Monday, November 28, 2011

Holiday Shopping Saving Tips

The holidays are a magical time of year: it's when your money magically goes from your pocket to someone's cash register.  How much will you spend? No matter what you plan on spending, there are plenty of ways to save.

Tip 1:  Decide and divide

Decide how much you're going to spend - divide that amount among the people you're gifting. Then be like Santa: make a list and check it twice.

Tip 2:  take yourself off yours.

The National Retail Federation says Americans will spend $700 each this holiday season - but that includes $130 we're going to spend on ourselves. Scratch yourself - you've already saved 18 percent.

Tip 3:  Coupons

Once you've decided what you're buying, check online for coupon codes.  It takes seconds and could save a bundle.

Tip 4:  Gift Cards

If you have any, use your unused ones from last year, or buy discounted ones from specialty sites and use them: that could save you 10 percent or more.

Final tip:  Give something valuable that won't cost you a dime: yourself.

There are any number of ways to do it, from baby-sitting to cooking meals to shopping and doing chores. Just make a gift certificate and you're done.
But to use these tips, you need one more: start early. The more time you have, the easier it is to substitute imagination for money.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Laughing Out Loud

Humor in daily life, relationships, family

Shared sense of humor is a great way to bond. Humor is contagious and laughter is the best medicine. It is an approved truth that laughter and humor strengthens the immune system, boosts energy, and even lessens pain. The greatest stress buster comes free.
When laughter is shared, it binds people and makes them more intimate. Humor in any relationship, be it family or workplace, is sure to make you not only more popular, but also improve your harmony with others. It keeps you grounded and lightens your burden. Even when we have finished laughing, the good feeling lingers, makes you a more positive person. It is impossible to continue to feel angry or anxious when you retain your sense of humor. 

In relationship issues, humor helps you to maintain a healthy perspective. It helps you to keep in focus the important factors and filter out the irrelevant ones. When you laugh, it invites whoever is with you, your partner, friend, or colleague, to join in the fun. Laughter at workplace helps you to accomplish more. Laughter in your relationship makes it stronger. A man who can make you smile is a cherished being indeed. You can in turn be that cherished being if you retain your sense of humor. Laughing together creates a strong buffer against odds like disagreements and disappointments and relieves the strain out of the relationship.
A family that laughs together weathers a lot together. Laughter makes you less defensive, releases your inhibitions and thereby helps you express your true feelings. Needless to say, laughter is the perfect way to forge family ties.
Humor changes the chemistry of the brain by releasing endorphins that increase the sense of well-being. It also increases reasoning power. With humor in your daily life, creativity increases and you become more emotionally independent. Your generally relaxed and positive attitude towards life attracts more people towards you. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Travel tips for women who love the sojourn

Its time to let your hair down and take that much needed break from life’s dull routines. Travel is something that every woman looks forward to so she can get that much needed break from the strenuous chores of everyday life. Not being prepared for travel can leave you bitter and stressed even on a holiday. This post is intended to help you run a checklist on things that are a ‘must do’ when on travel.

Irrespective of whether women are working or at home travel brings with it a host of anxieties. From taking care of children to packing the right stuff everything is on the shoulders of the women who travel. Here are a few travel tips that should help women keep off that unnecessary stress while traveling:

·      Pack light – Do not go overboard while packing as it will leave you tired and anxious and it is an unnecessary burden to carry around

·      Carry a map of the destination you are headed to 

·      Carry clothes that are bright and comfortable  

·      Do not work while on travel 

·      Shop for yourself – when on travel, women usually land up buying gifts for everyone save themselves, always remember to pick up a souvenir for yourself

·      If it is winter time travel then ensure you have your woolen and thermal clothing packed

·      Always carry your sunscreen, moisturizer and day cream along

·      Pack your medical supplies if any along with a first aid kit

·      Carry enough sets of undergarments 

·      Have a small diary with important phone numbers and emergency contacts, keep it in your wallet

·      Carry travelers checks instead of lot of cash 

Travel clubs, groups and travel agencies are fun ways to meet other travelers and save on travel expenses.

The Women's Travel Club
Gutsy Women Travel
Sights and Soul Travel
G Adventures

The above tips should keep you safe and ready for travel. Most of all, remember to have fun. 

