Don’t Let Your Stuff Get Added to the Collection

Waiting to Learn to Drive

Waiting to Learn to Drive
Don’t Let Your Stuff Get Added to the Collection

Driving is pretty much a part of everyday life as an adult. You need to drive to work, to run errands, and to take your kids to school. It is one of the many freedoms that adults get, and kids see this. Kids cannot wait until the day that they get to take a seat behind the wheel and choose the destination.

While most kids wait until they are sixteen before they begin to drive, some kids try to drive by themselves way before they are ready. Every once in a while a new story comes in about a young child taking their parents car for a bit of a joyride. These incidents tend to end in accidents with injuries and property damage.

Recently, a couple of kids from Virginia did just this. The children, aged 10 and 7, decided they wanted to go to the beach. They hopped into their parent’s Lexus and began heading to the beach. Shortly after, another driver called 911 stating that there was a vehicle driving all over the road with a child behind the wheel. The driver followed the vehicle until it crashed with their own. Luckily, both kids were wearing their seatbelts and did not receive any major injuries.

This is a good reminder for all parents to teach their kids of the importance of wearing their seatbelts and that they should never try to drive a car on their own. Attempting to do so can be very dangerous and get them into a lot of trouble.

To kids, driving looks like a lot of fun and offers some of the freedoms that they may crave. They do not fully understand how dangerous it is to drive a vehicle. They also have no idea what any of the rules of the road are.

Be sure to teach your kids the importance of wearing their seatbelt and that they should wait until they are older to start driving.


Waiting to Learn to Drive

Don’t Let Your Stuff Get Added to the Collection

Waiting to Learn to Drive

Everybody has stuff that they enjoy owning, and would hate to lose. Unfortunately, there are people out there that like to steal other people’s stuff. That is why the Los Angeles County Sheriffs are running a series of ads for the “Stolen Collection.” At first glance, one might think the poster is an advertisement for some weird fashion line, when in reality it is advertising keeping your stuff out of the Stolen Collection.

The idea of the campaign is to help keep the important stuff in their life safe from criminals who’d try to take it.

The campaign reminds individuals to:

  • Lock their doors at night. This includes their house, garage, and car doors. This can help deter would be criminals and keep them out of areas where you don’t want them. Many criminals only steal items because it was easy to grab them and keep moving. Don’t let an unlocked car or garage become an easy target.
  • Turn on exterior lights at night. The additional light will help deter would be criminals who like dark targets. The darker an area, the easier it is for a criminal to do something illegal without being noticed.
  • Remove valuables from vehicles. Cars are not safe places to store anything valuable or of importance. Items that you don’t want stolen should be taken out of cars at night and stored in your house.
  • Lastly, report suspicious activity. If you see any people acting strange or in a way that sets off alarms in your head, report it to the proper authorities. After all, better safe than sorry.

While this may only be a campaign in Los Angeles County, it is still important for everyone. Nobody wants to have something of theirs stolen and added to the “collection” so it is important to take the proper preventative steps.

By following these easy, yet important steps every night you can help ensure that your stuff stays in your possession.


Road Trip 101

Road Trip 101

Road Trip 101

Summer is for lazy pool days, family vacations, and road trips! If you’re like the 80% of Americans who ventured out on a road trip in 2017 then you know that road trips can be a lot of fun. However, they can also be a little nerve-wracking if you’ve never taken one before. That’s why we’re here to give you a few “rules of the road” for your summer trips. Read below for a list of our top 5 tips for road trips.

