Monday, November 11, 2013

Hot Deal on Leapfrog LeapPad Ultra at Kmart


Leapfrog’s LeapPad Ultra is one of 2013‘s hottest holiday toys. If you’re a bargain hunter like me, the price tag is not so hot. But Kmart has an awesome deal running on it right now. Kmart is offering the LeapPad Ultra for $149 with $20 back in Shop Your Way Rewards points through 11/23. Based on the 2013 Black Friday ads that have been leaked so far, the LeapPad Ultra will not be offered at any significant discount. So, this is probably the best deal this holiday season. I currently have $13 in Shop Your Way rewards points. So here is what my Kmart.com transaction looks like before taxes.

$149 (current price)


- $13 (my current SWY Rewards points balance)
= $136 (my out of pocket price)
- $8.16 (Upromise 6% cash back – applied on net purchase price)
-$20 (bonus SYW Rewards points for buying the LeapPad Ultra)
-$10 (bonus SYW Rewards points for spending $50 or more on toys – must apply SYW rewards coupon to order to receive this)

My Final Price = $97.84!

Even if you don’t have any SYW points in your account, the final price would still make this a deal at $111! I doubt you will find a better deal on Black Friday or after.

Also, If you start a new layaway in a Kmart store before 11/23, you will also get back $6 in points. The Covington, GA Kmart Layaway department is horribly slow and inefficient. If you live in Covington, save yourself the 2 hours I wasted starting a layaway in the store yesterday and do this deal online. If you decide to go into the Kmart store, you need to be vigilant about making sure your discounts are applied. It’s not easy for the cashiers to tell if the discount was applied and most of them are not very concerned about making sure you get your discounts and promotions.

 If Kmart is not an option for you, here’s a breakdown of some of the current deals  on the LeapPad Ultra available at larger retailers. You may have to do an in-store purchase to qualify for some of the extras that help sweeten the deals. Don’t forget to go through Ebates.com or Upromise.com for up to 5% additional cash back on online purchases.

Amazon.com - The LeapPad Ultra is currently being offered for $149 and the gel skin case and headphones will be thrown in for free. Just add all three to your cart and checkout to get the savings.

Toys r Us –  Toys R Us has the LeapPad Ultra priced at $149 for the LeapPad Ultra Super Pack which comes with the gel skin case and a $10 app card. Everything is packaged together so it makes a nice presentation for gift giving. If you got the Toys R Us toy book from the Atlanta Journal Constitution newspaper a few weeks ago, there was a coupon on the front cover for a $10 Toys R Us gift card with a purchase of $100 or more.  After the $10 gift card and $10 App card, your final cost is $129.

Wal-Mart – The Wal-Mart flyer in the 11/10 AJC advertised the LeapPad Ultra for $149 with a $30 Wal-Mart gift card back. This makes the final cost $119!

Target – Target also has the LeapPad Ultra priced at $149. There is a $5 Leapfrog coupon in Target’s toy book that brings the total to $145.

Kohl’s –The LeapPad Ultra at Kohl’s seems to only be available as a gift set with headphones and a Hello Kitty® or Monsters University® game for $242.24. If you have a Kohl’s card, you can get 20% off when you pay with your Kohl’s card. And if  your out of pocket amount is over $200, you get back $40 in Kohl’s cash. For those without a Kohl’s card, they are offering 15% off on each purchase. Assuming 5% cash back, that would bring your final price to $156 or less before taxes.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

2013 Covington Conyers Halloween Events

I am filing this post under better late than never. Figuring out where to take your children for Halloween trick-or-treating can be a challenge in Covington/Newton County. A lot of the churches in the area sponsor trunk-or-treat events and there is usually something going on at the Covington Square. Here is a roundup of the most promising Halloween events I found around the net.



October 30

Rockdale 4-H Spooky House
1400 Parker Road, Lobby A, Conyers
5 pm to 8 pm October 30th and 31st
Costumes are encouraged. A $3 donation is requested.

Crosspoint Christian Church
4550 Ga. Highway 20 S.E Conyers
6 pm to 8 pm
Trunk or treat and bring non-perishable food item to support food drive to benefit the  Rockdale Emergency Relief Food Bank. Call 770-483-1887 for more information.

