Healthy Eats…

uurth cafe

Trying my best to eat a healthy meal today.  One of my favorite places to eat is Urth Caffe in Pasadena, CA.  They also have a great location in Beverly Hills and the food is delicious.  The salads are fresh, the iced organic green tea is simply the best green tea I’ve ever tasted.

Urth Caffe

I couldn’t resist the chocolate chip cookie and lemonade…but you’ve gotta try their organic green tea!!!!

lemonade

This place is easy on the wallet and easy on the calories.

organic green tea

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After Summer Camp is Over

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When summer camp comes to a close, then it’s time to find additional activities for the kids.  Family time is important, because we all work and when children don’t get that quality time with their parents, they really do suffer from it.  Try to spend as much time as you can with your little ones and treasure each moment.  My best friend was not raised by her biological parents and although she was adopted, she always loved the quality time her adopted parents spent with her.  As a mother, you need to show your children that you love them by making time for them…although you may be tired after work, after cooking dinner and everything else that we mothers do – please try to take even thirty minutes to REALLY talk to your children and ASK THEM how they are doing.

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New Ladies Tees

We have some new ladies t-shirt designs that will be listed for sale in our store in a few days.  Take a look at some of the exciting colors.  We gave you moms exactly what you asked for – you wanted pretty, bright and feminine colors and that’s what we did.  Take a look for yourself and keep in mind all of our products are made with 100% Organic Cotton!

ladies tshirt white IMG_1260 IMG_1263 IMG_1267 IMG_1268 IMG_1270 IMG_1273 IMG_1272 IMG_1275 IMG_1276

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Ladies Black Long Sleeve Tee

black tshirt

Order your ladies long sleeve (black) t-shirt today and get one FREE!

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Decorating on a Dime

Martha Stewart shows us how we can decorate our home for the holidays for little to nothing.  If you are having a large holiday dinner for the upcoming holidays, then take lessons from Martha Stewart on how you can save loads of money on all of your holiday decorations. Style at Home magazine will show you how, visit www.styleathome.com

It’s easy, inexpensive, requires very little time and effort and the results are simply amazing!

decor on a dime

Martha makes everything look so easy, as patterns and styles simply fall into place.  We want our homes to look beautiful for the holidays, but we simply can’t afford to spend tons of money.

Here are few tips…

It’s yard sale season! Get the most out of it with advice from Jo-Anne Lauzer, publisher-editor of the B.C.-based website secondhandsavvy.com.

Bring along

• A measuring tape, blanket to wrap purchases, screw- driver.

• Small bills and coins – most sellers won’t have much change.

• Lists of the items and sizes you need.

• Pen and paper so you can leave your name and number. If something is beyond your budget, the owners might be willing to call and make a deal if it’s not sold by end of day.

Garage sale etiquette

• If the ad says no early birds, don’t show up an hour early.

• Always check if prices are negotiable before haggling. It’s best not to negotiate on items under a dollar.

• Make sure items work and all the pieces are intact before you buy.

• Avoid making negative comments while browsing. People get attached to the strangest things and feelings can be hurt.

• A friendly smile and hello goes a long way – it is a social outing after all.

 

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Black Thursday

Thanksgiving Day is supposed to be spent with family, close friends and a Butterball Turkey – wrong!  I did however, spend this past Thanksgiving holiday with my family and very close friends and yes – we did enjoy a nice turkey with some delicious cranberry dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, peach cobbler, pumpkin pie, nice white wine and oh yes – Walmart!  After our wonderful and long-awaited dinner, my son mentioned that he’d like to purchase a new Samsung 40 inch Smart TV.  Wal-mart was having a sale on this particular item that night.  How convenient?  So, after we finished dinner and reminisced about past Thanksgiving holiday dinners, took photographs, laughed and then cried – my son dragged me out of the house to Walmart.  Bad move….

