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Monthly Archives: February 2019
Things to do this Spring in Atlanta
Spring in Atlanta is always a great time of year—well, minus the pollen count. Atlanta offers a wide variety of indoor and outdoor activities for people of all ages. There’s never a dull moment in the best city of the South. Okay, maybe we’re a little biased, but with everything from spring festivals to museums to outdoor concerts to the staple tourist attractions, Atlanta makes planning your springtime fun effortless and exciting.
If you’re looking for something to do for spring break with the kids or just want to get out and enjoy the city, Atlanta has it covered. One growing and popular idea is a “staycation.” A staycation is sort of like a vacation, except you book lodging at or near your home and enjoy the city attractions, or just appreciate the time away from home in a different environment. Make time to enjoy all the greatness of Atlanta and take a break from the everyday routine.
Below are a few great events and venues to check out:
Popular tourist attractions
- CNN Studio Tours
- The National Center for Civil and Human Rights
- Zoo Atlanta
- Georgia Aquarium
- The King Center
- The World of Coca-Cola
- College Football Hall of Fame
- Atlanta Jazz Festival
- Wine Festival
- Atlanta Film Festival
- Georgia Renaissance Festival
- Atlanta Caribbean Festival
- High Museum of Art
- Fernbank Museum of Natural History
- Atlanta History Center
- Children’s Museum of Atlanta
Outdoor concert venues
- Chastain Amphitheater
- Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
- Aaron’s Amphitheater at Lakewood
Parks & outdoor recreation
- Centennial Olympic Park
- Atlanta Botanical Garden
- Piedmont Park
- The Atlanta Beltline
- Woodruff Park
If traffic is a concern, which it typically is, and you want to get around quickly and easily, just hop on a MARTA train or bus to make life easier (and save on parking!). For more resources and ideas on springtime fun in Atlanta or things to do no matter the season, visit atlanta.net/things-to-do.
What’s your favorite springtime activity in Atlanta? Let us know in the comments!
Can you save money by cutting cable?
Whether it’s Comcast, DIRECTV, AT&T U-verse, Xfinity, or DISH Network, your cable service is expensive. It’s also the main reason people have been saying bye-bye to traditional pay-TV services. With the dramatic switch of viewers to online streaming, TV antennas, and other entertainment options, cable companies are struggling to retain subscribers and are quickly losing their financial foothold on the market.
Yes, cable still has some good shows like This is Us, The Walking Dead, and Survivor, but you don’t necessarily need a cable box to watch them. If you’re thinking of cutting the cable cord, here are a few options you’ll need to consider about life after-cable TV:
Consider an HD antenna
Antennas have come a long way from rabbit ears and tinfoil (which still works, BTW). Antennas provide free local and live network TV, but the most popular ones now provide it in HD. With just the cost of the antenna and no additional subscription needed, it’s the least expensive and simplest alternative once you call it quits with your cable provider. Just plug the antenna into your TV and point it toward the window. It’s ideal for news and sports but offers limited channels, and where you live has a lot to do with what you’re able to watch. Closer proximity to broadcast towers delivers better reception so those in urban areas can expect the clearest pictures and the best channel selection.
Choose your streaming service and your device
If you’ve purchased a TV in the last few years, it’s likely a Smart TV, which means you already have access to the streaming services that you need. Apps for popular services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, among others, come already installed on a Smart TV. With a monthly subscription of $8 – $17 per month or $119 per year, depending on the service, you’ll have more TV entertainment than you could possibly enjoy in any couch-potato life.
If you currently don’t have a Smart TV, it’s an easy fix. The simplest alternative is to download the streaming app on your laptop computer and watch online. If you prefer, you can also watch it on your TV if you attach your computer via HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA, or DVI cable.
If plugging your laptop into your TV each time isn’t ideal, there are other reasonably priced options, like set-top boxes, streaming sticks, game consoles, or other devices, that accomplish the same thing. The most popular choices are made by Roku, Apple, Google, and Amazon and range in price from $35 to $400.
Replace your cable provider with another service
If you’re nervous about cutting yourself off from the cable world and your favorite daily channels, consider a cable replacement service. It’s a subscription service, just like the cable company, but somewhat less expensive. Services like Sling TV, DirecTV Now, PlayStation Vue, Hulu with Live TV and YouTube TV fall into this category and subscription prices range from $25 per month to $80. The services include different channels, so if you’re hooked on ESPN or need to watch Nickelodeon on Saturday mornings, it’ll impact your selection.
Another service to consider is Plex, which allows users to create their own media library on their personal computer and then stream it to their web browser, game consoles, or other media players. The service allows for screen mirroring, recording live TV, and sharing libraries with friends. Best of all, it’s basic service is FREE.
With so many options, we can see why people are making the switch. If you’re paying for a service and there may be a better option that meets your needs and your budget, it’s worth a look.
How recent credit score changes may be helping you
Recently, the three major credit reporting agencies removed nearly all civil judgments and about half of all tax liens from consumer credit reports. It’s all part of the National Consumer Assistance Plan (NCAP), a series of changes initiated by Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. The actions were the result of a study by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that identified problems with credit reporting and recommended changes to improve credit reporting, accuracy, and quality, and to increase consumer credit education.
Improved reporting requirements
Under the NCAP, in order for any public record to be included on a credit report, it must include the name, address, and social security number or date of birth of the consumer. The provider of the information must also visit the courthouse at least every 90 days to obtain newly filed or updated public records.
