britain were considered radicals. It wasn’t until Thomas Paine’s 47-page “Common Sense” that many more members of the population also wanted their independence. First published anonymously, it was one of the most influential pamphlets in the history of our country. When it was written most colonists saw themselves as British citizens with grievances against the king and Parliament. But it helped to reshape that perspective, shifting the belief of residents in the New World from seeing themselves as Britons to seeing themselves as a melting pot country unto itself.

The pamphlet said, in part: “Europe, and not England, is the parent country of America. This new world hath been the asylum for the persecuted lovers of civil and religious liberty from every part of Europe.”

The Continental Congress met in June of 1776 in the Pennsylvania Statehouse, which is now called Independence Hall, where Richard Henry Lee, a Virginia Delegate, brought forth the idea of independence. They held a heated debate and postponed voting on the resolution proposed by Lee, but they put together a committee of five men to draft a formal statement about breaking with England. The men were John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia and Robert R. Livingston of New York.

On July 2, 1776 the Continental Congress voted in agreement to declare independence, and the Declaration of Independence was drafted by Thomas Jefferson. Delegates from the original 13 colonies signed the document.

Launching a Celebration of Independence Day

When planning to commemorate our independence from Great Britain, there were various opinions about the most appropriate date. For instance, in determining when is Independence Day, John Adams saw July 2 as the best date. In fact, he wouldn’t even accept invitations to celebrate on the Fourth of July.

Ironically, it’s the date both he and Thomas Jefferson died – July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of Independence Day.

Philadelphia held the first Independence Day celebration on July 4, 1777 despite the fact they were still in the midst of war. The following year on the 4th of July, General George Washington ordered double rations of rum to all of his soldiers. The first state to make the 4th of July a state holiday was Massachusetts.

FrCMVu5DIn 1870, the 4th of July was designated an official holiday by the United States Congress. Parties, bonfires, parades, reenactments and a reading of the Declaration of Independence are typical events commemorating Independence Day.

Before the Revolution, residents of the New World had similar celebrations, but they commemorated the British king’s birthday. There would be concerts, processions and speechmaking, among other activities.

Just following its signing, colonists would fire cannons and muskets while reading the Declaration of Independence. And in the 20th century – 1941 specifically – there was a paid holiday granted to all federal employees.

What to Do on Fourth of July – East Coast

A lot of Americans have traditions for a safe and sane 4th of July celebration. Families may head to the beach, hold reunions, barbecue food and participate in arts and crafts while enjoying professional fireworks.

Thousands of towns and cities across the United States host professional fireworks shows. And stadiums – from high schools to professional fields used for football or soccer – play host to 4th of July shows for local audiences.

An article on VacationsMadeEasy.com has a list of unusual things to do:

Attend the oldest Fourth of July celebration in the United States. Bristol, Rhode Island has a 230-year tradition of Independence Day events including performances by the Drum Corps, parades, a carnival and a big fireworks show over Bristol Harbor.JWCVk7Mf

Go to the largest fireworks display along the Main Line in Narberth, Pennsylvania. Some of the wealthiest individuals live in communities within that area and the show reflects it.

Go to see the largest fireworks display in the United States. New York City is home to Macy’s annual show in NYC. It’s 40 years old and counting – and it’s televised.

There are four days of 4th of July events in Gorham, New Hampshire. One of the state’s longest running shows, the Fourth of July Spectacular includes everything from a chili cook-off to horse-drawn wagon rides.

Ever been to Wilmington? This Delaware city holds a Fourth of July celebration at the Riverfront that includes a 50-foot obstacle course, rides, face painting and food from a crab feast. Special to the holiday are patriotic events from historical reenactments to magic acts. Of course, the big show is after dark when the sky lights up with fireworks.

Visitors to historic Corolla Park in Corolla, North Carolina get to take in the annual Festival of Fireworks. Not only is it a big show, during the day you can wander around the park while enjoying food, in addition to activities such as a cornhole tournament and watermelon eating contests.

The celebration in Bar Harbor, Maine has been called a best bet by “National Geographic”! It’s followed by a huge seafood festival and the annual lobster races, plus free music in Agamont Park on the Village Green.

What to Do on Fourth of July – West Coast

If you find yourself on the left coast of the U.S., you won’t be near the nation’s capital nor in the city that never sleeps. But, don’t worry – there’s plenty going on in cities to the west if you’re searching for what to do on the Fourth of July.

Los Angeles has a huge number of fireworks venues, according to Timeout.com.8ZwpIMXA

Pacific Palisades has a beach-themed party going on, beginning with patriotic skydivers whose landing begins the town’s classic Fourth of July Parade. It starts on Sunset Boulevard between Drummond and La Paz and there’s a concert at 4 p.m. followed by fireworks at dark.

Also on the coast, but further south, Marina del Rey has its annual fireworks over the water. You can watch the explosions from Burton Chace Park, Mother’s Beach or Fisherman’s Village, where you’ll hear music to accompany the oohs and ahhs from the crowd. If you’ve got a boat you’ll have a great view as well.

And speaking of boats, keep going south to the Queen Mary for concerts and patriotic, family-friendly events. There is an evening of musical entertainment, historic tours of the icon and a patriotic film screening.

Also in Long Beach, the Aquarium of the Pacific is holding a Fourth of July Late Night BBQ and party. Not only will the aquarium remain open into the night, there’s a great view of fireworks over the water. The BBQ cookout includes classics from hot dogs and Coleslaw to brisket and s’mores bars.

In the heart of the city? Downtown L.A. is holding an Anime Expo at the Convention Center this year. There are four days of special events, cosplay and panels of experts. There will be thousands of individuals who descend on downtown for a celebration of the subculture, where they can meet characters and get autographs.

For a creepier Fourth of July nearby, head to Hollywood Forever Cemetery for a screening of “E.T.” People will come with picnics and watch a fireworks show following the movie. Hosted by Cinespia, there will be a themed photobooth and DJ for the dance party aspect of the annual event, which brings Angelenos lining up hours in advance. It’s a cult classic involving sleepovers and a lot more at this favorite film venue.

If you’re inland, there’s Pasadena’s AmericaFest in the Rose Bowl Stadium. It opens at 2 p.m. on the Fourth for families to take in rides, crafts and games – all kid-friendly. There is a motorcycle stunt show, lots of food and fireworks at night. Parking is $40 but you can tailgate and never enter the stadium, because it’s easy to see all the festivities from outside the stadium.

While the Rose Bowl is Bruin territory, if you’re a Trojans fan your end of the spectrum is celebrating too with the Fourth of July Community Festival and Fireworks Show at L.A. Memorial Coliseum. Bring a blanket and chairs to this free event, just outside the Coliseum, for a day of music, games and a nighttime fireworks show.VrfozOy8

There’s never a dull moment when you look at what to do on the Fourth of July. It’s a holiday that truly brings Americans together. Our shared history and years of traditions make it a special occasion that’s about much more than the original Independence Day when we separated from our British roots. It’s more about families, friends, food ... and, of course, fireworks.

June 24, 2019

How New Charities Get Funding Through Vehicle Donations

One of the biggest challenges for new charities is raising enough funds to gain forward momentum. When a startup is launched, or when a founder gains nonprofit status, the game is on – it’s now imperative that streams of income are found to sustain the work and maintain productivity.

An Introduction to Car Charity Donation

Cars2Charities is a third-party company that handles vehicle donations on behalf of hundreds of nonprofit organizations nationwide. Car donations are an effective form of charity fundraising, in part because most Americans have easy access to the process. Oftentimes we aren’t aware that the car we own can become support for a favorite nonprofit cause.car 1245706 640

The Donation Process
There is a simple and reliable process that Cars2Charities has been utilizing for 30 years, continually making alterations to better serve vehicle donors and new charities receiving funds through the program.

We make it easy for clients by limiting their responsibility and taking charge of more steps in the process than they may find elsewhere. Those include the following:

1. Call or submit an online donation request form on the website Cars2Charities.org.
2. Create an account.
3. Schedule a pickup with one of our associates.
4. We send you a receipt that confirms your donation and you choose the charity to receive proceeds from the sale of your vehicle.
5. We pick up your vehicle at a predetermined date & time – one that’s convenient for you.
6. We add value to your vehicle by making necessary alterations to the vehicle.
7. We sell your vehicle for you.
8. You, the donor, receive a tax receipt with the selling price for your records and the car donation charity does as well.
9. Your chosen charity receives an invoice and a check for net proceeds.

Can I donate my car to charity directly?