Oct. 31

Scare on the Square - annual event co-hosted by the Covington Police Department. Check them out on Facebook for the latest updates and to watch their Halloween safety video.
Dowtown Covington on the Square
5:30 pm to 7:30 pm

Trunk or Treats

 Red Oak United Methodist Church
15105 Ga. Highway 36, Covington
 5 pm to 7 pm
Call 770-787-0404 for more information.
 
Heritage Hills Baptist Church
2987 Ga. Highway 212, Conyers
6 pm to 8 pm
Call 770-922-2027 for more information.
 
Mansfield Baptist Church
101 Woodlawn Road, Mansfield
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Visit www.mansfieldbaptistchurch.com for more information.

 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Finally...Covington, GA highway exits to be beautified

This has been a pet peeve of mine for about as long as I have lived in Newton County. The Public Works department does a very uneven job of keeping the county's right of ways and public areas maintained. The Newton Citizen reports that the mayor has contracted with a landscape company to beautify the county's exits off I-20. I am pleased to see that at least one of those contracts went to a local company.

This is a good start but there are so many areas within the county that are in dire need of mowing and landscaping. What is the timeline for that to occur Mr. Mayor? What is the point of having manicured highway exits if when people get off they drive by unmanicured and trash-filled areas? As an analyst, I also wonder about the due diligence that was done before the decision was made to contract this work and how the contractors were selected. Was it cheaper to get contractors versus just beefing up the Public Works department with part-time mowers?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Setting Realistic Goals for your Newton County Jobs Search

I hesitate to give anyone advice about finding a good job in Newton County, GA. I am one month into my search and I am not any closer to finding a decent paying job in my areas of expertise that is actually in Newton County. The problem for me is that most large companies in Newton County want applicants to have healthcare or manufacturing industry experience. Most small companies stick a sign on the door to let people know they are hiring. Driving around looking for places with available Newton County jobs is not a smart way to conduct a job search, especially with the price of gas these days.

I absolutely get that I cannot apply at Newton Medical Center expecting to get a job as a nurse without the proper training, experience, and credentials. In fact, I do not apply for any jobs at Newton Medical Center because the medical profession is a very specialized skillset that takes years to build. However, I do not have the same reservations about companies that provide products and services to the medical industry. Even some of the other large employers in Newton County have no good reason to require applicants to have umpteenth years of experience in a manufacturing environment. I guarantee you, they are not doing anything there that the average person cannot learn in a few weeks or months.

Many people have skills that are transferable to any industry, so I see those requirements as just another hurdle to jump through in this incredibly competitive job market. I say all this to make the point that when looking for a job in Newton County, it is important to keep your goals realistic and accept that commuting is a very real possibility. Here are some tips to help you manage your job search so that you can get a job sooner while still maintaining your quality of life.

  1. Be clear about the job you want (job title or function), where you want it to be (city or county), and who you want to work for (industry). If you are like me and have experience in several different industries performing essentially the same job, decide which industries you enjoyed working in the most. For me, real estate and insurance are in my top five. If your skills are transferrable, don't be afraid to add industries that interest you. I added nonprofit organizations to my top 5 list after developing my career vision statement with help from Career Distinction: Stand Out by Building Your Brand. I have also found Marcus Buckingham to be a great resource for getting clear about your career direction.
  2. Always remember that quality of life is important. Sure, you can get from Covington to Alpharetta in time for an 8 to 5 job, but do you really want to? To avoid major traffic, you would need to be on the road by 6 am. Do not get me started on the nightmare that will be your afternoon commute home. It is important to prioritize your quality of life and set a reasonable commuting distance during your job search. I have set my acceptable commuting distance to 35 miles in any direction from my house. From Covington, GA, a 35 mile commute can be done in about an hour barring major traffic delays like an overturned tractor trailer.
  3. If you have a family, target employers that offer flexible work arrangements (compressed work week, flexible hours, telecommuting). Running a household and getting kids to and from school and other activities can be a full-time job. Employers that offer flexible work arrangements understand this and working for someone that allows parents to have that work/life balance will remove a lot of the stress we feel trying to keep all the balls we juggle in the air.
  4. Consider part-time work and temporary assignments. If you really have your heart set on working in Newton County, then looking into temporary and part-time opportunities may be the way to accomplish that. If nothing else, it will prevent large gaps in your employment history and will also help you build up your experience and local network which could lead to viable referrals for full-time, local employment.
  5. Always remember that it is, most likely, not you or your resume. If you have taken the time to target your resume to specific jobs and employers, it is not you. It is the lousy job market. The most recent (July 2013) unemployment figures show that Newton County's unemployment rate is 10.3%. The statewide unemployment average is 8.8%. Meanwhile, Newton County continues to hang its economic future on the film industry.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Surviving Without Cable When Charter Communications is Your Only Option

