Dec 28, 2013

Bash on a Budget: New Year’s Eve

Christmas is still around the corner, but if you’re having a New Year’s Eve party, you’ve got some extra holiday planning to do. Once that Yuletide carol has been sung, it’ll be time to ring in the new year with friends and family. It can tempting to get caught up in the festiveness of the holiday and want to throw a fancy party that people will be talking about until next New Year’s, but don’t let your bash break the bank. Here are some tips to starting the new year with a festive gathering and a little cash left in your pocket.
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Budget

First of all, decide how much you are comfortable spending—and stick to it. Factor in invites, food, drinks, decorations, and music. Then add about 10% extra for unforeseen expenses (like spilled wine on the rug or the disco ball you just have to have). If you find that you are going over your budget, reevaluate and see where you can cut costs.

Invites

To keep invites free, send a Facebook invite or an Evite. If you want to be more formal, send your New Year’s party invite with your Christmas card to save a stamp.

Food

The trick to saving on food is k.i.s.s.—keep it simple, um, silly. Don’t plan a huge meal or really fancy food. In fact, don’t plan a meal at all. New Year’s festivities start late enough that guests won’t expect dinner. Stick to simple hors d’oeuvres and punch. Or, go potluck. Spreading the cost is always the cheapest way to go.

As you decide what food to buy, look at grocery store deals and plan your treats around them. While you’re shopping, stock up on backup snacks like cheese, crackers, and veggies that won’t go to waste after the party’s over. Make some cookie dough and freeze it, just in case. Instead of buying fancy foreign treats, buy local fare—it will be cheaper and add some hometown flavor. If you order out, order things that would be too expensive to make anyway, like eggrolls. Want foods to look fancy, but don’t want to pay for caviar? Pomegranate seeds are a great substitute and they go a long way. Expect guests to have one or two of each hors d’oeuvre.

Drinks

Again, sharing the cost is cheapest; ask guests to bring their favorite drink. But if you are in charge of keeping guests hydrated, consider a festive holiday punch. It’s fun, refreshing, and a lot cheaper than buying several kinds of alcohol. If you are buying alcohol, stock up when there are sales, since it doesn’t spoil, or buy in bulk. Wassail is another great holiday drink. It’s warm and smells like citrus and cinnamon. Plan on guests having two drinks in the first hour, and one every hour after.

Décor

To keep décor simple and festive, choose one theme color. It will make picking out decorations easier and cheaper. If you use flowers, stick to one kind. And before you run out and buy decorations, look around your house. Have any white lights left over from Christmas? String these up and place some candles around the room, and you’ve got instant festive lighting.

Make as many of the decorations as you can. Glass bowls of citrus fruit are colorful and festive (and make for a good snack if the food runs out). For an aromatic treat, take a couple of oranges and slice them up in a pot of water, add cinnamon and vanilla, and boil on low to fill the room with a heavenly smell. To add some sparkle to the room, spray tea light candleholders with adhesive spray and roll in glitter. Put some extra glitter in balloons before blowing them up (being careful not to breathe it in). Add confetti to the balloons by shredding up used Christmas wrapping paper or old bills. Get small silver bowls from a dollar store and fill them with silver candy like Jordan almonds, M&Ms, or kisses. Or get clocks from the thrift store (they don’t even have to work) and put them all over the room to get everyone excited for the countdown.

There are several ways to spice up your food presentation for low cost too. Dollar stores sell cheap plates and glasses. To make a food display, take books and boxes that you already have on hand and stack them on the table before draping a table cloth over it. Place plates and bowls on the different levels you created and garnish the tablecloth with glitter or flowers.

Music

To save on music, make a soundtrack on your iPod. If you need to turn up the volume, try placing the iPod in a glass or buy speakers from a thrift store. If you have a little extra money, consider hiring local talent. Up-and-coming artists are always looking for places to play. Ask local coffee shops who they use.

Being prepared and keeping it simple are the tricks to prevent panic-spending for your New Year’s party. To be even more prepared for next year, check your local stores for on-sale New Year’s decorations. Make it your resolution to ring in every new year with a little celebrating and a lot of saving.

Edson Senna is a freelance writer who focuses on finance, law, and business. He enjoys applying what he has learned by writing about investing, finance, entrepreneurship, and other business-related topics. He sometimes does consulting for Infinite Wealth Advisors, financial planners in Charleston, North Carolina.

Dec 26, 2013

The New Social Acceptance of Electronic Cigarettes

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It used to be everywhere in Hollywood stars would take "iconic" photos smoking their cig and would be seen at their latest movie taking a break while smoking. Actually, I still see a lot of these photos crop up today. The same has gone for a large part of our population. For years smoking has been deemed a way to look cool, fit in, stay relaxed, and take "the edge off" whatever life ails you. The act of smoking and not to mention this look has most definitely gone through the decades as something that is trendy, acceptable, and common.

Recently there has been an alternative to smoking and there now is a way to get nicotine without smoking traditional cigarettes. Today a new wider social acceptance of electronic cigarettes aka vapor smoking has taken place. I've never tried smoking and I've yet to try electronic cigarettes from www.21stcenturysmoke.com, but I think it's interesting that people are using electronic cigarettes today more than ever.