We arrived in the parking lot of Wal-mart at about 5:08 PM.  There was already a line forming at the front door of about 400 people.  There were kids of all ages, mothers, fathers, and folks that didn’t look like they even knew where they were or why?  Just a mob of folks running to the door and trying their best to get in line.  So, as we parked, I asked my son, “What’s the line for?”  He replied, “Mom, it’s like this every year”.  I wouldn’t know, because I never in my life have gone shopping on Thanksgiving holiday.  I usually eat, drink a nice glass of wine and go to bed.  But, that was not happening tonight.  No thanks to my wonderful son.

ktla

There were so many people, the local news stations were out there reporting the large number of folks who were just going crazy over the sale prices.  It wasn’t even Black Friday, it was my Black Thursday!  It was scary….

parking lot

flat screen tvCustomers who waited the 3-4 hour wait in line, were then awarded with the big prize.  Being told to take your vehicle around the back of the store for package pick-up.  That was a whole different kind of nightmare!  It was a feeding frenzy!!!

black thursday 005

This was our package claim – we needed this along with our store receipt, proof of purchase – before we could circle our car around back to pick up our prize.

samsung 40 inch

The grand prize was 4-5 plus hours of standing in line, pushing and shoving and finally getting what we came for – the 40 inch Samsung Smart TV.  Was it worth it?  For me NO!  For my son, YES!  He got his TV and I got 5 hours of headache…Never again!  No more Black Thursdays for me!

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Black Friday Shopping

If you have kids who are in college and plan to go shopping this Friday, a good idea would be to equip your children with debit cards because cash can be lost.  However, if they shop with a debit card you can keep track of their spending and if they lose the card – just quickly contact the card issuer and have it replaced.  My son is in college and I signed up him for the Pass Card from American Express.

pass cardThe Pass Card from American Express comes with the following features:

1) Prepaid re-loadable personalized card

2) Safer than cash

3) Kids can only spend what’s on the card; so it’s not like a debit or credit card where your kids can exceed the credit line to run into over draft issues.  Overdraft charges can run as high as $35.00 each.  Even if your son or daughter made a purchase for $15.00, your bank would still charge you a $35.00 over draft fee.  And those fees can really add up.

pass cardChoose when to add funds

Set up automatic reloads online, so instead of asking for money, teens will know when their allowance is coming. It’s easy to reload PASS anytime, online or by phone.

Track activity easily – View balance and purchase history online anytime from anywhere, or set up alerts. Teens can also view balances online, or track their funds via text messages.
If something breaks – If an eligible item purchased with PASS accidentally breaks, or is stolen, Purchase Protection, can reimburse your teen—up to 90 days from the date of purchase.
If a car won’t start –PASS also includes Roadside Assistance, so your teen won’t get stranded. Just call us and we’ll send help.
Global Assist® Services – Your teen is backed by Global Assist. Rely on us 24/7 for emergency assistance while traveling. We can direct the Card member to English-speaking medical and legal professionals, help with lost passports, and much more.
If you have questions – You and your teen can call us 24/7 at 1-877-405-7277. American Express Customer Service will be available anytime, day or night.

How to Add Funds:

Direct Deposit – Save time adding money to your teen’s Card by using Direct Deposit to transfer part of your paycheck automatically. It’s simple and secure. Get started by logging in to your account.

Bank Account – Simply enter your account information online to reload whenever you choose, but note, for your protection, it will take 3-5 business days to verify and load the funds.

American Express Card – Add funds quickly anytime you choose, or set up automatic reloads to make it even easier.

american express

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MicroTouch SwitchBlade

MicroTouch

My husband used this new all-in-one, head-to-toe groomer that removes hair from anywhere on his body. It’s great for ear, nose, neck, eyebrows, sideburns trimming when you can’t get to the barbershop for a few days. My husband says he was pleasantly surprised by the value of the Micro Touch Switchblade. It’s a 6-piece set, has a built-in light, 4 snap on guides with German stainless steel blades. “It’s just amazing”, according to my husband. So, if you don’t have one already, go out and purchase one as a gift for your spouse or significant other for the Holidays – they will surely thank you.

instructions

 

easy to follow

MicroTouch SwitchBlade comes with easy-to-follow instructions, which I’m sure your husband or significant other will find useful. It’s easy and quick and most of all inexpensive!  Go get one today.

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Save with Southwest Airlines

southwest airlines

More than 40 years ago Southwest started out as a regional carrier serving just three cities in Texas.   Today, Southwest carries more passengers in the U. S. than any other airline.  Southwest understands the varying needs and goals of small businesses and are there to help.

