Posts Tagged ‘fashion’

The Science of Savvy Shopping!

In budget, Your Fashion, Your Guest Writers, Your Home on October 1, 2010 at 7:37 AM

(5 tips to a better quality of life)

By: Jennifer Brown Banks

In today’s tough times, there’s a special joy when we get a good deal for our hard earned buck. True? 

It almost feels as if we’ve cashed in at the lottery.

And with the housing crisis, double digit unemployment, and soaring consumer prices, we all need to save where we can.

But what few “divas” recognize is that being an “educated consumer” goes far beyond knowing the best stores to buy treasured items, or the debt cutting value of coupons. It’s much more.

This epiphany came to me recently when a friend of mine, while visiting my home, complimented my setting, (and the stuff I had acquired) while comparing it to hers.  Ironically, she makes more money than I do, and has similar circumstances.

For me my place is embraced as a “blessing”, while she views hers as a burdenShe often complains that her home is a money pit that she constantly puts cash into, but can’t get any real joy out of.

Because of this experience, I felt compelled to share my shopping secrets to enhance not just your ”surroundings”, but also your quality of life.

Here are a few cardinal rules.

  1. Know that it’s not “where” you shop, but “how” you shop that matters. Don’t believe me? Here’s proof. I’ve watched shows like Oprah and the Antique Road Show, (and no doubt you have too), where folks have scored items at garage sales, thrift stores, and specialty shops, for a couple of bucks, that were later appraised for thousands of dollars. Hello! Learn to spot quality.
  2. Recognize that there’s no value or validation in trying to keep up with the Joneses. One of the reasons that my friend “Wanda” is busted and disgusted, is that she’s constantly trying to establish her worth by buying what she feels will qualify her as being one of the “in”crowd. Big mistake. Instead, do you! As a point of reference, I don’t have cable. Never have. Though I enjoy T.V., so far it hasn’t impressed me enough to shell out extra money monthly for the idea of a few extra channels, (no matter how many million folks have it). Stop “perpetrating.”
  3. Consider that too much “impulse shopping” can lead to too little peace and buyer’s remorse. Evaluate. After you’ve taken a trip to your local mall and made purchases, how do you feel? Will your credit card payments last much longer than the life-cycle of the item (s) you’ve bought? Are you sacrificing paying an important bill to catch a deal? Your answers will determine your course of action.
  4. Keep in mind that your purchases should do more than just add to your “inventory”, they should add to your quality of life. For example, I love to buy house plants, beautiful baskets, books, fragrant candles, and unusual frames, because not only do they add to my décor, but they are reflective of my values and personal hobbies. Surround your surroundings with things that make you smile, that call to   mind special times, and are aesthetically pleasing. Make your place your personal sanctuary. 
  5. Accept that inner emptiness and low-self esteem can NOT be made better by “things.” It’s sad to say, but it’s true. Some folks shop to fill an emptiness. Whether it’s a bad marriage, a dysfunctional childhood, or feelings of inadequacy. Once they come down from their “shopper’s high” they’re in more debt and have even less that they feel good about. Don’t let this be you. There’s great truth to the adage, “Money can’t buy happiness.”

 With an uncertain economy, you can be certain that shopping habits from days of old can be detrimental to your finances and your family’s well being.  There’s no reason you can’t still be cute; just be smart as well!

And keep in mind that ain’t nothing cute about being “busted” and disgusted. 🙂


Jennifer Brown Banks is a veteran freelance writer, columnist, professional blogger and managing editor at Coffeehouse for Writers.

Affordable Home Decorating Ideas

In budget, Your Guest Writers, Your Home on September 26, 2010 at 9:47 PM

Image Credit Barun Patro


With the economy putting a strain on our pocket books, we have all had to make changes to our 2010 budget. For many of us, decorating was the line item that got scratched off that list first. However, eliminating that expense completely may not be the best solution. After all, tighter budgets actually mean we now spend a lot more time at home than in the past. 

It’s more important than ever to have homes that provide us with a clean, safe, beautiful environment where we can relax and rejuvenate mentally, physically, and spiritually from all the additional stresses we now face. Psychologists agree that the healthier we are, the more productive we are at work and out in the world around others. Feeling at home in your home has never been more important than it is today. So instead of eliminating that much needed face lift to your home, try approaching it differently. 