Some individuals assume they can donate their car directly to a favorite charity. But we do NOT give physical cars to nonprofits; we give charities additional income by selling the donated vehicles.

Donors select charities to receive proceeds, and selling the vehicles allows us to raise monetary values that support the chosen nonprofits.

There are various reasons we can’t give physical cars to a nonprofit. If you’ve talked to friends who have done so, it would require that charity to have a car donation program in-house.

One of the main problems with making a direct car donation to charity is that liabilities are a part of the course of action when cars are given to nonprofits. That includes the need to determine:
• Who is responsible for the car registration
• Who pays for maintenance on the vehicle
• Who is held responsible in case of an accident
• Who will pay for the necessary insurance
• Who will be responsible if it stops running

chevrolet 2805257 1920If your thought is that a nonprofit organization can use your car donation as a company car or truck, that is rarely the case. Many businesses – nonprofit or otherwise – do not have the time or money to receive and maintain a company vehicle.

Instead, vehicle donors with Cars2Charities choose which nonprofit they would like to receive financial support from their vehicle’s proceeds. They can choose a charity listed on our website or request a new charity for us to partner with.

When donors choose a charity that we do not currently work with, our charity relations team contacts the charity and sends them an agreement. Once the agreement is returned, our team verifies the information, and sends a welcome guide to jump start their marketing strategies.

Marketing for New Charities

If you run a nonprofit, it’s a “given” that you have one thing that is always on the front burner: How do we increase our car donations?

When we at Cars2Charities form new partnerships with a nonprofit group, it not only gives our staff the opportunity to get acquainted with the work of a new cause, we share our experience with them to increase their charity fundraising efforts. By collaborating with our marketing team, staff members from both companies can identify the most effective strategies based on the mission of the charity.

Our team members construct appropriate, attention-getting social media posts and strategize about how to get in front of donors and thus maximize charity fundraising. We create professional web pages and blogs that accurately reflect the goals and benefits of the charity’s work and we can also contribute to other marketing materials.

With 30 years of experience as a car donation program, our writing staff understands the best practices for search engine optimization, which we detail for the charity after its principals sign the service agreement. Together we create a marketing plan that we agree is the best way forward to increase donor awareness, which is particularly important for new charities.

Car Donation Charity Fundraising Results

It’s common to wonder, “When I donate my car to charity, how much money goes to the cause?” It’s a win-win situation, and everyone involved is united in making sure that the good work of the nonprofit is supported as much as possible. There are some factors that determine the total donation in dollars and cents, whether it involves new charities or those that have been around for many years.

When an individual, or an estate or other entity donates a car to charity, the nonprofit group receives 50-70% of the proceeds. The process at Cars2Charities is aimed at maximizing that number.

After we’ve been contacted by the donor and we pick up the vehicle donation, we bring the car to our expert technicians for assessment. By checking the condition of the car and assessing its value, we can make necessary alterations that typically raises the sale price by 25-50% before selling it at auction.

Service fees are detracted from the sale price of the vehicle, and specific charities have individual service fees based on the service agreement they have with Cars2Charities.

Which Car Donation Program Benefits the Donor

There are various programs available to individuals who own a vehicle they no longer need and want its value to benefit a favorite cause. And because of the liabilities mentioned above – not to mention, most companies’ lack of preparation to receive vehicle donations directly, there are legal and practical steps that need to be completed by professionals. speed 1249610 1920

The best news for car donors is that it takes the onus off of them – to follow procedures required by the IRS, to become acquainted with DMV regulations, and to complete all of the paperwork properly, including the title transfer. That’s why submitting the process to a company with a car donation program is a good method for minimizing headaches.

Reasons to Donate a Car to Charity

There are many motives for a person to decide to make a car charity donation, and in some cases there’s another, more personal, reason not outlined here:

You have a car you don’t need and you have to do something with it. Perhaps you’re used to doing a dealer trade-in. Most people realize it’s a big money-loser, but you may not be aware just how much. Dealers pocket approximately 60-70% of the value of your vehicle, which is fine for their purposes, but it doesn’t enable you to determine where it goes.

You ditched your gas-guzzler for a hybrid and you love the idea of “reducing, reusing and recycling.” There’s no better example of environmentally-friendly car ownership than reducing reliance on oil while recycling your old wheels.

Commitment to a Cause
It might never have crossed your mind to donate a car to charity, but you’ve been wishing you could contribute more to a particular nonprofit group. Without a bottomless bank account, there’s a limit to what you can give.

That’s when owning a car you no longer need gives you the opportunity to increase their funding through the transfer of your vehicle’s value.

Which Charities to Donate to

After you, as a car donor, complete your end of the vehicle donation program – which at Cars2Charities simply includes contacting us with your donation – the only responsibility that remains is for you to choose your favorite charity.

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Some car donation companies limit you to make contributions to their program. If you research sites detailing how to donate your car and they only mention one charity, that means it’s probably a program run by the nonprofit itself.

At Cars2Charities you can choose any 501(c)(3) – the cause you care about most can receive proceeds from the sale of your car. While we’ve worked with a huge number and range of nonprofit organizations, we are always eager to make new partnerships, as there are countless charities to donate to.

We have many categories of nonprofit groups on our “causes” page. If you have a heart for medical needs, children or if you always participate in the Love Ride, for example, we can direct you to some of those companies we’ve processed donations for already.

 Some of the causes we have experience with are:

Animal Rescue 
Disaster Relief 
First Responders

It’s not always the first thing we think of, but one of the best ideas to channel money to your favorite cause is through a car donation program. And it’s particularly a good idea for new charities when they are trying to get established.

June 19, 2019

International Day of Yoga 2019

Becoming a part of International Day of Yoga means connecting to other yogis and fostering awareness about the practice. On June 21, 2019 studios all over the world promote their favorite avocation and raise awareness about the benefits of yoga.O5mw4gn4

What is Yoga?

It’s an Indian discipline known the world over which took root in the East but has spread across the globe, as popular now as it’s ever been.

The website YogaSix defines the avocation as “a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India. “ 

As June 21 is International Day of Yoga, it’s an appropriate time to create awareness and better define what it is and what the practice can accomplish.

Centering in on breath and movement, yoga is designed to foster stability, strength and grace to the mind and body. Though considered multidimensional, in the West it’s more of a physical practice, less spiritual than in Indian traditions. In its original form, yoga is meditative and spiritual at its core.

The word “yoga” is used to mean one of the orthodox schools of Hinduism, of which there are six. It is related to the philosophy of Hindu Samkhya. The practice of yoga is thousands of years old and has evolved to its modern embodiment.

History of Yoga

Clarifying yoga for beginners is best accomplished by looking back in time. It began in approximately 3000 B.C. in India and its presence in the Indus Valley is proven by the existence of yoga poses represented by figures carved in stone. The aim of yoga in the beginning was harmony between the heart and soul leading to divine enlightenment. While becoming established in Eastern society, yoga was observed as a healing practice for diseases including high blood pressure and diabetes, while also reducing chronic pain and physical injury.

ngBbrkgMThere is not just one form of yoga nor one category of easy yoga poses. Instead, it is practiced by believers of Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism. Hatha yoga and Raja yoga are among the best-known styles.

The Yoga Basics website explains the origin of yoga, which has a rich oral history, sometimes responsible for murky facts. Its written history was recorded on palm leaves, which were fragile transcriptions because they could be damaged or lost.

Sacred texts known as the Rig Vedas have the earliest record of the word yoga included in its collection of songs, rituals and mantras which were used by Vedic priests, or Brahmans. The most widely-known yogi scripture is the Bhagavad-Gita from approximately 2,500 years ago. They outlined the beliefs and practices of mystic seers in the Upanishads, which is a work of more than 200 scriptures incorporating ritual from the Vedas and added to it a teaching of sacrifice of the ego and karma yoga, or action, plus jnana yoga, or wisdom.

In homage to International Day of Yoga, a look at the phases of development of the practice can increase understanding. Yoga has changed over time, best described in a breakdown of four periods.

After Pre-Classical Yoga, described above, there was a period of its development known as Classical Yoga. While it was previously a combination of beliefs, ideas and techniques, in the classical period it was given a more systematic definition in the second century by Patanjali’s Yoga-Sutras.

Yoga was described as the path of Raja Yoga and the eight-limbed path had stages and steps where an individual could obtain enlightenment. Patanjali is considered by some as the father of yoga.

