Friday, November 29, 2013

12 Ways to Honor Small Business Saturday

Tomorrow, November 30, is Small Business Saturday (SBS).  While we have eyes half open from getting up at the crack of dawn to find our amazing deals from big box and chain retailers, the Mom and Pop stores on the corners and in the strip malls are just as eager for your business. It's important not only for the economy of your city or town, but it can also make or break the holiday success of a local business owner who employs a few hard-working staff members. 

Here are 12 things you can do to support SBS.  These are places you might have been planning to visit anyway, so get your checklist ready!
  1. DONUT SHOP.  Start your morning early with a visit to your nearest donut shop. Take a break from making breakfast today since you'll need time to visit local businesses.  Surprise your family with some wonderful fritters or maple bars, and don't forget the coffee!
  2. DRY CLEANERS. Time to gather your clothing and drop them off tomorrow, just in time for the holidays. If you've already taken your clothes in this week, you might have a bedspread, blanket or curtains that need a refresher for visiting holiday guests.
  3. PACKAGE SHIPPER.  The postal and packaging service stores such as UPS, FedEx, Postal Annex and others are franchises run by individuals.  Take one of your Black Friday purchases that needs to be shipped and allow them to package it for you.  If it's a small to medium item you are looking at spending about $10-$20 for packaging plus the cost of postage.

  4. CAR WASH.  Time to give your vehicle a holiday bath whether it needs it or not.  If it's raining or snowing in your part of the world, stop in (if they're open) and buy a car air freshener.
  5. AUTO PARTS STORE.  Even if you have your car serviced at a dealership or a preferred auto mechanic, there are many items available at an auto parts store.  You may consider buying a gallon of wiper fluid to have on hand, or check your wiper blades to see if they need replacing.  There are also some wonderful gifts to look at here including floor mats, travel mugs, visor storage and more.
  6. NAIL SALON.  Did the first five stops wear you out?  It's time for you now (and yes, this includes you guys).  Take a one hour break and have a manicure and/or pedicure to relax and also look your best.  If you are not one to have your nails "resurfaced and polished", then consider an eyebrow wax, or buy the woman on your Christmas list a bottle of nail polish.
  7.  LOCAL DINER.  After your nails are sparkling enjoy a nice salad or sandwich at a local diner.  It's a time to break bread with a friend or your family and gear up for a few more Small Business stops.
  8. LIQUOR/WINE STORE.  Stock up on your favorite wine and spirits for entertaining this holiday season.  Wine for the Christmas table, rum for the punch and champagne for the New Year celebration. Not a drinker?  No worries -- perhaps a hostess gift of wine for an upcoming dinner, or a set of wine glasses or beer mugs as a gift.

  9. ANTIQUE STORE or MALL.  Here's the fun part (in my humble opinion)!  Spend an hour or two at the historical district of your city, or perhaps you have a large antique mall with many small businesses who offer their antique and vintage items.  This can be a fun place to find a unique holiday gift for the person who already has everything.  They may not have a Popeye cookie jar, piece of vintage art, or a first edition classic novel.  I don't know too many people who can't find something that reminds them of their years growing up, no matter how small.  Items will be priced to sell for the holidays.
  10. CLOTHING BOUTIQUE.  The word "boutique" is scary to those on a budget because one typically thinks that these stores are overpriced.  While that may be true on Rodeo Drive, give your local clothing boutique a chance.  There is a sale rack in every store and even a small purchase of an accessory such as a scarf, wallet or earrings will help the retailer.  You may just uncover a store that you'll want to frequent on a regular basis as their collection changes.
  11. LOCAL GYM, YOGA or FITNESS CLASS.  If you don't already have a gym membership, now might be the time.  Many are offering two-for-one specials or discounted membership fees this time of year. Find one near your home that offers good hours, good equipment and fun classes.  If you already have a membership, take the time to check out upcoming classes and join one.  There are many small businesses that specialize in yoga, martial arts or strength training.  Look and feel your best this holiday season by investing in yourself.
  12. PIZZERIA.  At the end of your busy SBS day, grab a pizza from a local pizza restaurant to bring home to the family.  After all, you've had a busy day doing your part to help your local businesses thrive.
These are only a few suggestions that will make for a fun day.  Don't forget other wonderful local businesses such as grocers, toy shops, comic book stores, craft shops, hardware stores (not big box), greeting card and collectible stores, garage mechanics and too many more to list.