Let's discuss the benefits of electronic cigarettes:

Ditch the "Smokey" Smell

A scent from cigarette smoke seems to cling to about anything it comes in contact with, such as your hair, car, clothes, and everything. If you're a seasoned smoker then over time the smell may not be prevalent to you, but it's definitely noticeable to others. On the other hand electronic cigarettes do not have this odor because instead of inhaling smoke, you're exhaling a vapor that evaporates. Many non-smokers have reported that the smell from an e-cig does not exist and that it even smells like pop tarts and not to mention they also offer vapor flavors such as strawberry mist!

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Stay Safe

When people smoke they are "burning" tobacco and also use an open flame to light it. Due to this factor cigarettes are easy serious fire hazards. Did you know that fires started by lighting a cigarette cause 10% of all fire-related deaths? With e-cigarettes you're not burning an open flame which means you can't get burned and a fire will not start. You're staying safe and not subjecting your loved ones to smoke and potential flames.

Cleanliness

Using e-cigs from 21st Century Smoke are much cleaner than using traditional cigarettes. As stated earlier, with e-cigs you don't have to worry about smoke getting into your hair, clothes, and basically everything that happens when using traditional cigarettes. The vapor from e-cigs evaporates almost immediately and there is no smell. What's more, e-cigs not only are cleaner, but they are more affordable as well.

Have you used e-cigarettes before and what do you think of this new social acceptance?


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Dec 19, 2013

Stylish Solutions for Every Body Type

With seasons changing and winter right around the corner, take the time to arm yourself with some helpful knowledge to pick out the right cold-weather clothes for your body type. We’re all shaped differently, and if you’re spending money, why not spend it the smart way on clothes that fit you, look great and make you feel confident.

Top Heavy


Photo by ...love Maegan from Flickr

If you’re top heavy, the first thing you want to do is make sure you are wearing the right bra (this actually goes for any body type). Many retailers offer bra fittings for free to help you find the most comfortable fit and make your silhouette the best it can be. Next, choose shirts that are structured and form fitting. Baggy, flowy and loose-fitting shirts will only make you look larger and won’t show off your curves. A form-fitting sequin tank is great for top heavy girls because it gives you holiday sparkle, and looks great under a jacket or cardigan. Also, don't be afraid of shapewear. You would be surprised how many women swear by it — including celebs! — and you can find camisoles that look nothing like traditional shapewear that match almost any outfit.

Bottom Heavy


Photo by The Integer from Flickr

For bottom-heavy girls, it’s all about showing off your waist! Take the tips from top-heavy girls for shirts and go with form-fitting. As for bottoms, pencil skirts are flattering and will create an elongated figure. Stay away from frilly skirts that add more volume. If you're not particularly fond of skirts, try a tailored pant. If you choose a cropped style, it’s important to have a little bit of a heel to keep the legs looking longer and leaner. For casual Friday, try a skinny jean in a dark wash that has some stretch with a cute pair of printed flats. There are a vast array of affordable women’s shoes online you can match perfectly with the pant you choose.

Photo of leopard flat from Target

Bring eyes up by wearing a statement necklace or a scarf to balance everything out. Remember, it's not about hiding any part of your body, it's about drawing attention to your best features.

Petites


Photo by daniel arnold from Wikimedia Commons

Slim cropped pants look great on petites along with long, wide-leg pants. If you’re petite, wide-leg pants create length and are a funky way to dress up a work or casual outfit. Petites can wear dark or light washes, depending on their mood, but with a dark wash, jeans can be dressed up or down for a variety of occasions. With wide-leg pants, make sure your top isn’t too long or baggy. A cute, form-fitting T-shirt is a great piece to have because you can layer it with a cardigan and scarf and it can also do double duty in the spring and summer when paired with a statement necklace.

Curvy


Photo by ...love Maegan from Flickr

You're a lucky lady because when you shop you're strictly looking for clothes that emphasize your hour glass figure. Just make sure not to take this too far and go too tight! If you do choose a tighter pant, make sure to wear a longer shirt to elongate your waist and proportion your top and bottom. If you want to go tighter up top, choose a wrap dress that cinches at the waist and flows out from there. The hardest part of dressing a curvy girl is making sure all items hit you where they should and nothing tugs or pulls, according to Harper's Bazaar. Your tailor will be your new best friend!

Molly Mulgrew
Molly always looks like a million bucks. Her sense of style is excelled only by her knack for finding the best deals.

Dec 18, 2013

Paul Fredrick - Men can be Fashionist(ers) too!

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My name is Valerie Williams and I am the content coordinator at Paul Fredrick. I write for our blog as well as keep in touch with members within the fashion community and I love my job! Paul Fredrick was founded 25 years ago, originally specializing on dress shirts, but has since then expanded their collection. They design manufacture and directly distribute every item in their collection. Paul Fredrick strives to stand out for 5 things; quality, style, size, price, and guarantee. To learn more about what we offer visit our site please visit www.paulfredrick.com
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The most recent article I wrote focuses on Men's fashion blunders. We all will make fashion mistakes in our lifetime, it's inevitable (you should have seen my prom dress circa 1989), but some of these are avoidable! My main inspiration for this article would be my lovely husband who I have caught making continuous fashion mishaps (disasters). The tips that I offer are fairly easy to follow and my hope is to inspire men to never commit any of these fashion crimes. Enjoy!

http://blog.paulfredrick.com/2013/12/13/rules/dressing-guidelines/easily-avoidable-mens-fashion-blunders/

Dec 17, 2013

New Year, New Hairstyle: How to Choose Your New Style for 2014

For many of us, our new year’s resolutions may include getting fit and looking great in 2014. Another great way to shake up your look and feel fabulous in is to change your look in the New Year – a change in hairstyle can knock 10 years off your appearance and leave you feeling like a new woman in the New Year! 

