Category Archives: LIVING

Today is National Kindness Day

A lot people usually think of acts of kindness around the Holidays. I would like to think that we can do things for others at any time of the year. I have compiled a list of 25 things you can do as an act of kindness. Hopefully there are a few that you might not have thought of. Pick one or all, and spread the kindness all through the year.

Help a coworker with a big project-offer your time so they don’t have to work late.

Thank your mail carrier with a thank you note or drink (hot chocolate in winter; cold water in summer)

Donate used books to the library

Forward email coupons to a friend if you can’t use them

Give a ride to someone in need

Let someone go ahead of you in line

Do the survey on your receipts and compliment an employee

Become an organ donor

Shop Farmer’s Markets in your community

Share your garden produce with neighbors or a food bank

Make someone laugh

Give a hug

Leave a dollar on the vending machine for the next person

Offer to be the designated driver at a party

Leave that close parking spot for someone else and walk a little further

If you travel, bring a little souvenir to someone who wouldn’t expect it and brighten their day.

Go caroling or sing at a nursing home

Send a note of appreciation to anyone in your life that may need a pick me up

Bring a meal to the family of a friend that may be under the weather

Pay for someone behind you, whether at the store, coffee shop or drive-thru

Donate your hair to charity

Practice being nice on the road to other drivers

Adopt a soldier

Do a fundraiser or help out for your favorite charity

Be a parking meter angel- put coins in meters so they don’t expire

 

5 Old School Makeup Tips that Still Work Today

Some makeup tips have been around forever and you probably think there must be better ways today, right? Well, don’t be so quick to ignore Mom’s advice. Here are 8 tips that are still relevant today and work great!

To Frown or not to Frown

You probably were told not to frown or scowl, but Mom might have made an exception when giving you brow advice. When you need to fill in your eyebrows, the best position to be in is your head tilted downwards and with a little scowl on your face. Furrowing your brows gives you a better view, especially the top of your eyebrows. You want to do a good job filling in the top brow area to really give your eyes a wide-awake look.

Double the Fun- Half the Cost

You can look great, but still be frugal when it comes to makeup choices. If you use a powder blush, it can double as an eyeshadow in a pinch. Some kinds of lip glosses can also be used as a blush. This is great for a night out, since you can take that cute little clutch without stuffing it full of makeup.

Light, Please!

Harsh lighting is not the best environment for you to put on makeup. If you can, try to be near some natural light. Natural light will really give you the best view of what your makeup will look like when you go outside. Some makeup mirrors simulate natural light as well, and this could be a good alternative if you don’t have good access to natural light at home.

Don’t Forget Your Hands

Our hands tend to get neglected in our makeup routines, but they need a little effort. You probably make sure you are protected from the sun on your face and skin, but your hands would appreciate a little SPF love. You can use whatever sunscreen you are using and just dab a bit on the back of your hands. Also, if you ever apply self-tanners, don’t forget to apply just a little to the back of your hands as well.

One Way to Smooth

You want your makeup to look smooth and flawless. Stick to one type of makeup to achieve the smooth look you want. If you use a liquid foundation, use creamy shadows and blush. Likewise, if you are using a powder, stick to other makeup that is powder-based. Keeping to one type of makeup helps to blend and give you a cohesive and smooth look.

 

6 Energy Myths- Busted!

We all want to save energy and money, right? Even with good intentions we probably fall into the trap of believing energy myths that we’ve heard for years. Here are 6 energy myths that you need to bust now.

Vents

Shutting a vent in an unused room is supposed to save money, but it actually does not work. The cool air or heat is just redirected to your other vents in the house. The air can also just leak out of any holes in ducting. The pressure backs up and can actually cause more wear and tear on your heating or cooling system. This will cost you money in the long run since your unit will not last as long as it should.

Space Heaters

Electric space heaters sound like a good idea, but do they help you save? The answer is NO. Electricity is generally more expensive than gas and the costs to run a space heater or two can be as much as heating your whole home with natural gas.

Solar

You might think that you can’t use solar if you don’t live in a sunny climate, but that is not true. You can still have your normal electric service, but build up credits when your solar energy kicks in. The sunny days will help you build up power and you can usually save quite a bit on your normal electric bill.

Windows

While double paned windows are more efficient, the cost of replacing your windows may not actually give you a great return on investment. The savings you get can depend on how many windows you have, where you live, and which direction the windows face. Replacing windows can get quite expensive and you can probably generate the same cost savings in other ways.

New versus Old

If you buy a newer house, don’t assume that it is automatically more energy efficient. While many newer homes do have energy savings features, not all of them do. Even if you are looking at an older house, it may have been updated with modern insulation, for instance. Always consider these facts when you are house shopping.

