Saturday, October 25, 2014

Target savings: apparel

Fall is about a month and a half old, and you have not prepared for the winter months. You need to find winter apparel for the kids, a couple of sweaters for hubby, and you want a new coat. Now is the time to get all these items, before the holiday rush, especially since Black Friday is around the corner. Jump ahead to the front of the line, get all of your holiday shopping done before Black Friday, and the holiday rush.
Below, are specials for both apparel for the whole family, as well as specials on shoes. Unless specified, you can use them for both online and in the store. Have fun finding those deals.Good from October 26-November 1.
(Warning: there are affiliate links listed below.)




Apparel


Target savings: Beauty

(c) Target.com
This week, save 65% on selected beauty, baby, toys, electronics, and more from Target. You never know what type of savings will happen from October 26 through November 1. In addition to the 65% savings on select items, check out Taylor Swift’s 1989, featuring 3 additional songs and 3 songwriting voice memos. This album is a Target exclusive, and you can only get it at this store. Click on the links below:
(Warning: this post contains affiliate links below.)




Target savings: Home savings

Now is the time to get ready for the holiday season. During this time of the year, there are social gatherings, such as home and office parties, thanksgiving, family and friends gathering around the table, and travels far and wide.  No matter what the event is, you want a spectacular home to greet everyone, and you do not want to spend a lot of money doing it.  The event should be about celebrating the people you care about the most.
So this time, we are looking at specials from Target. Most of the specials for the home run from October 26 through November 1. They are as follows: (caution: affiliate links ahead)





Monday, September 29, 2014

Hug a Coffee Bean Day (National Coffee Day)

Happy Coffee day, I wonder what I got under the coffee tree.  Should I go sing coffee carols to all my neighbors?  They would probably think I need to quick trip to the local psych ward.   My parents would probably shake their heads in disbelief when they hear the coffee edition to “Oh Christmas Tree” (Oh Coffee Bean has a nice ring to it).
So to be serious about this subject for today, my question is “How do YOU take your coffee?   My answer is one of three ways:  Warning there may be affiliate links ahead
1)      When I am at home, I have a Keurig coffeemaker.  If you do not have one, you are missing a treat.  I have all my coffee stuff ready and raring to go.   I have my favorite Longaberger mug, called a Jumbo Mug (you would think that as a Longaberger Home Consultant, I would remember the actual name of this retired product).  I fill up my Keurig coffee maker, which is a downsized version of the one I use to have for a 10 oz. cup size.  I use a vanilla Starbucks K-cup(my current choice of the day).  While I am waiting on my coffee, I am making my Black and white mixture (wait for it) and put in my mug:  Sweet cream or Mudslide creamer, My Your Inspiration at Home chocolate powder (any chocolate powder or syrup will do), no sugar, because the chocolate powder and creamer is sweet enough.  The coffee is finished and in my Longaberger short pitcher (also retired) so I can pour it into my cup.  Give it a little stir, and voila, it is finished.   Sometimes when I am feeling like it, I will replace the creamer with Almond or Soy milk with Vanilla (sweetened).
2)      When I am out and I have some extra money, I will go to Starbucks, and get a White Chocolate Latte with soy.  I have a Starbucks card that I will sometimes refill just in case.  I fell out of love with McDonald’s a year ago (although I am tempted to go once the new Monopoly game starts sometime this week)
3)      Finally the old fashioned kind-black, with cream, 3-4 packs of sugar.   This is how I got started drinking coffee.  It was more fun, when there was a co-worker, who did not know how to brew that perfect cup of coffee made a pot.  It tastes burnt when it sits on the burner too long. No one has killed me yet with their version of the perfect pot of coffee.
So if you have not had you morning cup of Joe yet (I did), you should celebrate the day now.  If you have not, it is not mandatory if you cannot stand the taste of coffee, or if you had your 15th cup of the stuff.

Other Coffee Deals.....