If you’re thinking of revamping your look, take a look at these simple steps to help you avoid any bad hair decisions:

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Take a trip down memory lane

A great way to decide your next look is to take a look at old photographs at your past hair styles. If you have been experimental in the past with your hair, look at the style and colours which suited you best and explore ways you can modernise these looks. 

Test it out 

Cutting your hair or changing colour? Test it out first with a wig or perhaps try hair extensions to test the look. This is a great way to see if you will suit a new style, colour or cut – and get a feel for the new style before making any permanent decisions in the hairdressers. 

Celebrity Inspirations 

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Look at your favourite celebrities for hair inspiration – but remember to choose celebrities around your age and of a similar skin tone. Remember to also think about maintenance, a short bob may look great on Charlize Theron, but could you maintain this look without the help of an on hand styling team? 

Test your look online 

there are a wide range of websites that allow you to upload your photo and test a wide range of colours and styles. This is a great way to see how you look, and also gives you the opportunity to compare numerous looks to see which the best style is for you. 

Get professional advice

the expert always knows best! Why not book in a consultation with an expert stylist at your local salon to discuss re-styling your hair. Expert hair stylists see a range of styles, cuts and hair colours each day, and would be able to thoroughly advise you on the best look for you. 

Guest post by Amy

Dec 15, 2013

Tips for Keeping Your House Warm in the Colder Months 

Winters can be long, cold, and expensive in many parts of the nation, and homeowners and renters alike bemoan the high cost of both gas and electric heating. Electricity and gas bills skyrocket nationwide every winter, and smart homeowners strive to find creative ways to lessen the cost of staying comfortably warm. If you’re feeling chilly and can’t seem to get you and your home to warm up, here are a few ideas to help make your house warm without spending a lot of money.

Layer, Layer, Layer
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Clothing choice obviously makes a big difference in how warm you are, and inside is no different than outside. If the temperature in your house is still bearable, simply put on more layers of clothing before reaching for the thermostat. A thick pair of socks, a warm robe, a cozy blanket, and even a down vest are great and comfortable options to keep you toasty. It may seem annoying but if you’re trying to save money this is an easy solution. If you feel temped to turn the temp up, remind yourself that an investment in these clothing items will be far less expensive in the long run than running your heat at a higher temperature.

Consider the Least Expensive Option
Space heaters can be a quick fix for a cold room, but if you use a space heater for more than a few hours every month, your electric bill can quickly increase. If your home lacks a central heating system, or much of a heating system at all, invest in a space heater that uses power efficiently and can quickly warm a room. Older homes are often drafty, but they often have fireplaces and wood stoves. If you don’t want to deal with the wood and soot of a conventional fireplace, have it replaced with a gas fireplace that you can flip on with a switch. Gas fire places are easier to maintain and control, and they do quickly fill a room with warmth. Gas is also typically less expensive than electricity. Check these guys out for great fireplace options. 

Think Old-Fashioned
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Generations of people have been enduring winters for years, and even before electricity was an option, many folks were able to keep warm. Consider what your ancestors did to keep warm – many of these items are still available for your use. Hot water bottles keep the feet warm at night, cooking dinner in the oven will help heat the kitchen, heavy quilts, and hot baths are all great options for warming up when the weather gets cold. Use the money you save toward a warm, sunny beach vacation.

About the author: Samantha enjoys writing about ways to keep a family’s home warm during the winter since she recently purchased a home of her own.

Dec 6, 2013

How Cable and DVR Gets Me Through the Winter (Plus I Love Holiday Movies!)

What are some of your favorite television shows? I happen to love this time of year because there are so many great shows on TV, and when it gets cold outside it’s the perfect time to bundle up with a blanket and catch up on my favorite shows. Right now it’s a bit chilly and I’m taking advantage of my TV watching time. I admit that I also have too many shows that I watch (I can’t count them all!), which is why Time Warner Cable is ideal. You can watch, record, and catch up on all of your favorite shows whenever you want! I know I couldn’t survive without my cable. Well, I know I could if I had to, but I happen to love to watch TV and in particular my favorite shows, especially when it’s cold outside or I need a distraction after a long day of working.

Want to know what some of my favorite shows are? Before I jump into my list, I have to tell you that even though I spend a lot of time working away on my business, I manage to squeeze in time to catch up on my favorite shows and plus, that’s what DVR is for!! When I can’t watch a show live I always record it on my DVR. I also don’t have to worry about running out of space since DVR is getting more and more efficient with storage space. Not to mention there is also Charter on Demand. Don’t you think it’s amazing or is it just me?! Sorry, I get a little excited about my TV shows. ;)

