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GIFTS UNDER $40 THAT GIVE BACK!

TIS THE SEASON FOR GIVING AND IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR a truly ‘feel good’ gift here are four that will keep on giving locally and globally beyond the holidays thanks to some terrific companies I’m partnering.  Best yet they are all under $40-so it’s a win win for all!

GIVE LOCALLY WITH THE GREAT AMERICAN MILK DRIVE! 

milkDriveBanner_CS

You probably don’t know this nor did I but milk is one of the most requested but rarely donated items that food banks ask for each year. AND, this year you can give the gift of a gallon by donating to  The Great American Milk Drive in partnership with Feeding America, dairy farmers and milk companies.  It’s the first nationwide program to help deliver nutrient-rich gallons of milk to hungry families including 16 million children whom are food insecure in the US.  Just go to MilkLife.com/give and enter your zip code to insure milk is delivered to a local food ban near you and they’ll match your donation through the end of the month.  It’s a terrific way to also get kids involved too– just have them go on line with you The Great American Milk Drive to donate the glass of milk they would leave for Santa…Gotta love that!

 

PAY IT FORWARD WITH A HEALTHY ‘N SWEET ACT OF KIND…NESS!

KIND Cube

Next, this idea gives real meaning to acts of kindness and paying it forward to those around you. It’s the limited edition KIND Holiday Cube—It’s filled with 20 of KIND’s nuts and spices chocolate flavor bars plus it’s a healthy alternative to all our holiday indulgences since each only contains 5 grams of sugar or less. Better yet inside the cube, you’ll find a #KINDAWESOME card which you simply hand to a person you see doing a kind act like and that person can redeem the card for three FREE KIND bars, The cube is less then $40…so pay it forward and go on line to be Kind @ Kindsnacks.com !

 

IMAGINE THERE’S NO HUNGER: JOIN YOKO ONO LENNON ‘N HARD ROCK INTERNATIONAL TO HELP MAKE JOHN LENNON’S DREAM COME TRUE!

Imagine 2014 Earbuds

Here’s a a mind blowing stat: more than 16,000 children across the globe die each day from hunger-related causes….But for 7 years now Yoko Ono Lennon and Hard Rock International have teamed up for The Imagine There’s No Hunger Campaign. To date, IMAGINE has helped communities grow enough food to provide more than 9.7 million nutritious meals to children globally through donations and merchandise. This year, you can purchase Hard Rock’s Imagine earbuds which are only $10 and 50% of net revenue goes directly to charity partner WhyHunger.  Makes a great stocking stuffer too! Imagine that!  

 

SAVE A PET WITH THE PAW-FECT GIFT FROM PETSMART!

Pet Smart Logo

Lastly, here’s another staggering stat which is a paw-fect gift for the pet-lover: each year Over 8 million pets that end up in shelters are euthanized because they can’t find a home –That’s about 11000 pets a day. Yikes! And, it’s one of the reasons I saved my doggie Bagels a 4 year old Beagle last year.

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But for those who aren’t rescued and for as little as a $25 donation to Petsmart charities you can help save one pet’s life while they wait for a home by covering things like shelter space, food and vet services.   Plus 90 cents of every dollar goes to help these pets. Woof that! And, For the 11th year in a row, PetSmart Charities earned Charity Navigator’s top 4-star rating and remains in the top one percent of all charities ranked. Woof that! So please visit petsmartcharities.org to make a donation online.

Happy almost holidays!!!

CARLY RAE JEPSON PLEASE HAVE MY SON CALL ME MAYBE:)

Well, here I am almost 24 hours into my first official day as an empty nester and in addition to  Carly Rae Jepson’s hit single “Call Me Maybe” ringing through my head ad nauseum since   it was the official ‘move in the dorm’ song yesterday, I  found myself dealing with my new EN status by organizing my jewelry.  Twas that or imbibe mimosas to quell my pangs of this healthy moving forward period and the plethora (love that word just rolls off the tongue so nicely) of tears.  Cause yesterday we drove Luke to college to begin his freshman year.

We began our day packing (i.e. stuffing our car!)

How did we get all that in there!

  

Good thing i didn’t eat breakfast!!

 Then when we got there we went directly to the amazing golf facility to see his coach and look at his locker, golf bag, shoes etc. (and yes I’m a proud moma as he was recruited to play Div. One golf for his new home away from home)

 

all in the bag!