Getting Warm

Setting the temperature on your thermostat higher will not heat up your home faster. Your heating system works hardest when it first comes on. It is better to set your thermostat on a normal temperature and leave it alone. A programmable thermostat is a great idea, though, and can save you money. Just reducing your temperature setting by 1 degree equates to saving 1 percent.

 

Valentine’s Day goodies

This Valentine’s Day should be all about lavishing your loved ones with little luxuries. L’Occitane has you covered in this department! With Valentine’s gift ideas for him and for her, you really can’t go wrong with anything you chose.

Men’s gift ideas include fragrances, skincare and grooming products, such is this Eau des Baux Eau de Toilette or this Almond Daily Ritual Duo.

For ladies, L’Occitane carries a range of fine fragrances, luxury bath and body products, home fragrances, candles and gifts sets — all of which are superb gift ideas for women. We suggest the Divine Cream or the Roses et Reines Eau de Toilette.

New to the L’Occitane brand and not sure where to start? Now through 2/14, you can get this 8-Piece Shea Set for only only $20 with any $45 purchase. Use promo code COZY at checkout. The set includes 8 Shea Butter essentials, including Light Face Cream, Hand & Foot Cream, Extra-Gentle Soap, Shower Cream, Ultra-Rich Body Cream and a Sample of Comforting Face Oil.

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Chinese New Year 2017

         In 2017, Chinese New Year (sometimes called the Spring Festival) begins  on January 28th. It is the year of the Rooster In the Chinese Lunar Calendar. People that were born in previous Rooster years are considered to have an unlucky year.

         Celebrating Chinese New Year begins early and ends well past the actual New Year’s Day.  People start cleaning their houses in preparation around the 23rd of the month and family may start coming together the week before the actual holiday. Lots of workers in China will take off two to three weeks so they have time to travel to their hometowns.

            Chinese New Year originated as a break after farming and harvesting. The wish was for a prosperous harvest in the new year. Today people wish for a prosperous year in work and business, too.

      The Spring Festival focuses on family. The special Reunion Dinner (on New Year’s Day) is the most special meal of the entire year. Many generations of family come together during this important meal.

      Dumplings are thought to bring prosperity and wealth in the new year, so they are always served at the meal. Fish is also popular since it is believed that a person will get extra money in the next year if you eat fish.

               You will see a lot of the color Red during this time of celebration. Red is a traditional Chinese color and is said to bring good luck. People in China will be wearing red as well as decorating their homes in this color. Since it is the year of the Rooster you will also see rooster decorations.

          It doesn’t matter if you are in Shanghai or in small town, the celebrations will be big. There are always dragon and lion dances, as well as plenty of fireworks.

           Children and older folds get gifts during Chinese New Year. You must use a lucky envelope (red of course!) to tuck away small money gifts.

           Even if you are not in China, you can celebrate. Have a family meal, wear red, and give small money gifts in red envelopes. Welcome the Year of the Rooster!

      Gōngxǐ fācái!

           

 

5 Reasons you Need a Will

 

shot of someone signing a contract. Focus is on the signature and the end of the pen.

You may not think so, but having a will is one of the most important things you should have on your to-do list. You don’t want to leave your family and estate at the mercy of your state. It is worth the time to decide what you want – not the state.

When you have a will you get to decide how your estate is handled.  Making these decisions now can save your family headache and prevent disagreements among family members.

Here are 5 reasons you need to draw up a will:

1. Think of your children

It is important to have a will if you have children that are minors. It is a hard decision, but you will want to designate a guardian for you children in the event of your death. You don’t want the courts to decide the fate of your kids.
2. Lower estate taxes
You want to lower any taxes on your estate as much as possible. The value of anything you gift to family or charity organizations does reduce the overall estate value used to determine any estate taxes due.
3. Choose who takes care of your estate
You will need to choose an executor of your will. The Executor ensures all your affairs are in order. The executor will pay off bills, send notices to your banks and financial organizations, and cancel credit cards, just to name a few of the executor’s duties.ds, and notifying your bank.
4. Shorten Probate
All estates have to go through some kind of probate process, even with a will in place. However, if you don’t have a will the process can be lengthy.
5. Donations and gifts

A will gives you the ability to donate to your favorite charities or gift friends and family some of your assets. This is a very personal way to let others know you thought of them.
Is a basic will good enough?
If you don’t have many assets and are under the age of fifty then a basic will should suffice. You may not even need an attorney for this type of will. If you have many valuable asset or any complex business issues, then you probably want to get the advice of an attorney.
A basic will still covers many of the reasons listed above, such as leaving your property to people you choose, naming your children’s guardian and identifying your executor.
Does a will cover it all?