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Tuesday Tip of the day: Inventory

(c) JanneyInsurance.com
Take a picture, it will last longer, just do not lose it.   What do I mean by that?  Simple.  Do an annual inventory by taking pictures of your stuff.  It is fast, and you do not need a fancy camera to take pictures with.   Just your phone and your computer, but first, make sure that your phone does not load these special photos to Google (my phone automatically does that), or you may have someone doing a little shopping in your home without your permission.
Go room by room, and start clicking away.  Open up the closets, your drawers (yes, your unmentionables), nooks, crannies, every inch of your home.  Download the pictures to a special disk and place in your safety deposit box.  You may also purchase a special cloud for them too (choose one with a 2-entry security entrance (Your password and a special recognition question)).  Once done, you need to update once a year.  
The reason you take these precautions, is so if you lose all your stuff due to disaster of any type.  It may not bring back your stuff, but at least the insurance company can pay your properly. 
While you are at it:   Take a picture of your loved ones, especially children and the elderly.   Update those every 6 months.  Children are taken by strangers or angry relatives, and older people (especially those with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease) tend to run off confused of their surroundings.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

I Hate Trials, BUT….

(c) By Leon Mcgann
It’s true, I really do not like trials.  I am not talking about legal trials.  Those are necessary.  Legal trials help the legal system to prove, without a shadow of doubt that someone have or have not done something, which got them in front of a judge and jury in the first place.  It makes a person think about why they got there in first place.
The kind of trials I am talking about are the “try it before you buy it” kind.  You will see what I mean in a moment, first some facts.
In America (and possibly western civilization) we are a money hungry society.  If we can get a nymph to pay for crossing the street, we would.   There used to be a time, where certain things, including some what we now call luxuries, were considered free. 
In marketing, a trial is one of the best ways a company can get a product out, have the potential customer use it in a way they need to for a short time, before buying it.  If they cannot, that customer must surrender the product, or cancel a subscription and delete the product from their device.
For the customer, it gives them a chance to see if they like it, and once they do, pay for an item.
I feel like I am on both ends of the coin.   As a business person, I can send out a bunch of cards to people, have them send the card to their family or friends, and on the marketing materials, I can say something like, “If you find this card to useful in anyway, and you would like a subscription to my service, please pay $______ for a monthly subscription, or $______ for a yearly subscription.  Thank you.” Same thing for my writing, or even buy a monthly subscription for me to send product out to a customer from the company I sell for, TheLongaberger Company. The possibilities are endless for anyone who is in business for themselves or part of a company.   This is how software companies get people to buy their products.   By having trials, and in turn if the person loves the software and they do not mind the price, they will buy it at the end of the term.
As a consumer, I can try the product, put it through what I like to call, “Patricia paces”, meaning how I use the product, and buy it, or cancel.   The downside to it, which I do not like, is I can forget that I have it in the first place, especially with software trials and subscriptions.  It becomes a sticker shock for me, when if I find out that I do not have the money to give them in the first place (the beginning of the trial), and I do not have money to give at the end of the trial.  This is what I want to education you on today.
Here are some pointers on how to work trials to your advantage, and don’t have that “deer in headlights” look on your face when your trial ends:
·         BEFORE you sign on the dotting line (subscribe), read the fine print (RTFP), AKA that tiny print that everyone claims they cannot see.  The fine print gives you everything you need to know about what do you actually get, how much it actually costs, and what happens if you do not follow the rules and regs (regulations) during the trial period.
·         Check your finances:  Did you know that if you sign up with a credit or debit card, that the company has the right to start your regular subscription without you knowing it?  Next thing you know, there will be a charge on your bank or credit card statement that you do not remember agreeing to.  If you don’t think you will have any money by the time a trial ends, DO NOT SIGNUP!!!! The trial will always be there.
·         Be wary of surveys…. They can have some hidden agendas too (another reason to read the fine print), again, if not, there may be some hidden charges afoot.
·         Use a calendar to keep track of the trial.  Note the date that you signed up and the end date.
·         As you come close to that date, re-evaluate your trial.  Ask yourself these questions:  How much did I use it?  Did I get any benefit out of using it?  What were the cons of having it?   What was my life like before I had it?  What will I gain for not having it should I stop using it all together?
I would never tell a person not to do something that you believe in.  I do trials all the time.   I just want to let you know about the benefits and cons of trials.  In fact, some trials are useful, like if your doctor wants you to try a new medicine.  They may give you a trial med from their office to see how it affects your body and other meds you are taking, but do not let them experiment too much.  If they are, find a new doctor, especially if that doctor are not listening to you.   That is a whole new subject for a different day.

