Outpouring thoughts may turn out crumpled and scratched... You gotta share what runs in your mind, be it on travel, fashion, lifestyle, home improvement, kids, parenting, technology and gadgets, web development, health, education, online gaming, insurance, and a lot more...

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Wise Shopper

A revolutionary step was started to combat the problem in eyesight. It was through the invention of eyeglasses. However, some people who are wearing eyeglasses are not comfortable as they feel awkward about sharing their eye problems to the public. That is why optical manufacturers have come up with stylish and comfortable eyeglasses. Not only people with healthy eyesight were able to wear eyeglasses, even those with healthy eyes are also using them for the sake of fashion trend.


The eyeglasses is indeed a lucrative type of business. And customer satisfaction is a prime purpose for doing so and that is Seeing Straight Without Breaking Bank. As for eyeglasses manufacturer that offers best deals to customers, the New York Times recommends the Prescription eyeglasses for only $8! which was mentioned in their website with the headline, Zenni Optical in the New York Times?! . Many people were inspired and settled for the cheapest eyeglasses of Zenni Optical.


Monday, February 2, 2009

Freedom to Gamble Online

Playing in traditional casinos are no longer as fun as what online casinos have to offer. Not only the upper class society are fond to play casinos, but also those who simply want to have fun at the comfort of their home. What's good thing about most online casinos is that they often considered as free online casinos for they offer a wide array of game choices for free. Some operate through sponsorship of profit-making casinos.

Casinos that are offered for free online entices more casino players to gamble for money. They allow casino players to enjoy games such as video poker, slots, bingo, lotto and roulette that also offer special bonus casino games as well as competitions. Not only you can play with people of the same location as with you, but also allows you to play with people from all over the world.

Aside from being a source of recreation for many casino players, online casinos also offers an opportunity to understand and learn the ins and outs of the game. And take not, you have nothing to lose so casino players can take the risks as well as mistakes while you are learning more strategies on how to play the games, and also how much would it cost to play the games.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Furniture Shopping Tips

While many people think that buying contemporary home furniture online just isn't feasible, I maintain that some of the best furniture can came from online shopping experiences. One cannot find some of the truly unique pieces of contemporary as well as patio furniture on the market today solely via local retail furniture stores or outlets; they can only be found via online shopping. Some of the designers and manufacturers of these unique designs do not market them to retail store outlets, opting only to sell them directly to the consumer via online shopping.

Another concern that many people have about shopping for furniture online is that the shipping or freight charges will negate any type of savings they might be able to find at online furniture stores. While this is a very valid concern, the fact remains that online businesses have less overhead and are therefore able to offer goods at severely reduced prices in many cases, such that even with shipping prices included you can oftentimes save 20-40% as compared to physical retail locations.

If you're still unsure about shopping for budget patio, antique, leather furniture, used furniture or contemporary home furniture online, at least use the internet to make better shopping decisions before hitting the pavement in search of new home furniture. You can use the internet to browse styles as well as compare pricing from several different furniture stores, all from the comfort of your office or home.

You can effectively shave off several hours from your next furniture shopping trip by performing comparison shopping and research online. If you already know which stores you will be visiting on your shopping trip keep things simple and visit only the websites of those stores.

Another tip to keep in mind while shopping for patio furniture, whether via retail stores or online is to remember to take measurements of the area where your new piece of furniture will sit. This is especially important if one is in the market for a patio swing that is to attach to an already existing swing frame. Make sure to measure the interior dimensions of the swing frame and then allow enough space between each side of the swing and the frame to allow for side to side movement of the swing. There is nothing more frustrating to sit in or arise from a swing and have it knock against the frame! So make sure there is ample clearance.

And, as a final tip: Be sure to see if there are special coupons or offers available through the various merchants websites.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Colon Cleansing

I've been hearing about men and even women who have suffered from a colon cancer. And it made me wonder how the illness started, and if there are possible ways to cure it. So I did some research on this illness and learned that a colon has to be cleansed. Yes, according to the Colon Cleanse Reviews, which I have read, there are a lot of ways to clean a colon. And one best way is through the use of a Colon Cleanser.

Colon Cleanse is an effective way of curing illnesses of the colon. It has to be done accordingly and of course through the assistance of medical professionals. For men out there who may be suffering from a colon illness, it's high time that you check this colon cleanser before it's too late. This can help you in one way or another.


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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Dangers of Online Shopping - What You Need to Know to Safely Make a Purchase Online

As time goes by, it would seem that the dangers of online shopping is of no more. Back in the older days, the real online dangers of online shopping was due to the websites that we were making a purchase with. Hackers would hack into those websites and try to steal our information. They would place a bug into the website so that each time someone send the website their credit card information, it would be sent back to those hackers.

That was how it happened many years back. But now it is almost impossible for them. As the Internet gets more attention from users around the world, so has security. Now almost all websites that do handle credit card transactions, use a secured third party service. For example, websites that want to use the credit card function can actually apply for such a service directly from Visa and MasterCard. And there are now many other secure payment options.

Internet security has now become a major business, as many Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware companies fight for a multi million industry. Now, it makes it almost impossible for hackers to hack those websites to steal our information. That is the main reason, why many involved parties keep claiming that making a purchase in the Internet is as safe as it gets. And to be honest, they do have a point, as the security on those websites are very tight. So, it would seem that the online dangers of online shopping is of no more. Or is it?