  1. Have a “check-up” completed – It sounds unnecessary but we can’t express how important it is to take your car to a trusted mechanic and have them complete a total body inspection of your car. They will inspect all the hoses, tires, brakes, windshield wipers, and top off your fluids. The initial price of the inspection is only about $50 but can fluctuate depending on if the shop finds any problems. It’s a hassle and just adds to the never-ending list of things you need to do before you embark on your journey, but the peace of mind as you drive is well worth it.
  2. Submit travel plans to your bank – Can you imagine stopping to grab a bite to eat after a long day of driving and having your debit or credit card declined? Before you leave your home state, be sure to log onto your mobile banking app and submit your travel plans. This alerts your bank that any abnormal purchases in strange states are actually you and not a random credit card thief taking a joyride.
  3. Keep snacks at a minimum – If you’re like the rest of us then you get excited at the thought of all the snacks you can consume on your trip. Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the $50 you just spent on snacks at Walmart wasn’t really worth it. Now, it is a good idea to get a few healthy options, maybe some pretzels or peanuts to munch on when you get tired, but don’t go crazy – it might just leave you feeling bloated and sluggish from the lack of activity and influx of snacks.
  4. Pack a case of water – We suggest taking the extra money you allotted for snacks and putting it toward a case of water. We know that some people prefer a reusable water bottle, but you never know if the truck stop is going to have a water fountain to fill up your reusable water bottle. So rather than spending $4 for 2 bottles of water at each pit stop, pack a case of water from the start and you don’t have to worry about it.
  5. Create a music playlist on your phone – In the age of Spotify, Apple Music, and Pandora do people really create playlists anymore? Maybe not, but when you are in the middle of the desert, no matter what carrier your phone has, you’re going to lose reception and there aren’t going to be any radio stations. You’re going to be thankful you were prepared and have something to listen to.

Road trips are a great way to see the country, and they are a great bonding activity for your family.

We are by no means experts in the field, but based on our experience we think these five tips and tricks will help make your trips much more enjoyable!


Beat the Heat, Save Some Cash

Beat the Heat, Save Some Cash

Beat the Heat, Save Some Cash

If you’ve been living in California for any amount of time then it should come as no surprise that it was ranked as the third most expensive place to live in the United States, this according to a 2017 article published by CNBC. While California may be known as the Golden State, that doesn’t mean you have to strike it rich to live here.

With your paycheck being split between housing, food, and gas, we want to help stretch your family’s budget for the things you want to do – things that don’t include sending money to the government. In an effort to help you cut costs and make room in your summer budget, we bring you the top five ways to cut your summer utility bills.

We’ve taken tips from all over the web, including Forbes and US News to bring you top tips. Read below to save some serious summer cash.

  1. Place heavy or thick drapes over the windows – By hanging heavy drapery over windows and doors you will help keep your home or apartment cool by not letting the sun’s rays through the glass. We know that blackout curtains aren’t cheap. Click here to shop Amazon’s selection of blackout curtains. If there still isn’t room in your budget to cover every window with curtains, buy coverings for only the large windows or doors that face direct sunlight.
  2. Don’t turn off your A.C. – This might sound strange, however, when you turn off your A.C. completely the temperature in your home rises. In turn, when you return home and turn the unit back on the system will have to work twice as hard to cool down your home. Ultimately, using more electricity and causing your energy bill to rise.
  3. Utilize ceiling fans – The great thing about ceiling fans is that they do not use as much electricity as your air conditioning unit, but they help circulate air throughout your home to help keep it cool.
  4. Turn your lights off – This simple and effective step can save big on your electric bill by cutting energy usage during the day and keeping your home cool.
  5. Limit appliance usage – This suggestion is multi-faceted, meaning that it’s not specific to a particular room in your household. By limiting the use of your dryer, dishwasher, and oven you will see your electric bill take a nosedive.

Utilize the summer warmth to dry laundry outside, have your kids help wash dirty dishes, and make simple dishes that don’t require the use of your oven or stove.

These are just a few tips and tricks to help you beat the heat and save some cash this summer, but we know that there are thousands of other ideas out there.

Drop us a comment below and tell us some of your own tips and tricks to help lower your family’s utility consumption during the summer months.


Fight Droughts Save Water

Fight Droughts Save Water

Fight Droughts Save Water

If you live in the state of California then you know that rain is an uncommon act of Mother Nature. This lack of precipitation in the state results in what is commonly known as a drought. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, a drought is a prolonged period of abnormally low rainfall that results in a shortage of water. While small droughts around the state are common, statewide multi-year droughts are pretty infrequent.