Let me know what you think about trials, how they have helped you, or even if you hate them too.   Comment below.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Not just for Colored Girls….How I maintain my hair

(c) P.Lynne Designs
I am trying a new type of post. Well new to me.  I will tell you right now, I am going through a journey, with my hair.  The reason, and I am not sure if my Caucasian sisters out there are going through the same, but when you are a colored sister, not just African Americans, you take issue with your hair.  (Oops, run-on, sorry).
Let me explain…
When I was a little girl, I had this long, thick, kinky hair.  If you were to straighten it (a process of taking heat to hair and making it manageable to style), it would have probably be half way down to my butt.  My mom, on Saturday nights, would fix my hair that way, and I loved it. So my mom help me with my hair, until I was a teen.  When I was a teen, I experimented a lot, and I had eczema, which made my go from that length to just above my shoulders.  So thus started the damaging process of my hair. 
Me in first grade
Fast forward to my twenties….I had Jeri Curls.   Some of you know what I am talking about.  It takes some doing with Jeri curls. You spray for days, and then sleep on it.   I have messed up more pillow cases that way, and then came Wave Nuevo.  I do not even want to talk about it.   It was just that painful.   Finally came what Chris Rock calls, “The Creamy Crack”.  Yep, I started relaxing my hair.  Well relax I did, and relaxed, and relaxed some more.   The last relaxer I had, which was 2010, took out some of my hair.  So I decided to go natural, but I instead decided to braid and twist my hair.  I have not relaxed it at all since 2011.
So, now it has been almost three years, and I am loving the twists, but I need to rest it a little.   The wonderful thing about African braiders are they can have 3-4 people work on you at the same time, but the worst thing about them is, THEY DO NOT WASH YOUR HAIR IF THEY CAN HELP IT.  At least if you go to an African American beautician (which is NOT the same), they will wash your hair before taking the twists out and re-twisting it.  African American beauticians will also tell you if they think it is time to give it a rest, but African braiders do not. (I guess they want that money more than anything, I don’t know)
On to washing….(warning-affiliate link ahead)
I will tell you right now, I am lazy.   It has been a month since I washed (please say eww, because I am), mainly because I hate the shampoo that I got for braids and twists only.  Look, I am going to break it down to you, and I am telling myself this too, you need to wash your hair, period.  The scalp is skin, and skin needs hydration to thrive.  So last week, I broke open the piggy bank, and bought a product line called Carol’sDaughter Black Vanilla.  I have the shampoo, conditioner, smoothie (more on that in a moment), and leave-in conditioner, and used it for the first time last night.  I can tell the difference already.   I am not an expert, but to me, leave the stuff formulated for braids and twists in the store (except the sheen).  Use your regular shampoo and that’s it. 
Have a regular shower routine.  FYI-I know it is harder on mothers to do this, but if you can have your spouse or partner take the baby for a while, or do it late at night when baby/child is sleeping, you will thank yourself in the morning.  Light a candle or two, and get in.
Image from Carol's Daughter
Caution:  Codes ahead.   I took the CDS, and worked up a good lather.  This stuff smells amazing.  Make sure you get all the way to the ends, even if they are extensions.  Treat your extension as part of your hair.  Rinse well, getting all of the shampoo out.  Repeat, if needed.  Next, take the conditioner, and do the same, BUT, let it sit for 3-5 mins.  You want this stuff to condition your scalp, and to condition the hair.  Rinse, again getting the conditioner out. Take the smoothie, and go from root to tip, making sure you detangle along the way.  Do not pull hard.  According to YouTubber Naptural85 AKA Whitney , you can detangle with your fingers, instead of using a comb. It sure help me.  After that, rinse the smoothie out.
Once you towel dried your hair (I washed my body after the routine, a plus), take the hair oil (which, I did not have, but will get) and from root to tip, according to Whitney, not the bottle instructions, put it on, but do not rinse.   Last, spray in your leave-in conditioner.  Do not rinse it out either.   One tip from Whitney, and I suggest it too, especially after failing to do it until I was applying the smoothie, if you have long hair  or like mine, twisted, divide into sections, so it can be an easy process.    
Smoothie
Let hair air-dry in sections (I did, three big twists for me to sleep in).  The next day, take out the big twists, and style.  Oh, one thing I forget to mention as well.  After spraying in the leave in conditioner, you can do your roller sets, your twist-outs, or any style you want to start out with in the morning, and then style it when you get ready for the day.  I basically use the braid/twist sheen for mine. 
Do it for weekly routine.  If your wash too much, you can stripe your hair of the natural oils it produces, and that it not good either.  If you need to shorten your routine, just shampoo, conditioner, and leave in conditioner will do.

