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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Bedtime Stories make for Good Nights (GoodNites?)


So, admittedly, I don't have profiles of everyone that reads my blog since not everyone subscribes (hint, hint!!!), but for parents of young children here is a cool freebie that you may find fun to share with your kid(s)!

Check out www.bedtimetheater.com to download the adventures of "Iggy and his Wiggy Bed" courtesy of GoodNites! There are 20 downloadable chapters of this audio series and it is totally free to you! I always loved reading to my kids, but sometimes the recorded versions helped out on a stressful day (and you can relax, revert and listen too!).

Enjoy! :D

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dress to kill (without killing your budget!)


Wow! Here is an amazing answer to finding that perfect dress for a special occasion...check out www.renttherunway.com and rent designer dresses for a very reasonable price (i.e. $75 to rent a $625 Diane von Furstenberg dress)!

They ship the dress of your choice to you in 2 sizes to ensure a perfect fit and they dryclean them so you don't have to do that part either. While there is a wait list to join, skip the wait by going to renttherunway.com/redbook (and yes, Redbook magazine is definitely one of my favorite resources...some amazing deals...check it out for yourself!).And, FYI, USA Weekend cited this same site for dress rentals in its March 19-21, 2010, issue! Looking good!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Freebies can be beautiful!


Did you know that there are amazing FREE beauty product samples available for the asking? Redbook magazine suggests a plethora of options (yeah, I know...cool phrase, but anyway...!) including:

* A 10-day supply of Estee Lauder foundations (ask at Estee Lauder counters)

* Lancome Hypnose Senses Eau de Parfum (check at Lancome counters for samples)

* Canyon Ranch Your Transformation Age Transforming Concentrate Serum (ask at select Saks Fifth Avenue stores)

* (This might be my favorite since I frequently travel) - "Psssssst On-the-Go Instant Spray Shampoo" - just log-on to freemanbeauty.com/redbook. I will follow-up on this one and let you know how it goes!

There are MANY more progduct samples available, but, in fairness to my sources, I will send you to Redbook (April '10 issue, pages 62 & 64) to search out the rest!
They also suggest asking for samples at different sources including Sephora stores, The Body Shop, Lancome counters, Origins stores and Dior counters...see?...tests can be fun!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Money Laundering? Well...sort of!


The April '10 issue of "Redbook Magazine" provides several great ways to save both time and money while you do your laundry (get it? money laundering? Ok...so I'm a lost cause and will never write the great American novel!)...

First, stop "over-laundering" - don't wash items that you've barely worn - just air them out on a hanger and wear one more time!

When you do wash them, measure your detergent according to the label (too much is a waste and not good for your washing machine either!)...Choose shorter cycles and cold water...you will be green (saving electricity) and also save money.

Don't dry clothes longer than is really necessary...air-dry whenever possible - good for the environment, the wallet and the fabrics/colors!

For other hints, check out p.214 of this particular issue!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Free investing information from the SEC (no, really!)


Believe it or not, the government does care about us...well at least occasionally!
With my federal tax refund check (yes, I did say refund...eat your heart out!)...the SEC provided a card with a number of saving and investing tips - how to be careful with your money while getting the best returns! Check out www.investor.gov for all the details!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Help feed America's kids!


It's good to see so many large corporations helping out worthy causes by having us do something simple that we are doing anyway! ConAgra Foods (Banquet, Chef Boyardee, Manwich, Healthy Choice, Peter Pan peanut butter...etc.) is battling child hunger.

They will donate money equivalent to one meal with each purchase of their brands (for up to 2.5 million meals through the Feeding America network of food banks)!

For more information, go to www.ChildHungerEndsHere.com

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Gunk Removal! (classy title, agreed?)


Stop me if you've heard this before (or tried it!)...Did you know that if you sprinkle salt (fair amount of it) on a damp sponge and scrub wood cutting boards, glass baking dishes or pet bowls then rinse and wipe it off, all of the "gunky" stuff will be cleaned up?
Wow, no mess, cheap solution and no environmental chemicals! Other safe and cheap cleaning solutions? Post a comment!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Give Green to be Green


Yep, I know...green, green and more green...but hey, it is still March so in line with Spring & St. Patrick's Day, green is still permissible so deal with it!

Avon has a new initiative called "Hello Green Tomorrow" ... for every dollar donated, at tree will be planted in the South American Atlantic Rain Forest. Donate through your local Avon representative or at goodhousekeeping.com/hgt.

Think green and give some green!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Punching out & serving Punch!


Summer barbecues and outdoor dining aren't too far off (well, maybe longer for some of you up north - in Phoenix it's practically year-round), so here's something that is inexpensive to make and practical to use!

Make a great serving tray for drinks (& yes, I must admit this is a Martha Stewart suggestion from her April '10 issue). All you need are are self-adhesive cork shelf liner a decorative craft punch (be sure that the punch's slot is wide enough to fit around the shelf liner), hand-held hole punch and a smooth serving tray.