According to the National Integrated Drought Information System, the current drought in California impacts about 34,564,000 people; this accounts for almost 93% of the state’s population. With such a large impact on the number of people a drought effects, you may be wondering what some of the repercussions of a drought are – take a peek below to learn more about how a drought can impact you and your family.

  • Due to a lack of water, animals and plants will die. However, animals will try to survive by migrating away from a specific area in order to find suitable water and food resources.
  • Without rainfall, bodies of water such as lakes, creeks, and ponds dry out. This also results in the death of aquatic life and vegetation.
  • It may sound strange, but soil needs water to remain fertile. Without it, the quality of the soil is reduced and kills vital soil organisms. Due to a low quality of soil, farmers experience low crop production and the cost of food to the consumer will increase.

The list above is not comprehensive. If you want to see a more thorough list of the negative impacts of a drought, click here. With the harsh realities of a drought looming, we want to provide you with a few simple tips and tricks to conserve water in your home and neighborhood.

  • Turn off the water when brushing your teeth.
  • Take shorter showers.
  • Replace water fixtures with more efficient and water saving options such as a low-flow toilet or a Water Sense rated dishwasher.
  • Wait to run the dishwasher and washing machine until they are full.
  • Water your plants in the morning.
  • Fix any plumbing leaks within your home.

The average American uses about 80-100 gallons of water each day. By following along and participating in the simple steps mentioned above, you and your family can help decrease its water usage and help conservation efforts.


Rules of the Beach

Rules of the Beach

Rules of the Beach

Nobody wants to think about rules once summer rolls around,the season is about freedom after all. However, the rules still need to be followed. If someone decides to ignore them,they can end up facing some serious fines or even jail time. California law doesn’t care what season it is. If a law is broken, a person will get into trouble.

Beaches are the go to place to hang out in the summer when you live in California. Unfortunately, beaches are also the go to spot for tourist as well. Locals often find their favorite surf spots littered with tourist and trash. This can make for a bad relationship between locals and tourists. If you’re a local, try to be patient with the tourist this summer. They may not know that they’re on a private beach, or that it’s a popular surf spot. If you’re a tourist on the beach this summer, please remember to pick up after yourself. California already has enough problems with water pollution, we do need an extra hand.

Aside from littering, beaches have several other rules as well. You can’t just do whatever you’d like on a beach. Most beaches have set aside areas that are designated for certain activities that are banned elsewhere on the beach. It’s always a good idea to see what rules that a beach might have since they change from place to place.

For example according to the LA County website, all beaches in LA County have the following rules:

  • No animals allowed on the beach (no cats, dogs, horses, etc.)
  • No alcoholic beverages
  • No smoking
  • No tents, or overnight camping
  • No fires or barbeques allowed, except in the fire pits at Dockweiler Beach
  • No fireworks
  • No glass containers
  • No loitering between midnight and 6am
  • No amplified music
  • No nudity
  • No diving in shallow water
  • No soliciting or selling merchandise
  • No littering
  • No driving or parking on sand or bike path
  • No disturbances
  • No swimming, wading, surfing, skin dive, scuba dive, or recreation in the ocean after sundown

Like most rules, these rules are designed with your safety in mind. They don’t want glass bottle on the beach because people tend to litter, and broken glass could easily slice someone’s foot open. Loud music maybe okay with you and your group of friends when it’s your playlist, but your neighbors on the beach maybe offended by your choice of songs.

Rules exist for a reason. Although you may not always agree with that reason, the rule needs to be followed in order for you have the best beach experience. Don’t let the rules get you down. You can always look for beaches that have designated areas for you to have a fire, or a place that allows pets.

There are several beaches in California, you just have to find the right one for you.