If the golf shoe fits . . . 🙂

Next we went to his dorm and met his roommate Nick who’s from the Chicago area and is a delightful and adorable young man whom personality wise may have been separated at birth 🙂

The Roomies!

Unpacked….Cleaned…Organized….Made his bed…(note “call your mother pillow!)

Thank god for those Sterilite rollin storage bins from Walmart!

Set up the rest of his room with Luke’s dad and Nick’s folks, Diane and Grant…

Dianne was brilliant wirin thru the ceilin…luke used his putter to help!

Made sure his ATM card worked, and once set with cash and his new life, we were given a not so subtle hint that it was time for us to as he tossed the pillow i gave him into the trash….and smiled that smile that always melts mom’s heart…

Trashin’ mom 😦

So the hugs, kisses, tears, I love yous followed by more hugs, kisses, tears  and I love yous and then our prodigal son said, ” Ok , mom you can go now, I love you but you’re starting to annoy me’….Ouch!!! Do you think our children say those kind of things to make our leaving easier…I wonder….NOT!

So off his father and I went quietly and tearfully into the sunset (actually it was pouring) to lament, have a few cocktails, and believe that all of us will be fine and individually live happily ever after.  THE END or rather THE BEGINNING!  

Which brings me back briefly to why i decided to organize my jewelry,  Actually  it’ was a great way to balance doing something tedious ‘n  simple with my inconsistent attempts of  bringing some Feng Shui into my day to day life.   But I’ll share how i did that in my next post…Meanwhile, time for a poor me, crying break.  And, Luke if you’re reading this, PLEEZE CALL ME MAYBE love u!!! xoxo

Spread the glove!

SOME FORGET ME NOT SPRING CLEANING MULTI-TASKERS

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Though it hasn’t been feeling very spring-like in the North, today is the first day of spring…YEAH! And, as part of my ongoing crusade to make housework less work so we have more free time, I’ve put together a few of my favorite spring cleaning store-bought multi-tasking products.  And,  I’ve partnered with  some companies to share their new twists on these staples which will help save us time, money and our manicure this spring cleaning season or any other day of the year!

 

ALLERGEN FIGHTER ‘n  AIR FRESHENER:  Spring cleaning usually means we focus on cleaning  windows, curtains and our bedding.  But we often overlook the areas that harbor dust and dust mites like on our bookshelves, plants and lampshades.  Introducing the latest and greatest my savior:

Swiffer 180 Duster with Gain:  It has fluffy fibers to help trap ‘n lock the dust instead of the old-fashioned feather duster which I feel just move dust from one place to another.  It can get in tight places like underneath furniture, nooks in your coffee table and corners of picture frames!  PLUS this new Swiffer freshens the room by leaving behind the joyful scent of Gain for all we Gainiacs!!!

 

GOOD TO THE LAST DROP:  For years, I’ve been soooo frustrated by the fact that I know there’s more spray left in my cleaning products but no matter what I do to access the remaining liquid I either spill it on a surface-wasting it or I just chuck it.  Well no more!  Thanks to the brilliant peeps at Clorox they’ve come to my (our rescue!) with SMART TUBE (R) TECHNOLOGY! It’s a built in tube that reaches all the way to the bottom of spray bottles, allowing you to spray every drop. It’s available on bottles of Clorox® Clean Up®, Tilex® and Formula 409® Cleaners.  Hmmm now if a wine maker could invent similar technology for that lil bit of wine left at the bottom of the bottle that would really be grape to the last drop!

 

NEVER HALF BAKED: NUMERO UNO MULTI-TASKER: If I was left alone on a deserted island the one thing I’d want with me is baking soda…It’s so useful for so many things around the house from cleaning, to fixing drains to stain removal to odor absorption and all else betwixt n between. And now Arm & Hammer has answered my dreams with a laundry product that has an incredibly strong cleaning power aptly enough named Arm & Hammer Ultra Power 4X liquid laundry. It’s super concentrated so you need less to get more. It costs about 50% less than the leading detergent per load, so you have more money to get that manicure! And with the small bottle, it’s easier to carry around and pour!