Punch out decorative shapes and holes from cork liner to cover the tray in a pattern of your choice. Peel the backing off the cork liner and stick the shapes on the tray.

The effect is a cute tray that you can serve beverages on and the cork absorbs condensation and keeps the glasses from sliding around while you carry it! Finally a simple "Martha-ism"! (FYI - I love her ideas, just don't have the stamina to take a lot of her projects on...)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Have I begged for input lately...?


Yes, it's that time again (not that it really ever does me any good)...I know there are people out there reading this blog and a few who even follow it. So it's payback time! Let me know what topics you are finding helpful, what you could live without or what I haven't covered that you'd like to see here. After nearly a year of blogging, I would love to know more about what YOU want! Thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Learn for Free & Do it Yourself!


Free is always my favorite way to get something. And as "Good Housekeeping" notes (April '10), the Internet provides a huge assortment of sites providing free instructional videos. To avoid bad info on "how to" questions, be sure to look at the major sites (a few are noted below. You can also search "how to [fill in the blank!]" on Google. Don't pay for video lessons - stick with the freebies since there's no shortage of them!

Some to check out:

For Home Repairs:
* diynetwork.com (I love this one!)
* doityourself.com

For Cooking & Entertaining:
* goodhousekeeping.com (yeah, it was their article so they are biased, but it is a good site!)
* epicurious.com

For Beauty & Style:
* realbeauty.com
* howdini.com

For Crafts & Hobbies:

* ehow.com
* howcast.com

Please let us know if you find any great ones out there...just add it as a comment to this post! Thanks!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Make a Difference (and earn cool stuff too!)


As my regular readers know, I tie "green" topics into my posts - not only because these ideas do help us save money, but because of the obvious need to protect our resources for the generations to come. Here is an easy yet amazing way to bring out your inner "Lorax" (see my 3/17 post)!

Visit www.recyclebank.com/30daysofgreen and sign up to participate by reusing, recycling and making green shopping choices! You earn points that are redeemable for great rewards and you can feel good at the same time. Make a difference!

Hints for some quick points:

Enter reward code "RECYCLEYOURMAGS" for 15 points

and/or

Join the eBay Green Team on the RecycleBank site to get another 50 points!

You are on your way!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Color me happy...and my grout white, thank you!


Be still my heart...at nearly 50 it takes so little to get excited! I just ran across an ad for "Stone Care International's Grout Ink" - two coats and it allows you to stain grout for a "like new" (or at least much cleaner) look for only $8.35/"pen". It comes in white, grey and earthtone and can be wiped off tile with a damp towel if you slip up during the process! Believe me, until my kitchen counters are at long last replaced by granite, this could be the answer to my counter cleaning prayers! And I am sure this would be amazing for bathrooms too! (I think it's the kid and the Crayola syndrome manifesting itself again, sorry!)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Here's to your health (and healthy finances too)!


"Good Housekeeping" (Mar.'10) offers several ways to save on health care by controlling your spending (not by delaying care). A few of their suggestions are cited below:

* Find low-cost vaccines (if your health insurance doesn't cover your kids' immunizations, check www.cdc.gov/vaccines/programs/vfc/parents to find savings through a federal program)

* Check your local drugstore or grocery store pharmacies for inexpensive flu shots.

* If your doctor writes you a prescription, ask if he/she can supply you with some samples to save costs.

* Make use of your memberships (i.e. in AARP or AAA) for lower rates on eye care.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Speak for the Trees!


It's Spring and St. Patrick's Day is upon us...so obviously fitting to have another "green" topic for my post! Those of us raised on Dr. Seuss and/or who have raised our own kids on his wisdom, will likely recall "The Lorax." This fuzzy yet very serious critter "speaks for the trees" fighting deforestation in kids' style. Now Kohl's is offering both the book and a matching plush Lorax toy for only $5 each. What a great way to keep the "green" message alive for the next generation!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Use, then reuse...


Courtesy of the April, 2010 issue of "Good Housekeeping," here are just a few of the many ways to go green at home - I opted to concentrate on the "reuse" aspect, but check the whole article ("21 Ways to Green Your Home") for lots of great ideas to save money and resources!

* Keep an old shower curtain in your car trunk to use as a liner when carrying messy snow or beach gear, plants, etc. to keep the trunk clean.

* Cut off the top of a plastic gallon milk jug with a utility knife (just above the handle) and use it as a scoop for dog food, kitty litter, salt (for icy sidewalks), etc.

* Roll up a couple of magazines and stick one into each of your boots to ensure that they keep their shape (the boots, not the magazines...but then you knew that, right?!)

Monday, March 15, 2010

A shoe-in for the kids!




Let me preface this post with the fact that I am not now, nor do I ever plan to be, a fan of the Crocs phenomena. I believe fans of these little rubber (?) anti-style shoes when they swear by the comfort they provide even though I can't imagine what I'd wear them with! That said, I do feel that they have a place with the elementary school or younger set and that they can provide an excellent opportunity for the kids to express themselves. Consider letting the kids go wild with doo-dads and craft supplies to decorate their own shoes and make a statement.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Write Stuff


Hoping to write the next great work of fiction? Or do you just want to put together a book for yourself or a gift - recipes, photos or even, be still my heart, your blog?
Check out www.blurb.com and download the Blurb BookSmart application to create a hardcover book with a dust jacket (prices starting at $23). Is there a Pulitzer in your future?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Home workouts!