 

I hate Charter Communications and a quick internet search tells me I am not alone. They are overpriced (as is the rest of the cable/internet industry) and their service is horrible. I was dismayed when the City of Covington sold their cable system to Charter because that meant that they became the only cable provider for residents of certain parts of Newton County. After cancelling Directv (which I love, it just got too expensive) I reluctantly signed up for Charter internet only service.

Two years later, my monthly rate has doubled for service that remains unchanged. Their sales people call me almost daily trying to get me to sign up for cable and phone too. If I am not happy with their internet, why would I sign up for more services? There is always AT&T but I no longer give any of my business to AT&T. That leaves Charter as my only viable option in this area. Here is how I have been surviving without cable because I refuse to give Charter Communications any more of my money.

HD Digital Antenna - If your TV has a built in tuner (most modern TVs do), all you need to get the local channels is a good HD Digital Antenna. We use the RCA ANT1400 model and have had no issues with it. There are some channels that we can never seem to get but that is because we are a good distance away from Atlanta. The closer you are to Atlanta, the more channels you can pick up. If you are the handy type, my husband also made this homemade antenna in a few hours.

Smart Blu-Ray Player - Blu-Ray players are fairly inexpensive and are a great way to stream TV shows and movies directly onto your television. I do not like to watch videos on my computer so this is a must have for me. Pair this with a Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Video, or similar subscription-type streaming service and you can watch many of your favorite shows right on your TV. Some TV channels are moving away from streaming their shows for free on their web sites and have started charging for the content through subscription-type sites. More frustratingly, some, like the A&E channel, require you to log in through your cable provider to view their shows. Subscriptions are currently around $8 a month which is a lot cheaper than cable.

Gaming Systems - You can stream subscription-based movies and TV shows through most gaming systems. We use our Nintendo Wii to stream Amazon Instant Video, many of which we get free with our Amazon Prime membership.

Streaming Devices - Devices like the Roku, NeoTv, and AppleTV rival the cost of a Blu-ray player with streaming capabilities. They can stream many of the same subscription services but don't have the added capabilities of playing Blu-ray discs. Hence, the reason I just decided to get a smart Blu-ray player.

Redbox - Redbox is a great place to get the latest movies when they are released on DVD. I get many of my movies free because there are usually free rental codes floating around on the internet. I also get promotional offers directly from them through their email list. Redbox has also introduced a streaming service for $8 a month that includes 4 free DVD rentals per month.

Except for the digital antenna and traditional Redbox, the other options require existing internet service and a wireless internet setup to work properly. We are seriously considering cutting the cord completely and going to a wireless internet provider but we have not found one with service that can support streaming without constant buffering interruptions. Until then, we survive without cable by using our digital antenna for local channels, renting Redbox movies, and streaming Amazon Video through our Wii and Blu-ray player.

Monday, August 12, 2013

A Welcome Addition to the Area’s Retail Landscape

When I saw this sign, I let out an involuntary “Woohoo!” There is a new TJ Maxx opening in the Conyers Crossroads Shopping Center. According to the TJ Maxx website, the existing store at 1680 Hwy 138 is moving to this new location on September 5th. I cannot wait. The old store is a little small and Hwy 138 is really congested which can make getting there a pain. A newer and larger TJMaxx that is easier to get to is exciting news!

OK, technically, this is in Rockdale County, but for residents on the west side of Newton County, it is about the same distance driving to Newton County’s main shopping area – Hwy 278, as it is to drive into Conyers. For many western Newton County Residents, Conyers is actually closer. I, for one, will be one of the first people in the store when it opens.

Monday, July 29, 2013

It’s Newton County Back to School Week!


As usual, summer has gone by too quickly and school starts in Newton County on Friday, August 2. According to the Newton Citizen, schools are holding open houses this week. I am looking forward to meeting my son’s pre-k teacher on Wednesday.