Sorry to tell you, but the threat is far from being over. So how do they still steal our information considering that most websites now have security so tight, it would almost seem like a government website. Simple, instead of hacking those websites that have high security, they now target the source itself. Yes, that means both yours and my computer.

Think about it for a moment. Instead of hacking a high security website, wouldn't it be easier to hack normal peoples computer? Let's be honest, those websites use expensive security packages to protect their website and server. But most of us just use a free and out dated version of an Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware software. Obviously, it would be much easier to hack into our website.

And that is one of the main reasons for why there are so many viruses and spy-wares being spread around the Internet today. Many people might think that they are doing it just for fun, to disrupt another persons computer. But this is perhaps the main reason why those hackers are spreading so many viruses online, which is currently on of the main online dangers. With the wide variety of downloads available, as well as the many website that help promote downloads, the chances of us downloading one of those Spy-Ware is there.

So what can you do about it? The most important thing is to get a good Anti-Virus software that is constantly updated. Remember, new viruses and Spy-ware can't be detected by old Anti-Virus security programs. An updated software is vital to keeping our computer safe. Only once this happens, can we really eliminate the online dangers of online shopping.

Kevin Lopez is a freelancer who has extensive experience in a wide field of professions. The author has over six years of research experience in the Internet Business and Marketing. To learn more about the real dangers of Online Shopping as well as the methods those hackers use to steal our information, please read this article. This will help make sure that none of us will ever fall for their horrible tricks.

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Affordable Ecommerce Shopping Cart Software

Shopping cart is the ideal ally for commercial websites. Generally, it is used during the purchase process on ecommerce websites. It has the same function that the shopping cart from a shopping complex can have: to store the products you have chosen up to the moment of payment.

There are two main types of software. One is related to administrative functions. Web managers can add, edit or delete any product or service from the list you have in your site. The other one is for customers. It assists them with their purchases. In general, ecommerce websites have their own shopping cart and it is always licensed. On the other hand, ecommerce owners can use them by paying a part of their sale.

If you are planning to face the task of running an ecommerce website, you must consider software as one of the most important elements to be added to your site. In addition, you should include it in the budget you are preparing related to your ecommerce project expenses.

When you build an ecommerce website, you must look for the best quote for every component you will include in it. Affordable ecommerce software is possible so you should only find the appropriate provider over the Internet.

Price is only one aspect you should consider when searching for shopping cart software. Shopping cart software is usually offered as a part of a package that includes hosting service. This is the case we have already mentioned above, a hosted cart is the one for which you pay a monthly fee. This type of cart is re-worked every time their users change. Therefore, this option is less expensive than buying a shopping cart software license. It is possible to find other cheaper solutions to face the factor of shopping cart software, but they do not integrate easily hence it will be more expensive in the long run.

If it is time for choosing your own shopping cart software, evaluate other ecommerce websites to determine which sort of cart you prefer. Many shopping cart providers offer customized services. You should also check payment and shipping elements of the shopping cart to be sure that they have the correct configurations. In addition, there are some providers that offer free trials. This is a good possibility of testing if the software fits your particular requirements.

This software function has an essential importance in your ecommerce website to have a good financial control and reduce any extra expense. So, give shopping cart software the importance that it really has and your ecommerce site will improve its performance.

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Affordable Ecommerce Shopping Cart Software

Shopping cart is the ideal ally for commercial websites. Generally, it is used during the purchase process on ecommerce websites. It has the same function that the shopping cart from a shopping complex can have: to store the products you have chosen up to the moment of payment.

There are two main types of software. One is related to administrative functions. Web managers can add, edit or delete any product or service from the list you have in your site. The other one is for customers. It assists them with their purchases. In general, ecommerce websites have their own shopping cart and it is always licensed. On the other hand, ecommerce owners can use them by paying a part of their sale.

If you are planning to face the task of running an ecommerce website, you must consider software as one of the most important elements to be added to your site. In addition, you should include it in the budget you are preparing related to your ecommerce project expenses.

When you build an ecommerce website, you must look for the best quote for every component you will include in it. Affordable ecommerce software is possible so you should only find the appropriate provider over the Internet.

Price is only one aspect you should consider when searching for shopping cart software. Shopping cart software is usually offered as a part of a package that includes hosting service. This is the case we have already mentioned above, a hosted cart is the one for which you pay a monthly fee. This type of cart is re-worked every time their users change. Therefore, this option is less expensive than buying a shopping cart software license. It is possible to find other cheaper solutions to face the factor of shopping cart software, but they do not integrate easily hence it will be more expensive in the long run.

If it is time for choosing your own shopping cart software, evaluate other ecommerce websites to determine which sort of cart you prefer. Many shopping cart providers offer customized services. You should also check payment and shipping elements of the shopping cart to be sure that they have the correct configurations. In addition, there are some providers that offer free trials. This is a good possibility of testing if the software fits your particular requirements.

This software function has an essential importance in your ecommerce website to have a good financial control and reduce any extra expense. So, give shopping cart software the importance that it really has and your ecommerce site will improve its performance.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Shopping and Taking Care of Cultured Pearl Earrings

Cultured pearl earrings are usually small but eye-catching and very expensive. If you want to be sure that you're getting the worth of your money, follow these helpful tips about buying and taking good care of your jewelry investment.