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving 
from our family to yours.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What is a blog? Tips for New Bloggers

A blog is a journal which is available on the web and which can be viewed in an HTML browser. When you first think about starting your blog, ask yourself, are you better at speaking or writing? Because, blog is essentially a written media, and you shall need very good written communication skills to get your point across in a sea of blogs currently pervading the web. The next thing to be taken into account is your desire for celebrity status. Blog is a forum that will put you in the limelight. Not everybody is comfortable with that. In addition, you have to be at ease with both appreciation and criticism alike. While there will be people who will appreciate what you have got to say, there will be an equal, if not more, number of people who might not share your point of view, and they are not going to be polite about that. You have to be able to take the bad along with the good as a blogger. You will also have to be ready to work hard, for overnight success may not come to you. Long-term thinking is what you have to aim for.
When you are about to start, think about a suitable topic. It should be something that interests not only you, but the general people as well. On the other hand, if your topic is too over-exposed, then you run the risk of getting lost in the large wave.  Ascertain the demand in the market and choose your topic carefully to minimize competition.
You need a domain name for your blog. This will help create an aura of professionalism and build credibility. The domain name should reflect the aims and objectives of your blogging site. Having your own domain name will also increase your search engine ranking.
While designing your blogging site, you can get help from professional web designers.
While writing your blog, the contents should be useful and unique, the titles reflecting your topic clearly. The length should not be too long, as this will make the reader lose attention. A good idea is to make your blog content scannable so that readers may scan it for future use.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Save Money - Getting Home Decor Items Organized by Season

The next time you want to find extra dollars in your household budget, consider the possibilities that will open up if you tackle the important task of organizing all of your home décor materials. You don’t have to become Martha Stewart overnight.
Chances are that you change your decorations for your home with the change in the season. The costs that you spend each year on holiday-related home décor items, many of which you will end up throwing away, represent a good place to begin cost-cutting. By saving on home décor, you can free up dollars to spend in other areas of the household budget.  

The trick is to organize holiday-related home décor items more efficiently. Some homemakers approach this by buying one large plastic bin for each holiday, such as one for Easter, one for Thanksgiving, one for Christmas, etc. During the rest of the year, the choice of home décor items usually fits the season, as in spring, summer, fall, and winter decorations.

How do you keep your stuff organized in a bin system without going crazy? The answer is simple. Just set up each bin and label it. Then pick one day every two months or so to take out the bin for the outgoing season and pack it up and store it in the attic or garage. Next, take out the bin for the next season and unpack everything. For example, after Halloween, pack up your fall stuff and unpack everything for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Fashion on a budget

With the recent recession, what do you do if you have this urge to go for the latest fashion? We can hardly go back to sack cloth and ashes, at the same time, it is not possible for us to dress up in the style and chic that the celebrities do. We simply lack their source of funds. That Jimmy Choo or the latest Christian Dior seems luring, but way out of our range. Or at least way out of my means. You can still dress yourself up in style, at a much lesser budget. There are certain blogs that will give you similar dresses at a very affordable cost. Some of the more popular ones are FrugalFashioista, DC Goodwill Fashion Blog, The Budget Babe, The Cheap Chica's,, and many more. These blogs will provide you with designs similar to the original ones, along with price tag, where to get them and so on and so forth. You will get weekly deals, spotlights of retailers, bargains and steal prices. They will help you to budget a celebrity line get providing you with the costing of the total ensemble. Most of these blogs emphasize on celebrity looks and will give you fashion advise on how to get the same look at a much lower cost. They provide with pictures of the celebrity in her look, complete with accessories such as shoes, scarves, jewelry and handbags, and pictures of similar fashion items which will cost much less. You can choose your pick and order online, or visit the retailer and pick your own pieces. Some sites will provide you with screening areas and you can browse with ease if you are going for a particular look, such as sports, fashion jewelry under $10 and so on. Other sites specialize in designer label looks so if you are into any particular designer, you can visit these sites and get designs which carry their signature style. The good thing about these sites is they offer fashion tips and information on a budget without making you look cheap or imitative. You can retain your own style of dress while going for the latest fashion trend.
Home Décor At Exclusive Prices - Save Up to 80% Off Retail and Get Free Shipping on orders of $100+ at! Invitation Code: XMAS2013 - 300x250

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Relationship advice for the rest of us…

In a world where relationships have become delicate and precarious, one could do with as much relationship advice as one can get. This post is intended to help you discover how you can nurture a relationship without feeling stressed or anxious. Any relationship that requires one to pretend to be somebody else is not worth the while, whereas a relationship that makes one want to improve oneself so that the relationship strengthens is one worth pursuing. This post will talk about the factors that are essential to keep a relationship alive.