 

LIGHTENING THE LOAD:  I love anything that saves me time as you know particularly when it’s a chore I abhor and do far too much of like laundry.  But alas having a teenage son this is my fate, which is why I love, love this LG Washer.   It will save your health, time and energy!  It has steam technology, with cleaning options like an allergen reduction cycle that will get rid of 95% of common household allergies. Great timing with those spring allergies in the air! The Turbowash technology will save up to 20 minutes per load, and you can fit an entire set of king size bedding, including the comforter, in a single load. And this model has earned ENERGY STAR “most Efficient” designation, meaning that this washer falls in the top 5% in its class! That’s lightening the load on all fronts!

 

A MANI-CURE’S TWO BEST FRIENDS: 

 1. HABIT BREAKER-MANICURE SAVER: Old habits are hard to break but this one my friends you should run don’t walk to do!!  Usually I pre-wash my dishes and during spring cleaning I wash those party plates, platters and glassware that lay in my cabinets collecting dust.  Forget that! New Cascade Platinum that is a manicure’s best friend since it requires NO PRE-WASHING.  Simply scrape off large food pieces and place those babies right into the dishwasher.  You can even leave them there for 24 hours and they’ll come out sparkling clean…my martini glass never shined so!  And, it’s another multi-tasker since it will help prevent filming on the walls of your dishwasher machine.

 

2. HABIT BREAKER-MANICURE SAVER: Betwixt the New Cascade ‘n this LG TrueStream technology dishwasher is so powerful that you practically eliminate pre-washing for all your dishwasher safe dishes, glassware, pots and pans will be a rarity in your life — OMG!!!  There is also a sanitary rinse option that rinses your dishes with 160 degree water, for an optimal clean. It is also Energy Star qualified and saves nearly 5,000 gallons of water a year vs. hand-washing. With the EasyRack Plus adjustable rack system, it minimizes the frustration of fitting everything that you eat, drink, serve or cook on in there. And BTW if you really want to multi-task tightly wrap a salmon filet with a lil bit of butter, white wine, and mustard in piece of aluminum; run it full cycle with a dishwashing load and viola you’ve also got some Clean Cuisine!  Bubbly optional…as in champagne J

And, BTW here are a few tips on the best way to load your dishwasher to insure the best results!

      • Place forks and spoons facing up and knives down – this ensures that you get the most detergent interaction, but keeps things safe!
      • Glasses mugs, plastics and bowls go on the top rack at an angle to allow water to properly drain off.
      • Plates, bowls, cookware go on the bottom rack and must be spaced out to allow the water and detergent to clean everything.
      • Before starting your machine, run the sink in your kitchen until the water is hot.  This helps ensure the water that enters your

machine is at the optimal temperature.

 

TRIED ‘N TRUE ‘N SOMETHING BOU-QUET:  Though I wish I could put everything in my dishwasher certain items are a no no like my fine crystal.  That’s why I always use the classic uber grease-fighting Dawn Ultra which has 2x the grease-fighting ingredient vs the leading non-concentrated dish soap which means your suds last longer and you save money cause you use less. WIN WIN!  I also use it to wash my microwave plate which sports those coffee overheats and spills!  And, with spring in the air, it’s a no brainer for cleaning my vases and then filling them with a beautiful bouquet of flowers…Aahhh tra la tra la…spring is in the air!

HI HO HI HO TO HABITAT FOR HUMANITY GLOVES ‘N I GO!

They say one pix is worth a thousand words. Well I have many pix to share with you which will speak volumes for four words in particular:  Community, Empowerment,  Women and Humanity.  And, together these words speak volumes on how Women coming together form an amazing and Empowering Community that truly (and literally) makes a difference building better lives for all Humanity…What can I say :“WE WOMEN ROCK”.

Ok, so why am I so personally jazzed?  See last weekend I had the honor of spending two amazing days hosting events in NYC and NJ/Paterson for Habitat for Humanity and Lowe’s Fifth Annual National Women Build Week.  It’s an initiative they’ve partnered on that takes place the week leading up to Mother’s Day.  The 411 is it challenges women to pick up a hammer and join fellow women at construction sites across the country to help build affordable homes alongside  the local family for whom the home is being built.  So here are some of my 1000 plus word pix-

PLEASE NOTE; Doug my trusty photographer aka Beau the Builder took many more pix which will be posted later in the week so if some of you terrif peeps who participated aren’t seen here you will be and deserve to be!