Shopping for Cultured Pearl Earrings
There are a lot of things to consider when sourcing for cultured pearl earrings online and from your usual commercial or specialty store:

  • Online Auctions - One may find a great bargain online when looking for cultured pearl earrings. The price tags you will see online are usually low to attract and gain share of the market. Make sure that you check whether the online retailer issues a proof of the quality of the pearls that they're selling. This proof may come in the form of a certificate of authenticity similar to the one issued to buyers of gold or diamond jewelry.
  • Jewelry Websites - You can find good prices for pearl earrings from online shops. Just inquire about their method of delivery so you can make sure that the cultured pearl earrings will get to your doorstep in great condition.
  • Jewelry Stores - Brick-and-mortar stores offering cultured pearl earrings have vast and great selections of pearls to offer. One major shopping concern though is usually the price, which tends to be higher than in e-commerce stores.
  • Wholesalers - Jewelry wholesales may occur a few times in a year but shopping for pearl earrings from a wholesale seller is worth the wait and patience. Take advantage of the low rates but be very careful and look for high-quality pearls.

When buying cultured pearl earrings you may want to consider whether you want freshwater pearls or salt water pearls. You may also want to inquire where the pearls came from and what the credentials of the jewelry makers are. Check for imperfections of the pearl by examining its surface for luster, nacre, bumps, shape, reflections, and cracks. If all is well, nothing beats the feeling of getting a discounted price for pearl earrings.

Keeping Cultured Pearl Earrings
Given that cultured pearls are very small, it will be wise to place them in your jewelry case or its container after use.

Cultured pearls are also best to be worn last when dressing up. Pearls easily absorb chemicals from perfumes or cosmetics and may affect its quality. Pearls also react to sweat and oil on our skin.

Pearls can be cleaned using mild soap and water. Just make sure that you dry them well before storing. From time to time, you can also use jewelry cleaners which are specially manufactured for pearls. Use them with soft fabric or cloth damped with water. Avoid vigorous rubbing or brushing of the pearls since they are very sensitive and may get scratched or worse, get chipped off.

After cleaning let them dry in room temperature. Never use a hair blower to dry off cultured pearl earrings. The high temperature may affect the quality of the pearls. Store the pearls separate from other hard jewelries which may scratch, dent, or crack its surface. A soft cloth pouch is best to store your culture pearl earrings.

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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Open Source Shopping Cart Review

One of the most important dilemmas facing e-commerce merchants today is which shopping cart solution to choose for their Web stores. The sheer number of options can be daunting - a recent Google search on "online shopping cart" turned up 12.7 million hits, many of them offering shopping cart products of their own. No wonder it's a tough decision.

A good way to narrow the field is deciding what kind of cart is most appropriate for your needs: open source (available at no cost) or proprietary (available for a fee). There was a time when many in the e-commerce world frowned on open source products. Some said they were difficult to install and configure, while others bemoaned their lack of available features and technical support. Fortunately for online entrepreneurs on a budget, those days are all but gone.

The latest open source shopping carts offer pretty much everything you'd find in a proprietary solution, provided you have the basic technical expertise to install and configure them. Most have become much easier to install than previous offerings and include numerous developer contributions for increased features and customization. Technical support tends to come in the form of user forums which, at least for the most popular products, are heavily trafficked and often yield answers in a matter of minutes.

The grandfather of open source shopping carts and still among the most popular is osCommerce. In operation for more than eight years, it now claims 176,100 store owners and offers 4,700 free add-ons. osCommerce is compatible with all PHP 4 versions and features automatic browser-based installation and an object oriented backend.

Another popular choice is ZenCart, which was initially based on osCommerce code but has developed dramatically and is a fully independent product. Known for its long list of added features, ZenCart is PHP-based and uses a MySQL database and HTML components. Its frequently praised gift certificate module allows merchants to create, distribute and manage digital coupons.

An alternative to these two somewhat similar options is Ubercart, a shopping cart product built on top of the leading open source content management system (CMS), Drupal. Designed to take advantage of Drupal's core and other contributed systems, Ubercart gets high marks for its flexibility and intuitive layout.

These are just a few of the open source shopping carts available today. All three are free under the GNU General Public License.

Which of these (or other) open source products would be best for a particular merchant's online store? That depends on individual business needs. Factors like design flexibility, search engine friendliness, reporting and back-end functionality are important to weigh when choosing between products. Most product sites include demos and lists of live sites running the software, which can also help differentiate between competitors.

Uncomfortable with the technical requirements of setting up a shopping cart application? It's possible that open source solutions are not for you. Proprietary programs cost money, but generally offer configuration, design and support services that can take the headache out of launching a store for the less technically inclined. For others - especially smaller merchants with limited startup budgets - open source solutions can provide precious cost savings at a crucial stage of store development.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Christmas is Gift-giving

Only few weeks to go and it’ll be Christmas. Everyone is looking forward to celebrate this happiest event, the birth of Jesus. And since it is Christmas, gift giving and preparing for sumptuous foods on the table are more likely one of the busy things that we’ll do.