As a sponsor of American Made, a local event that celebrates small businesses and local makers,  Southwest is offering you a 10% discount off your round-trip Anytime & Business Select Fares booked on swabiz.com – to receive this discount, simply apply the promo code AMMADE on the flight selection pages of swabiz.com.   To enroll in SWABIZ and take advantage of this fantastic rate visit swabiz.com.  Book and fly between now and January 31, 2014 (blackout dates apply).

american made

 

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#1 Printer for College Students

hp printerWe can’t wait to tell you about HP Printables, the fully customizable source that gathers, delivers and flawlessly prints the content that matters most to you. With HP Printables, you get a free service that connects your printer to a vast library of content that includes the best deals, shares the latest news, offers top health tips, keeps the kids occupied and more! Then, HP Printables deliver a perfectly formatted printout directly to your tray, automatically or on demand.

Here’s just a few of the great ways you can use HP Printables:

  • Save– Customize your savings preferences, or choose a ready-to-go bundle, to receive grocery coupons, get discounts at local restaurants and find price reductions on a host of other services in your area

  • Make learning fun– Print fun learning worksheets for your kids from partners like LeapFrog and National Geographic Kids

  • Make the most of me time– Browse updates from Daily Mail and Busy Moms Weekly

  • Plan– Get organized with 7-day meal planners and fun Weekend Go Guides

  • Entertain– With crosswords and Sudoku for big kids (and adults!) and branded content from DreamWorks, Disney and Barbie for the little ones, the whole family will be smiling!  Be sure to check out printers at #HPPrintables and #HPePrintmom select

 

 

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Straight Talk

straight talk wireless

My son is in college and any parent who has kids in grammar, high school, or college want to make sure that their children have a reliable cell phone service provider.  Wal-mart features many cell phone providers, who offer great prepaid plans at a discount, but the one I think is suitable for any budget is Straight Talk Wireless.  You can purchase unlimited talk, text and data nationwide for only $45 per month.  If you have more than one child, then you really should consider Straight Talk Wireless.  It’s affordable, there are no contracts and they also offer pre-paid plans starting at just $30 for every 1,000 minutes.

I used to have a contract for my family cell phone plan, but the costs were astronomical.  So, I did my homework and found a more affordable, but reliable plan with Straight Talk Wireless.  I’ve outlined some valid reasons why I think you should walk into your local Wal-mart and check out a Straight Talk Wireless plan today:

  • Straight Talk is a service provided by TracFone Wireless Inc., America’s largest no-contract cell phone provider in the U.S.
  • Straight Talk partners with existing wireless networks nationwide to provide no-contract wireless phone service.
  • Straight Talk is available exclusively at Wal-Mart and the cost savings of not having to maintain stores is passed directly on to customers.
  • Straight Talk has all of the same great phones as the contract carries, including name brands like Samsung, Apple, Windows and LG.
  • Straight Talk offers the same networks and the same phones at half the cost.
  • Straight Talk provides service in more zip codes than any other wireless carrier and reaches more than 300 million Americans.
  • The “ALL YOU NEED” plan for $30 a month to receive 1,000 minutes, 1,000 text or multimedia messages, 30 MB of data transfer for data phones and 411 calls at no additional charge.
  • The unlimited plan for $45 a month to receive unlimited talk, text and data Nationwide anytime with calls to 411 at no additional charge.

make a wish

Please also be aware that every Saturday in September, Straight Talk Wireless will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish for each person that visits their participating local Wal-Mart and takes a minute to learn more about Straight Talk.

  • Straight Talk will donate a minimum of $500,000 to Make-A-Wish and up to $1,000,000.
  • Believe it or not, not everyone lives near a Wal-Mart! From now until September 28, when you share the video on straighttalkwish.com, Straight Talk will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish®, up to $100,000 (one donation per viewer, per day) towards their $1,000,000 goal. It’s fast, easy and worth every second!
  • This is the second year in a row that Straight Talk will be hosting this program. Last year’s program was very successful, reaching its $1,000,000 donation mark!
  • Straight Talk believes there is nothing greater than granting a sick child’s wish. They are thrilled to be able to be part of making that happen again this year.

make a wishVisit @Walmart to learn more about @MyStraightTalk this Sat. & Straight Talk will donate $1 to @MakeAWish: http://ow.ly/ooeBn #StraightTalkWish

I participated in this sponsored campaign for One2One Network. All opinions stated are my own.

