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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Gifts for my granddaughter

I was doing a little deal browsing (I can’t help myself) and saw the cutest little musical radio toy for babies. I read all the information and how it helps children with learning, how they love music and the flashing lights are enticing and wonderful. I thought it would be an excellent toy for my granddaughter because she’s getting a little bored with her current toys and she has already shown she loves music. I was a second short of clicking purchase when I noticed the package read, “12 months+.”

Practical baby gifts

There was a moment when I was going to get it anyway, but then I thought about what it’s like to be a new mom and receive gifts that aren’t appropriate or useful for the stage my child is in. Even though the mommy is my daughter I always want to be sensitive to her needs and knowledge. Keeping that in mind, I just clicked back to the online retailer SimplyBabyGifts to check out the current baby gifts they have available.

They have the cutest burp clothes, stroller blankets, themed bodysuits and little yoga pants. All very practical, cute and useful; however, don’t tell my daughter that I’m going back to looking at toys. She can’t argue with toys plus burp clothes, blankets and an outfit. Everyone wins.

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Friday, January 18, 2013

Best tech purchase to date

There is one subject you will rarely see me discuss here in this woman's world: technology. My knowledge goes as far as what I like and don't like as well as what it does that I like.

I found a little gadget I absolutely LA-ove: The SoundLogic XT. It charges my phone and just about any device I have while I'm on the go. I just plug my Android in (no outlet needed) and it gets me back to 100% in record time. How's that for convenient?

It comes with every connecter I need that is attached using my phone's cord. All the technical mumbo jumbo like how long it lasts, etc., you can find by doing a little research.


Right now I'm going to relax and enjoy playing with my apps while my phone charges and I'm no where near an outlet having to be tethered to the wall. It's the little - and convenient - things that make me happy. :-D
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Try Nopalea, pay only S&H

Having shared with you some issues regarding my health and medications, I’m not sure I’ve ever mentioned I prefer to use natural supplements and herbs. That said, when I finally received actual diagnosis I committed to taking medication that relieved my symptoms and anything I desire to take has to be cleared through much research, conversations with doctors as well as a friend I have who’s a chemist.

My interest in supplements and herbs is what prompted me to tell you about TriVita’s Nopalea, a wellness drink. According to their site, “Nopalea (Nō-pah lāy’uh) is a tasty wellness drink sourced from the fruit of the Nopal cactus (Opuntia Ficus Indica). The healing properties of the Nopal cactus have been relied on for centuries by native peoples, and they’re now available in Nopalea.” The product is touted as relieving body pain, reducing swelling in joints and improving breathing.

I did a little snooping and found a variety of opinions about the efficacy of the product. To try it for yourself, TriVita is offering 32-ounce bottles of Nopalea for free, but you’ll have to *pay $9.95 for shipping and handling.

Disclosure: This is not a medical recommendation; always consult your physician. This is a sponsored post and any opinions included are my own, but were in no way influenced by anyone else. Click for my ever-so-interesting full disclosure policy.

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Perfect 10

anna nails perfect 10 #2

At my house there is no shortage of girly stuff. I have three daughters and even though one doesn’t technically reside with me she’s still a regular culprit in the makeup, nails and all things girl that we have going on. (My poor son!)

So it’s no surprise when someone is doing their nails, getting their nails done, wants their nails done and every scenario in between. In fact, I’ve been wanting to paint my fingernails for about two weeks and just stopped being lazy yesterday. Now my fingernails, and my toes, are quite cute. Winking smile

My youngest daughter, who likes the girly gang as well, will sit patiently to have her nails or toes done. Neither I nor my middle and oldest daughter mine doing her toenails, but we’ve all sworn not to do her nails again. Why? For one, she sucks her thumb so that polish is sure to come off in less than 24 hours. Number two, she will more than likely mess up a nail or two. Although, I have to admit, she has gotten better. And lastly, she is may sit patiently, but she’s rarely immobile so you spend a lot of time correcting, wiping. fussing and sighing loudly.

anna nails perfect 10That’s why when she asked me to apply the fake nails she received in her stocking for Christmas I put her off for almost three weeks. Then one afternoon after promising the day before I patiently applied the nails using the oh-so-annoying sticky strips that came with the nails.

I thought it would be a perfect day to do them because she would be in most of the day and wouldn’t have to worry them. I just knew that the cuteness of them would inspire her to keep them on.

I was wrong.

About five to eight minutes after I completed the last one she came back complaining that one had moved. She had been playing on the computer. About 10 minutes after that she returned with a nail or two in the palm of her hand. This went on for about 30 minutes before she decided she wanted to take them off. Surprised smile

I kept my wits about me and didn’t fuss or complain, but once again pledged that I would never EVER do her nails again. We’ll see how long that lasts.