If you would like to see me do more of these types of posts, let me know in the comments section.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Follow-up to It’s the most wonderful time of the year….One more tip from About.com

(c) Zavala
I love when a plan comes together, and I know when I have done something right. Two weeks ago, I wrote about 10 ways to get ready for back to school. I appreciate all the wonderful comments and re-tweets from all of you, words cannot say enough.  Now, this is, at least I hope, a short follow-up to the post. 
I am a regular subscriber to About.com.  In case you are not familiar with About.com, it is a how-to reference guide to everything from crafts to getting into wine-making, to specific diseases* to how to start your first novel.  I live this guide.  Since I am bombarded with so many emails (as well as switching email accounts last October), I only get the one daily guide.  One of today’s topics was how to get school supplies for free, and I was intrigued by it.  You can read the entire article HERE, but for now, I will mention the highlights.
-          First of all, I do agree with the article about how much of an annual burden to get school supplies.  I want to know whatever happened to getting just your basic pen, pencils, notebook (spiral and 3-ring), markers (if you are older), ruler, eraser, and paper bag (brown).  Does it really matter if the lunch bag have to be a character or have cool colors?  According to Target and other stores, yes.  According to your kids, yes, but according to you and the teachers, no.  A pencil is a pencil and a ruler is a ruler, so, if you are short on finance, there are ways to get the basis without breaking the bank.
-          Look for deals.  They are all over the place.  Depending on what is needed, I start with free.  Free is always best, and according to the article, the best place to start is with your child’s school.  Often times, the school will purchase extra supplies for the students.  If no luck, ask the district.  They may have a program where people can donate school supplies.  Some programs have a list where you can sign up for, while others are on a first come, first serve.  If all else fails, look for help with school supplies though communities, church groups, and if you are a military family, there is also help there.
Most important, I give you this little tip:  If you cannot afford, get help.  There should be no reason for your child to do without.  It may not be the latest and greatest pencil on the market and the lunch bag maybe two years old, but your child has one.  Please do not get what you cannot afford.  This is why programs are created for, to help, not hurt.  It is the ignorance of people, who do not understand the full nature of your situation, and that is the real problem.  Do not let it fold you, and make you a bitter person.  You are better than that and this is temporary.


*Disclaimer-please, please, please, do not self-diagnose. Consult your doctor before reading any medical guides on the internet, which are meant for information ONLY. Your results may not be typical from what is the norm FOR THAT DISEASE, and you may not have what the guide suggest.  Your doctor or nurse practitioner is your best advocate.

Friday, July 25, 2014

The best things in life can be free….But you have to work for it.