As early as now, I am already making my own list of gifts to give to my love-ones and of course, my godchildren. And speaking of gifts, I already decided to buy my little prince with new sets of toys. I haven’t found cheaper toys online until I stumbled at shopwiki.com where I found these Diecast Toy Vehicles. It offers a lot of miniature cars, and I am planning to get the Chevrolet Corvette Z06. It looks cool for my bratty prince. I will also get my boy an educational laptop for Christmas.

But of course, I won’t take for granted my hobby, which is home decors, so I’d definitely get myself these Decorative Items such as decorative pins, plates, rocks and minerals, and a lot more Collectibles and Memorabila.

How about you? Have you made a shopping list for Christmas? I’d suggest you shop at shopwiki.com; everything that you might be interested in is catered by this shop. Happy shopping!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

An Ecommerce solution is not only for big businesses anymore but also for small businesses. Before, only big companies online had ecommerce solutions

Tel Aviv really is a shopper's paradise. The pure multitude of retail therapy available might even surprise you at first.

So, where to start? Well, it all depends on your budget and what you're looking for, of course. What might prove useful to know is that Tel Aviv has streets devoted to one particular item: spices, jewellery, clothing, furniture, gift items, etc. It might seem a little odd, but it certainly makes it easier for shoppers!

For example, if you're looking for some authentic Israeli furniture you could try Herzl Street, or even the Jaffa Flea Market for some real bargains. If you're looking for cheap quality jewellery go to the Hatikva neighbourhood in south Tel Aviv. And if you're on the hunt for some stylish boutique shops and the latest trends, you should probably shoot for Sheinkin Street (Fridays in Sheinkin are usually absolutely steaming, just be warned) or the rejuvenated Gan HaHashmal.

In addition to these special streets, there are some very stylish shopping malls, such as Dizengoff and Azrieli (yes, that complex of 3 skyscrapers in the middle of the city), where you'll find everything you need. But these are so Westernized I'm not sure you'd really want to travel all the way to Israel to spend your quality shopping time in these...you could also try the upmarket Kikar Medina, Israel's original upmarket shopping area where international designer labels such as Ralph Lauren and Gucci still hang out, or even the Ramat Aviv mall in north Tel Aviv.

Instead, you might want to try something a little more unique. How about Nahalat Binyamin in the centre of the city, where there are bi-weekly art fairs? Highly recommended, but come on Tuesday, rather than the very busy Friday. You could also shoot for the bazaars with designer clothes and crafts that are often held in the exhibition grounds in the north of Tel Aviv, or the port area where some trendy little shops have sprung up recently.

Don't forget the legendary Carmel Market in the centre of the city if you want a genuine Israel experience and are looking for cheap clothing/food.

And, just in case you were wondering, Israeli shopkeepers will be happy to take Israeli Shekels, U.S. dollars or Euros.

OPENING HOURS: Most stores open from Sunday to Thursday between 9:00am and 7:00pm, though these hours may get extended during peak holiday times, especially in the malls. Stores usually close at noon on Friday and open again on Sunday morning (don't forget the working week in Israel starts on Sunday). Shopping malls that do not cater to the religious population may open on Saturdays and others open on Saturday night or holiday nights. Coffee shops and restaurants that do not serve kosher food often remain open on Saturdays.

Note: If you want a VAT refund on your purchases, hold tight to your receipts and when leaving Israel you should be able to get it all refunded, as long as the shop you purchased from is part of the VAT refund program.

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Shopping Carts For Convenient Online Shopping

An Ecommerce solution is not only for big businesses anymore but also for small businesses. Before, only big companies online had ecommerce solutions that made it possible for them to conduct transactions with their customers at a very convenient way such as credit card payments. However, these days ecommerce solutions are made available for any businesses, big or small, that sell things on the internet. So, it is now possible for everyone to make online payments when they want to buy things over the internet. With ecommerce's popularity these days, ecommerce web sites are mushrooming the internet to sell their products online.

Many businesses have seen the potential of increasing their sales by selling online. With this rapid development in conducting sales online, so did the definition for ecommerce solution. This term can be defined in many aspects. It can refer to a software that designs web sites that cater to selling products or services online. Or it can also refer to a software that hosts other web sites. Whichever way you will define it, ecommerce solution is for everyone doing business on the internet. It can do many things to make your online business flourish. With a hassle-free payment scheme, online shoppers are more encouraged to make purchases online.

Some people would even prefer to do online shopping than buying from department stores. However, it can also be a tedious task to find the most suitable ecommerce solution to suit your business needs. There are many stores that offer a free trial period of which you may avail at no cost. You may also avail of their money back guarantee if in case you will not be satisfied by their product. Do not forget to always find and avail of the best deal. You can look for ecommerce solution providers that can give you an easy installation process, customizable solutions, and guaranteed results with powerful marketing tools and affiliate programs.

For your web site to attract more shoppers, you should provide the right ecommerce solution such as a shopping cart software which can be acquired separately or through a package. This software will enable you to sell your products easily and conveniently. Furthermore, this type of ecommerce solution can help you change or edit items and prices in a less complicated manner. As a matter of fact, this software is easy to maintain and flexible. It can even lessen the task of stock inventory on your part. Most of these softwares are easy to understand. Having a shopping cart software cannot guarantee 100% boost in sales for there are many things that can happen while the customer is shopping on your site.