In fact, I’m so impressed with DVR and the cable services that are available these days that it’s kind of impossible not to have it in your home or apartment. Seriously. So back to my fave TV shows…a few of them include The Vampire Diaries, Castle, The Voice, Pretty Little Liars, Grey’s Anatomy, and of course Parenthood.  Oh and when I’m not watching TV shows I love watching the latest movies on Hallmark and ABC Family. 
In fact I’ve been watching a lot of holiday movies on Hallmark as of late. There are so many adorable movies that are keeping me entertained! And don’t get me started on the new movies that are coming out…I am very excited about When Calls The Heart that will be on the Hallmark channel in January. It’s based off of a Christian book series by Janette Oke and I read them all several years ago. It will be so much fun to see these book characters come to live on Hallmark!
In addition to cable since I work in my apartment I have to have internet to run my business and Time Warner Internet is a reliable service that keeps your internet running smoothly and quickly. Having a fast and efficient internet service is essential for me to get work done in a timely manner, and that combined with cable works well for me. Now all I need is a dog and I’ll be all set! ;)

So ocean dreamers, what TV shows 
are on your must watch list?
Do you have both cable and internet 
or just one or the other?

I personally think that both are hard to live without, which is why I have both! Happy TV watching and Internet surfing! 




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Nov 26, 2013

The Magic of Hollister & Their Epic Black Friday Deals!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Hollister Co for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

For as long as I can remember I have always been a Hollister Co girl. Whenever I put on my Hollister clothing it always has this magical way of making me feel like I'm near the ocean even when I'm not. All of their clothes are so comfy and cute, and many of their articles of clothing also have a California theme such as a Southern CA city or saying. I love their themes because they usually reflect places I've been to and the clever sayings make their clothing even more creative. Whenever I head into Hollister I always find something new to buy as well -- it's all too tempting!

In fact, there are so many things I want on the Hollister website right now and since Black Friday will soon be here, if you love Hollister as much as I do (how can you not?!) it's time to start planning not only what you will be wearing for the most epic deal of the year (at Hollister on Black Friday, duh!) but what you will be buying on Black Friday as well. Most mall doors open up at 8pm on Thanksgiving night so it's time to get very excited.

Psst...Hollister has not released their Black Friday deals yet, but soon they will so stay tuned! Plus, you better believe their will be HOT lifeguards at the Hollister doors that will entice us to buy even more fab Hollister clothes! Can we say YES, please?! :)

While waiting for Hollister to reveal their Black Friday deals and stay up to date on their latest items, Like Hollister on FacebookFollow @HollisterCo on Twitter, and Follow @HollisterCo on Instagram!

P.S. you can download the Hollister App so you can unlock the new Black Friday Beach Party Whistle! ;)

For a Black Friday Hollister inspirational laidback 90's outfit, I put together this ensemble below (actually it has two outfits in one). The links to my can't live without Hollister outfits and wish list are below the collage too. What's not to love?!

 DIXON LAKE T-SHIRT // EL PESCADOR t-sHIRT //

bay park hoodie // Hollister sport hoodie //

LEgging // Hollister Jegging //

So what do you plan on wearing for Black Friday

when you head to Hollister and

what items are on your wish list?

Don't forget that Hollister offers some fantastic items that you should put on your wish list now including flannels, sweatshirts, leggings, sweaters, and more. Whether you're at the ocean or headed home to family during the holidays who live in a snowy climate like me, allow Hollister to keep you warm all winter long. I know I will when I'm in California, Arizona, or Utah! ;)

Visit Sponsor's Site


Nov 22, 2013

Convenient Real-Estate: The Meaning of Move-In Ready

One term floating around the real estate business is the description “move-in ready” when it comes to homes. In best case scenarios, a home is move-in ready when it needs no work in order for it to be livable. Many homebuyers these days don’t have the time or energy to purchase a home to fix up, even though houses waiting to be improved are less costly than a move-in ready home. How do you know if a house is move-in ready? It’s easy enough to spot cosmetic changes that have been made, but they may be masking a much deeper issue that you can’t see – and will require much more money and time to fix. Here are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that your home is truly move-in ready.
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Hire a Professional

If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. If that price that can’t be beat is featured on a move-in ready home, it’s time to call a professional in order to make sure you’re getting what you think you are. Check the roof, electrical, water heater, plumbing, foundation, and any other major elements of the house. These are far more expensive things to fix than renovating a bathroom or re-flooring an entire home. They are also some of the more difficult elements to detect by simply visiting and touring a house. Invest money into hiring professionals who can give you an honest assessment of the house. It could save you from deep financial hardship in the future.

Consider the Weather

A home may look beautiful and perfect in the spring or summer, but if you live in areas where winters are cold or harsh and are looking to find homes for sale in Michigan, your house may not be as move-in ready as you think it is. Check insulation, the state of the windows and doors, and the roof. Find out how old the heating system is and how efficient it works. Winter is the worst time to regret a housing decision.

Paint and Carpet

Paint and carpet are easy and relatively inexpensive fixes. You can hire professionals to come in and do them in a matter of days. Don’t let these elements dissuade you from purchasing a home that has good internal elements. These homes might be more move-in ready than you think they are.

So do your research ahead of time so that you will be prepared when looking for a home. At first glance a home may appear to be move-in ready, but if you make a list and bring it with you while looking at homes you will be more likely to spot other issues that you normally would not spot. Be wise but don’t be too picky – there’s definitely a home that will be move-in ready thanks to your research and new knowledge in housing. 

About the Author: Jessica is currently looking for a new house. She thought she would get a head start by doing her research so her ideal home is move-in ready. 