(c) ismag.com
I am on a mission….a quest.  The question I wanted answered was, what can I get for free?  Don’t ask why I wanted to know that.  I always wanted to know that ever since I was a little girl.
Take the statement, “Nothing in life is free”.   WELLLLL, I wondered about that for a moment, and the first answer I can come up with is “air”.  Air is free.  We need it to live.  This world is fully oxygenated with the fuel that allows our lungs to receive, and the cells to thrive throughout our bodies.  Without it, we would die.  Can you image if God decided one day to just cut this glorious elixir off from us?  Can you say “good ridings”, with no one to deliver your eulogy?
OK, enough is enough of doom and gloom, which is a subject for me to ponder in my blog, My Ambiance Life.
Caution:  Live links ahead:  Potential affiliate Links
I am talking about products we use, the services we want, entertainment.  Take Disney for instance.  I am talking about the $1,000+ vacation, not the movies.  Even though I am a huge Disney Fan (clipping on the heels of an “addict”), even I realize that for me to go to Disney, I must save to get there, unless I find out that I am that very distance relative of his, and seeing that I am African American, and he was Caucasian American, the chances are slim to none, LOL.  So, I have to do like everyone else and pay, but there are things to do that will make life just a little bit easier on the wallet, and you do not have to wash the resort dishes to do it.  I talk about it in several articles on my blog, Traveling to the Mouse’s House.
Last night, I saw several articles on the All You Magazine website under “coupons and deals”.  I tested several articles, such as “Freebie Guide: On Your Birthday”, “Freebie Guide: Groceries” (someone pinned this, which started me on this quest), and “Freebie Guide: Eat Free at these Restaurants”. I signed up for several, which took about a couple of hours (OK, 4, but I was floating in and out of several applications on my computer).  Many of these offers, I had previously signed up for on a previous email address that I no longer owned (excuse me, no longer friends with the provider-Time Warner Cable), so to make things easier, in case the provider, AT&T and I are no longer friends as well, I placed the accounts under my Gmail account.  (Tip: get one, it’s free).  I suggest that you sign-up with only the ones in your area or that you frequently go (like grandma’s).  If sign-up for offers that you go once a year to, You could find your mailbox full, and you provider might not like you (which at this point I am taking a risk), but I have a solution to that (putting it on vacation mode then use a mail server like Outlook to still collect your mail).
Some of the offers require that you activate the account once you receive an email.  All of the accounts send you a welcome letter indicting that all is well with the world, and that you are now a member of their club.  If you mentioned your birthday while filling out the application, you may get on a treat on your birthday.  For example, my birthday was Monday, July 21, and so far this week, I enjoyed a free meal from BD Mongolian Barbeque, received offers of free dessert, free bagel and cream cheese, free coffee, and a host of other offers in the past, such as a free burger. 

Reward cards do the same thing, and I must add this disclaimer:  If you have a special diet (vegan, gluten-free, all natural, etc…), these offers are for you too.  Just sign-up and you may have to ask the wait staff if the offer covers your special diet.  For anything free, you have to know where to look, research and ask.  You do not have to be 55 and older to find a good deal.  I realize that most of the offers in this post are for eating places, but what if you do not eat out.  There are deals for you too, again, just research.   Ask where you regularly shop, receive service, and live to see if any deals are available.  It does hurt to ask.  To remix Forrest Gump’s famous line, “coupons and deals are like a bunch of chocolates, you never know what ones you are going to get”.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Most wonderful time of the year… 10 ways to get ready for Back to School.


Picture this:  There is a song in an often repeated Staples’ commercial.  You would know it when you see it.  The scene is that of a young boy and girl, and they are walking as slow as can be.  They are sad, not good for a commercial.   Wait, it gets better.
Meanwhile, in the other aisle, you will find dad just dance away, ride on the back of carts, clicking his heels, and singing praises to that song, which is sung by Bing Crosby called, “The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year.”  I see Americans nodding their heads already.  All of a sudden, you hear the announcer chime in…”They’re going back…. It’s back to school time at Staples”!!!!  “Over 6000 supplies at the guaranteed prices”, and he explains on and on.