Before she took them they fell off I managed to get a couple of photos. I think she looks adorable with a perfect 10. What do you think?

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

How to write a book proposal by Michael Larsen {book review}

I’ve read my share of book proposals and books about writing book proposals. A good number of them are intimidating, difficult to understand and cause a new and unpublished author of nonfiction to rethink their approach to this “book thing.” That isn’t the case with the 4th edition of How to Write a Book Proposal by literary agent Michael Larsen.

book proposal bookLarsen’s book is definitely the one you’ll want to add to your personal library and refer back to when you’re writing a book proposal. The 100,000 copies sold and its 25 years in print is probably a hint to its popularity and success, and it doesn’t hurt that it’s written as a precise and clear step-by-step roadmap to the ideal book proposal.

The book highlights information about changes in the publishing industry and includes updated trends, sample proposals and resources as well as a new chapter on online promotion. That’s just like a Writer’s Digest classic to make sure its new edition stays on top of what’s current.

I’ve been reading the book for quite some time. In fact, when I started it was in its third edition. What’s taking me so long? Firstly, as an editor I’ve offered manuscript and book proposal consultations therefore any material that has to do with that field is definitely on my “to seriously read” list. Lastly, I’ve worked on two of my own book proposals and should I decide to continue on the nonfiction route I want the process to be as effortless as possible. A writer can never obtain too much information.

Not only is this book informative, but it’s interesting as well. It definitely challenged me to pay attention to the vast amount of details that are necessary to complete a successful proposal. It’s possible and it’s necessary because 90 percent of the nonfiction books bought by trade publishers are acquired on the proposal alone.

If you’re serious about seeing your nonfiction book bought by a reputable publisher then you should get serious about your book proposal. How to Write a Book Proposal is the book for you.

Complete disclosure: The publisher provided me with a complimentary copy of this book through BookSneeze® to facilitate this review. As always, all opinions included are my own and were in no way influenced by anyone else. Click for my ever-so-interesting full disclosure policy.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Build a house… a playhouse

I have never met a kid who wasn’t interested in having a tree house, clubhouse or any variation of the two. The thought of having a miniature house in the backyard seems to be an overwhelming appeal for most kids. Even adults reminisce about clubhouses they had or ones they’ve always wanted. I, along with my cousins, had a little open aired tree house our uncle made for us and I’ve always wanted an elaborate mini house for my children.

That’s why I was more than willing to share with you the Wood Playhouses I learned about. I figured you’re just like me – you either had a little house, wanted one or want to get one for your children or grandchildren. At budgetpackaging.com the wooden playhouses are on sale, which makes it a perfect time to purchase them. By the time the weather is warm enough to enjoy it you’ll have it up and ready to go.

The houses arrive to you pre-cut kits and all you have to do is use a level, tape measure, screwdriver and hammer. They don’t rust, sag or dent and that’s makes them ideal for other uses after the children are finished with them. Wouldn’t it be a cute practical storage building? No one would be the wiser.

I took a peek at the offerings, and I have to admit I couldn’t decide on a playhouse I like the most. So here are a few I think are totally irresistible.

playhouse #1 Little Squirt Playhouse with Sandbox

playhouse #2
Grand Portico Mansion

playhouse #3

Wood Hampton Chalet

See what I mean? These wooden playhouses bring back all kinds of childhood desires. Tell me, who would you buy a little playhouse for?

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How I find deals, save money

Although my expenses have been rising, my resources haven’t. In fact, right now I’m on a fairly fixed income. I’m not complaining it just is what it is – at least for now. That’s why I try to never EVER leave home without coupons and I hardly ever shop (whether IRL or virtually) without having a coupon code, cash back link or another way to save a bit of moolah.

70 percent off picI am by no means an extreme couponer, but I definitely take advantage of what I do know and I wanted to share with you. On a recent trip to my regular Kroger I found a good deal in the “hidden” clearance area that consists of about four long shelves stocked with discontinued, damaged or overstock products. One day I bought large bottles of Pantene shampoo and conditioner for my oldest daughter at $2 and some change per bottle. The only thing to make that deal better would be having a coupon for that brand.

I’m telling you about the “hidden” area so you can search your Kroger for one. I didn’t even know it was there and I’ve been shopping at this particular store for about two years. I found the aisle a few months ago – it’s behind the self-checkout where there are often carts lined up with products waiting to be restocked. Right next to that are the shelves. It’s a narrow little aisle that isn’t visible when you walk by in either direction. I know someone who works at a Kroger about two hours away and he said that their shelves are in a weird spot as well.