Nov 17, 2013

Best Nature Documentaries that Touch Our Spirit

Sure, Hollywood has created some fabulous films using incredible actors, well-written scenes, and emotional moments that leave us laughing hysterically or tearing up despite our best efforts to remind ourselves it’s only a movie. But there are some films that aren’t only movies, which do more than just reflect human culture, by actually studying and reporting on the dangerous and mysterious world around us - and no, I’m not speaking of any of the Housewives reality shows.
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In the end, there is no movie that comes close to the visual and emotional roller coaster ride that a well-done nature documentary can take viewers through. As human beings, whose curiosity has led directly to any and all of the educational advancements we have today, we are enthralled by the wild, unrestrained lives of the creatures we share this planet with. Especially now, with climate change and pollution threatening habitats and ecosystems everywhere, wildlife and nature documentaries can both educate us and help open our eyes to the world we might be in danger of losing.

If you’re looking to revisit some of the best nature documentaries, consider some of what I believe are at the top of the list. If after this list, you’re still searching for documentaries that will both leave your eyes and brain in a state of awe, one of your best bets is to look for anything hosted by David Attenborough, who has covered everything from insect life (Life in the Undergrowth) to plants (The Private Life of Plants) birds, mammals, reptiles, and  more. For newer shows and streaming documentaries the best sources are the Science Channel, BBC, the Discovery Channel, the Smithsonian Channel, the latter of which is unfortunately available only on DirecTV, or of course, Netflix and Amazon, which have many of the most popular shows on this list.

Planet Earth

I’m sure we can all remember the year Planet Earth,  the 2006 documentary that took over five years to film, arrived. It was the first nature documentary to be entirely filmed in high definition, and when Christmas came about, it was guaranteed that at least one person had splurged on a DVD copy for everyone in the family. The hype around Planet Earth wasn’t undeserved. If you have time, watch the mini-documentary “making of” segments to see exactly how difficult some of these filming locations were to get to, and how often the film crew placed themselves in more than precarious situations. This documentary series is also one of the most well rounded to ever be created, since each episode focuses on a particular area (examples are Ocean, Mountain, Desert, and my favorite, Polar).
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Wonders of the Solar System, Cosmos, Through the Wormhole

For space fans, the Carl Sagan-hosted TV series, Cosmos, though filmed in 1980, is still one of the best tours of this vastly unknown world. The series won a primetime Emmy, likely do to the mass audience appeal of the show. Unlike textbooks, Carl Sagan is able to speak in terms that are understandable even if you slept through every science class since the first grade. Sagan also explores origins of life, possible life on Mars, and how Earth could be the next Venus.

For a more recent exploration into the stars, another option is Wonders of the Solar System, which was co-produced by BBC and the Science Channel. This five episode series was first aired in the UK, culminating in a final episode on aliens, and the search for life elsewhere. A third option is the currently airing Through the Wormhole, created by the Science Channel which attempts to resolve, or at least theorize about the biggest questions that humans ask today, such as “Is there a Creator?” and “Where did the universe come from?” The result is mind blowing, and has the added bonus of being narrated by Morgan Freeman, who many consider to have the voice of God already.
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Evolution and Human Planet

Many think that nature documentaries solely focus on the obscure in nature - either plants, space or animals. However, there are two stand outs that look at our own arrival, and how we humans have grown and developed all over the world. After all, we are the only species that populates every continent. The first is Evolution, which received too little appreciation when PBS aired it in 2001. The eight-hour miniseries discusses all areas of evolution, from Darwin’s original ideas, to extinction, to why the human mind suddenly broke out and advanced at previously unheard of rates. A second great documentary is Human Planet. This documentary, too, takes a hard look at humans, and how we have evolved and are still evolving to create lives for ourselves on almost every possible habitat this planet holds. This series looks at how humans have adapted to extreme areas, like deep jungles of South America, the Altai Mountains of Mongolia, and even the island archipelagos of Indonesia.

Author Bio: Elizabeth Eckhart is a entertainment and film blogger for http://www.directstartv.com/. She writes primarily about movies, but sometimes dabbles in literature as well. 

Nov 15, 2013

Christmas Shopping Tips: Great Gifts for Your Mother-in-Law

Finding the perfect Christmas gift for each member of the family is crazy enough, but trying to figure out what to get your mother-in-law can be downright migraine-inducing. You can probably forget receiving any meaningful input from your dear hubby. Chances are pretty good you probably know more about what his mother likes than he does! But if you're still left scratching your head over what to get her this year, you can now relax, sit back and enjoy a glass of Charles Shaw. Whether you're her first daughter-in-law or one of many, we've got you covered and soon you'll definitely be the favorite.

For Your New Mother-in-Law

If this is your first Christmas buying a gift for your mother-in-law, you'll want to get her something heartfelt that will impress. A photo of you and your husband in a "thank you for raising the man of my dreams" frame will let her know how much you love her son and how much you appreciate everything she's done for him. These frames are available in a variety of styles and sizes, and can be found online at JuxtaPost.com or Etsy.com for around $40.

If Your Mother-in-Law is a Grandma

Photo by StacyZ aka Adore_One via Flickr

Grandmothers love keeping their grandchildren close. What better way to help your mother-in-law keep her grandchildren close at heart than with a beautiful pearl bracelet? Pearls by Laurel offers a gorgeous bracelet you can customize with pearls in the color of your children's birthstones. This is surprisingly affordable at only $29.95 at PearlsByLaurel.com.