A few centuries later, Post-Classical Yoga was the strongest representative of the age-old practice. Yoga masters sought to teach practitioners to rejuvenate the body and prolong life through practicing yoga, ultimately achieving enlightenment through the physical state. It was a rejection of previous teachings by the ancient Vedas.

Tantra Yoga was a process of cleansing the body and mind to “break the knots that bind us to our physical existence.” There was an emphasis on the connection between physical body and the spiritual self, and it led to Hatha Yoga, a common practice in the West today.

Finally, the Modern Period ushered in the yoga masters of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As yogis traveled west there was a growing band of followers. In 1893, the city of Chicago was host to the Parliament of Religions when Swami Vivekananda delivered lectures about yoga and discussed unity among religions. Hatha Yoga grew stronger as it was promoted in India through T. Krishnamacharya. The first Hatha Yoga school was opened in Mysore in 1924. And in 1936, the Divine Life Society was founded on the banks of the Ganges River.PU8iObHz

As far as American establishment of the Eastern practice, the first yoga studio opened in Hollywood in 1947 and it began to grow in Los Angeles from there.

Benefits of Yoga

Health professionals, from new age healers to fitness experts, appreciate the physical benefits of yoga. It can increase flexibility and strength, tone muscle, contribute to weight loss, increase blood flow, decrease blood pressure, improve your balance and help the body relax for sleep.

Some of the mental benefits of practicing yoga is a clearer mind, more focus and it promotes positive self-image.

Types of yoga exist for different kinds of people which enables you to find the best fit.

Local Yoga Classes

As we can see from the fact there’s an International Day of Yoga, it’s become more than just a tiny Eastern philosophy dovetailing with physical poses. It also means that virtually anyone can participate in the practice, as studios exist all over the world.

Some of the most common classes involve a yoga instructor in a studio setting, where participants bring mats and follow the leader. There is often relaxing music in the background and a state of relatively mild meditation is the aim of the group experience.

Hot Yoga
It has become fairly popular in the United States and has many benefits, according to an article in Best Health Magazine. After you “embrace the heat,” which means you withstand excessive sweating, the class takes place in a room heated to 37 degrees centigrade.

The extensive sweating is promoting detoxification, for starters. You also get a more intensive workout, which means you come away with greater strength, tone and flexibility. Hot yoga is used for cardiovascular classes, but still offers mental concentration and improved breathing.

Outdoor Yoga
Local yoga classes won’t always take place in a nearby studio. Sometimes yogis bring their mats outdoors. Some of the advantages are the same as getting back to nature for any other reason. Natural surroundings can’t be replicated in total, so gaining the sights and smells of the woods, a meadow or bluff can evoke a mood that fits with the goals of yoga.

Because the word “yoga” means “union,” practicing outside makes sense when you consider you’re uniting with nature, humanity and the universe.

Beer Yoga
Though it sounds antithetical to the natural bent of practicing yoga, there are groups mixing alcoholic beverage intake with their favorite mental and physical health practice. A play on the words “flow yoga,” participation can be appealing to beer lovers, even if they’re relatively health-conscious.

Yoga instructor and studio owner Jenny Miller is the author of a blog called BeerAsana. She wants people who don’t mark the box “healthy” to have the chance to be turned on to the practice. "I wanted it to be an entryway for people who self-identified as not healthy,” she explains on the website OutsideOnline.com. “And really, for most people you start doing yoga and you sort of end up moderating your habits.”

Breweries and wineries are hosting yoga classes and pouring drinks after the workout.fUHrPS0l

Water Yoga
Among the many ways to do yoga, there are instructors welcoming participants into the swimming pools. Touted as easy yoga poses, time in the water is practical yoga for beginners, says a blog called Yoga.LovetoKnow.com.

Some of the suggested poses are:

Standing Tree: It requires less balance than the tree pose practiced regularly by yogis on land. Hold on each side for 10-15 breaths and you gain strength in your quads, glutes, inner thighs and ankles.

Half Moon: Slightly more challenging, you need strength in your abs and legs, plus an ability to balance. Easier in the water, you get buoyancy to keep you upright.

Floating Boat: It’s more work for your abs. You stand in mountain pose while resting on a noodle. When you lean on the noodle and lift your feet off the floor, you’re working your tummy muscles.

Yoga with Animals

People are bringing the farm to the practice. For some, it’s a form of therapy, but what they’ve found in general is the release of positive hormones from just petting animals, says Mindful Studio Magazine.

Goat yoga has made its way across the country, now being hosted for nonprofit fundraisers and just as a unique form of fun.

Kitten yoga comes about when a studio pairs up with a rescue and puts yogis in contact with kitties just waiting to find forever homes.

Bunny yoga was held in Canada for a fundraiser for the Small Animal Rescue Society of British Columbia. It’s an unusual idea.Vl7RfjiC

Dog yoga came out of Sugarland, Texas to benefit a local animal shelter. When man’s best friend meets the calming effects of yoga, there’s a high-level bonding that takes place ... and dogs find homes.

It’s an Eastern practice, a college major, and to some, a fitness plan. Yoga really does have a global appeal, which explains its growth. It also explains the amount of celebrating you can expect on International Day of Yoga 2019.

June 13, 2019

Father's Day: When Old Guys Rule

It used to be neckties, while today it's more likely to be golf gear. Father’s Day presents can be cliché in any culture depending on the man-gift of the hour. But the truth is it’s a holiday with a 100-year history in the United States, and when it comes to what to do for Father’s Day 2019, there are a lot of features beyond gifting – SUh0vqhcespecially in places outside of America.

When you look back at Father’s Day history, you see trending come and go. But to find out what is Father’s Day and find out how they determined when is Father’s Day, you can begin by looking back to the last century.

History of Father’s Day

Like Mother’s Day, the celebration for dads has a commercial element that began in the early 20th century. 

When a Philadelphia department store launched a special service to mothers, including the sale of feminine clothing and accessories with moms in mind, other retailers followed suit. By 1909, there were 45 states celebrating Mother’s Day, which President Wilson made official in 1914 – designated to be the second Sunday of May.

There would probably not be a Father’s Day if it weren’t for Mother’s Day, which was its inspiration. Mother’s Day was an outcropping of post-Civil War activism, when individuals like Ann Reeves Jarvis established “Mother’s Work Days” to bring together women from the Union and the Confederacy.

Mother’s Day was tied to commerce – the first to target sales to moms was the John Wanamaker department store – and it was fueled by financial success. But there were some who felt that fathers did not have the same sentimental appeal that mothers have; and therefore, it wouldn’t be as financially successful. For that reason the campaign for a Father’s Day celebration wasn’t as enthusiastic.c3cxTMh0 

According to the History Channel website, as early as 1908 there were special occasions honoring fathers being held in various locations. A group of church members in West Virginia commemorated some of their own fathers, as 362 men had died in an explosion at the Fairmont Coal Company mines in Monongah. One Sunday, they were memorialized by parishioners in a service where he delivered a sermon in their honor. Soon thereafter, Sonora Smart Dodd, one of six children in a family where her father was raising them alone, had an idea. She visited churches, shopkeepers, the YMCA – even government officials – to support a plan to establish an equivalent of Mother’s Day, but for fathers.

Her efforts paid off. The state of Washington held its first Father’s Day on June 19, 1910. It did not become a federal holiday, however, for more than 60 years.

People continued advocating to establish a holiday equivalent to Mother's Day, one that recognized fathers, and in 1924 President Coolidge encouraged state officials to recognize that request. It wasn’t until 1972 that Father’s Day actually became a national holiday.

One phenomenon found by early Father’s Day advocates was that mothers were far more universally embraced and appreciated, as were efforts to recognize them. It incited controversy about establishing Father’s Day.

One historian said that they “scoffed at the holiday’s sentimental attempts to domesticate manliness with flowers and gift-giving, or they derided the proliferation of such holidays as a commercial gimmick to sell more products – often paid for by the father himself.” 

Still, advocacy ramped up. In the 1920s and ‘30s, groups in New York rallied to bring awareness to “Parent’s Day,” which would combine Mother’s and Father’s Day, honoring both parents in one day’s celebration.

WWII became a part of efforts to recognize the outstanding contributions of dads. In the 1940s, commercial retailers used Father’s Day to support the troops and the war effort, which the public got behind, though it wasn’t an official federal holiday.

Father’s Day Around the World

Honoring parents is not just an American idea. The website TimeandDate.com describes what is Father’s Day in the practices of worldwide cultures. 

LfRRvESGFather figures are recognized and celebrated, though not on the same dates; but many resemble America in holding the tradition of the third Sunday in June, such as the United Kingdom and Canada. Australia and New Zealand, however, celebrate dads on the first Sunday in September.