For one, a good percentage of customers abandon their shopping carts at checkout. You thought all the while that they are buying your product, but at the last leg of the payment process, they just abandon their carts. If you are experiencing this problem or you want to avoid it from happening, you can read The Truth About Online Payments. It will tell you how to choose and implement the best online payment solutions. Indeed, having the right ecommerce solution for your web site can really contribute to your success. As there are many choices available, be careful in picking out the right one for you.

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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

10 Random Things About Me

Here's the rule for this tag:

Once you have been tagged, you have to write a blog with 10 weird, random things, facts, habits, or goals about yourself. At the end, choose 10 people to be tagged, listing their names and why you chose them. Don't forget to leave them a comment ("You're it") and ask them to read your blog. You can't tag the person who tagged you.

Now, here's my list:

1. I am a work-at-home mom now, doing three roles everyday: freelancer, nanny, housekeeper

2. I always love to be busy, especially if it gives me more "moolah", lolz!

3. I have a sweet tooth...name it, and I'll surely bite them all! yummy!

4. My heart is for the unfortunate ones so I feel like helping whenever I have much for myself.

5. I am a detail-oriented person, so expect me to have my documents and stuffs organized, even important conversation saved in a file. (ebidenxa!)

6. I am friendly, but B-E-W-A-R-E! When I get hurt, I won't let it pass until I get even (An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth) Sorry...

7. I am a dreamer...I want to be a CPA, Interior Designer, Web Designer, Lawyer and NBI agent, but my ultimate dream is to become R-I-C-H!!!

8. I got pregnant at the age of 20 to a cute and smart 'lil boy. I love you my prince!

9. I am uber meticulous when it comes to the tiniest detail at home. I want everything to be organized, arranged in a way that satisfies my eyes, even curtains should flow into place, etc.

10. I may be merciful, but not to arrogant peeps! As long as I am RIGHT, I won't allow you to step on me, ever!

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Stylish Eyeglasses


Wearing eyeglasses doesn’t have to be dull and boring. You can certainly be as fashionable and stylish as you can as long as you know the right choice of eyeglasses. The Incredible Stylish New Frames From Zenni, for instance, can give you the look you ever wish for. It’s true that there’s a huge selection of Zenni Optical $ 8 Rx Eyeglasses. So if you haven’t gotten one, go and read the Zenni Optical $ 8 Rx Eyeglasses. You’ll know more about it when you read on the Zenni Optical was on FOX news!.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Return of My Long, Silky Black Hair

Sometimes I do regret of cutting my hair. Now I am missing those times when my hair was still long, straight and silky. I actually had the best out of my hair during my pregnancy. I don’t really know why the opposite happens. I heard from a lot of people that once you get pregnant, the calcium in your body is absorbed by the baby in your womb, which results to the mother having bad hair and teeth.

Well, I guess it only happened to some but not me. And I was thankful that I still had a healthy hair even when I was pregnant. But now that I cut my hair short, oh well, not really short, but I wish I just let it grow long. I could have cared for it the best way I can. Anyway, I’m still not losing hope as there will always be a next time for me. And it seems that I only have to wait for a month or two, and voila my hair will be long again. And I promise that I will take good care of it. But of course, I won’t make it if I don’t have the best shampoo and conditioner in the shower, right?

It’s just a good thing, that mybumbleandbumble.com came in to the rescue. It’s never too late yet, in fact, it is way earlier for me to have the long hair I have been wanting now. Mybumbleandbumble.com will surely give me a year-long and even forever-long supply of Seaweed Shampoo and of course, it won’t work alone if without the Seaweed Conditioner so I will more likely get the Seaweed Shampoo and Conditioner Combo for a full blast of renewing my hair into a long, silky, black hair once again.

How about you? Your hair might also need some treatment. In that case, I suggest that you go to mybumbleandbumble.com for their best shampoo and conditioner that will perfectly revive your hair into healthy, silky and shiny hair..com

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Tips for Cutting Your Grocery Bill

1. Attitude of gratitude -- A long journey begins with a single step and this is your first step. Begin with your own attitude towards being frugal, because it will impact the rest of your family. How can they be excited about changes if you aren't? So start by being thankful for all that you have, even if your life seems far from perfect (Guess what? We ALL feel that way! ).

2. Use Everything -- when you are cooking, think about how you can get every last food mile out of what you are making. Meat bones and vegetable trimmings can be made into wonderful stocks. Leftover vegetables and meats can be thrown into the same stock for free soups and stews or put into pot pies, homemade "hot pockets", crepes, casseroles, you name it. Look at food waste in an entirely new light, try to get every thing out of your food dollar!

3. The Price Book -- This is the most useful tool in making sure that every food dollar you spend is spent well. The basic idea of the price book is to have a system for tracking prices so that when you see something on sale, you will know whether it is really a good buy or not. I use a three ring binder and looseleaf paper. At the top of each page, I put several column headings: Date, Store, Item, Size, Price, Unit Price, Sale. At the top right hand corner of the paper, I put the name of the item (such as "bread", "milk", "cereal", etc). When I see a sale or even a regular price, I write it down in the price book. It is easier to do this at home with store receipts or sale ads, instead of in the store, where some employees may mistake you for a competitor's spy -- it does happen! After a few months of tracking prices, you will know what is a good deal and what is not. The most important section of the price book is the unit price, because that tells you, no matter what size the item, how much you are actually paying per pound or ounce or other unit of measure.