The Ins and Outs of Employment Discrimination

The Ins and Outs of Employment Discrimination

The Ins and Outs of Employment Discrimination

If someone you either employ or who you decide not to hire believes that you’re discriminating against them based on race, gender, religion, or some other characteristic, you will find yourself in some serious legal trouble.

In the state of California, you’re not allowed to hold these characteristics against any of your current or prospective employees:

  • Advancing age
  • Birth country
  • Disability
  • Sex
  • Race
  • Genetic traits
  • Religion
  • Ancestry
  • Medical conditions
  • If they’ve been a victim of a crime such as domestic abuse, stalking, assault
  • Political affiliations
  • Sexual orientation
  • Veteran status
  • AIDS/HIV
  • Marital status

It’s important to understand that it’s not unusual for a city like San Francisco, where you can’t use a person’s height or weight against them when they’re employed by, to have additional rules about employee discrimination.

If an employee feels that they’ve been the victim of employee discrimination, they file a report with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) who than launches an investigation. It’s important that you work closely with EEOC and provide honest answers to their questions and that you comply with investigation. If you become difficult, or you act like you’re trying to hide something, the investigating team will start to assume that you’re guilty of discrimination.

While an accusation of employment discrimination can be embarrassing to an employer, having the EEOC investigation reveal proof of the discrimination is even worse. Not only does this make it considerably harder for the employer to hirer employees and get good PR for their company, it also means that they’ll be required to pay fees to the employee. Additional expenses include legal fees, back wages, payment for lost promotions, court costs, etc. Many employers find that the employee also file charges against them in civil court. The EEOC can also force the employer to take corrective measures.

No two employment discrimination cases are the same. So the type of investigation as well as the punishment the employer receives vary from one case to the next.


The Ins and Outs of Aggravated DUI

The Ins and Outs of Aggravated DUI

The Ins and Outs of Aggravated DUI

We all know that driving after drinking is something that can cost us our driver’s license and land us in jail. What many of us don’t realize is that California has something called aggravated DUI which is even more serious than your standard DUI charge.

Any time you get behind the wheel of your vehicle and your blood alcohol level is .08% or higher, you’re breaking the law. When this happens, you’re sent before a judge who has a list of guidelines they’ll use to determine how severely you’ll be punished for your crime. Factors the judge takes into consideration include what your driving record looks like, why you were pulled over, how high your BAC was, etc.

Mitigated DUI Charges

If you find yourself on the defending side of a DUI case, you want the judge to consider all the mitigating factors. These are issues that won’t make the DUI charge disappear but will decrease the severity of the punishment you face.

Solid mitigating factors include:

  • If you were on prescription drugs
  • If your blood level was just a tiny bit over the legal limit, which means that when you first started driving, you probably weren’t legally drunk
  • If you’re willing to enter a substance abuse program
  • If you’re gainfully employed
  • If you’re involved in community activities

Not only can a good lawyer help you use mitigating factors to help lessen the severity of judge’s sentence, the same mitigating factors can also help you get a great plea bargain.

Aggravated DUI

No one wants to have the judge that’s overseeing their DUI case use the words aggravated DUI. In California, judges who feel that you’re guilty of aggravated DUI can hit you with some really harsh charges.

Factors used to determine if you’re guilty of aggravated DUI include:

  • How badly you were driving when you were originally pulled over
  • If you’re actions led to property damage
  • If you caused an accident
  • Prior DUI charges
  • If there was a child in the car with you when you were pulled over for DUI
  • Prior criminal record
  • If you drove through a construction zone
  • A high blood alcohol level

The exact reason the judge decides to hit you with aggravated DUI play an important role in determining the severity of your punishment. For example, if you’re charged with aggravated DUI because you caused an accident and people were hurt/killed, the judge will add 1 to 3 years of jail time to your sentence for each person impacted during the accident.

The first time you’re caught driving drunk with someone under the age of 14 in the car with you, you’ll spend an additional 48 hours in jail. The third time you’re charged with a DUI and have a minor in the car with you, the sentence will include an additional 30 days in jail.