Though determining when is Father’s Day differs, there are many similarities in the intent and practice of honoring male parenting. Visits, phone calls, greeting cards and gifts are a part of recognizing dads in many cultures. Some traditions differ from family to family. And as it’s a modern holiday, there are many forms of dads recognized today:
• Fathers
• Stepfathers
• Grandfathers
• Great-grandfathers
• Guardians

An article in Personal Creations describes various countries and how they celebrate Father’s Day around the world. 

In Canada people wear roses to show their appreciation and they hold family reunions, contributing donations in the name of their male role models.

India now has a celebration that resembles an American Father’s Day – just smaller scale. Urban centers and large towns in India create more awareness of Father’s Day, as there are more citizens of western countries residing there.

South African Father’s Day celebrations are infused with social messaging. The cultures there stress the importance of fathers taking the role of nurturing very seriously, believing it contributes to a stronger society. They hold parties and other social gatherings to celebrate the father’s role in raising children.

German families celebrate “Vatrtag” by participating in activities such as hiking, biking and drinking. The mother typically stays home with the children so the men can celebrate together.

Children in Japan give their fathers handmade beer glasses and flowers, and a seafood dinner is served on Father’s Day.

In Nepal the daughters place their heads in their fathers’ hands and sons touch their heads to their fathers’ feet to show love and appreciation.

“Dia del Padre” is what it’s called in Mexico. Like other North American countries, families gather for food and typically bring gifts to father figures present.

In Thailand, Father’s Day became a federal holiday because it was also former King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s birthday – December 5. They believe the king is the father of their nation and now that the birthdate of King Bhumibol’s successor, King Maha Vajiralongkorn, is July 28, there are two holidays: Father’s Day and the King of Thailand’s Birthday. People wear yellow on Father’s Day and one of their traditions involves gifting dads with canna flowers.

What to Do for Father’s Day when it Comes to Gifts

It’s the first thing family members ask themselves: What do I get Dad?

When people rack their brains, they often come up with items related to fishing, hunting, grilling, golf or wine. wibycYC3Some of the most common Father’s Day gift ideas are:
• Shavers
• Remote controls
• Socks
• Luggage
• Robe and slippers
• Sunglasses/shades
• DVDs
• Books
• Binoculars for birders

Of course, it depends on the man, but here are a few other ideas if you’re trying to figure out what to do for Father’s Day gifting:

Tools and Products for the House: Nobody does it better than a hardware store, and the Home Depot site has more options than you can imagine for a dad who loves to putter around the house or in the yard. Some options are:
• Lawnmower
• String Trimmer
• Barbecue
• Pressure Washer
• Miter Saw

Personalized Gifts: He’ll know it’s just for him if it has his name, initials or other customized feature on it. Good Housekeeping has some Father’s Day gift ideas that are personal than usual.

A company called Paprikaa Paperie creates personalized beer bottle labels you can order online. Or you can order an article of clothing, such as socks, with your dad’s photo on them. An Etsy store known as OurLoveWasBorn will frame a print of the night sky on specific dates. You can order the date you were born or another significant anniversary.

Maps are also a popular choice these days, which can be placed on coasters, cutting boards or many other media. You can choose the image of your hometown, your state or neighborhood. 

Dinner for Fathers: Another Good Housekeeping idea is a trip to a favorite chain restaurant, which often have the best deals for dads. An article in the magazine suggests the following, among others, that have Father’s Day pricing:

  • Ruth’s Chris Steak House
  • Tony Roma's
  • P.F. Chang's
  • Chili's
  • Red Lobster

Father’s Day Donations

For the father who has everything, you can bring a smile to his face by honoring him with a donation to a nonprofit in his name. If you have the kind of dad who loves the beauty of generosity, or one who has a private passion for those who are underserved, this is a big opportunity.

6hWpIbPoWhen money is an issue for you, donating a car to charity is an easy way to contribute a good chunk of support without pulling out your checkbook. When you donate a car to charity through Cars2Charities you can choose whichever 501(c)(3) you want – or even better – please Dad by supporting one of his favorite causes.

Is he a veteran? You can donate a car to a veterans group. You may be a supporter of Wounded Warriors, or you can ask the car donation company for a suggestion. Cars2Charities has worked with several, including Heroes in the Rough.

Is your father a retired firefighter? There are many charities that support victims and those who fight fires.

If your dad has a special place in his heart for children with serious illnesses, you may consider a car donation to children, such as Rady Children’s Hospital or another medical charity with a nonprofit foundation. 

Many people want to benefit those who are homeless or are underprivileged. Of course, any nonprofit that relates to those issues can be processed through Cars2Charities. The Los Angeles Mission is a Southern California choice, but Habitat for Humanity serves individuals worldwide.

Everyone’s dad is different, so the way we choose to celebrate him comes in a range of traditions and practices. Which ever way your culture enjoys a Father’s Day celebration, you can customize it to please the number one man in your life.

June 05, 2019

The Power of Pride Month 2019

Involvement in Pride Month grows every year, as acceptance of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community increases. There have been large gains in legalities, social inclusion and cultural shifts in the last century.2oCsaUEC

What is Pride Month?

Pride Month is an annual commemoration and for founders determining when is Pride Month going to be, it made sense to establish it in June to commemorate the Stonewall riots in New York City in 1969. The Stonewall Inn, a gay club, was raided by police, and their reputed mistreatment of customers and employees sparked a riot. Residents of the Greenwich Village neighborhood clashed with law enforcement for six days of protests, largely thought to be the start of the Gay Rights Movement.

Cities across the country host Pride Month Parades, workshops, parties, picnics, symposia and concerts which draw millions of participants. It’s also a time to shine a light on the trauma of the HIV/AIDS virus and those whose lives have been lost simply for being a member of the LGBTQ community.

Gay bars have long been a safe haven for members of the movement, says an article on History.com. While members of the LGBTQ community have been excluded from many other venues, or at least discouraged from inclusion, backed up by criminal statutes in the history of the United States. But clubs have been a refuge for people who are openly gay, as a place where they can freely socialize without stigma or bias. 

Even in those places where they routinely gather there are times, of course, when they have been or even currently are hassled by police and sometimes State Liquor authorities. It’s the efforts by brave, determined advocates that are celebrated in Pride Month 2019.lsdkVkXr

History of Pride Month

Thanks to the work of early activists, the improving acceptance rate of LGBTQ Americans has mobilized legislation and workplace attitudes. A CNN article has a timeline tracing the gay rights movement back to 1924. 

The earliest advocate was Henry Gerber of Chicago, who founded the first documented gay rights organization.

Another activist, Harry Hay, founded the Mattachine Society in 1950, which centered on social support for the LGBTQ community.

In 1952, homosexuality was listed in the American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic manual. Experts thought it was a condition, categorizing it as a sociopathic personality disturbance.

The next year, President Dwight D. Eisenhower banned homosexuals from governmental jobs, signing an executive order claiming they put Americans’ security at risk.

A few years later, in September 1955, the San Francisco Daughters of Bilitis, or DOB, was formed. It’s the first lesbian rights organization in the country and its social activities were private so they would not be threatened by police action.

The 1960s brought further awareness, and homosexuality was first decriminalizedaHLrQJA2in Illinois in 1961, which meant sodomy laws were removed. The same year, a televised documentary about same sex couples was aired in California, the first of its kind in the United States.

A newspaper was launched in 1967 called “The Los Angeles Advocate,” later renamed “The Advocate,” and is reportedly the oldest continual LGBT publication in the country. It was originally a newsletter out of PRIDE – Personal Rights in Defense and Education.

One year after the Stonewall incident, the first Gay Pride Parade was established when New York City residents marched to recognize the first anniversary of the riots.

The next battleground was over marriage. In 1973 the state of Maryland banned same-sex marriage, the first state to create the statute.

The same year, a group called “Parents and Friends of Gays” was formed. In 1982 it was changed to Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, or PFLAG.

At the end of the year, the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from the diagnostic manual which was previously categorized as a mental disorder.

The first openly gay individual to be elected to a public office was Kathy Kozachenko, who won her seat on the Ann Arbor, Michigan City Council in 1974. Another lesbian was elected that year to the State Legislature of Massachusetts, the first openly gay individual in a state office.

A federal gay rights bill was introduced in 1975. It would have banned discrimination based on sexual orientation, but it never passed the Judiciary Committee.