 

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Freshman on a Budget?

shop on a budget

How to shop on a budget when you’re a college Freshman? Well, I was college Freshman many eons ago, but my son Arthur is currently a Freshman and he shops for small items each week – such as laundry detergent, milk, cereal, yogurt, fresh fruit and water. Arthur lives in a college apartment that does not have a kitchen, so under his bed is where he keeps a compact fridge that also has a tiny freezer. It’s difficult to buy things you need while you’re in college, because if you’re studying full-time and unemployed, then you usually have to ask your parents for money to shop. Parents may or may not have the money, especially if they are assisting with college tuition.

So here are a few thrifty places you may want to shop while attending college…

CVS – the local CVS has a bunch of items on sale each week for $.99 cents to $1.99 – my favorite is the water and laundry detergent. They also have snacks under $1.99 each that can satisfy starving college kids.

Family Dollar – if you live in the Midwest, then there’s bound to be a local Family Dollar store near you. Don’t pass it by, because here you can find a treasure trove of necessary items for under one dollar. They carry tons of food items and canned goods for less than a buck.

Target – I love Target! I always shop there for so many items, like this is where I found the sheets for my son’s bed in his new college apartment, they were XL sheets and the entire set was under $10 bucks. Find a Super Target and it’ll be one-stop shopping for groceries, toiletries and many additional items you will need as a college student.

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Credit Card Debt

college credit cards
I don’t advocate college students applying for credit cards until they have a full-time job. Credit card offers will start pouring in once they begin college, but it’s important that we teach our children that getting in debt too early could be a huge mistake and ruin their credit even before they graduate college. I’ve spoken with my son extensively about credit, and I’ve pleaded with him not to accept any credit card offers until he graduates college and is working full-time. I’ve seen so many people ruin their credit by charging up thousands of dollars and not having the income to support the credit cards they’ve acquired. Here are some important credit card facts:
Student Credit Cards
  • 91% of undergraduates have at least one credit card, up from 76% in the same study conducted in 2004. The average number of cards has grown to 4.6, with half of college students having four or more cards. (Source: Sallie Mae, “How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards: Sallie Mae’s National Study of Usage Rates and Trends 2009”)
  • The average undergrad carries $3,173 in credit card debt, the highest since the study began. The average senior will graduate with $4,100 in credit card debt, up 41% from the same study conducted in 2004. (Source: Sallie Mae, “How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards: Sallie Mae’s National Study of Usage Rates and Trends 2009”)
  • 92% of undergraduates use credit cards to pay for educational expenses and 30% admitted to using their credit cards to pay for college tuition. (Source: Sallie Mae, “How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards: Sallie Mae’s National Study of Usage Rates and Trends 2009”)
  • Graduates will amass almost $20,000 in student loan debt. (Source: Nellie Mae, “Undergraduate Students and Credit Cards in 2004: An Analysis of Usage Rates and Trends”)
  • 25% of the students surveyed in US PIRG’s 2008 Campus Credit Card Trap report said that they have paid a late fee, and 15 percent have paid an “over the limit” fee. (Source: U.S. PIRG, “Campus Credit Card Trap”)
Cost of College
  • The cost of tuition at a private four-year university was $25,143 in 2008 (up 5.9% from 2007). The cost of tuition at a public four-year university was $6,585 in 2008 (up 6.4% from 2007). (Source: The College Board)
  • According to a 2007 College Board Study, people with a bachelor’s degree earn over 60% more than those with only a high school diploma? Over a lifetime, the gap in earning potential between a high school diploma and a B.A. is more than $800,000. (Source: The College Board, “Education Pays”
Student Debt Issues
  • 7.2% of students drop out of college due to debt and/or financial pressures. (Source: Duck 9)
  • People in the 18 to 24 age bracket spend nearly 30% of their monthly income just on debt repayment – double the percentage spent in 1992 (10% of net income is a recommended amount for debt obligation). (Source: Center for Responsible Lending)

     

Financial Literacy
  • A 1997 study sponsored by the Jump$tart Coalition found that high school students lack an understanding of basic personal finance concepts. On average, survey participants answered 57% of the questions correctly. Only 10% of respondents said they learned about personal finance at school, while 60% learned at home. (Source:Jump$tart Coalition)
  • In 2007, a survey on teens and money reported that only 45% of teens know how to use a credit card, while just 26% understood credit-card interest and fees. (Source: Charles Schwab)
  • 84% of undergraduates admitted the need for more financial management education. Of these, 64% would have preferred some type of financial literacy education in high school and 40% as college freshman. (Source: Sallie Mae, “How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards: Sallie Mae’s National Study of Usage Rates and Trends 2009”)

credit cards students

 

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Compact Fridge

My son’s in college and he’s residing in a college apartment without a kitchen.  So, although he’s signed up for the meal plan, during those late night study sessions, he may want some cold water or something to eat, so I went shopping for a nice cubic refrigerator for him and I found a few good ones.