If you haven’t gotten your back to school shopping done yet, there’s still time and some great deals to be found locally and online.
 
-Dollar General has some decent back to school prices but there are better deals at Staples and Office Depot. If you don’t want to make the trek to Rockdale County, then one of our local Dollar Generals might be a good option. For even more savings, visit the site for a printable $5 off $25 purchase coupon and a 10% off online purchases promotional offer.

-I snagged quite a few school supplies at Staples a few weeks ago. After looking at their ads each week, I think they have had some of the best back to school prices. Many items have been as low as a penny! This week I am eyeing a 2-pack of White Out for .50 cents, Bic Velocity pens for .50 cents, Staples school glue for a penny, and a ream of copy paper for $1 after Easy Rebate. If you join their email list, they will typically email you a $5 off $30 purchase coupon that you can use in the store and sometimes online.

-Shop Amazon’s Back to School page for some great deals on clothes, shoes, and school supplies. Also, if you sign up for a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime, you get free 2-day shipping on every order AND instant access to over $40,000 movies and TV shows.

-Target.com has a 50% off Summer clearance going on now, buy one get one 50% off sales on shoes, extra 10% off on clearance items, and free shipping over $50.

-Kmart is offering $10 backpacks, clothes, and shoes and .50 cents portfolios and 70 page spiral notebooks. There is a coupon in this week’s Sunday paper ad for an additional 30% off your purchase.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Newton County GA Summer Events and Activities


Newton County GA schools release for summer vacation around the same time as most schools in metro Atlanta area. However, our school system is one of the few that starts school really early. This year, school let out the week before Memorial Day and starts again on August 2nd. Here are a few fun summer events and activities in and around Newton County to help you maximize the approximately 70 days of precious summer vacation our kids get.

2nd Friday Summer Concert Series
This community arts initiative is sponsored by the Arts Association and Main Street Covington. Chand Antonio Bennett & NEO4 (Jazz Saxophone) kick things off with the soothing sounds of Jazz.


Date: June 14, 2013
Time: 7:00PM
Fee: Free
Location: Covington Square Park in downtown Covington

Zoo Atlanta Trip
Want to go to the zoo without the drive or paying the zoo's admission fee? The Rockdale County recreation department is sponsoring a bus trip to the zoo that makes the trip more affordable AND someone else is doing the driving. You can bring your own or buy lunch at the zoo's restaurant. This trip has a 10 person minimum and 23 person maximum, so register early. Children must be accompanied by an adult unless they are registered in Johnson Park's Summer Camp program. Please register at Johnson Park by June 21, 2013.


Date: Thursday, June 27, 2013
Time: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Cost: $15.00 per person
Location: Bus leaves from Johnson Park Recreation Center 1781 Ebenezer Road Conyers, GA 30094

July is National Recreation and Parks Month
The Johnson Park Recreation Center will be open to the public, free of charge for one day in July to honor National Recreation and Parks Month. Visitors may swim, play basketball or exercise in the weight room.

Date: Saturday, July 13, 2013
Time: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Fee: Free
Location: Johnson Park Recreation Center

Independence in the Park
Newton County's annual 4th of July celebration. This event will feature live concerts and the fireworks usually start around 9:00. Some of the streets around the square may be blocked off for the event. If you plan to park near the event, please plan to get there before 5:00.

Date: July 4, 2013 July 6, 2013
Time: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Fee: Free
Location: Covington Square Park in Downtown Covington

Annual Fourth of July Parade (cancelled because of weather)
This annual parade is hosted by the City of Oxford and the Oxford Lions club. If you want to participate in the parade, decorate your bicycle, car, float, or truck in a patriotic theme and line up on Haygood Avenue at 9:00 a.m.

Date: July 4, 2013
Time: 10:00 a.m.
Fee: Free
Location: Anywhere along parade route. See link for map of parade route.


12th Annual Sunflower Farm Festival
We attended the Sunflower Festival for the first time last year and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The festival is in a beautiful farm setting with sunflowers as far as the eye can see (that you can pick and take home with you). There were tons of crafters selling everything from high-end art to handmade soap. My toddler loved the petting zoo and there was an amazing woodland play area for the kids as well. This year's event also promises that "kids can participate in old fashioned games and art projects. They can take a hay ride, ride a pony, and pet their favorite barnyard friend."