GudAnother great deal was on two bottles of shower wash: Gud Orange Petalooza and Vanilla Flame body washes as well as the vanilla body lotion. These products run about $7 a bottle for  8 or 10 fluid ounces and were marked down to about $3. I had two coupons, each for $2 off. A dollar and something for a $7 bottle? Yes please! Gud is a relatively new brand (developed by a Burt’s Bees team), and I love that it’s all natural and made without petrochemicals, parabens or pthalates. In addition, the products aren’t tested on animals.

olay regenerist 2olay regenerist tubeAnother name brand item I grabbed was Olay Regenerist. I’m already a fan of Olay so this was a purchase I couldn’t resist. I’ve noticed fine lines beginning to appear around my eyes so I take advantage of products geared toward these issues. (Take a moment to read a few other posts about my love of skincare products.) This product was originally $26.99 and I bought it for $13.49! A great opportunity to try a favorite brand’s anti-aging product.

Here are a few other ways I save and earn money or points:

    • Shopping through Ebates. I don’t make very large online purchases and I sometimes forget, but when I do shop I get a percentage of the purchase price as cash back. Can’t go wrong with that, right? (That’s my referral link. If I get a certain number of active referrals then I get a bonus, hooray!)
    • Use MyPoints. When you shop via MyPoints you earn points per dollar spent, which you redeem for their partner offers. You’ll also earn points if you view their offers, search using their toolbar or taking survey. You can cash in your points for gifts cards to a myriad of merchants including Amazon, LL Bean, Bath & Body Works, Bass Pro Shop, Target, Walgreens… almost any store you can think of. I’m about to cash in 300 points for a $50 gift card to Kohl’s.
    • Stalk stores. I try to signup for all the store and brands’ newsletters and promotions emails so I know when coupons and deals are available. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve searched my email before a shopping trip and printed out coupons totally at least $10 or more to save on my trip. It’s not just food brands, anything you use on a regular basis or a lot of in your home or life.

moneyEven if you’re not on a fixed income, taking advantage of deals, cash back, coupons and rebates is just good money management. It’s one of the best – and most fun ways – I’ve found to maximize on my dollars.

 

 

 

Complete disclosure: This is NOT  a sponsored or paid post. There is one referral link to my Ebates. If enough people sign up under my link I’ll earn a little extra cash back. As always, all opinions included are my own and were in no way influenced by anyone else. Click for my ever-so-interesting full disclosure policy.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Celebrate with sky lanterns & sparklers

Recently a friend took the oath to become a citizen of our fine nation. The majority of his family had already done it and he had lived and worked here for many years on his green card. I figured an occasion such as this could not go uncelebrated or, at the very least, unacknowledged.

Celebrate with sky lanterns
 
I figured there wasn’t a “Congratulations on your citizenship” card so I made a cute little card to acknowledge the day. Funny thing is I’ve been thinking about it since that day and, as if to mock me, I came across a card in my stash that had art deco reproductions of the Statue of Liberty created by a well-known artist and “Congratulations!” on the inside. Go figure, huh? That card would have been perfect and guess what I remembered would go perfectly with the artsy card? Sparklers, of course.

I’ve told you before about Sparklers Depot, the online retailer that sells sparklers and sky lanterns. It would have been awesome to hand him a handful of lit sparklers in addition to the card. Or, if I wanted to take it up another level then I could have stood outside and released American Flag sky lanterns. That would have been picture perfect.

As you can see, I’m really determined to think of every possible occasion where the celebration can include sky lanterns and sparklers. Winking smile

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Monday, January 14, 2013

No nonsense leggings make being stylish easy

This post brought to you by No nonsense. All opinions are 100% mine.

I'm a mom who likes to quickly grab something out of my closet and be ready to go in a flash, and I want that outfit I choose to be stylish and comfortable. The same goes for when I'm dressing for a date; not only do I want to be stylish, but comfort and sexy are also important.

No nonsense leggings fit your life
 
With No nonsense tights and leggings achieving those fashion goals is easy because an outfit I've worn before takes on a completely different look with a pop of color using the tights, which can be paired with a tunic, dress or skirt. The leggings look perfect tucked into boots or worn with wedge clogs and a favorite outfit. The leggings and tights will take an outfit from nice to fantastic in a flash.
 
No nonsense has partnered with Jill Martain who will be their new brand ambassador. She's best known as an Emmy award-winning television personality and co-author of the New York Times bestselling styleguide "I Have Nothing to Wear!"  Now Jill, who's the New York Correspondent for Access Hollywood, will be featured in online vignettes to offer women tips on how to wear the latest trends that include colorful tights and wardrobe-necessary leggings.
 

You can keep up with Jill by joining No nonsense on Facebook and be on the lookout for a Facebook contest where a winner and a friend will mete Jill in New York City for style advice and a fabulous shopping spree. Also follow on Twitter @benononsense so you don't miss out on quick fashion tips. The tights and leggings are affordable and sold at grocery, drug and mass retailer stores so you can get yours and be ready to implement the tips that are right for you.

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