Gay Pride 2019 Celebrates the Movement’s Accomplishments 

In 1924, when German immigrant Henry Gerber, who founded the Society for Human Rights, settled in Chicago, he saw the poor treatment of individuals with different sexual orientation. He was targeted by authorities and committed to a mental institution temporarily in 1917, says Dosomething.org.

"I had always bitterly felt the injustice with which my own American society accused the homosexual of ‘immoral acts,’” Gerber wrote.

D8gkVxNEIn the 21st century, thanks to activists the gains for the gay community come at a faster pace. In 2007, The Employment Nondiscrimination Act made it illegal to discriminate against employees based on their sexual orientation.

The name Matthew Shepard is now iconic. The University of Wyoming student was attacked and killed by two men who targeted him because he was gay. In 2009, The Matthew Shepard Act outlawed crime towards individuals for reasons of sexual and gender identity

The federal government recognized same-sex marriage in 2013 and a year later, 19 states made it legal. There are 15 countries that currently allow same-sex marriage.

Anyone Can Take Part in Pride Month 2019

Even people who don’t know what to do for Pride Month quickly become aware of it when cities host events, making it possible to engage in activities, even if they never have in the past.

A site called “them.” offers the following tips for first-time Pride-goers.

There’s no dress code. Freedom to be yourself is nearly the entire focus of Pride Month, so you can express yourself in whatever way you desire. Ironically, dressing in shades of the rainbow are probably a better way to fade into the woodwork than something simple.

In searching for the nearest parade, there are sites to go to such as GayPrideCalendar.com. You’ll see other Pride Month events posted as well. You can also contact an LGBTQ rights office in your town. 

You don’t have to be gay to celebrate Pride Month, Week or Day. Some individuals use the opportunity to “come out,” and others are straight, but just want to support the community. Everyone’s welcome and your sexual preference isn’t an issue. You may keep it discreet.SFfcrDCB

Special Events During Pride Month 2019

Cities all over the world can make your Pride Month experience special, and none is more iconic, perhaps, than West Hollywood. If you don’t live in the Los Angeles area, it may be a good time to visit this prominently gay community. The Human Rights Campaign provides a website where you can find events in your state.

Sometimes referred to as “WeHo,” it is the home of iconic entertainment such as the legendary Whiskey a Go Go on Sunset Strip. Santa Monica Boulevard has a number of gay bars, dance clubs and shops and WeHo is famous for some of the city’s most buzzworthy restaurants.

There is a two-day festival planned this year during Gay Pride Week 2019 which opens following the Pride Month Parade. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is providing volunteers for the event, which is held on Saturday, June 8 and Sunday, June 9, 2019. The Pride Week Parade begins at 11 a.m. Saturday and the festival follows at 12 noon.

The HRC website describes the role of a volunteer: “Volunteering at Pride means talking to the general public about HRC's work, our resources and the importance of engaging in the LGBTQ civil rights movement. It also means asking for donations in order to sign people up as members.”

Perhaps the most widely-known Pride Month celebration is the San Francisco Pride Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Parade & Celebration, which will be held on June 29-30. With the tagline “Generations of Resistance,” the Bay Area festival is always colorful and sends strong messages to the rest of the world. 

Some of the attractions at this year’s Gay Pride Festival are:

• World-famous drag queens including Amara La Negra, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and Kristin Beck
• Entertainers including La Frida, Candelaria and Book of Love
• San Francisco Pride Golf Tournament
• Identity & Pride Youth Art Show
• Speakers including Mayor London N. Breed and Senator Scott Wiener

If you have an amusement park in your community, check with their Pride Month 2019 schedule. They want you there and some of them create an LGBTQ-supportive atmosphere by decorating to celebrate Pride Month.

LGBTQ Pride Month is a good time to visit museums and memorials with the history of human rights. One of San Francisco’s notable institutions is the GLBT Historical Society Museum in the Castro District. It’s the first stand-alone museum of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender history and culture in the U.S. It has dynamic exhibits and it typically showcases diversity and social justice.

Recognize Pride Month 2019 by Empowering the LGBTQ Community

If you’ve been looking for an opportunity to support a nonprofit that benefits the gay community, you only need one thing: a car you no longer want. It’s everyone’s experience at some point – when it’s time to replace your vehicle you have to decide how to kick your car to the curb.

sznl78lsIf you’ve always done a dealer trade-in or CarMax, you’ve lost value on your car (which you probably knew, but it didn’t matter because it was easy). Here’s your chance to do a little celebrating when you donate a car to an LGBTQ charity.

You get to decide which nonprofit gets proceeds from the sale of your car. It can be any 501(c)(3). At Cars2Charities we’ve processed car donations to gay charities in the past, so we can help you if you don’t have one in mind.

You can donate a car to the Alliance for Children Everywhere, which helps children in crisis, including those orphaned by AIDS. Its Nutrition & Nurture Program provides physical needs such as milk for infants and unbridled support for families.

Another nonprofit we’ve worked with is the Rafiki Coalition for Health and Wellness that works to offset the inequalities that exist for the underserved in San Francisco. Communities needing HIV/AIDS services, particularly the African American community, are among the sectors receiving the most attention from the charity.

Or you can donate a car to the Los Angeles LGBT Center through Cars2Charities. Citing its contribution with “50 Years of Queer,” the LAGBT Center assists individuals with everything from social services and housing to health services and education.

The move toward inclusion is worth celebrating. This year you may want to take part in your first Pride Month celebration, and there’s a growing number of opportunities.

June 01, 2019

Out with the New: Car Auction Advantages

You’ve thought about checking out a car auction, but if you’re being honest, you’d really like to buy something new. Who wouldn’t? It’s sleek, shiny and has that “new smell.” But the drawbacks may motivate you to look for a nearby car auction instead.NBrM9FNO

California Used Car vs. Buying New

It’s hard to resist Elon Musk’s affordable Tesla Model Y electric crossover SUV in his 2020 line. It will go a full 300 miles without needing a charge. It’s the crossover version of the Model 3 that emerged in 2016, which people were clamoring for, according to Green Car Reports. Tesla got 115,000 deposits of $1,000 each in 24 hours before the Model 3 launched. Before delivery of the cars the company collected 450,000 deposits. 

Though it’s comparable with other new cars for sale, pricewise, if you have a modest budget you have more options looking at used cars for sale.

MoneyCrashers has an article with reasons to buy a used car rather than ponying up the big bucks for a new car. The most obvious is the instant depreciation when you drive off the lot. But there are other advantages to finding used cars for sale.

There are a lot of associated fees with new car purchases. Some state laws charge taxes on new cars, but not on the sale of used cars. If you buy a car from a private owner in Georgia, you pay no taxes at all. On the other hand, dealers have to charge you thousands of dollars when they sell a vehicle from their lot.

Your car’s registration fee is at issue also. Because they’re typically based on the value of the vehicle, you obviously pay more if you buy a nicer, newer car.

Companies selling new cars also get extra money using such catch-all terms as “dealer preparation” or “destination fees.” With a used car, the only one you owe is the DMV for tag, title and registration fees.

And consider the features on your new car – there are hidden losses for you if you purchase a new vehicle rather than going to a car auction or other source. Some of the financial overkill that new car dealers get away with is the presence of extras on a new car. It’s a tactic some of them use to get a few extra bucks from car shoppers. By including something like “anti-rust coating” or a pinstripe they can add dollars to the sticker price, but it doesn’t increase the resale value of the car at all!

8G8 mQA5If you’re thinking, “Hey, I like all the bells and whistles,” don’t worry. You can add those features after you purchase the vehicle, and the after-market price is almost always lower.

Car Auctions & Other Ways to Find Used Cars for Sale

If you’ve bought and sold cars very often, you know there are many ways to locate cars for sale in Los Angeles.

An online vehicle marketplace launched in 1997, AutoTrader reportedly has the largest number of used car listings – including both dealers and private sellers. This used car purchasing platform connects you with cars for sale in Los Angeles – or another area – when you input the make and model you’re searching for.

There are other resources on the website, from research and reviews to videos, seller specials and dealer discounts.

Founded by Craig Newmark in 1995, Craigslist is a classified ad website with categories of individual sales in arenas such as housing, jobs, household items, gigs, used cars and much more. Its headquarters are in San Francisco, but it is internationally known. Some individuals list their vehicles here and deal with it themselves rather than sending it to a car auction.dxNlZ2Lg

This used car retailer actually came out of Circuit City stores. Though the first CarMax location opened in Richmond, Virginia in 1993, the service wasn’t widely known until much later. It’s the country’s largest used car retailer and because of its resources, cars can be shipped to a CarMax near you for free. The cars you buy through the company can only be six years old or less, while vehicles at a car auction can be a wide range of ages.