There are some areas that a will doesn’t cover, so be aware of these.

Funeral directions- These cannot be covered in a will so make a written document with your wishes and let your family know about it now.

Shared Property/Insurance — a will won’t cover living trusts or money from life insurance (anything that already has a beneficiary.) If you share property with someone else, then this property is not included, either.

Estate Taxes- You can’t avoid taxes, but some trusts can reduce or postpone when taxes are due

Probate- Even with a will, there is still probate which can take 3-12 months to get through

Pets- While you can name someone to have your pets, you can’t actually leave money or property to an animal

Special Care- If you have someone in your life that you want to make sure is covered for long-term care you will have to get a special needs trust. Setting up this trust through an attorney can ensure that person has income without impacting any government benefits they are entitled to.

While every situation is different there is one thing we all have in common- the need for a will. Spend a little time now thinking about it and you can have some peace now.

Spring Clean Your Life!

 

Enjoying the nature

 

We are all probably ready for spring and the warm weather and flowers blooming. Spring might also bring to mind Spring Cleaning. Some of us dread it, some of us love it. While it is great to get your home in shape, what about the rest of your life?

People

You may not think about people when mentioning spring cleaning. Spring is a time for change and blooming. If there are people in your life that are negative or holding you back, it may be time to sweep them out of your life for good. While this may sound harsh, do some soul searching. There might be that one person that you just don’t need to hang around with any longer.

Social Media

When was the last time you cleaned up old pictures or posts on your social media accounts? Maybe you have photos that looked fun but now are embarrassing. Delete, delete! If you are in a different place in your life, let your new posts and pics reflect that. Get rid of pictures with people that are not in your life- who needs a reminder of that ex you dumped? Make a fresh start.

Music and Media

Have an Ipod or store a lot of music on your tablet or laptop? It is probably time to shake your selections up a little. Get rid of the songs that you always skip over or really don’t like that much. Make an effort to try something new and download some upbeat songs. Maybe clean up your playlists or make new ones. Get a new groove on while working out or something to keep you motivated at work.

Unwelcome Gifts

You probably have a drawer or closet with gifts or old cards from your exes. Why keep this stuff? Even ticket stubs from fun events don’t need to clutter up your life. If you aren’t going to make a scrapbook, either take a photo with your phone or just trash it.  Anything with a bad memory you need to dump, now! Even good memories stay in our minds, and we don’t always need to keep a physical reminder.

Now that you’ve done some spring cleaning in your life you will feel like a weight is gone. Maybe you have the energy now to tackle that spring cleaning around the house, too!

7 Foods to Start Freezing NOW!

Young woman looking for some snack in fridge late at night.

I am sure you are a frugal shopper and meal planner, and you already are smart about freezing certain food items. There are lots of foods that can be stored in the freezer, but here are some that might surprise you!

Nuts

Nuts go bad quickly and if you are not going to use them right away, go ahead and freeze. You can freeze nuts in the shell or shelled. For walnuts, peanuts, cashews, pecans, macadamia nuts, almonds or hazelnuts, just wrap them tightly with plastic wrap before putting in the freezer. The same goes for nut butters, too.

Bacon

Freezing bacon is great, especially if you need to chop up for recipes since frozen bacon will be easy to cut. Place a few uncooked bacon slices flat on waxed paper and wrap up. Then put this into a freezer bag and you are all set!

Yogurt

Did you stock up on yogurt and now it is expiring? You can freeze yogurt, but you won’t want to eat it that way. Use the frozen yogurt to make a yummy dip. You can also use it in sauces.

Coffee

If you love iced coffee, there is nothing better than adding some frozen coffee cubes to your drink! Just pour any leftover coffee you have into any sized ice cube trays and you can have a special treat later!

Ginger

If you love cooking or baking with ginger, then freezing it can make your life easier. Leave the ginger whole and unpeeled, use plastic wrap around it, and then place in a freezer bag. When you want to use some, you just take the frozen piece of ginger out and scrape off what you need- no defrosting needed!

Cheese

While cheese will not slice well after being frozen, it is still great to use in recipes. If you use a lot of shredded cheese for casseroles, just grate the cheese before you stick it in the freezer.

Garlic

You can freeze garlic in whole heads, break apart, or even chopped up. The easiest way to freeze is to leave the garlic whole. Store in a freezer bag or container. You can easily take off a clove at a time. Garlic does have a different consistency after freezing, but should be fine for cooking.