 Day One:  I was in Paterson ‘spreading the glove’ with hardhat, hammer and fellow jersey gals:

Just like a Chorus line!Go ladies…wall’s up!

Giving New Meaning to Hitting Nail on the Head!

Givin’ new meaning to hitting the nail on the head!

Joinin’ hammers w/BUILD GENERATION-gals 18-24! Love her red locks!

Day Two:  I was in NYC at the New York city Housing Authority’s (NYCHA) Taft Houses Youth Chorus Center celebrating a ‘brush with kindness’ with paintbrush, shovel,  Lowe’s Heroes, local volunteers, 

And my new best BFF WNBA”S five time Olympian/gold medalist, Teresa Edwards… whom I challenged to a 1 on 1 match and beat gloves down…NOT!

My new BFF, wonder woman Teresa Edwards

OOPS! Accidental me 🙂

NYC fam partner Dimitrea Tokunbo, Hab-by volunteer, moi ‘n Teresa brushing it up!

Hi ho! Hi ho it’s off to dig i go!

She gave me one…backwards LOL!

That’s all for now…just want to say thank you thank you thank you to all my Habitat for Humanity Paterson, NYC and national buds for inviting me to host…gloves are packed and ready to go whenever you need me xo 

PS;  One mo’ thing that I’ll just tease here…at the NYC event I was blown away by the NYCHA Youth Chorus who gave an amazing and inspiring performance. 

Joyfull Noise from NYCHA Youth Choir that made us all smile:)

And, they ended it with my new fave song SMILE by Kirk Franklin…but that’s a blog for another day…But for today remember “you look so much better when you smile” 🙂 Spread the glove!

MARTHA STEWART, MARC ANTHONY ‘N I WANNA KNOW: DOES UNCLE SAM SPEAK PRADA?

I confess I have never done my taxes…not as in didn’t file them which will have the IRS  knocking on my door in about 30 seconds ‘n moi perhaps learning how to knit with my cell mate a la Martha Stewart‘. Nope, in years past I chose to have ‘professionals’  figure out how to give Uncle Sam his fair share of my hard earned income.

And, when you think about it many famous folks like Marc AnthonyWillie Nelson; The Osbornes; and Ja Rule  Slide10.aspx have tried to decide what they think is fair and have not faired well. But, as one of my all time fave performers James Taylor reminds us “You can run, but you can not hide” : 

And, though he was talking about love, the IRS -damn them-eventually finds us whether we’re in New Jersey, Beverly Hills or sippin Pina Coladas on a beach in the tax-free Caymans.

Anyway, this year I’m doing most of the work since like 99.9% of us, I’m trying to cut back on my expenses.  So no more lawyer like accounting firm with 15 partners letting the meter run even when they’re boasting about THEIR kids. Yup this year it’s mostly me.  As a result, I now understand why so many accountants are bald as I’m pulling my hair out and rubbing my head simulaneously trying to  figure out where the hell my money went and how to organize all this s…t 🙂  

It’s truly a humbling experience and made me feel a bit like Rebecca Bloomwood from the best selling book and fun albeit silly movie: Confessions of a Shopaholic which I coincidentally watched last weekend.  The movie starred Isla fisher.  For those who’ve neither read nor seen it, the title pretty much says it all…’cept for girl meets very rich handsome boy whom is her boss, they fall in love, girl lies to him then joins Shoppers Anonoymous, and boy recounts cause afterall love conquers all particularly in the movies…The End.

Anyway, trivial as the movie was it did make me realize how we can easily let things get out of control with our finances…And, in her case with her credit cards which launched her path to becoming a shopoholic at the ripe ole age of 7…

Fast forward 20 years she takes a job at a place where she is asked to help other people save money by writing a financial column.  Clearly in over her head, she decides to relate buying investments to buying shoes…quite an analogy but one that works and her column becomes a huge success…as i said this was a silly albeit fun movie/book.  So as I have been working on my taxes all well and about to loose it, I decided to take to writing this blog hoping it will help me sort through all this stuff.  And, in the spirit of Rebecca’s debut column, I am going forth and approaching doing and organizing my taxes as I would do my closet:  One line item and one pair of shoes, pants and shopping bags at a time labeled: ‘Drop 10’ (as in pounds and bills); Discard (cut the excess) and Donate (an always tax deduction)!    So there I confess and hope Uncle Sam speaks Prada too!  Spread the glove! 