Incorporate Nature

As we head into autumn, considering utilizing the fall foliage. Create wreaths with twigs and leaves, or hang bouquets of twigs on the wall. You can even use them as a centerpiece to a table, or as an accent to the foyer. 

Rearrange a Room

If you are just looking for a little change in your home, you’d be surprised what rearranging a room can do for your feng shui. If you do not want to incorporate this traditional, yet modern technique, simple move the items around. Put your bed on a different wall, at an angle, or facing a new direction. Switch the location of your couches and move your TV or bedroom furniture. Consider turning your dining room table, or moving your china cabinet. Since the weather is always nice in San Diego, a sofa bed on the patio for an afternoon snooze might be the change your home craves! 

Find Discount Furniture

For those of us in America’s Finest City, there are plenty of places to find discount furniture in San Diego. Consider replacing your old couch with a sofa bed, or add a sofa bed to the kids’ room for sleepovers. Many southern California industry professionals, such as San Diego furniture stores have responded to these budgetary needs by stocking a modern selection of furniture at highly discounted prices. 

Use Couch Covers and Pillow Shams

If you don’t have the time or money to upgrade your furniture, give it a quick facelift with a couch cover and pillow shams. It is cheap and easy to create your covers from scratch, or you can simply find a set at a local bedding or furniture store. If you want to customize the look, you can always find a great fabric and have someone make appropriate alterations to fit your items. Be sure to take appropriate measurements before ordering the cut and hem! 

Playful Placemats

You can spice up your coffee table, end tables, or dining room table with durable and unique placemats. With various types of lamination available, it is easy to make customized placemats for all areas of your home. Consider collages of your kids, family members, favorite pop culture icons, fun vacations, or educational tips. You can get plenty of ideas online for interactive crosswords that provide coffee table tips for the reader! You could even laminate a few Trivial Pursuit cards or questions together to make for great dinner conversation or distractions during the commercials. 

Author Bio: 

I am a blogger and writer living in San Diego, CA and I like to write about ways to find bargains on living room and bedroom furniture. I enjoy shopping around at my local San Diego furniture stores for great deals on furniture that not only makes my house look great, but makes my wallet happy too.

12 Simple Separates: Your Guide to Lookin’ Good and Feeling Great!

In Your Fashion, Your Guest Writers on August 1, 2010 at 11:03 AM

 by Heather Claus of 365 Days of Style



It’s a tough economy and times are tight. Everyone wants to cut expenses without giving up quality of life.

I do, too.

In fact, I’ve been learning to “tightwad” for over a decade. Sadly, I’ve not mastered it, but I have found a balance in my life. I prefer to spend money on priorities, rather than having it just dribble away with each purchase.

Thing is, I love fashion.

Well, not fashion, exactly. I love style. Personal style. I love to create my own style from what’s in fashion, what’s out of fashion (I’ve been a fan of vintage for 25 years), fun accessories, and even garments I design and sew myself. All that can get expensive.

I’m sure you know what I mean.

Add on top of that many of us live multiple lives. Home life, mommy life, social life, business life… that’s a lot of wardrobe – and a lot of moolah, if you’re not careful.

That’s why I created 12 Simple Separates. The goal behind this PDF is to teach you to purchase (or thrift or sew) just 12 basic garments that can be combined into 80 combinations. That’s FOUR MONTHS of work weeks without duplication. 12 garments make 90% of a work wardrobe. Just add shoes and accessories.

It’s not just about money, though. It’s also about time. Having a million options every morning can make getting dressed MORE complicated, not less. Having a set of clothing that you know fits, looks good and will work for the office makes hectic AM dressing a breeze.

Of course, this doesn’t just work for the office. A wardrobe for SAHM duty would use the same combinations of tops and bottoms, just in a more comfortable, casual style.

Are you a small business owner? It’s easy to put together a professional wardrobe on a budget, even when most of your time is spent working at home in your yoga pants (guilty!).

Thing is, getting your 12 basics together is cost-effective, and once you have them, you’ll have the time and money to put towards other priorities – like cute shoes! *smiles* Or gorgeous jewelry, a family vacation, car repairs…

This PDF will get you started. If you have questions, feel free to ask me here, or to email me directly at You can also visit and register at my site for weekly style lessons and new PDF files as I add them!