Non-compliant reporting raises credit scores
The bureaus estimated that over half of all the tax lien records and 95% of all judgments did not meet the new data criteria, which required them to be excluded. Because both judgments and tax liens negatively impact credit scores, some consumers may have seen a boost, depending on which credit scoring model was used.
The most common impact was an increase of 11 points, but 18% saw gains of 30+ points. People who saw the most significant jump started with a relatively low credit score. In contrast, almost 20% of consumers saw a decline in their credit score once collections were removed, but it was more likely because those consumers worsened their scores in other ways.
Mortgage rates may still be impacted
Just because judgments and tax liens won’t necessarily be reflected in your credit score, doesn’t mean, however, that you can escape the financial consequences that they bring, especially if you’re applying for a mortgage.
Mortgage borrowers who have a judgment or tax lien were found to be 5 ½ times more likely to go into pre-foreclosure or foreclosure, so many mortgage lenders still want to see this type of information. Fannie Mae, for example, requires their approved lenders to follow their Selling Guide, which requires borrowers to pay off delinquent credit, like judgments and tax liens, at or before closing.
If you’ve seen a bump in your credit score, good for you! Leverage the momentum and keep your score moving up. Pay every bill on time, keep your credit utilization low, and monitor your credit report. Reporting errors are not uncommon, so check your report regularly for inaccuracies.
To request a copy of your free credit report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com By law, you are allowed one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
12 Ways To Celebrate Valentine’s Day in Atlanta
Valentine’s day is right around the corner and whether you’ve been married for fifty years, just started dating, or are single and ready to mingle, there’s something for everyone in the ATL. Grab your honey, your most recent crush, or your BFF and find something romantic, fun, or just plain silly to do for this sweet occasion:
Valentine’s glass blowing (February 1-24)
Grab your cutie and sign up for this hot-glass blowing class at Decatur Glassblowing. Choose from a variety of colors and shapes (round, flat, or heart-shaped) and make a glass paperweight. It’s an experience and a gift all in one…how sweet!
Valentine’s Day cemetery tour (February 9-10)
Who says spooky can’t be romantic? Celebrate Valentine’s Day with an hour-long tour as you look back and listen to some of Oakland Cemetery’s tales of everlasting love. Love Stories of Oakland recounts the lives, loves, and losses of Atlantans of days past.
Valentine’s Day dinner (February 14)
If food is your love language, you’ll need to make your Valentine’s Day dinner reservations fast! Wine and dine your sweetheart at any of these Atlanta restaurants that are offering special menus and specialty drinks for the occasion.
Romance in the Garden (February 14)
Let love bloom at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Enjoy an elegant evening of live entertainment, dancing, appetizers, dessert, and cocktails from a cash bar at this Valentines in the Garden celebration.
Valentine’s Day at the Fabulous Fox (February 14)
If music puts you in the mood, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and Keith Sweat are hosting a Valentine’s Day Celebration at the Fabulous Fox Theatre. Tickets for this smooth jazz and R&B concert are on sale now!
Atlanta Balloon Glow (February 14)
Whether you’re looking for an uplifting way to celebrate Valentine’s Day or want to enjoy the day with the whole family, the Atlanta Balloon Glow at Piedmont Park will surely light up your life! It features glowing hot air balloons, tethered balloon rides, and food and activities for everyone. Want to sneak away with your sweetheart for a few minutes? Opt for a couple’s balloon ride and enjoy the spectacular view of the Atlanta Skyline!
Music in the Wimbish mansion (February 14)
If you’re up for a more sophisticated celebration, check out the Black-Tie Valentine’s Day event at the Wimbish House. Enjoy the pre-concert soirée, fine wine, and champagne. Then be swept away by the sounds of the string orchestra, opera, solo violin, and saxophone jazz quartet.
Romance at the Lake (February 14, 15, 16)
If you’re looking to escape this Valentine’s Day weekend, Lanier Islands is the perfect place. The resort is offering a romantic getaway package that includes your room, chocolate dipped strawberries, a four-course dinner, and a buffet breakfast the following morning.
Sips Under the Sea (February 15)
Eat, Drink, and Be Mine! Celebrate Valentine’s Day with a special edition of Sips Under the Sea at the Georgia Aquarium You’ll enjoy romantic tunes, delicious small plates, and sweet cocktails among the stunning whale sharks and manta rays!
Murder Mystery Dinner (February 15)
Celebrate your Valentine’s Day with the “Love You to Death” Dinner at Maggiano’s Little Italy-Cumberland. It’ll be a night of murder, mystery and…yup, you guessed it, pasta!
An evening of silly love songs (February 15)
Invite your sweetheart and your friends to spend the evening with Yacht Rock Schooner. You’ll be serenaded with silly and smooth songs from the ‘70s and ’80s at this concert-only event at Park Tavern. Hurry and buy your tickets now. This annual celebration always sells out fast!
Cook up some romance (Several dates in February)
Get hands-on this year with a couples cooking class! Check out the class schedule at The Cooking School at Irwin Street or The Cooks Warehouse. Mercato di Bellina at Ponce City Market features a special I Love Vino for Lovebirds course on the 13th, and Publix offers a Wine and Dine Your Valentine demonstration on the 14th.