STEAMIN’, PREENIN’ AND ALL THINGS SPRING CLEANIN’

Happy 152 Pony Express Birthday!  Who’d have thunk horses would some day by left in the postal dust n dirt for email and tweeting!  Speaking of dust and dirt here I am rehearsing for a TV tour tomorrow with some terrific companies I’m working with to help us get rid of dust and dirt like:

  • Stanley Steemer whom I’ve now got on speed dial since I’ve also discovered they not only deep clean and sanitize carpets but also hardwood floors, upholstery, tile and grout,
  • My buds at TIDE and their oh so cool new single unit dose Tide Pods which are idiot and mess proof and can be used in a HE or non HE washing machine
  • LG and their new LG TurboWash Washing Machine which will save us 20 minutes per load EVEN on large loads …and with us averaging nearly 400 loads a laundry per year think about all the free time we’ll gain…LOVE THAT!

And, Chase’s Freedom card is gonna help us earn 5% back on up to $1500 through June when I shop for my spring cleaning supplies or anything else I buy at the grocery store.

Oh, yeah I’m also gonna get a makeover…Mobile Makeover that is courtesy of Radio Shack…where you can trade in your old working phone for anywhere from $30-300 instantly for store credit…Think it’s time to pony up and express myself with a new iPhone 4S!  … Hope you’ll tune in!

Spread the glove!

MARC ANTHONY, WILLY NELSON ‘N I WANNA KNOW: DOES UNCLE SAM SPEAK PRADA?

I confess I have never done my taxes…not as in didn’t file them which will have the IRS  knocking on my door in about 30 seconds ‘n moi perhaps learning how to knit with my cell mate a la Martha Stewart‘. Nope, in years past I chose to have ‘professionals’  figure out how to give Uncle Sam his fair share of my hard earned income.

And, when you think about it many famous folks like Marc AnthonyWillie Nelson; The Osbornes; and Ja Rule  Slide10.aspx have tried to decide what they think is fair and have not faired well. But, as one of my all time fave performers James Taylor reminds us “You can run, but you can not hide” : 

And, though he was talking about love, the IRS -damn them-eventually finds us whether we’re in New Jersey, Beverly Hills or sippin Pina Coladas on a beach in the tax-free Caymans.

Anyway, this year I’m doing most of the work since like 99.9% of us, I’m trying to cut back on my expenses.  So no more lawyer like accounting firm with 15 partners letting the meter run even when they’re boasting about THEIR kids. Yup this year it’s mostly me.  As a result, I now understand why so many accountants are bald as I’m pulling my hair out and rubbing my head simulaneously trying to  figure out where the hell my money went and how to organize all this s…t 🙂  

It’s truly a humbling experience and made me feel a bit like Rebecca Bloomwood from the best selling book and fun albeit silly movie: Confessions of a Shopaholic which I coincidentally watched last weekend.  The movie starred Isla fisher.  For those who’ve neither read nor seen it, the title pretty much says it all…’cept for girl meets very rich handsome boy whom is her boss, they fall in love, girl lies to him then joins Shoppers Anonoymous, and boy recounts cause afterall love conquers all particularly in the movies…The End.

Anyway, trivial as the movie was it did make me realize how we can easily let things get out of control with our finances…And, in her case with her credit cards which launched her path to becoming a shopoholic at the ripe ole age of 7…

Fast forward 20 years she takes a job at a place where she is asked to help other people save money by writing a financial column.  Clearly in over her head, she decides to relate buying investments to buying shoes…quite an analogy but one that works and her column becomes a huge success…as i said this was a silly albeit fun movie/book.  So as I have been working on my taxes all well and about to loose it, I decided to take to writing this blog hoping it will help me sort through all this stuff.  And, in the spirit of Rebecca’s debut column, I am going forth and approaching doing and organizing my taxes as I would do my closet:  One line item and one pair of shoes, pants and shopping bags at a time labeled: ‘Drop 10’ (as in pounds and bills); Discard (cut the excess) and Donate (an always tax deduction)!    So there I confess and hope Uncle Sam speaks Prada too!  Spread the glove!