For the Mother-in-Law Who Has Everything

Photo by cakersandco via Flickr

Some women have the good fortune to have everything — and these ladies are the toughest to buy for. That's where gift baskets come in. Buying Christmas gift baskets from FTD is a quick and easy solution. Just a few clicks and you're done. For about $70 at you can send your mother-in-law a gourmet basket of wine, chocolate and cheese sure to please the most discriminating palate.

For the Adventurous Mother-in-Law

Photo by W.E.T. River Trips via Flickr

If you've ever wanted to tell your mother-in-law to jump off a cliff, now you can do just that. Give the gift of an experience such as bungee jumping or whitewater rafting. Companies like Cloud 9 Living specialize in gift experiences ranging from dinner cruises and spa packages to fighter pilot training and race car driving. Helping your mother-in-law check items off her bucket list can range anywhere from $115 for a massage to over $2,000 to play "Top Gun" in an authentic aircraft.

For the Mother-in-Law You Can't Stand

Photo by wakefielddavid via Flickr

Let's face it. More often than not our mother-in-law isn't at the top of our favorite-person list. This Christmas, kill her with kindness and get her something you know she will love. How? If you've known her long enough to not be able to stand her, you probably know more about her than you'd like to admit. Whatever she's into, take it up a notch with a gift that shows her you've been paying attention. Does she have a tiny dog she insists on taking everywhere? Give her a gift card to a fancy dog boutique. Does she have a creepy doll collection? Buy her the greatest creepy doll you can find. Is she a stickler for etiquette? Get her a vintage etiquette book; eBay has them starting at around $10.

Lisa Fischer
Lisa is a social media enthusiast from Honolulu.

Nov 14, 2013

Caribbean: the finest destination to rekindle your relationship

Diverse and Fascinating are words that can describe Caribbean perfectly. Some of it lounges are ideal for walking and driving in the green lush rain forest. While some are placed strategically for sight-seeing and get away, others are just perfect for partying. On the islands a common phenomenon awaits you: warm temperature, clear waters and white sands.
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A holiday in the Caribbean islands is the best idea a newlywed could have in their minds. This is because Caribbean is a home away from home. With the calmness of nature, the aesthetic beauty of the ocean and the beaches and great resorts and hotels, one could never expect more!

The Bahamas 
Accessible by a marine taxi, an airplane or a cruise ship. Bahamas is less than 200miles off the coastline of Miami. In Bahamas, Nassau and Freeport are the shopping areas. With the white sandy beaches and the turquoise blue waters, you can have peace of mind in this nature’s beauty place. Grand Bahama international Airport is the right place for flight information. While at Nassau, you can also try some breath taking activities such as shark diving, and the great water sports package. Staying in Bahamas Atlantis Bay and Sandals Emerald Bay can be a real great experience due to their welcoming hospitality.

Jamaica
Once visited nobody ever forget this serene place ringed by beaches and the air filled with the finest reggae tunes of all time. This mountainous piece of heaven has great places to visit with lots of fun activities such as calm sea snorkeling, river rafting climbing the Blue Mountains for great site seeing and visiting the dolphin coves. While in Jamaica, sports also come as an enjoyable activity especially in the Half Moon golf tennis and beach club and the Couple’s Resort where you can stay. You can also know more about the culture and history associated with the islands by visiting their museums.

Puerto Rico
Probably the most beautiful of the Caribbean islands, Puerto Rico is the place you ought to take your lover for relaxing session. In San Juan, the activities never die with the day joining the night at high voltage of activities. San Juan offers great activities such as visiting its cobblestone streets and basking in the sun. Some other attractions are such as the bioluminescent bay, the El Yunque rainforest and the underground cave park of Rio Camuy.

Some of its great hotels are Hotel El Conento, El Conquistador, El San Juan and Horned Dorset Primavera.

Anguilla
Also referred to as a tourists trap because of its catchiness. With clear coral filled waters and great beach front villas, make it an exceptional. A sneak to the little beach will leave you fascinated and not want to leave the place. Catch the moon splash music festivals in March at Anguila. There are also great water sports and sun bathing to try. The best hotels here are Cap Julca which is a calm one and rest on miles of sandy beaches, Viceroy Anguilla which has a great contemporary architecture which blends perfectly with the beaches of Anguilla. Others are such as the Paradise Cove resort, Anguilla Great house, Allamanda beach club and many more.
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Belize
This is another Caribbean classic. An affordable place with a five-mile long beach, Belize is the place to go for holiday especially for newlyweds who seek pleasure and a new experience. The main mode of transport here is by bicycle or by foot. With great wave and a smoothly warming sun, you can escape the hustles and bustles of your daily boring life and give Belize a visit. Coco Beach Resort, X’tan Ha Resort, Almond beach resort are some accommodation places of great value in Belize.

Foodie highlights
All these islands have a common meal with local sea foods, conch fritters, Escovitch fich, chicken, curry goat, Arawak cay (fish fry), stewed fish and local delicacy being the most tantalizing. Fruits such as mangoes coconuts, pineapples and papaws are also available in the menu.

All these luxurious places make you relax after crumpling wedding arrangements and the hustles that one usually has to make during the period when they are arranging the wedding.Get the flight details make your own way with best information to make your travel a pleasant and top-notch experience.