4. Bulk Buying -- With the price book in hand, you will be able to bulk buy with much more confidence. Now when flour goes down to 49 cents for a 5 pound bag, you will know that this is an excellent price and to stock up. Then when it goes back up over a dollar, you'll still be using the flour that you bought for the lowest price and smiling.

Bulk buying can be a little scary at first. Buying so much can be intimidating. How will I use this all? How will I store it? The answer is to get creative.Things that can be kept at room temperature can be stored under beds, in closets, anywhere. This is especially true of canned goods. Flour can be frozen (to prevent weevils) and then stored in airtight containers at room temperature.

5. Use your freezer -- Eventually you will want to have a deep freeze to stock up on good deals on meats and other frozen items. A freezer is a great investment and tightwad tool. If you can get an older one cheap, it may be a good deal if it is still efficient -- 10-15 year old models are ok, but a 30 year old freezer will cost a bundle in energy. Check out newer, more efficient models and put the word out that you are looking for a freezer.

We got our freezer (now 15 years old ) from my husband's grandmother who found they just didn't eat enough to justify having a big one anymore. It has served us well and saved us thousands of dollars on groceries, in the 5 years we have had it.

6. Cut down/out on the junk food -- If you can get the tribe to completely give up the soda, chips, cookies, candy, etc, good for you! We have been working towards this goal for some time now, and have managed to cut out soda (we still drink kool aid ), most cake, and alcohol (I consider this to be junk, you have to decide for yourself). We have cut down on baked goods, and I make any we eat from scratch. We still buy chips for lunches only, and enjoy popcorn and homemade pizza on our weekly movie night.

7. Make it yourself -- Ban those convenience foods! If you can't totally cut out junk foods, make them yourself. A large homemade pizza costs about $2-$3 to make, compared to frozen pizzas which are typically $3-5 for a small size and delivery pizzas which run you about $8-20 each. If you bulk buy the ingredients and make the dough and/or sauce from scratch, it can be even cheaper to eat in (follow this link for pizza making recipes and photo instructions). Which leads us to the next idea:

8. Cut down or stop eating at restaurants -- Make it a special occasion to go out to eat rather than a common event. Eat out once a month and use coupons to cut costs even further.

9. Clone your favorite brand name and restaurant recipes -- This is not as hard as it sounds. Most popular convenience foods and restaurant foods were inspired by their homemade counterparts. Ther secret to recreating these foods well is to go back to the original homemade versions. Many basic cookbooks have wonderful recipes for homemade sauces, breads, etc. There are some great cookbooks that strive to duplicate some of the more favorite purchased foods. One of the best is called Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur. He has three books out with more in the works. Click here for more information or to order through Amazon.com.

10. Eat less meat -- Does spaghetti really have to have all those meatballs? Does your pizza really have to have all of that meat on it? Only you will know for sure what your family will miss and what it won't. Many other cultures use meat sparingly in their dishes. Check out Asian and Indian recipes in particular. Try to think of meat as an accent to the dinner rather than the main course. If this is too difficult, try cutting portion sizes of meats and adding more side dishes to compensate. There is always a way to cut down on meat consumption.

11. Stretch Meats -- You may be able to get away with extending your meat by mixing in extra veggies, grains or even TVP (textured vegetable protein). TVP is made from soybeans and there are quite a few restaurants that use it, so it may be more familiar than you think (it's also very healthy). It comes in chunks or crumbled. It is dry and can be rehydrated before using or in the actual recipe you are using it in. You can hide it best in ground beef dishes, especially, dark ones, like chili. If TVP is not an option, stretch meats by cutting amounts in recipes and adding more beans, veggies or grains to the dish until your family complains, then ad back in a enough to make them happy.

12. Use your leftovers -- Get a free meal by saving those leftovers. If you think you will forget about them, label them and freeze. On leftover night, have a smorgasbord. You can also create "party trays" with smidgeons of this and that arranged prettily. Restaurants offer these, why can't you?

frugal grocery tips13. Pack your luches -- This is a great way to use up leftovers. Lunches don't have to be boring either. Think of items you might order at a deli and duplicate them at home. I send the hubby and kids with homemade hoagies, pitas stuffed with tuna, BLTs, pigs in blankets, cold pizza (they love this), bologna burritos (just a bologna sandwich on a tortilla instead of bread), and homemade hot pockets. I always have them participate in the lunch decisions or in actually making the lunches. This helps stem complaints. I include nonmessy fruits like bananas, apples and grapes, dried fruit, trail mix, popcorn, chips and homemade goodie -- cookies, pudding, rice krispy treats, etc. Click here for lots more creativ brown bag lunch tips, ideas and recipes.

14. Take drinks with you -- If you are working and spend money on coffee, buy a thermos and take your own. Take along water or tea in a big jug on outings, especially during the summer months -- this will help you resist the temptation of stopping at a fast food joint and ordering an overpriced, undernourishing soda. Pack drinks for the kids if you pack their lunches. When I did the math with my price book, I found to my amazement that the half pints of milk from the subsidized milk program are much more expensive than sending milk I buy at the store! Here a half pint (1 cup) of milk at school costs 25 cents, but the milk I buy at Aldi is $1.79 a gallon, or 11 cents a cup. I can send my kids to school with twice as much milk and still save money.