I’m Heather Claus, and I love style. I didn’t always, but once I learned I knew anyone could, so I taught. Register at for weekly style lessons, fashion giveaways, and daily style resources – and don’t forget to follow me on twitter! *smiles*

A Date With Rubybliss!

In You on June 22, 2010 at 7:11 AM

When Lisa Lazarus is not out playing with her dogs or roasting golden beets, she’s  in her studio creating extraordinary works of art.   She’s someone who  followed her dreams and made them come true.  Here, Lisa shares her loves, her passions, things that make her laugh, and  the things that make this  silversmith tick.


1. Your shop’s called Ruby Bliss – that’s an intriguing name that must have a fascinating story behind it. What’s the scoop?

You’re right; the name Rubybliss does have a funny story… though it has nothing to do with jewelry! Back in the late 80’s, early 90’s when I was studying architecture at Rhode Island School of Design, one of my friends decided he was going to become a filmmaker. He set up a whole studio in his attic where a group of us would go over and make these hilariously bad films. Of course we needed “screen names”, and that’s when Ruby Bliss was born. I really just liked the sound of the words and thought it was a perfect name for a starlet. She actually became a character in some of the films; Ruby was a southern woman with a deep drawl and her mama’s name was Pearline! Then when I started making jewelry, it just seemed like a perfect fit. Ruby for the gemstones and bliss for all the joy and contentment that I get from making art/jewelry… and hopefully that you all get from wearing it!

2. What influenced you to begin creating jewelry? And how long have you been an artist?

I have always been an artist. I think being an artist is really about who you are inside, in your heart and soul, and not a profession or job. By the time I was 8 yrs old, my mom had already signed me up for very advanced painting lessons, which I loved, and I was also taking cooking classes where we made everything from meringues and soufflés to chicken and meat dishes – all kinds of complicated stuff. We were even featured in ‘Better Homes and Gardens’ and ‘The Boston Globe’ for doing such advanced cooking at a young age! The point being, if it was creative and I could get in there and express myself somehow, then I was all over it. I wanted nothing to do with ballet or soccer or things like that, but candle making or needle point? Yes, please! Nothing has really changed in the 36 years since then. I studied fine art as an undergrad and went to Paris for a semester to study printmaking and ceramics. Then I went to grad school and tried to do something I thought I could make a living at. Big mistake! Never go against your heart. I quickly realized that if I am not directly involved in the process of making art every day, my life becomes very empty. Making art, or being an artist, is just who I am. Right now I happen to be expressing myself through the medium of jewelry, but it is only one of many media I work in. What I do like so much about jewelry is that each piece is like a miniature sculpture. I can focus on every little detail and I know that those things will be noticed. I also like the fact that women and some men really LOVE to wear jewelry. It is wonderful to make something that you know will be so appreciated and treasured by your audience!

3. A lot of silver jewelry is mass produced; what makes your work unique?

Great question. I would say that by and large, the majority of all jewelry we come across has been mass-made, meaning millions of the same pieces made by machine. Even much of what we see that is called handmade or artisanal is really just mass produced components that have been put together by a crafts person. Don’t get me wrong, I am not knocking anyone who does that! It is great fun to go to your local bead shop and find cool beads and all the supplies and put them together yourself… but it is not the same thing as making jewelry from scratch. I make all of the silver pieces that I use right in my studio. Occasionally I will use a machine made clasp for certain designs, but mostly I make all of my own clasps, pendants, connectors, etc. Larger chains I also make myself, but fine chains are always machine made. The cost would be prohibitive if it was handmade- none of us would ever be able to wear a necklace! I still source my gemstone beads from suppliers, but would really love to take a gemology course and also learn to cut my own stones. That would put my work at a very different price point though, and I’m not ready to make that jump!