There are key factors that go into making a relationship strong; there is no rule of the thumb that works for everyone; nevertheless, there are certain suggestions that are bound to improve any relationship:

·      Maintain honesty and transparency – it is better that somebody hates you for what you are than love you for what you are not

·      Learn to say no – oftentimes relationships wane under the pressure of things that one is forced to do to please the other person. Do what you think you are comfortable doing and say a polite and gentle yet firm no to what you don’t feel comfortable about

·      Do not nag – nagging often kills a relationship. When you do need to get across to the other person say what you have to say and repeat it once at the most

·      Keep the trust – this works both ways, you need to live up to the trust of the other person and trust the other person as well

·      Give each other space

·      Compliment and appreciate the other person

·      Keep your expectations to the bare minimum that way you will be able to appreciate

Relationships are about happiness; the above suggestions will help you retain the spark of happiness in any relationship. - animated hand 125x125

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Save money and choose green alternatives...

Are you one of those people who just cannot keep track of their spending, and find themselves wondering when and where they spent their money? Does it frustrate you that your hectic daily schedule and a busy lifestyle leave you with very less time for taking up environmental causes? Helping the cause of preservation of environment can start with small steps – tiny alteration of your buying decisions, choices, and habits can bring in a significant difference and save the earth as well as your pocket. Implementing the following tips would enable you to do their bit for Mother Earth, while allowing you to keep a steady tab on your spending habits as well. 
Reuse, up-cycle, resell – Putting a check on dumping activities can prevent landfills and infiltration of toxic chemicals into resources like soil and ground water. Do not throwaway plastic mats, electronic items, which do not work anymore, cell phones and items containing chemicals and metals. Reselling your older computer monitor or washing machine is always a better alternative than to simply throw it away – it would bring you some financial return and you would also be preventing harmful chemicals and metals like lead and nickel from leaching into ground water table. 
Think of recycling or simply up-cycling a product. Old doors and furniture can be transformed into storage provisions like bins and shelves. Copper wires inside ducts and computer hard disks can be re-used in jewelry making and other creative pursuits. 
Buy organic and locally grown products – Make more eco-friendly choices and support farmers’ communities. Buying organic vegetables and coffee beans by Fair Trade Association ensures that lesser pesticides and fertilizers find their way into the soil and water resources, thus leading to lesser pollution and protection of natural habitats. While you might not give a second thought to purchase of a fabric made of organic cotton, or roasting your own coffee, its ramifications might be hugely beneficial for the preservation of Earth. What is more, you would be making significant savings in the process, too.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Going Bananas

One of my friends text me this pic.  Sharing it for laughs!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Wines – tasting, purchasing, serving

Wines – tasting, purchasing, serving
As wines are best enjoyed with the right food, pairing of wines with food is the first step you have to keep in mind. As wines can be sweet or tart, red or white, learn to discern between the different varieties. Generally, red wine goes better with meat and white wine with fish. Sweet or dessert wines are usually served after the meal. 
Next comes the flavor of the wine. They can come in strong or subtle flavor. Traditional wine making countries, such as Italy, France, Germany, make wine with subtle flavors. Comparatively new countries such as New Zealand, Australia, Canada or the United States make wine with stronger flavors.

After you have decided on your type of wine, comes the tasting. You can host wine tasting parties, which are a fun way to entertain. Usually there is a leader who is the knowledgeable one. You can invite a few people and seat them at the table with empty wineglasses, one for each one, preferably. If there is both red and white wine, go for two glasses per person. Usually the sequence is white before red, light before heavy and dry before sweet. You can serve several wines from the same producer, with different vintages. This is ‘vertical tasting.’ The producer may be different in ‘horizontal tasting,’ with the wine being of the same kind. For ‘blind tasting,’ the identity or vintage of the wine is not revealed to avoid bias by the tasters.