Driving more than 20-30 miles over the posted speed limit with a blood alcohol level that’s over .08% means an additional 60 days in jail will be added to your sentence.

The best way to avoid aggravated DUI charges is making sure you always have a designated driver when you’re drinking.


Can Police Officers Search Your Electronics?

Can Police Officers Search Your Electronics?

Can Police Officers Search Your Electronics?

In the modern age, so much of our lives revolve around electronic devices. How many of us would be able to go a day without our cellphone in hand? Probably not many of us. It’s no wonder that since electronic devices like this have become so commonplace that law enforcement officers may need to see them during criminal investigations.

A very common question that most people have is when can a police officer search through my phone or other digital devices? The answer is the same for when can an officer search your home or house: they either need your consent to do so, a warrant that specifically lists the item in question, or when they have reason to believe that the searching of the device will prevent a crime.

This right is protected under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. The Fourth Amendment protects all US citizens from unreasonable search and seizures of property. This includes digital property stored on electronic devices.

If a law enforcement officer searches your phone or other devices illegally, then nothing they find there can be used as evidence against you since it was obtained illegally. Furthermore, consent to search a device has to be given freely, it cannot be coerced out of an individual. Lastly, a warrant to search a device has to specifically list what types of files can be looked at on the device, and the officer cannot stray from that list.

The modern world is always changing, and that means that laws need to change and update with it. This is why the Fourth Amendment, which was written a few hundred years before any electronic devices were invented, now covers the search of those devices. It is a way to prevent law enforcement officers from abusing the powers granted to them. Unfortunately not every officer out there is aware of this, and may claim otherwise.

If that is the case, and an officer demands to search your device without a warrant, calmly and politely refuse while informing the officer that the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution protects your devices from unreasonable searches.


Never Try to Race a Train

Never Try to Race a Train

Never Try to Race a Train

Running across railroads is pretty common in day to day life. You may walk alongside one on your morning jog, or cross one when driving to work. They are a part of everyday life, and for the most part they do not interfere. However, every once in a while you get stuck at a crossing waiting for a freight train to roll through.

If you are like most people, you find this sort of annoying. You have places to be. Others have felt the same way, and attempted to race the train through the crossing. Unfortunately for that person, that was the wrong choice. Trains, especially freight trains, can be very dangerous. It is never a good idea to race them through a crossing.

On average, a freight train can weigh anywhere from 12 to 20 million pounds. Anyone who understands momentum will know that stopping that much weight in a hurry is a very big undertaking. In fact, it can take over a mile for a 12 million pound train to come to a complete stop. Long story short, a train will never be able to stop for someone or something on the tracks.

Over half of all car and train accidents occur at crossings that are equipped with automatic signals. This is due largely in part to the fact that drivers will ignore the signals, and try to make it through the crossing without regard for the train. Once the signals start to flash and the arms begin to lower, wait for the train to pass. It is not worth risking your life.

Another surprising fact, is that a quarter of all train and car collisions occur when a car drives into the side of a train. This happens to drivers who are not exercising the proper cautions for the weather conditions. They are driving too fast in wet or dark conditions, and are then unable to stop in time to avoid hitting the train. This can easily be avoided by adjusting driving habits to match current weather conditions.

If your car ever stalls or gets stuck on the tracks, get everyone out of the car and to a safe distance right away. Then call 911 and alert them to the vehicle on the tracks. They will then contact the railroad, which will halt train operations on the line in question until the car has been moved. If a train is approaching when the car is stuck, get out as quickly as possible and run away from the tracks at an angle. You want to move away from the tracks, but in the direction of the oncoming train. This will keep you safe from the debris that will be caused by the train hitting the vehicle, which will be shot out and away in the direction that the train is traveling.

For many people, crossing train tracks has become a part of their everyday life. This, unfortunately, has led to them forgetting how dangerous these crossings can be for anyone who isn’t paying enough attention. Always be aware of your surroundings near train tracks, and never try to race a train.