I recently rejoined LA Fitness (the price was right!)and am making a definite effort to workout regularly. Every other day, I do the weight circuit at the gym and walk our 3 dogs on alternate days. But I am still on the lookout for some inexpensive workout options for us. Check out www.acefitness.org/getfit for the American Council on Exercise's suggestions for over 100 exercises and workouts you can do at home!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tech freebies to free your time, streamline your social weblife and improve your mind and body...


Check out some tech freebies that you may find useful ("19 Freebies for Smart Web Browsing, Social Networking") at www.pcworld.com This feature provides downloads and services to streamline your use of FaceBook and Twitter as well as providing suggested sites to for self-improvement including:

www.Habitforge.com - get daily reminders and project tracking to help you change habits and achieve your goals.

www.Learn10.com - learn 10 new foreign language vocabulary words daily (20 languages are currently included on the site).

www.RunKeeperFree.com - uses your iPhone GPS to track your jogging to a map and upload it to its website!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

When your resume needs work and so do you...!


If you, like me, have been job-hunting recently, here's a tool you might be interested in! Visit http://ceevee.com for free assistance building a sharp-looking new resume. I sure wish I'd found that back in November. Let us know what you think!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Clean Water for Developing Countries - Your Coupons Count!


Whenever I see companies making a difference in the world around us, I like to mention them so you will consider helping them along! P&G is now providing clean water for people in developing countries based on your use of P&G product coupons. Every P&G coupon from the March 7th Sunday newspaper flyer that you use provides one day of clean water to a child in need. For more information, check out www.pgeverydaysolutions.com

Monday, March 8, 2010

Blast from the Past


So I got to thinking today...if my great-grandmother were here today, what are the top 10 things that would shock her? OK...I need a life and, not being David Letterman, I do not feel the need to put these in any particular order. Feel free to add your own...just having fun today! (These would be HER perceptions...trust me!)

#1 - iPods - do you ever REALLY plan to listen to everything you have on that thing? And does most of that stuff really qualify as real music?

#2 - TIVO - isn't it enough that you rot your brain with TV in the first place but then you want to save some just in case you run out of poor programming to watch? And, by the way, I do NOT think "The Bachelor," "The World's Biggest Loser," "Survivor," or "Judge Judy" constitute "shows" - more like exhibitionism! Some things are better not televised!

#3 - Condom Vending Machines - in the ladies' restroom? Are you KIDDING me? Ever hear of abstinence?

#4 - Spell-checking - Bad enough that kids can't learn to write in cursive because they are dependent on computers now, but can't they at least be forced to learn how to spell without an "autofix" for it? And don't even get me started on calculators being used in the classroom!

#5 - Cellphones - ok, so the convenience of being able to make a call from just about anywhere is appealing, but the whole texting thing is simply anti-social! No one talks anymore, they just text it and NO, emoticons do NOT count as adding some expression to the "conversation!"

#6 - E-mail - This has its place, but for heaven's sake, thank you notes, sympathy cards and birthday and holiday greetings should be handwritten and MAILED - at least make it look like you made a real effort!

#7 - Slice & bake cookies - Do I really need to go here? Come on, nothing beats homemade and these are even more expensive!

#8 - Starbuck's - (or any high-priced coffee places) - Do you really go there for the coffee or just to be seen carrying around their branded paper cup? What a waste! At least at Denny's you get a free refill or at home you can make a whole pot!

#9 - The Smart Car - is it really? Wouldn't a semi-truck or SUV finish it off in a fender-bender?

#10 - The Disney Channel - what happened to the Mouseketeers? Some of the stuff they are showing doesn't seem to be kid-appropriate any more...but then, hey, the kids don't always seem appropriate these days either!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A deal for you, a deal for them!


Regular followers of this blog know that I try to promote inexpensive ways to give back to the world around us. One of my new favorite resources ("Redbook" magazine) suggests buying a beautiful bead bracelet for only $5 (US) to aid struggling women in Uganda. Checkout www.beadforlife.org and pick a beautiful gift for yourself or for a loved one and help the world around you! :)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Spring is in the Air and on the Wall!


If you're like me, spring breezes in and I suddenly want everything to be renewed...My hair? New style (or color!) time! My yard? Flowers are a must (well maybe NOT since I seem to wilt them with a mere glance!)... But above all, I feel this sudden urge to redecorate our home. "Redbook" (3/10) has a great idea - hang an inexpensive but bright or uniquely patterned rug on a wall. They advise it can cut sound and add texture to a room's decor...To save your walls, they recommend using decorating Velcro along with a strip of appropriately strong wood to allow you to hang the rug like a heavy painting (or tapestry). I'm off to check IKEA or Target - Spring is in the air and I will be ready this year!