Also, CarMax sells cars to registered dealers, as well as to car auctions.

Finding Cars for Sale in Los Angeles, California through Auction

Many used cars find new owners through the auction process. And even before you’ve decided to make a purchase, you can attend the car auction for free to see how it works.

Auctions for Los Angeles used car sales take place in the north San Fernando Valley once a week – every Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. You should arrive early to see the vehicles between 8:30 and 9:45 a.m. Entrance is free of charge.

While the gates open at 8:30, the auction begins promptly at 10 a.m. The used car auction venue is outdoors, so there are some recommendations for attendees:
• Wear comfortable shoes
• Wear lightweight clothing in summer months
• Bring portable chairs
• Bring water and snacks
• No children are allowed at auction
• No smoking is allowed

Sales are CASH only – no other form of payment is accepted, and all donated vehicles are sold AS-IS and may or may not be operable.

You may look over the cars scheduled to be auctioned the same day by checking a list at the auctioneer booth. To find Cars2Charities donated vehicles, find the section of the car auction lot marked for our cars.

When you purchase a vehicle at the car auction, you must pay the entire balance (again – in cash only) by 5:00 p.m.

For more information you can call (818) 767-6031.

Purchasing a Car through Cars2Charities

W0zghdy8When you contact us at Cars2Charities with the desire to purchase a vehicle at the nearby car auction, we have a written guide to inform you in advance what to expect. It’s a unique form of used car sales, but there are many good reasons to support it.

Our Values

Service Excellence: For more than 30 years we have been handling car donations for clients with a goal to maintain service excellence at each phase of the process. We work to provide quality at every step, to every donor and partner – to be fast, simple, clean and timely. We constantly seek to understand the needs of those who count on us, and to exceed your expectations.

Integrity: We provide honest feedback, saying what we think and doing what we say. We are trusted because we are honest and dependable. We strive to align our beliefs with our every action.

Generosity: We seek to model cheerful, generous giving in our own lives. We express our gratitude freely and expect to see lives changed as a result of philanthropy and generosity. It is our hope that we inspire our clientele to generously give to the causes they care about, and a car donation is the beginning.

Accountability: You will not hear us say, “It’s not my fault” or “It’s not my job.” We follow through in what we tell you, taking responsibility for meeting commitments – personal ones as well as those of the entire organization. We own the results.

Partnership: We work together. Our teamwork strategy has served us well for decades, and it enables us to combine our strengths for the good of the company, our donors and charity partners. We genuinely care for and support everyone involved in our donation process.

Continuous Improvement: We add value to everything we touch, and we maximize the benefits others receive. “How can we do this better?” is our daily motto. We systematically keep making every step simpler, quicker and better.

When you buy your next “new to you” car through Cars2Charities, you’re supporting local and nationwide organizations. It's the chance to contribute to charities needing finances. 

We have been the conduit for car donations to every imaginable category of needs. You can donate a car to veterans or donate to children’s causes. Some of our donors are animal lovers, while others want to contribute to expand research for a medical condition.

Some of the causes we’ve been able to support are:
Habitat for Humanity: You may know them as home builders, but Habitat for Humanity does so much more. What actually began as a community farm in Americus, Georgia is now an international housing provider and they also run what they call “ReStores” in more than 900 locations.

Reach Out World Wide (ROWW): Established by the late actor Paul Walker after the Haiti earthquake of 2010, ROWW brings practical help to those suffering from natural disasters all over the world.

Parkinson’s Foundation: Helping people suffering from the debilitating effects of Parkinson’s Disease is the mission of this nonprofit organization. 

Humane Society: One of the most widely respected charities in the world, the Humane Society provides safety to animals living on the street and treats those that are injured, neglected and abused. 

Children’s Hospital: No one can imagine what it’s like to have a little one with a life-threatening disease. The medical staff at Children’s Hospital are in the trenches, treating whole families with cutting-edge science every day. 

Whether you consult Angie’s List or Yelp, you’ve probably depended on the remarks of fellow consumers for household services, products and restaurants. Likewise, we post comments by previous Cars2Charities donors on our testimonials page.

The following are a few of those:
• “They did an incredible job ... made the whole process simple.” – John V.
• “Working with Cars2Charities has been great all around. Highly recommend.” – Abigail V.
• “This is the place and the people that go over and above to help you with all the needs. They are friendly, reliable, and honest to their work.” – Rachel N.

You can read more reviews on Yelp; Facebook; and our Testimonials Page.qYAYDqNs

Testimonials add value to a company’s credibility. You know you can trust the services of an institution with positive reviews. According to Dimensional Research, which specializes in technology companies, 90% of consumers claim they’re influenced by online reviews when making purchases. 

Whether you’re on the donor side or you’re looking for cars for sale, we can help you. The benefit to you if you want to donate a car to charity, is that your car can join other cars for sale in Los Angeles, California, and it will come at no cost or effort for you.

If you’re looking for a used car to purchase, you can experience the excitement of a car auction nearby and you may find yourself like a lot of our past car buyers – coming back again for your next set of wheels.

May 23, 2019

A More Meaningful Memorial Day 2019

While Memorial Day 2019 may feature a lot of the usual patriotic traditions, it’s a holiday with a 150-year history which has gone through an evolution over  Qo0FH8btime. In fact, in the beginning it wasn’t even called Memorial Day.

History of Memorial Day

The Civil War marks the beginning of Memorial Day history. First it was known as Decoration Day, established to commemorate the large number of Americans killed, as the Civil War took more lives than any war in the history of the country.

The name is derived from the practice of decorating the graves of soldiers with flowers. Visitors would also hold springtime tributes and recite prayers for fallen soldiers. 

Various communities began their own, similar traditions, but the Memorial Day history recorded in books finds that 1966 marked the holiday’s establishment. That’s when the federal government made Waterloo, New York the official birthplace of Memorial Day –100 years after Waterloo’s first Decoration Day, held on May 5, 1866.

The history of Memorial Day is tied to General John A. Logan, who led the Northern Civil War Veterans organization. He called for a special day of recognition for those who died in service to the country.

He said: “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.”

They chose the last Monday of May to hold the commemoration, because there had been no battle on that date. Arlington National Cemetery was the site of a Decoration Day speech by General James Garfield, who was an Ohio congressman at the time, later elected president, in 1881.

There were 5,000 participants who heard his address before they decorated the graves of 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried at Arlington. Gen. Garfield explained the purpose of Decoration Day, first by acknowledging that words could not match the significance of the soldiers’ sacrifice.kw ITYQV

The tradition continued in northern states and by 1890 many had made it official. There was a separate day for the southern states to commemorate their dead.

Decoration Day honored Civil War soldiers at first, but by the time of World War I the holiday expanded to also recognize members of the military who died in all wars.

There were times when the U.S. Congress made changes to aspects defining what is Memorial Day. The “Uniform Monday Holiday Act” passed by Congress in 1968 created a three-day weekend for federal employees by adjoining the celebration of Memorial Day to a weekend – the last Monday of May.

That’s why Memorial Day 2019 is Monday, May 27.

Visiting National Cemeteries on Memorial Day

The Civil War period was also the beginning of the government establishment of national cemeteries. Today there are 136 cemeteries maintained by the Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration. There are national cemeteries in 40 U.S. states and Puerto Rico.

The first ones were established before the end of the Civil War, about a dozen such cemeteries in 1862. By 1870 there were 73 national cemeteries where nearly 300,000 Union soldiers and sailors were laid to rest.

While it began with the Civil War dead, now the spectrum includes any person who served in the military. They can be buried at the national cemeteries, soldiers’ lots, government lots and Confederate cemeteries. These are managed by three agencies: The National Cemetery Administration of the Department of Veterans Affairs; the National Park Service of the Department of the Interior; and the Department of the Army of the Department of Defense.

zrPtn1 VWhile most soldiers who died in the War of 1812 or the American Revolution were buried in family cemeteries or churchyards, the country’s expansion west in the 19th century required burials at U.S. Army posts. Also, cities began building cemeteries on the outskirts of their populated areas for the sake of sanitation.

With time, there were far more casualties in wartime, so the process of burial had to make shifts and alterations.

In July 1862, the United States Congress passed legislation concerning pay, rations and the purchase of land to establish cemeteries for those who died fighting for the Union Army. The first of these were created near battlefields, troop concentration points and hospitals, including:

  • Nancy, Kentucky
  • Keokuk, Iowa
  • Alexandria, Virginia

By the end of the Civil War there were 30 national cemeteries and seven soldiers’ lots in private cemeteries.