Last year, we had a wonderful lunch while listening to some great music. I didn't realize I was a fan of bluegrass music but the band was really good. The festival is well organized and all the volunteers are extremely helpful and friendly. This event is scheduled for July in Georgia so be sure to bring water and something to cool yourself off. Bring some cash too since quite a few of the food vendors did not accept credit/debit cards.

Date: July 6-7, 2013
Time: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Fee: $8 per person festival weekend pass, $4 for kids age 4-12, $15 for couples, $25 for family of 4. Military, veterans, and kids under 4 are free.
Location: 30 Durden Road Rutledge, Georgia 30663

Family Funday Expo
Enjoy the last weekend of Summer Break with family before it's back to school time. There will be family games and crafts as well as craft and food vendors.

Date: July 27, 2013
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Fee: Free admission
Location: Olde Town Pavilion 949 South Main Street Conyers, GA, GA 30012

2nd Friday Summer Concert Series
This community arts initiative is sponsored by the Arts Association and Main Street Covington. The Wannabeatles, a Beatles tribute band will provide a blast from the past.

Date: August 9, 2013
Time: 7:00PM
Fee: Free
Location: Covington Square Park in downtown Covington

Big Haynes Creek Wildlife Festival
The 7th annual Big Haynes Creek Wildlife Festival is filled with reptile shows, animal exhibits, birds of prey, gem mining, living history, storytelling and live entertainment. Shop among unique gifts and home goods within the artist market, and become a part of the festival by participating in one of the many hands-on activities. Enjoy live entertainment and children's activities.

Date: August 24-25, 2013
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Fee: $5 (free for kids age 4 and under)
Location: Georgia International Horse Park 1996 Centennial Olympic Parkway Conyers, GA 30013


It's usually still really hot in September so I consider it part of summer.

Luncheon Concert on the Square
This is a "fall" concert series sponsored by the Arts Association in Newton County and Main Street Covington. Lineup of musical talent has yet to be announced. All luncheon concerts start at noon.

September 5
September 19
September 26

2nd Friday Summer Concert Series
This community arts initiative is sponsored by the Arts Association and Main Street Covington. Mack McKibben and Drive Time will perform an exciting set of music featuring rock, pop, and jazz.

Date: September 13, 2013
Time: 7:00PM
Fee: Free
Location: Covington Square Park in downtown Covington

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Finding a Professional Job or Career in Newton County Georgia


Perusing the job classifieds in the Newton Citizen will quickly show that finding a professional job in Newton County is not easy - if not darn near impossible. It almost seems as though you have to go straight to the source to find viable job opportunities.

The chart below shows the largest employers in Newton County. I assume Baxter will be added when they officially open. The fact that the job board on the selectnewton.com site has nothing posted is a troubling sign. But, according to this column, you have to create your own job opportunities these days. It appears that this advice especially applies to places like Newton County. I've been working on suggestions 1 and 2 for a number of years now so I have a pretty good idea of the job I would like to have and the kind of company I would like to work for. 

The list below comes in handy for suggestion number 3 - Reach out to potential employers. Based on my previous job experience, there are very few companies on that list that I can feasibly target. My general business and analysis experience could be useful to all these companies but most companies want industry experience as well. Since I have energy industry experience, Metadigm is really the only company on the list that I think I should bother sending a query letter.

The more I research, the more it seems the chances of actually working in Newton County get smaller and smaller.


http://www.selectnewton.com/Business/Industry.aspx

Large Employers in Newton County 
EST SIC EMPLOYEES 
CR Bard Inc.1967 3499/3841/5047/5999 565 
Pactiv Corporation 1984 2673/3086/3089/5113 492 
General Mills, Inc. 1989 2043 363 
SRG Global 1969 3465 320 
Clairon Metals Group 1989 3469/3544 270 
Fibervisions 1967 2824 250 
SKC, Inc.1996 3081 250 
Specialty Yarn & Converting 1917 2281/2399/5099 250 
Nisshinbo 1997 9714 228 
Beaver Manufacturing 1971 2241/5199 185 
SPG (Storage Products Group) 1986 2542/3496/3841/5046 175 
Metadigm 1992 165 
Bridgestone Sports1989 3949 162 
Oldcastle Glass 2007 144 
SGD Glass 1996 3231 140 
Tread Technologies 125 
Rock-Tenn 1972 2653/5113 102 

Monday, March 25, 2013

2013 Newton County Easter Events


Newton County is one of those places where there's not a lot going on in the way of events. It is almost Easter and I am having a difficult time finding a central place for information on Easter egg hunts in Newton County. I have never understood why the Newton County Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Covington maintain separate event calendars.