Nov 5, 2013

3 Easy Ways To Make Facial Chemical Peels

As the name of this article suggests, chemical peels made with loads of chemicals are usually known to cause some kind of harm to your skin. We understand that removing blemishes is an important task and that chemical peels are known to do a wonderful job at doing just that, but it's still important to be cautious. 

However, it is important to realize that chemical peels should not be done on a regular basis. Also, when you are thinking of opting for chemical peels, ensure that you buy them from a company you trust so that at least you know that you are applying a reputable product on your skin. 

Another option is to make these chemical peels at home. They are simple to make and the best part is that if you make them at home the will not contain chemicals of any kind that might harm or damage your skin.

Cucumber Peel: 
The best part about this is that it is made with ingredients that are readily available at home. Every home is known to have cucumbers and as a result this is simple peel that can be made readily by anyone and everyone at home. It is a natural peel and once applied will help your skin to look tighter, smoother and softer.This cucumber peel is known to be made with cucumber, chamomile tea, natural gelatin and aloe vera pulp.

AHA Chemical Peel:
This is another chemical peel that you can try at home. For this type of peel you need to mix sugar cane juice and yogurt in a bowl. Add glycolic acid and milk that contains lactic acid. Apply the mixture of sugar and yogurt on the skin till it dries up. Once dry take it off by splashing cold water on your face..

BHA Chemical Peel:
With this peel you need to mix baking soda and water in a bowl. Let it rest for some time and then you add neutralizer to the acid component. You can also add aspirin in the mixture to do the trick. For added benefit you can add lemon juice. Lemon juice is known to have an acidic component that ensures that the skin lightens when you apply the peel on your face. The idea is to ensure that the BHA chemical peel made at home can be applied on the face and left on your face for up to 5 to 10 minutes at a time. After leaving it on your face for that length of time, you can easily wash it off with water.


The only thing that you need to remember about these homemade chemical peels is to ensure that you make them fresh and apply them on your face. Try and not make these peels in bulk and store them as it might go bad and cause damage to your delicate skin. Also, ensure that you do a patch test before application.

Molly Garner is a beautician by profession. She is sharing her knowledge and experience with people. She regularly writes on health or skin care related articles. Currently she is contributing article on behalf of CoLaz Beauty Salon they offer Skin Blemishes, hair removal and beauty treatments.

Nov 3, 2013

Skin Tone Infographic from Fair and Flawless

If you’ve ever wondered how some people can look so radiant in yellow, yet you look downright jaundiced in the same shade, you’re not alone. It’s not just a matter of how light or dark your skin is—the underlying tone makes a huge difference in whether or not certain colors are wearable for you.

For example, when you’re picking out foundation, you want to make sure that you’re picking a formula that’s not only the right shade, but also is the right tone. Putting a pinkish-based tint on golden undertones will make you white and ghostly; putting yellow-toned foundation over pinkish skin can result in looking like an Oompa-Loopma (well, not quite that dramatic, but you get the picture).

This infographic from Fair and Flawless helps you figure out your skin tone so that you can pick out the right makeup to seamlessly blend into your skin. It also takes it one step further by adding in the extra dimension of hair and eye color. You may have the same underlying skin tone as your sister, but if you have dramatically different hair colors, you probably can’t share that lilac sweater. Read on to find out if blues are right for you, or if reds would suit you better.




Oct 10, 2013

Three Exceptional Broadway Musicals for Girls Night Out

Hi Ocean Dreamers, I promise I haven't fallen off a cliff, I've just been very busy. Until I can blog again, enjoy this guest post! P.S. I have been to Mamma Mia and Wicked and loved both!! I really want to see Chicago and some point too.

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Whether you're planning a girls getaway in NYC or looking for a special night out on the town, these three outstanding musicals deliver performances everyone will love.

"Mamma Mia!"


What gal hasn't sung and danced to "Dancing Queen?" This classic musical, inspired entirely by the music of ABBA, tells the story of a bride-to-be named Sophie who longs for her estranged father to walk her down the aisle on her wedding day. Set in a picturesque beach resort in the Mediterranean, the musical sparks lots of laughs and excitement as Sophie invites three potential fathers to her wedding to finally get the truth out of her stubborn, independent mother.

Why you'll love it: "Mamma Mia!" is a lighthearted comedy with a sweet underlying message. There's something in it for every girl to relate to, from disappointing boyfriends to the constant desire to swear off men for good. You and your girlfriends are sure to have these timeless tunes stuck in your heads for days after.

(photo: flickr.com, user Broadway Tour)

"Chicago"


Set in vaudeville 1920s Chicago, the musical of the same name follows two female prisoners serving time for murder in Cook County Jail. Dancer Velma got booked for killing her husband and sister after discovering their shocking affair. Chorus girl Roxie also landed in the big house after shooting the man with whom she was cheating on her husband. Teaming up with the prison matron and lawyer Billy Flynn, the girls cook up a scheme to turn their crimes into a media frenzy.

Why you'll love it: It's always fun to get in touch with your bad girl side, but if you don't want to end up like Velma and Roxie, tickets for Broadway and watching the stage live are the next best things. Live vicariously through these wild, femme fatales with your best girlfriends and get ready to sing "Cell Block Tango" all the way home.