While serving wines, keep in mind to choose a good corkscrew. After you have opened the bottle, wipe with a clean soft cloth so that no grains of the cork remains. The right kind of glass is very important as different types of wines are to be served in different sized and shaped glasses. The better wine goes in bigger glasses. Plastics are forbidden while serving wine, therefore invest in some good quality glasses, both for the red and the white wine variety.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Apple Pie

Crunch Top Apple Pie Recipe courtesy Paula Deen


Dough and Filling:

  • Dough for a double crust 9-inch pie (homemade, frozen, or refrigerated)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Dash salt
  • 3 1/2 cups peeled, chopped cooking apples
  • 1 (16-ounce) jar applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter, chopped into small pieces

Crunch Topping:

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Dash salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature



·      Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

·      Line a 9-inch pie pan with half of dough.

·      Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl.

·      Stir in apples, applesauce, and lemon juice.

·      Spoon apple mixture into pie pan and dot with butter.

·      Cut remaining crust into strips; arrange in a lattice design over top of pie.

·      For crunch topping, combine flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl.

·      Using a fork, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.

·      Sprinkle over top of crust.

·      Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees F and continue to bake for about 45 minutes, or until crust and topping are golden brown. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

ACNE Woes and Worries

Acne is a common skin problem. Up to eighty percent of people, get acne at some time, especially from ages 12 to 24. Acne occurs when oil glands are blocked, become red (inflamed) or infected.


Hair follicles have glands that make an oily material called sebum.  Acne happens when these glands are plugged with sebum and skin cells. Germs (bacteria) that are normally found in the oil glands can multiply. This can cause the glands to be inflamed or infected.

The main cause of acne is the change in hormones during adolescence. This causes the oil glands to get bigger and to make more sebum. Other causes or things that can make acne worse include:

  • Hormone changes with women’s menstrual cycles
  • Oil based cosmetics and hair products.
  • Harshly scrubbing the skin
  • Strong soaps or astringents
  • Stress
  • Heredity
  • Hormone problems due to certain diseases
  • Long or oily hair rubbing against the skin
  • Some medicines
  • Pressure from headbands, backpacks, shoulder pads, etc
  • Jobs that have exposure to certain oils and chemicals


Acne causes different types of problems with the oil glands.

There are concentrations of these glands found on the face, neck, chest, and upper back.  Acne often occurs at these places.

Acne often leads to:

  • Red pimples
  • Whiteheads
  • Blackheads
  • Small pus filled pimples (pustules)
  • Bigger red pimples or pustules that cause tenderness
  • More severe acne can cause:
  • Boils
  • Fluid filled swellings (cysts)
  • Scars


Acne usually disappears with time. Good skin care is the most important part of treatment:
  • Wash the skin gently at least twice a day and after exercise.
  • Always wash your skin before bed
  • Use mild soap
  • Follow each wash with a non-oil based skin moisturizer (especially if you have dry skin).
  • Keep hair clean and off the face. Shampoo daily.
  • Only use treatments prescribed by your caregiver.
  • Use a good sun block (SPF over 15). This is especially important if you use some acne medicines.
  • Be patient with treatments. It can take 2 months before acne gets better.
  • Use cosmetics that say that they are non-comedogenic. This means that they do not plug the oil glands.

Avoid things that make acne worse:
  • Leaning your chin or forehead on your hands
  • Picking or squeezing pimples


There are many good treatments for acne. Some are over-the-counter and some prescribed. Treatment depends on:

  • The type of acne (red pimples, whiteheads, etc.)
  • How severe the acne is

Common treatments include:
  • Creams and lotions that prevent clogging of oil glands.
  • Treat or prevent infection and inflammation.
  • Antibiotics, put on the skin or taken as a pill
  • Pills that decrease sebum production
  • Birth control pills
  • Special lights or lasers
  • Minor surgery
  • Injection of medicine into acne areas
  • Chemicals that cause peeling of the skin