If the Chamber's function is to promote economic development in the area, then events in the main area of town, properly known as the Covington Square, should be included on the Chamber's calendar. I appreciate the events that Main Street Covington organizes. If it weren't for them, there would be a whole lot of nothing to do in Newton County. The only issue I have with their events are that they are often geared toward drumming up business for the retailers on the Covington Square. Not that there's anything wrong with that but, most people are just looking to have a good time and do something fun with the family.

The Easter egg hunt that Main Street Covington has organized this year starts today and runs through Saturday. However, the eggs are collected from the merchants on the Covington Square. I can only imagine the fun my 3.5 year old will have while I drag him from store to store to collect eggs. Not going to happen. Lucky for us, a few Rockdale and Newton County churches have stepped in to offer a real Easter egg hunt with no strings attached. All the events below are scheduled for this coming Saturday, March 30, 2013
 

East Newton Egg Hunt
1:30 p.m., East Newton Baptist Church, 11290 Hwy. 278 E, Covington, the church hosts an Easter Egg Hunt for children in grades K-5. Visit: www.enbchurch.org.

Rock Temple Egg Hunt
11 a.m., Rock Temple AME Church, 1021 Bryant St., Conyers, annual Egg Hunt hosted by the church's Youth Department. 770-922-5707.

Epiphany Lutheran Egg Hunt
11 a.m., Epiphany Lutheran Church, 2375 Ga. Hwy. 20, Conyers, the church hosts an Egg Hunt and Stations of the Cross at noon, 770-483-6222.

 

After the egg hunts on Saturday, Covington's First Baptist Church will hold its annual Easter Service on the Covington Square on March 31, 2013. The annual event typically draws about 1,500 people and begins at 10 am. The church is at the corner of Floyd and Elm streets in downtown Covington.

If you know of any other local Easter egg hunts, please post them in the comments. Happy Easter!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Starting Over


Commuting is a way of life for many who live in metro Atlanta. I am no exception. When I decided to move from Lithonia, GA to Covington, GA almost 10 years ago, I did not fully grasp what that would mean. My metro Atlanta commute went from being fairly manageable to a colossal pain in the butt. I never imagined that a few extra miles would make so much difference on I-20. At least in Lithonia, I had easy access to MARTA. From Covington, it's about 8 miles to the interstate from my house and then another 10 miles to the nearest Marta stop at Stonecrest Mall.

I tolerated this Newton County to metro Atlanta commute for almost 5 years although the traffic on I-20 just continued to get worse. Then life situations resulted in me taking a job in Columbus, GA and actually moving there for about 4 years. I absolutely hated Columbus and moved back to Covington last year when I'd just reached my breaking point. I had never lived anywhere that made me so unhappy just being there. Luckily, I still had my Newton County house because we were unable to sell it with the glut of foreclosures on the market.

I must say though I got pretty spoiled in Columbus. I had a 20-minute commute to work at most. It was wonderful being able to run out the door at the last minute and still get to work on time. Now that I am back in Covington, I have challenged myself to find a job with a similar commute. Since you cannot claim two homesteads in Georgia, I have officially been a resident of Newton County for 10 years. Why can I not live, work, and play in the county that I call home?

The short answer is that professional jobs are hard to find in Newton County. The closest movie theater is in nearby Rockdale County. The closest mall is Stonecrest Mall in Lithonia (Dekalb County). I prefer Lowe's over Home Depot but the only Lowe's in the area is in Rockdale County. I prefer Target over Wal-mart so although there is a Wal-mart within a few miles of my house, I drive right past it to get to the Target in Rockdale County. Are you starting to understand my dilemma?

I have settled into Newton County so the "live" part is accomplished. But can I work here and play here (most of the time), too? Stay tuned.