 4. What drew you to these materials?

Gosh, I’m not sure I’ve ever really thought about it! They’re just sooo beautiful… don’t they draw you in too? 🙂  I mean, for starters, the cost of gold is just too high for me at this point. I don’t like to feel nervous that I’m going to screw up while I’m creating something, because OF COURSE I’m going to screw up! That’s just how the creative process works. So if I’m constantly worried about the price of the gold that I’m wasting it is going to impede my natural creativity. By the way, as of June 7, 2010, silver costs $17.38 an ounce; gold costs $1,249.00 an ounce… that’s a BIG difference! I have always loved silver though. I love the look of it; the fact that it can be very elegant or super casual. I like the different tarnishes it can have; how easy it is to work with. And gemstones and beautiful beads are just irresistible! Often I like to make very plain pieces just from silver, but the gemstones are always calling my name. Their colors, cuts, everything. When I see beautiful stones, my mouth starts to water-really! I want to make things with them, but also lick them and eat them… sometimes I just want to jump in a big pile of them and roll around!!  

7. It sounds like you have a lot of fun in your studio!  What qualities should consumers look for when purchasing silver jewelry?

Well, I think it all depends what you are looking for. Obviously if you are looking for good quality, then you want to make sure that the silver is either sterling or fine silver. Most silver is sterling and should be stamped somewhere on the back, either “sterling silver” or “.925” which means that it is 92.5% silver. Fine silver, which I use, is .999%, or 99.9% pure, but you are not likely to see that around as much. It would be at a jewelry store or through an artist directly and they will be able to tell you what the pieces are made from. Anything that is not marked or has not been vouched for by a jeweler is NOT silver… you are just getting some kind of base metal. That is fine, and I absolutely believe that there is a place for cheap, fun jewelry that you can wear once or twice and then get rid of as long as it’s cheap! Just make sure you’re not paying silver prices for base metals.

5.  I can imagine you have many sources of inspiration – care to share?

I find inspiration for my work everywhere, but definitely a lot in nature and in food. I really like organic shapes and color combinations. Often times I see something that makes me want to paint, but then I don’t want to make such a literal translation. Jewelry is perfect because I can take the beauty that I have seen and transform it. A painting of a sunset might be very mundane, but a necklace of a sunset… wow! Just the other day I was washing some golden beets before roasting them and the colors of the deep bright orange and yellow and a little bit of spring green just awed me. I wanted to capture that beauty somehow, but I didn’t feel moved by the idea of painting or photographing beets. I can assure you… those colors will be showing up together in my jewelry palette very soon!

6. What are your favorite pieces to create?

By far my favorite pieces to create are custom orders that mean something to someone else. Of course it is always fun as an artist to be able to have free reign… just to make whatever you feel like… but, I hate to say it, sometimes that can be a little bit boring, or empty. When you have to take into account someone else’s desires and needs, it makes the work much more challenging, and for me, much more fun. I recently helped a young guy surprise his wife with a 5th anniversary gift it was a necklace and earring set. I was sooo into it, I felt almost as nervous as he did by the time he presented it. Luckily it was such a huge success; his wife says he’ll “never be able to top that gift”! I don’t know… maybe he and I will try to come up with something next year! Another one that stands out was a birthday gift a man ordered for his wife. Her dad had recently passed away and he wanted to somehow represent her and her dad in the necklace. They both loved topaz, so I used couplets of smoky topaz and London blue topaz to represent her and her father. It is very special and meaningful to work on a project that you know will mean so much to someone, forever probably.

8. What’s next, creative wise?

I’m pretty happy with the direction my jewelry is going right now, so I don’t want to lose any momentum here. But I am always itching to get my fingers in something else, too. I have about 100 project ideas at a time. Right now there are baby quilts that I want to make. I probably have enough fabric to put a blanket on every baby in the U.S.A.  There is a series of very colorful porcelain bowls I want to continue, and I have a collection of pen and ink drawings of women that I’ve been doing for a long time and I would like to make them into prints. That’s just for starters…

9. Where can our readers find your work?

Rubybliss On Etsy

Rubybliss On Facebook

10. Before we let you go, give us three “Good to Know” facts about you.

a. I’d sell my soul, my right arm, and anything else of possible value for a good cup of coffee. I’ve been known to drive miles and miles out of the way to get my daily “fix”.

b. I’ve had dogs in my life since the day I was born. To me, my dogs are family members… love me, love my dogs. I don’t dress them in little outfits though!

c. I am possibly the least competitive person on the planet. As a kid I used to like to go to swim team practice, just as long as I never had to participate in a swim meet! I still don’t like watching sports because even if “my team” wins, I always feel terrible for the team that loses.