My point is not about the commercial itself, which by the way has been playing since 1996. (Yikes Staples, get a new commercial) Last month, they just got out of school, and Sunday I saw my first ads for back to school sales.   Staples, OfficeMax, even Walgreens and thrift stores, they all have them, and it is not too early to get started.
So do you want to know how not to be so overwhelmed this time of the year?   There are 10 ways to achieve a successful preparation to the start of the new school year (5 for parents, 5 for students), and you will be able to still enjoy your vacation:
For Parents
-          On the last day of school, start taking inventory of the basic school supplies your child has used throughout the year, which they can start with in August (September in some school systems).  This even works if your child starts Kindergarten (yes, crayons are school supplies).  Check the condition of the used product.  In the case of 3-ring notebooks, if child has a complaint, tell them to decorate it so it will look like a brand, new notebook.
-          Start saving.  Put aside a little bit of money each week for supplies and other school fees, which you think your child may need.  Instruct your child to do the same.  Either place in a jar or open up a bank account with just those funds, which can be converted into something else down the road, like a special treat for the child.
-          It does not matter if you get the Sunday paper, or subscribe to an online newsletter, start checking deals, NOW, this is not a drill.  Do not buy all at once.  In fact, do not buy for now.  You are JUST CHECKING.  If they are smart, these stores will run these same ads again closer to the time your child goes back to school, and here is why you do not want to buy now.   Many schools have a list of supplies needed for your child to have a successful start to the school year.  I know many of these schools will send these lists to the local store to place on display, but not all will do it.  Sometimes, they will send that list home with your child, which is a good time to again, check the bags on the last day and get ALL the important papers out, put them in a school folder so they won’t get lost.
-          You are in vacation mode, but that does not mean you cannot teach your child something.  If you go to Disney, Epcot has plenty of spots for a child to learn without it pushing it on them.  Visit World Showcase at Epcot for a little geography, ride the Living on the Land ride at Epcot to learn the future of growing plants, ride Mission Space (height requirements) to learn about space.  Test Track teaches you how they test cars before they are shipped to the dealerships.  Move over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for a mini course on how to draw the Disney way.  If you travel to Europe, there are many ways you can do the same.  Travel this country, and there are tons of places to stop at between your home and Grandma’s (unless she lives around the corner).
-          Have fun, enjoy your children, and do not sweat the small stuff.  It does not matter if your child goes to public, private school, or is home-schooled.  School will be there, but it helps to prepare while having fun.
For Students
·         You have amazing parents who care for you, and want the best for you.  Do not be surprised if they want to hunt for school supplies early.
·          Summer vacation does not mean you have to stop learning.  Get into a reading program at the library, volunteer if you are old enough, or go to summer camp, which can be more fun than learning.  Do anything to help you stimulate your mind and body, but make it fun.
·         You can reuse your school supplies from the previous year, by revamping your notebooks and other supplies.  You do not always have to buy new.  In fact, I encourage it.  Going to a thrift store also helps cut costs.  You can decorate to suit your personality, but one word of caution: make it so that your parents and new teachers would be proud of you.  Who knows, you may spark a new career or hobby, which sometimes can bring in a little cash or a life-long dream.
·         Teens, I mentioned volunteering earlier.  When you volunteer, you are not only helping others, but you are helping yourself as well, by learning how this world works.  You do not have to go to Honduras to build houses to volunteer, although that is a noble cause if that is what you want to do.  If you see litter, pick it up. If someone needs help with their groceries, do it.  Help in the food pantry and brighten someone’s day.  You do not have stop when school starts back either.  This is a year-round project if you let it.  In fact, some private schools insist that you volunteer.  The best news is some scholarships to the best colleges will consider you over another person if you mention volunteering on the application.  Even employers are taking notice.  Do anything that will help you to get further in life instead of always hanging out with your friends.  Who knows, you may help your friends as well.  

·         Have fun with your parents.  They are the only ones you have, no matter how they are.  They love and care about you, and although they may embarrass you sometimes, they are good people.  I appreciate mine more now than when I was your age.  Yes, my parents got on my nerves when I was a teen, but picture this:  one day, when you are thirty, have a tons of bills, and only have one steak in the fridge, you will indeed appreciate those meals of mom’s, the advice from daddy, and all of those back to school deals.   Life was simply back then.

So, do not go hog wild over this week’s back to school deals.  They will be back.   But in the meantime, watch this oldie but goodie video from 1996….