My number one pick is the

Urban Islands Stainless Steel Refrigerator by Bull Outdoor Products

Keep your cool with a tasty chilled beverage straight out of your Urban Islands Free Standing Stainless Steel Refrigerator. This outdoor refrigerator comes equipped with a beverage can dispenser that holds up to five 12-ounce cans. And there’s no need to run back and forth to the kitchen for supplies – this 4.1-cubic-foot capacity fridge has plenty of room for condiments, produce, and whatever you’re throwing on your grill tonight. Additional features include full-range temperature control, space-saving flush-back design, and a brushed stainless steel door that can be mounted to open from either the left or the right. With an Urban Islands free-standing refrigerator added to your grill station, we wonder if you’ll ever go back inside!

Features:

  • Large Capacity Compact Fridge
  • 4.1 cu ft Capacity
  • Mechanical Thermostat
  • Convenient Canister Beverage Dispensing System in Door
  • 3 removable, wire coated shelves
  • Tall Bottle Storage – Great for Large Bottles
  • Full-Width Door Storage Racks
  • Storage/Drip Tray
  • Reversible Door Swing for Convenient Left or Right Hand Opening
  • Dimensions: 19.75″W x 20.5″D x 32.7″ H
  • Cut Out Dimensions 20.5″W x 20.75″D x 33″H
  • ETL Certified
  • Weight: 61 lbs

cubic fridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Price – $249.99 and it has 4 stars at www.costco.com

 

If you don’t want to spend a lot of money and still are looking for a quality fridge, then try my next suggestion:

Daewoo 2.4CuFt Black Compact Refrigerator

Features:

  • Color: Black
  • Energy Star
  • Net capacity: 2.4CuFt.
  • Mechanical temperature control
  • Manual defrost
  • Flush black design for space-saving
  • Ice cube tray
  • 2L bottle rack
  • 2 wire shelves
  • R134a refrigerant

Dimensions:

  • 13.6″ W x 17.7″ D x 24.9″ H

dae woo fridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Price – $99.99

 

My son loves his new fridge.  Go to www.costo.com for more deals.

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Bank Accounts

The purpose for a good checking and/or savings account for your children is so they can develop self-discipline.  Saving money will be an important part of your teens life, so it’s better to start now rather than later. Choosing the right bank depends on the needs of your teenager…

Things to consider:

1) Are you looking for short-term savings or long-term investments?
2) Does your teen have a part-time job or summer internship?
3) Are you looking for a checking or savings or both?
4) Do you want to save money or manage money as you spend it for personal daily living expenses?  (i.e cell phone bills, food, gas, car payment, auto insurance, health insurance, gifts).
5) Does the bank charge fees?  (Check to see if your local bank offers accounts for teens who are currently in high school and then once the teen is a college student, can the student maintain the account FREE of monthly service charges?  FREE of charges is the best type of account, since most young people don’t earn as much as older folks who have already been in the workforce several years).
6) Do your homework and check local credit unions in your area, they may also offer FREE checking and savings accounts for teens and/or college students.

My Best Picks Are…

Wells Fargo Value Checking – offers totally FREE checking and savings account while in high school.  Then can switch to a College Checking, while your son or daughter remains a college student. There are no hidden fees.  This is my number one pick!   This bank offers excellent customer service, according to my teenage son, he loves Wells Fargo Bank.

Chase Checking – offers a FREE checking account if the student maintains a monthly minimum balance of $1,500 or with monthly direct deposits of $500 or more.  This is a good account if the student’s parent’s can transfer $500 monthly and/or if the student can earn $500 monthly and have his/her paycheck direct deposited.  Otherwise, a $10 monthly service fee applies.

Credit Unions – Again, check your state for credit unions that offer no fee checking and savings accounts.  Teach your kids how to be more responsible while saving money and becoming better money-managers.  This will also trickle over into their credit ratings.  You can start teaching your teen about how credit works, so they don’t end up with horrible credit ratings at a very young age.

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