11. Anything else you’d like to share?

I’d just like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to share some of my thoughts with your readers. Anyone who wants to buy some Rubybliss jewelry and mentions that they learned about me here on Live Well For Less will get a 15% discount!

Thanks so much Lisa!  I really had a wonderful time getting to know you and Rubybliss these past few weeks.  Your work is exceptional and I know you will continue to have much success.

Don’t forget to take advantage of Lisa’s 15% off deal!  🙂


Everyone has a story to tell and we want to share yours.     Please contact us at to share your passions, inspirational stories, and handmade creations.  We’re looking forward to featuring YOU!

Sunglasses: The Ultimate Fashion Necessity

In You, Your Fashion on May 12, 2010 at 8:53 AM

We all know how the perfect hair-do, handbag or belt, makes a so-so outfit pop.  And we’ve all seen how rundown heels make even the best that haute couture offers a flop. The same fashion sense holds true for that key accessory that compliments your face. 

Sunglasses are the “it” accessory of the season.  And while, Katy Perry can rock a pair of aviator shades, the same style may not work for you. 

Finding the perfect pair of shades doesn’t have to be like Ponce De Leon’s quest for the Fountain of Youth; but if you don’t choose wisely, you’ll end up with the same results!  Truthfully, there’s nothing mystifying about it and it’s a lot easier than you think.  It’s simply a matter of knowing the shape of your face.

Follow the simple guidelines listed below and you too will be set to be this season’s hottest sunglass wearing diva!

Find the face shape that is most like yours, then look below for a description and frames that match. (Click image to enlarge)


Oval:  Lucky you!  Any style works well with your face.  For maximum “wow” power look for frames that are at least as wide as the broadest part of your face.

Suggestions:  Any Style 🙂

Rectangle & Oblong: Try frames that have embellishments or contrasting colors at the temples.  Round or square shapes that accentuate the center of your face play down long and narrow features.

Suggestions:  Curvy, Rounds, and Squares

Inverted Triangle & Heart: Play down a narrow forehead and wide chin by selecting frames that are brightly colored and oversized.  Splashes of color and wide frames balance out your face.

Suggestion: Cat Eyes

Square & Pear: Look for curved frames to soften and contrast the angles of your face.  This style also serves to slim and add a little length.

Suggestions:  Cat eyes, Ovals, and Rounds

Round:  Opt for frames that make your face look slimmer and longer. Straight or angular frames make a nice contrast by minimizing curves and adding definition. 

Suggestions: Angular and Rectangular styles

Diamond:  Your face is defined by high cheekbones with a slender forehead and chin. Soften your angles by choosing frames that are oval, or curvy. Take it to the next level by going rimless! 

Suggestions:  Oval, Rounds, Rimless

The secret to finding the perfect pair of shades is self-reflection. This season, make sure you put your best face forward by wearing shades match the contours of your face.  With a little know-how you too will be a fashionista!  🙂

Having trouble decided your shape?  Check out Len’s Crafter’s interactive “What’s Your Face Shape” finder.  For best results, upload your photo, or if you’re feeling a bit shy, select one of their models instead.



Celebrate Your Superstar Mom With A-List Gifts

In You, Your Home, Your World on May 3, 2010 at 7:47 AM

Mother’s Day is May 9th and it’s (past) 🙂 time to put some serious thought into what you’re getting your favorite mom this year.  Take a look below to find a few thoughtful gifts that are sure to please your celebrity mom.  

Choose the mom that’s most like yours, then click the images and links to find great gifts that match.  


New Mom and Mommy To Be – Give this mom gifts to relax her body and soul or ones to help prepare for the new arrival and her adventures in mommyhood.  

Canon Powershot E1 at Compuplus $149.03


Domestic Diva – Does your mom love to cook?  Brighten her day with these  kitchen essentials and you’re sure to be on the receiving end of future yummy treats.  

 Cookbooks, New Dishes, Gift Basket, Kitchen Gadgets  

Pier 1 Magnetic Kitchen Timer $8


Eco Mom – Back away from traditional gifts like chocolates or jewelry and give this mom  gifts she can use year round.  

Gardening Tools, Heart Monitoring Watch, Organic Bath Kit, Earth Friendly Gifts  

Bowflex Heart Rate Monitor $50.60 at Southeastern Medical Supply


Business Mom – Make hectic weekday mornings things of the past with these timely and classic selections.   