15. Fill up on healthier foods -- As you may have noticed from the selection of lunches above, I try to include healthy foods in the kid's lunches. I try to offer fruits and popcorn as snacks, rather than junk food, I offer them water between meals with the occasional Koolaid. I buy whole grain breads only and try to make mostly whole or half white/half whole grain baked goods. Any change is better than none. Whole grains and healthy foods fill you up and nourish you. You will eat less and crave less because your body is nourished more. Think of wholesome foods as an investment in your health. You may also find yourself visiting the doctor less often.


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Thursday, July 3, 2008

I love Social Spark

A year ago while I was looking for ways to earn extra income aside from my job in a BPO Company, I stumbled upon monetized blogging where I did earn a lot, not to mention, more bucks of money almost twice a week. And that made me more grateful about it. I am not just earning the average wage from my job, I am also able to double or triple it through my paid blogging.

My blogging career was in full bloom for many months since I started doing it, but it suddenly turned out from being great to better the past two months. The blog opportunities slowed down, but I didn’t lose hope. My enthusiasm is here again when I came to know SocialSpark.

It’s been more than a month already that I joined this social marketing and paid blogging site. And I definitely love it the first time I joined here. Why? It’s because it doesn’t only give me the chance to earn more bucks of income from its huge sponsored opportunities, it also helps me drive more traffic to my number of blogs. Yes, hundreds of bloggers are constantly visiting the site, most are making friends with you, leaving you votes on your blogs so that advertisers will know how your blog is rated by other bloggers. Plus, I am able to make more friends who happen to be like me, a passionate blogger and at the same time a blogger mommy.

I told myself that I will forever be grateful with Social Spark. My enthusiasm might have already stopped if not for the inspiration that this social network blogging community has given me.

Sponsored by SocialSpark


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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Shopping Guide at the Supermarket

Is the supermarket a place where you listen to elevator music while dragging your feet through aisle after aisle in boredom? Or is it a chance to fill your cart with choices and maybe get handed a free sample while you shop?

Despite the music, supermarket shopping can be interesting. After all, once you've chosen those tasty foods, you get to eat them. Before you grab a shopping cart and head for the aisles, check out these tips for smart and healthy supermarket shopping.

Right Time, Right Place

You can go to a supermarket almost any time you want - many are open 24 hours. Choosing a time and place for your food shopping can help you shop smarter. Here are some other thoughts on when and where to shop:

  • Don't shop when you're hungry. If your stomach is grumbling when you enter the store, you'll be a goner when you see all those tasty treats. Eat a healthy snack or meal before you go to the supermarket.
  • Pick the best supermarket for you. If you have a choice on where to shop, think about the kinds of things that you want the store to have. A salad bar? A vegetarian or organic section? An awesome seafood department or bakery? Double coupons? Choose the things that make it convenient and easy for you to eat right. And once you've found a store you like, stick with it. Knowing where to find the things you want in the store will help you find them faster.
  • Shop during off-peak times. Did you ever get stuck behind a slowpoke pushing the cart in front of you because the store's so crowded? Try to avoid stores when they're likely to be busiest - after work hours (weekdays between 5 and 7 PM) and weekend mornings, for example. The best time to shop is very early in the morning or on a popular TV night - you can set your VCR, do your shopping, and watch the shows later.

Make a List and Use It (Mostly)

There are thousands of foods to choose from in a supermarket, so it's easy to get tempted or forget something you really need. Making a list saves time in the store. Also, plan the recipes that you want to make in the next few days and list the ingredients you'll need. By making a list, you will:

  • plan better for what you're going to cook
  • avoid going back to the supermarket for a forgotten ingredient
  • eat healthier and avoid reaching for something on impulse
  • save money by not grabbing foods that aren't on the list

But even with a list, you need to make some decisions at the supermarket. After all, you can't get zucchini and avocados if the supermarket doesn't have them! It helps to think like the TV chefs. They make lists of the ingredients they need, but they also approach shopping with a second important goal: They look over the meats and produce for what's freshest and what's a good deal. That doesn't mean that chefs buy half-rotten red onions because they're on sale! It means that if a recipe calls for red onions but they look bad, the chef chooses another kind of onion that looks best. Or if a certain fish is freshest or on special, the chef might choose it over the type of fish on the shopping list.

Label Lingo

A big part of smart shopping is selecting healthy foods. Food labels, also called Nutrition Facts labels, are printed on all packaged foods and are posted near produce, meats, poultry, and fish. These labels let you compare different foods to see how they differ in fat, calories, protein, and other ingredients. For example, you can compare the serving sizes of two cereals you like, see how much fat is in frozen pizza, or find out how many carbohydrates are in a bag of cookies. You also can check to see if a food contains important vitamins and minerals.