Memorial Day Events Nationwide

According to the Automobile Club, nearly 43 million U.S. residents will travel over the Memorial Day 2019 holiday weekend. A total of 37.6 million are expected to travel by car and some will have destinations in mind to honor the military dead.

A CNN travel article features recommended locations where Memorial Day events will be held.

Visitors to Charleston, South Carolina can dedicate a flag to heroes of their choice at the Charleston Field of Honor from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fees will benefit local veterans’ groups.

Columbus, the capital of Ohio, has a new National Veterans Memorial and Museum where veterans have free admission. The museum focuses on people who served rather than detailing the wars and conflicts themselves.

An impressive set of monuments are found in Indianapolis, Indiana, including veteran-related fountains and statues. The Indiana War Memorials and Museum is a popular stopping point for individuals choosing to take meaningful trips for Memorial Day 2019.

One of the jewels of the East Coast – Cape Cod – is the site of an annual Memorial Day parade, which will actually be held on Sunday, May 26. It begins at Nantucket Legion Hall and ends at Prospect Hill Cemetery in the town. There is a whaling museum worth visiting, and an annual Memorial Day sailing race as well. yCxwfnK

The home of country music, Nashville, Tennessee, has a World War II Memorial at Bicentennial Capitol Mall. It houses an eight-ton marble globe that is situated in flowing water, which is a wonder for visitors.

About 20 miles outside of Nashville is “The Hermitage,” the former home of President Andrew Jackson. You can view his house and picturesque grounds.

The charm of Oklahoma City draws thousands on Memorial Day for a ceremony that includes firing a WWII anti-tank gun. It takes place at a renowned patriotic venue – the 45th Division Museum. After the ceremony at 10 a.m. visitors can take in such exhibits as the Reaves weapons collection in the museum.

A getaway for the Hollywood crowd, Palm Springs, California may not resonate with patriotism, but its Memorial Day weekend does more than just launch the tourist season. City leaders will honor soldiers at the Palm Springs Air Museum at the Memorial Day Flower Drop and Air Fair. The annual event centers around a flyover by a B-25 Mitchell bomber that drops more than 3,000 red and white carnations. The rest of the day includes flight exhibitions and activities as well.

The area in and around Pensacola, Florida offers beach activities along the Panhandle, as well as the presence of many military men and women. Memorial Day 2019 includes a Pensacola Beach Pride celebration over the weekend, plus you can visit the area’s memorable National Naval Aviation Museum – the largest in the world of its kind.

You may want to step onto Whidbey Island, a ferry ride from Seattle, Washington where you can reflect among the natural beauty of Puget Sound. Maple Leaf Cemetery on the northern part of the island in Oak Harbor is the site of the Memorial Day Service of Remembrance at 10 a.m. The ceremony will involve the Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps and the Oak Harbor High School Chorus.

The epitome of Memorial Day celebrations, of course, is in Washington, D.C. It’s always a patriotic centerpiece, but for Memorial Day a visit to the nation’s capital has additional meaning.

Memorial Day 2019 in Washington, D.C. includes:

-- National Memorial Day Concert: Held on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol building, it begins at 8 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday, May 26. You can also watch it on PBS and see appearances by Patti LaBelle, retired Gen. Colin Powell, the National Symphony Orchestra and performance groups from the military branches.
-- National Memorial Day Parade: Beginning at 2 p.m. on Monday, May 27 and running next to the National Mall along Constitution Avenue, this year’s grand marshals will be D-Day survivors who helped liberate France 75 years ago and also actor Gary Sinise, who runs a foundation for veterans.
-- Arlington Cemetery: The site of the eternal flame, where famed military men and women are buried, including President John F. Kennedy, Arlington Cemetery is a popular patriotic site year-round. A Memorial Day ceremony begins there at 11 a.m. Monday, May 27 and will draw approximately 5,000 visitors to the Memorial Amphitheater.
-- National Mall Memorials: There are permanent honorary markers dedicated to individuals who served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. But there is special meaning to visiting these structures over Memorial Day.
-- USAA Poppy Wall of Honor: The District of Columbia has begun a new tradition, creating a wall of honor using poppy flowers, which are a symbol of sacrifice by members of the military. For Memorial Day 2019 it will be located on the southwest side of the Reflecting Pool on the National Mall and is open from Friday, May 24 through Sunday, May 26.

National Moment of Remembrance

National Moment of Remembrance resolutions, passed in December 2000, proposes that at 3:00 p.m. on Memorial Day all Americans voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a literal moment of remembrance and respect. Many of these celebrations will participate in the tradition during their ceremonies.

Donating to Military Causes

d7FpFXdkAs a gesture of your own patriotism for Memorial Day 2019, you can consider doing something to support the men and women who serve in the military. If you have an affinity for those serving abroad, there are nonprofit groups sending care packages. If you prefer to help the wounded, there are organizations you can support to do that as well.

When you donate a car to military charities, it’s a chance to use a car you’re planning to replace as a gift to causes you care about.

A car donation to veterans through Cars2Charities enables you to target your donation to any charity you choose. The process they use has advantages, including the fact that they assess your car donation before selling it, which tends to garner a higher selling price, which gets you a better tax write-off.

It’s also incredibly easy. Not only do you not have to think about the work involved in prepping your car for sale, they pick up your donation vehicle and – literally – handle the entire process.

All you do is choose the charity you prefer, which is any 501(c)(3). Cars2Charities has worked with numerous military nonprofit groups, including: 

Wounded Warrior Project: A veterans’ nonprofit support organization, WWP gives comfort to members of the military who have suffered physical or mental injuries from their service to the country since September 11, 2001.

Heroes in the Rough: Based in Pebble Beach, Heroes in the Rough offers veterans and their families the opportunity to become active, including golf clinics, lessons and tournaments. Disabled veterans gain coordination and stabilize memory while they build physical stamina and golf skills.

Patriots and Paws: Providing help to any one of the 8% who have served in the U.S. military or the 4% who are currently serving, Patriots and Paws is a Fresno-based nonprofit helping them transition back to civilian life. Approximately 95% of those aided by the organization have been homeless at some point and through this volunteer-run charity, individuals can gain access to housing, home furnishings, as well as a rescued companionship animal.

This year, you can reflect on “What is Memorial Day” and celebrate in an elevatedX30yWVuIfashion. Choose to visit or tune in to new forms of celebration and remembrance, or donate to military members of the military to show your respect and thanks to United States Military heroes. Either way, Memorial Day 2019 can be a standout experience for you.

May 13, 2019

Nevada Nuptials: How to Get Married in Vegas

Las Vegas lore is filled with stories about people getting married in Vegas. Falling under the tagline “whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” quickie weddings and secret marriages keep up the public’s curiosity. And for the most part, it’s n7wHLkilworth the effort by inquiring minds.

The Rich and Famous Who Get Married in Vegas

You can find little else to connect such public people as Kelly Ripa, Shia Laboeuf, Richard Gere and Jane Fonda than the fact they had weddings in Vegas – some in successful unions and some ... well ... not-so-much. Tabloid readers have been keeping up with these revolving door-style weddings for decades.

One of the earliest Hollywood examples and one of the entertainment industry’s most enduring marriages took place in Vegas – Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward in 1958.

One of the best-known brides (eight times) was Elizabeth Taylor, who married Eddie Fisher in a Jewish ceremony at a Las Vegas synagogue in 1959.

In an interesting backstory, Taylor had just converted to Judaism the year before, after her beloved husband Mike Todd died in an airplane crash. According to the Daily Beast in an article about an Andy Warhol exhibition in the Jewish Museum, the 26-year-old Taylor was seeking support while mourning the death of Todd, whose birth name was Avrom Hirsch Goldbogen. Rabbi Max Nussbaum oversaw her conversion and officiated at her marriage to Fisher. 

The 1960s saw the most famous Las Vegas wedding couple, Elvis Presley and Priscilla Beaulieu, hold a ceremony at the Aladdin Hotel in May 1967. In the same decade, others included Roger Vadim and Jane Fonda in 1965 and Mia Farrow and Frank Sinatra, who tied the knot at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas in July 1966.

The legends continued to fill the altars at Las Vegas chapels and hotels. Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson held one of their two marriages in Las Vegas in 1976. It lasted six months and they remarried in 1989.10G8xeWR

Bruce Willis and Demi Moore became an official power couple at the Golden Nugget Hotel in Las Vegas in 1987 and divorced in 2000.

Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos were married in 1996 and Richard Gere and Cindy Crawford united in 1998.

Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton brought in the new millennium with their union at the Little Church of the West Wedding Chapel in 2000. Leah Remini and Angelo Pagan had a poolside ceremony at the Bellagio hotel in 2003.

Though it’s not a record for the shortest length of a marriage made in Vegas, Britney Spears and Jason Allen Alexander rang in the new year with a wedding in Las Vegas in 2004 and stayed hitched for just 55 hours. Of course, she pretty much eschewed tradition with her wardrobe – a midriff-revealing T-shirt, ripped jeans and a baseball cap.

“Entourage” star Kevin Dillon and Jane Stuart, a professional model, said “I do” in 2006. They made it a Vegas classic with an Elvis impersonator who did several performances at their ceremony.

Pamela Anderson and Rick Salomon married and began their demise in Vegas when they reportedly began fighting about his poker debts. That was their first marriage (2007). They married again in 2014 and divorced again in 2015.

Shia LaBeouf and Mia Goth began their two-year marriage in 2016.

Fast forward to today and keep watching. On May 1, 2019 Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner got married in Las Vegas after the Billboard Music Awards. More hasty marital decisions are sure to follow.

What Happens in Vegas Wedding Preparations?

Gvbc5jOjWe’ve heard a lot of the stories, but the best ones don't come from sources like The Knot or Pinterest. And the best storytellers are people who've seen it all up close, so they really know how to get married in Vegas. 

A writer for Cracked online got inside information from a former Vegas wedding chapel employee who dishes all kinds of facts about the quirky choice of Las Vegas for marital beginnings. When it comes to how to get married in Vegas, this woman has seen it all. 

Its reputation as an ideal city for impulsive marriage decisions actually began in 1928 in California, when the Golden State passed a “gin law” which made engaged couples take three days before issuing them a marriage license. It was an effort to limit people from entering marriages while drunk, but what it did, of course, was send people over the border, increasing the number of couples going to Nevada for Las Vegas weddings.

You won’t find Las Vegas leadership complaining – it’s a cash cow and keeps tourism high. The county’s marriage license bureau is near the Sunset Strip and the city’s agency office stays open until midnight every day of the year – even Christmas.

It typically doesn’t even take an hour to get what you need, which includes your marriage license and certificate, costing you about $93. When crowds are few you can get married for less than $100 and in less than an hour’s time.

As you may or may not expect, like a favorite bar or hangout, even Vegas has “regulars.” The chapel employee remembered one man who got married in April, then again two weeks later, and her chapel married him to other women another two times the same year. Each time he produced annulment papers so they could reissue him a license.

What happens when someone under 18 attempts to get married in Las Vegas?

According to the article, it’s hard to stop them, because they can lie about their age. It’s up to the bureau to catch them and if someone underage gets married in Vegas, the marriage is illegitimate until the parties are both 18 or over. At that point, it automatically becomes legitimate unless the parents got the marriage annulled somewhere along the way.

People from all over the world come to Nevada thinking they understand how to get married in Vegas, but sometimes they misunderstand the protocol. They assume there’s little-to-no paperwork involved, that it’s just like the movies –an Elvis impersonator calls you “husband and wife” and bada-bing-bada-boom – you’re married.

How to Get Married in Vegas

If you’re a Nevada resident, want a quickie wedding, or if you simply think it wouldCgyvbn2Dbe a fun venue for your invite list, getting married in Las Vegas makes sense. Lucky for you, the steps are simple!

1. Go online and complete the Clark County Marriage License Pre-Application form. The county clerk receives your completed form and it is saved in their system for a year. You have to include a social security number (though there’s an option if you don’t have one). It asks how many times you’ve been married, and you don’t even have to know the exact date you received an annulment or divorce.

The form has a hot link to the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce where you get information on every related service you can think of. 

Some of the businesses advertising there to gain access to new applicants are:
Bootlegger Italian Bistro; The Sugar Factory; and Las Vegas Weddings.

Make sure you are eligible: You must be 18 years old, and minors 17 or 16 must get the consent of a parent or legal guardian. To avoid bigamy charges, both individuals must be legally single to get married.

2. Pick up your marriage license at the Clark County Marriage License Bureau, which is located at 201 E. Clark Avenue Las Vegas, Nevada, 89101. It is open from 8 a.m. -12 midnight. Each bride and groom needs to present a valid form of ID.

3. A witness is required during the wedding, but if you’re alone the chapel may provide a witness for you. To choose a wedding chapel, consult online reviews. 

If you have a crowd coming, there are plenty of venues online with packages to include your party, rooms and food. Some of those include:

The Little Neon Chapel –three locations, where you can have free VIP night club access and show tickets 

Viva Las Vegas – where you can experience the Hound Dog Wedding Package or the Elvis Pink Caddy Package 

Wee Kirk O’ the Heather – opened in 1940 and offers destination weddings including helicopters and Las Vegas Sign ceremonies 

And, believe it or not, getting married in Vegas doesn’t have to involve a little chapel. There are numerous outdoor venues as well. 

Getting Married in Vegas Saves Money

When you’re just starting out, finding cost cutters may be essential to your survival. Just because you have a Vegas wedding doesn’t mean you take divorce lightly, and since surveys reveal that money is the number one topic leading to divorce, you want to minimize the friction by addressing it.

An article in the Business Insider says that particularly in the first and third years of marriage, money causes more conflict than the spouses’ families, children or religion. They found that when couples bring debt into their marriage it causes a great deal of unhappiness. Those with $20,000 to $50,000 of debt have the lowest satisfaction in marriage, according to studies.

Most of us know it’s an important topic to discuss before tying the knot – whether you get married in Vegas or not. But about one-fourth of couples studied admitted to avoiding those conversations.

jXDvms1SThere was a study by American Express that showed fewer than 50 percent of married couples actually talked about money before they got married, but results were higher when they just polled affluent couples and young professionals. More than 10 percent of married folks claimed they had never discussed finances with their spouses.

“Budgets are Sexy” money blogger Andy Prescott explains in Business Insider how he saved money getting married in Vegas. 

“I got married in Las Vegas for $500, and if I had to do it all over again I would do it exactly the same,” he says. “I understand it's not for everybody, but for the right people it's a great way to save thousands of dollars.”

The first thing Prescott does in his writeup is help you determine if you’re, in fact, least likely to be happy with the decision to get married in Vegas.

First of all, if you dreamed of a traditional, elegant affair, you probably won’t like what you get with a Las Vegas wedding. And if you have family who want the same for you, it’s not a best bet possibility.

But if you have conflict within the family, or if you don’t want them showing up – hosting a Vegas wedding is a great idea. If something short, sweet and cheap is at the top of your priority list, then it’s a good choice as well.

The writer points out that you can get married in Las Vegas for as little as $55, but you may not get Elvis for that. Prescott’s wedding ceremony cost $300 at the Golden Nugget, which amounted to a simple affair in a pretty nice hotel. They were married by a Roman Catholic priest who recited a traditional speech and it included a wedding planner and photographer.

Your Financial Decisions after Getting Married in Las Vegas

You’ve got to get home, one way or the other. If you flew to Vegas, but don’t have a return flight, consider buying a car.

It sounds crazy, but many residents of Western states such as California find they can save money by purchasing wheels out of state. Because the population is lower in Nevada, you can often find individuals who are more desperate to unload their used cars because there isn’t as big a pool of car buyers.

Or you may be in the market for a particular RV or a vintage vehicle with a long list of specs – and if you find it in Nevada you can drive you and your newlywed partner home.

It’s not smart to be completely impulsive about it, but it’s something to consider.

If your CPA wants you to find more tax write-offs this year, you can donate a car to charity and there’s an added financial benefit. You can swing through Valley Auto Mall after Elvis pronounces you “man and wife” (or whatever) and you get the luxury of a new set of wheels plus an easy way to unload the car that’s parked in your garage.

When you make a car donation to charity you don’t really have to do much. A call to Cars2Charities, or a donation online means a towing professional comes to pick up your donation vehicle – at a time and place that’s convenient for you.CYQiv6lS

The only other effort you have is to choose the 501(c)(3) nonprofit to obtain proceeds from the car donation. Cars2Charities completes all the paperwork – even the title transfer.

This could very well be the best year of your life. If you’re getting married in Vegas, it’s the beginning of a lifelong journey, which you can expand to be so much more. How about a honeymoon at Graceland?

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