Watch, Atomic Clock, Pearl Earrings  

Single Pearl Drops $18 by Ruby Bliss


Techie MomThe modern day DIY mom needs electronic gadgets.  Go ahead; indulge her passion with a few of the latest toys.  

Navigation Device, Flip Camcorder, Digital Photo Frame, Sony Reader  

Flip Ultra $129 at Walmart


Fashionista Mom – Going Vogue is this mom’s every day look. Spoil her with glamorous gifts from the latest fashion trends.  

Perfume, Lighted Vanity Mirror, Fashion Magazine Subscription, Jewelry, Purse    

Very Hollywood by Michael Kors $45 at Sephora


Your mom may not be a famous celebrity with paparazzi following at her heels, but I’m sure you agree she deserves to be treated like a red carpet diva.  Make this Mother’s Day an affair to remember by showering her with A-List gifts.  

How are you celebrating your mom this Mother’s Day? 


In Your Guest Writers, Your Home on April 15, 2010 at 7:20 AM

By: Jennifer Brown Banks

Image Courtesy of Louis Hall

In today’s economy, an increasing number of Americans are working from home.  This change in venue may be the result of losing a 9 to 5 gig, or the desire to test entrepreneurial waters as “job security” becomes a thing of the past.

Whether this space at your place will be used to consult with clients, or merely serve as a haven for a working writer who needs a private nook, there are a few things to consider for ultimate success.

Aside from stylistic preferences, it needs to be affordable, attractive, and functional.

Here are some terrific tips to help you approach this:

Attractive surroundings:

  1. Choose a theme that fits your personality. For instance, my office is conservative and classy, decorated in black leather (and some vinyl) furniture, with beige carpeting and animal throw rug. The colors are well balanced, yet striking. It’s also very warm and inviting. Yours should be too, particularly if you expect to have in-home clients.
  2. Choose colors that inspire you. I love soft muted tones. Others may prefer vibrant colors like red or orange to get their mojo working. Whatever you decide, choose carefully because you’re likely to spend a lot of time there.
  3. Accessorize with live and artificial plants. It adds warmth and a touch of nature.
  4. Keep reading materials like books and magazines on shelves, tables, and baskets. Literature adds a look of professionalism and conveys an image of being smart and well read.


  1. Remember that it’s not where you shop, but how you shop that matters. If you’re clever, “quality conscious” and creative, you’ll find great deals at your local Dollar Store outlets, thrift shops, and even amidst Craigslist offerings.
  2. Ask family members and friends to donate nice pieces that they may no longer have a need for.
  3. Add intimate, inexpensive touches by taking family photos, vacation pictures, and treasured friends, and placing them on display in beautiful frames that you can purchase or make yourself from items at arts and craft stores. Be creative!


  1. Don’t overlook the importance of a well-organized office. It doesn’t have to meet your mom’s standards, but at least be able to see the top of your desk, or locate important documents when in need.
  2. Strive for furniture that is “comfy” yet well constructed.  A desk chair that offers good back support is a must.

Follow these decorating dos and don’ts and you’ll be a diva who has a home office that speaks “royally” of you, and in a language your pockets can appreciate. Work it, girl!


Jennifer Brown Banks is a successful writer and entrepreneur who has enjoyed working from her home office for the last seven years.  And she’s lovin’ the view!

Get Great Summer Looks For A Lot Less

In Uncategorized on April 8, 2010 at 11:35 AM

Don’t spend a lot of dough updating your wardrobe.  Dress for less with these budget diva finds.  

For You  

Top, $15, sandals, $25, earrings, $12, bangles, $15, Apostrophe. Pants, $40, bag, $25, Covington. All at and Sears stores.  

Revitalize Your Color  

Give your hair a shiny fresh start with these hue enhancers  

Got brown locks?  Try Pantene Pro V Brunette Expressions.  Around $6 at most retailers.  