(photo: flickr.com, user Broadway Tour)

"Wicked"


"Wicked" delves into the untold stories of Oz's most well-known fictional characters. Green-skinned Elphaba, The Wicked Witch of the West, teams up with Glinda the Good Witch to attempt to change her "wicked" label. Meanwhile, she becomes an activist for the injustice that labeled her wicked in the first place. Secrets are unveiled and histories are revealed to bring whole new meanings to Baum's classic tale.

Why you'll love it: Any woman who's ever felt a little misunderstood growing up will relate to "Wicked's" heartfelt story and theme of not judging a book by its cover. Full of laughs, catchy tunes, and creative twists, the musical offers an experience you and your friends will never forget.

Better than chick flicks and wine night (if you even thought that was possible), attending a live musical performance is a great way to bond with your gal pals. These three must-see titles have received numerous praises and awards. Consider these Broadway favorites objectively good choices for even bribing your boyfriend into seeing a second time around.

(photo: commons.wikipedia.org)

Sep 19, 2013

Fragments - jewelry that reflects your uniqueness

I have to admit that most of the time I'm really bad about adding jewelry to my every day outfits, but if I find the right piece of jewelry I will wear it all of the time. Recently I came across a site called Fragments, and I love all of their unique pieces of jewelry. There's a diverse amount of designers who I can tell have taken a lot of time to carefully design the pieces, and if I were to ever splurge on a piece, I am certain I would wear a fashionable piece of jewelry from this website all of the time. 

Before I dive into some of my favorite pieces on the site, here's a little bit of a background story surrounding Fragments, for you history buffs. I don't know about you, but I always enjoy learning more about a company, where they began, and what inspires them to create even more. Fragments is no exception:


In 1984 (my Birthday year!), CEO and founder Janet saw a void in the accessory market and decided to develop a niche marketplace of jewelry. You can actually view the jewelry in Soho in NYC and I would love to stop by if I'm in NYC in the near future! Fragments gets their inspiration from NYC, but beyond that they have a passion to design and stay current with fashion and fine jewelry.You can read Fragment's entire story under "Our Story."


Here are a few of my favorite designers on the site:


Alexandra Mor:

"Alexandra Mor's work reflects a legacy of uniqueness and style that originated in her family of French fashion couturiers. Her collections are distinguished by her unmistakable signature details: simplicity and perfected symmetry centered around striking diamonds and gemstones."

I happen to love French fashion and what girl doesn't love diamonds and gemstones? Here is a piece of jewelry from Alexandra Mor's collection that is beautiful and bedazzling, to say the least! It reminds me of something one of the characters from the hit show Game of Thrones


Alberian and Aulde:
"The collaborative pair have crystallized a vision that celebrates the inherent beauty, intelligence and magnetism of the feminine spirit. They passionately strive to provide women with jewelry that reflects their uniqueness."

I can see what they mean by uniqueness, because I see a lot of what I love in my life in this jewelry as well! I think my favorite piece of jewelry is the Aquamarine Septet Studs, which are so gorgeous and remind me of the ocean. Speaking of the ocean, I miss the ocean oh so very much and hope to head back to my ocean dreams very soon! 



I also adore these opal cluster earrings, especially since they remind me of the ocean as well. They're very unique and the cluster of diamonds are also stunning! Not to mention both the opals and diamonds are set in 14K Rose Gold. Just beautiful.

What is catching your eye on the Fragments website?

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Sep 12, 2013

Changing your man’s wardrobe into something you will both love

So, it happened. You’ve met a great guy, and the only thing you really don’t like about him is the way he dresses. Perhaps he’s wearing ill-fitting jeans and just has no concept of what size he should be wearing. Maybe his shoes came out of a junior high skate park. Maybe his clothing is just a little too worn out for your tastes. If he truly is a wonderful guy, dumping him for these superficial reasons is a grave mistake, but the topic of fashion can be a touchy one unless you approach it in the right way. Here are a few tips for convincing your man to change and improve his style ASAP.
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Ask Questions
It may be easier to tell him what to do, but to preserve his feelings, it’s best to start off by asking him a few key questions. Ask him how his style developed as he grew up from his childhood to teenage years to adult years. Ask him if he’s ever noticed any celebrities who have clothing that he admires. If you take him to a store, ask him which types of clothing he gravitates toward. He may start suspecting what you’re getting at, but if you kindly keep encouraging and asking, it probably won’t bother him too much.
Show Him What’s Out There
Chances are that he’s stuck in a fashion rut and simply has no idea what types of clothing are available to him. Look online at sites that capture a unique style like the stylish Coke Boys brand, and just get his feedback. Walk through stores at the mall to explore what’s available. Ask him to compare one garment to the other to determine what he likes best. Start off by saying, “I think you would look really good in this,” or “This makes you look taller!” 
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Buy Him Something
Face it, most men don’t get excited to try new styles.  Many men would keep wearing the same outfit until they die unless a woman intervenes.  If you want them to get used to a new style, you might have to suggest what you want them to wear.  Start small, and if they like what you’ve bought, go for a full outfit.  Try interesting accessories that will help ease the transition.  Belts, hats, ties, socks, shoes…. are all good starting points.  Sometimes a man just needs some help identifying his personal style and once he has it down, you mind find him looking forward to shopping and improving his style all the time!
About the author: Sarah is a writer who enjoys fashion and improving a man’s style. With a little bit of guidance, a man can find his personal style and run with it.