Smart shoppers are especially careful about the health claims on food packaging. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration decides whether manufacturers can call their foods "healthy" or "low fat." However, it's up to shoppers to put these claims in perspective for their own nutritional needs and eating habits. For example, "reduced fat" cookies might not actually be low in fat. They're just required to have less fat than the regular version of a particular cookie - and that original version may be much higher in fat than other cookies. Here are just a few of the terms you might see while you shop:

  • Healthy - the food is low in fat (especially saturated fat or trans fat, which have been linked to heart disease) and has limited amounts of cholesterol and sodium.
  • Free (for example, sugar free) - the food contains only tiny amounts of fat, saturated fat, sodium, sugar, cholesterol, or calories per serving.
  • Good source - one serving provides 10% to 19% of your total daily needs for a specific nutrient.
  • Low sodium - one serving has 140 milligrams of sodium or less.
  • Low cholesterol - one serving has 20 milligrams of cholesterol or less and 2 grams or less of saturated fat.
  • Low fat - one serving contains 3 grams of fat or less.
  • Reduced (for example, reduced fat) - one serving has 25% less fat, saturated fat, sodium, sugar, cholesterol, or calories per serving than the regular version of the food.
  • Light (or lite) - one serving has 50% less fat or one third fewer calories than the regular version of the food.

Get the Most From What You Buy

By planning to make recipes and keeping a grocery list, you've already helped guarantee that you'll use the foods you buy. Here are some more tips that will help you get the right nutrition and avoid wasting food:

  • Buy enough food to last until your next shopping trip. If you have healthy foods on hand, you'll be less likely to reach for unhealthy ones. Obviously foods like fruit, vegetables, fish, and meat are perishable and will spoil quickly so you can't buy these as far in advance as other foods.
  • Wash and cut up some fruits and veggies right away. This way, they'll be less likely to sit in the back of the fridge and turn to mush while you reach for the cookies and ice cream. Keep them in small containers or bags in the front of the fridge where you can easily grab a healthy snack.
  • Cook in advance. You might not feel like cooking after a busy day, and it's tempting to cruise the drive-thru window. To avoid this problem, cook some meals in advance. When you have time at home, cook a meal and put it in the fridge. If you're making a favorite dish, prepare a double amount of the recipe and freeze the extra portion. This way, when you're tired and hungry, you just need to pop a plate of food in the microwave - and your groceries won't go to waste!

Do things that will help you enjoy food shopping, such as picking a new and interesting ingredient or spice to try each week. Smart shopping is a lifelong habit, and it will quickly become second nature to you.

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Winter Weather Survival with Stylish Boots

Hit by that first blast of winter snow, freezing weather, gusting winds, and your sense of style can be on a slippery slope.

There are those style sisters who trudge ahead mindless of the bad winter weather in delicate, flimsy footwear thinking they look chic—but we consider them to look pretty dumb! A smart and stylish fashionista knows that looking great means dressing appropriately for the weather. You don’t have to dress one part fashion darling and one part Ethan Frome to bear the elements, there are certainly enough stylish boots to keep your feet waterproof and toasty too.

Who knew snow boots could be sexy?! We love the look of La Canadienne boots that are guaranteed waterproof and have a very stylish high-ish heel- you’ll look gorgeous from your front door right to a business meeting, and all the out to dinner without getting your tootsies wet. For more casual days, go chalet chic and pair a groovy looking après ski boot with a pair of dark leggings and big, cuddly sweater dress--add a structured jacket to keep to a more urban feel.

Those sheepskin boots have been hanging around for awhile, this season they are updated with prints and textures—we love the faux cable knit pattern on the sheepskin boots with a gekko grip sole from Warmbat Australia that still look cute when worn with a pair of tucked in skinny jeans.

Once the ground is a bit slushy, you need a winter boot with great traction but not necessarily a heavy-duty snow boot. Nothing beats a few spritzes of waterproof spray to turn any boot into a winter-savvy boot in no time. UGG Australia have a great line of winter leather boots with sheepskin sock liners that keep to urban aesthetics while still letting you put up with the elements—we love the rugged UGG Liberty boot for its slightly western, tad motorcycle feel. Sorel - Glacier - extreme weather boots

Sometimes ordinary snow boots are not enough. When the weather is out of control, the Sorrel Glacier is the smartest extreme weather boots Sorel rated for 100°F/-74°C—ouch! Style Update- Kate Hudson was spotted wearing these Sorel Boots in Aspen!



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My Bag Cares




The eco chic “I’m Not A Plastic Bag” phenomenon by luxury handbag designer Anya Hindmarch created quite a stir a few seasons ago.
Last year's designer eco messageis still loitering with the knock-off street vendors. Photo: FocusOnStyle.com

Not only did Hindmarch’s designer green awareness bags sell out in a matter of hours, but Whole Foods ceased distributing non-reusable plastic bags across their stores in the US, Canada, and the UK.

The crazy thing is that the once hot eco designer-bag-with-a-message sold at a health food supermarket has become fodder for the counterfeit set and can be seen hung from the sidewalk stalls with all their other cheesy knock-offs of “luxury” goods-- not exactly an extension of the pc eco message but still sported by harebrained wannabe fashionistas.

Fast-forward to a far more altruistic way to share your care for a greener planet. The real deal My Bag Cares ™ not only spreads the recyclable alternative message to plastic and paper bags, but for every natural fiber eco bag purchased, one tree will be planted in your name in cooperation with the Arbor Day Foundation.

Now for all of those so eager to seed a little bit of themselves, what a better way than with the growth of a new tree? My Bag Cares for those who understand that it’s chic to be smart.


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