Redheads, give John Frieda’s Radiant Red Luminous Color Glaze  a try.  $10 at Walmart  

If your hair is Blond and now has a brassy hue, Ken Paves Healthy Hair Boost Up Color drops in platinum, will set it straight $40 at  





For Babies and Big Girls  


Sewcial Charm Personalized Bloomers $9.99


Personalized Pink/Chocolate Diaper Bag $28.97 by Sewcial Charm


Cotton Candy Pink Bandana Pillowcase Dress $9.99 by Bumblebees & Bonnets


Get a free Potty Training Kit from Pampers.  The kit includes: A free sample of easy up trainers, coupons, a sticker and coloring kit, a Potty Progress chart with step-by-step training instructions, a Dora or Diego trophy (select girl or boy on order form)  



For the Family  

Get the hottest deals and freebies at Freeminded .  Freeminded is a new site that pre-screens offers they post to make sure they are spam and scam free.  Check out their free sample offers, coupons and deals and just plain free stuff like t-shirts, pens and promotional items.  

Good to Know!

In You, Your Fashion, Your Food, Your Health, Your World on March 24, 2010 at 7:52 PM

Sit or Squat

Plug your zip code or address into Sit or Squat   to locate a public restroom anywhere in the world!  Go mobile with your IPhone, ITouch, BlackBerry and SMS text.

Red is the New Black

According to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, men are more attractive to women wearing red as opposed to other colors. 

Try a New Polish

This year’s colors are bold, bright and vibrant: from neon yellows to trendy blues and metallic golds to timeless nudes

Break Out the Popcorn

A study by the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania found that popcorn and whole grains have as many antioxidants as vegetables.

Get Your Shine On With WD-40

Spray a little WD on leather shoes and purses, then buff to a shine with a clean cloth. Also adds a layer of protection from nature’s elements.


Tangerine Sparkles


2Cs orange-tangerine juice

3Cs ginger ale

8 chilled glasses filled with crushed ice

Pour juice over glasses, garnish with orange or tangerine slices.

How Not to Bust Your Wedding Budget on the Ring

In Your Fashion, Your Guest Writers on March 17, 2010 at 5:55 AM

How to Buy an Engagement Ring on a Budget


It’s a beautiful milestone in your life!  You’re about to get married to the love of your life.  Now, you need to decide on the ring and nowadays many couples are shopping together.  The first thing you’ll want to do is start fresh.  Don’t start with preconceived notions about how an engagement ring is “supposed” to be.  Once you throw out the assumptions, the possibilities are endless. 

One way to cut costs is by getting a smaller carat weight.  You can save a lot of dough this way.  Look at the different carat weights side by side.  If you can’t tell the difference or the difference doesn’t make it any less beautiful, why spend the extra money?

Another way to cut costs is by changing the metal.  Perhaps you’re stuck on the idea and the look of platinum.  Take a look at white gold! It’s less expensive, but still a lifelong wearable metal with the same look and feel.

Look at smaller stores, family jewelry, and estate sales.  Just because it says Tiffany & Co. on the box doesn’t make it any less beautiful, but it really has an impact on the cost.  The bigger the brand name, the bigger the retail markup.  Don’t get sucked into the “big name” just because it’s a momentous moment.

Does your family have jewelry?  It doesn’t have to be an engagement ring.  It could be different rings, diamond earrings, or a diamond pendant.  The diamonds can be transferred by a jeweler to an engagement ring setting.  There!  You’ve just saved money on the main diamond, which may free up the funds for accent diamonds in a setting of your choice.

You’ve probably already heard about the 4 C’s: Cut, color, clarity, and carat weight.  But what you might not know is that if your diamond falls between D and H on the color scale, most people won’t be able to see major differences with an untrained naked eye.  If that is not an aspect that ranks really high on your search, you can save a lot of money by getting a lower color grade.  This same concept applies to clarity!  Basically, you go from flawless to imperfect.  Cut the corner a little bit, still as beautiful and beautiful on your wallet.

Shop!  Look at your options and different stores.  Take a look at what you like and then compare your bargains.  You want to get the best deal for the “right” ring.  Decide what’s most important to you, and find it.  Look around online, look at auctions (online and off,) look at the big names – Hey, even if you don’t want to pay the big markup, you can take advantage of their marketing budget and look at the gorgeous photos.  Know what you’re looking for and then hunt.

The bottom line is this: more money does not equal a “better” ring.  More money does not equal a happier marriage.  Be smart, and you’ll both be ecstatic.

About the Author:  Sarah Harris is the Marketing Manager at Adiamor. 

Adiamor offers a large selection of engagement ring settings, loose diamonds and other fine diamond jewelry at affordable prices.