Let us know how you spent your Small Business Saturday.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Stop Sorting Socks

I think the hardest part of doing laundry is being the sock police! You find yourself scratching your head and asking questions like...Where's the match to this one? Did the dryer eat one? Is that a black one or navy one? Do these patterns match? Whose are these anyway? And when all else fails, you throw it in the orphan sock basket that gets sorted and matched every few months. Any part of this sound familiar?

Start keeping it simple and stop losing socks from now on. By giving each member of the family their own mesh bag to keep in or near their hamper for socks you can cut down several minutes of sorting. 

I found these great inexpensive bags that cost only $3.29 each (& free shipping). Just use a  Sharpie marker to write a name on each one. There you have it! Throw the bag in the washer, then in the dryer, then hand the clean bag of socks back to the rightful owner.

Do you have a simple solution for reducing laundry time?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Today's Simplicity

Amazon Add-Ons & Great Deals

If you don't know what Add-Ons are in Amazon, you should check them out.  As most of you are aware, Amazon offers free delivery at $25.00.  But they also have some amazing deep discounts after the $25 is met.  These are items that shipping would be unreasonable and cost prohibitive to ship on their own, so they throw them in your existing order.  For example:

I just added on 3 of these for stocking stuffers AND one for myself to hang long necklaces so they don't get tangled. Twirl-a-Tie Tie Rack/Organizeronly $2.50 each as an Add-On.

Another amazing deal from Amazon going on right now.  I have wanted to try these for awhile and now they are greatly affordable!  Hanger Cascader/ Wonder Hanger Platinum Edition- 2 Pack was $29.99 NOW ONLY $6.99

And if you're in the market for some free reading, I just downloaded this book because it sounds so close to reality TV (can you say Bachelorette?) that I just couldn't resist! Married By Mistake by Abby Gaines.

Free Jewelry!

If you haven't tried yet, you are missing out!  This is a fun site that allows you to "peeq" at pricing on a gallery of select unique products each day.  They freely give out discounts, badges and free shipping so I've gotten some fabulous deals.  To welcome new members, SneakPeeq gives you $5.00 to make your first purchase, and has a special gallery where you can snag a FREE piece of jewelry.  Enter website here.

Fast Five!

  1. Chicken of the Sea Mermaid Club is looking for some Likes on their Facebook page.  The more that click on Like, the greater amount of coupon you will receive (up to $1.50).
  2. Pillsbury has a great recipe for Mexican Biscuit Tostadas using Grands Biscuits.
  3. Head on over to Arm & Hammer to pick up $15.50 in coupons!  Big save.
  4. For lovers of Dairy Queen Blizzard treats, sign up at the DQ Blizzard Club and receive a BOGO (buy one, get one) coupon just for joining.  They send lots of special coupons throughout the year.
  5. Try making these awesome leaf gift tags by Martha Stewart.  They are also great place tags for autumn get-togethers, and something the kids can have fun creating, too.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Monday, October 10, 2011

Quick & Simple Tip for Dark Circles

One of the best tips I've received lately came from a make-up instruction booklet that I almost threw out.  I'm one of the unfortunate members of the "dark circles under the eyes club," and other than having them, there is nothing more frustrating than trying to find the perfect cover-up solution.

I've tried every over-the-counter beauty regimen or the bottles with claims of removing those circles - some have done a better job than others, but overall there's not much that can be done about them.  If you use a light eye cream, it's very noticeable.

That being said, this one has been the simplest and worked the best so far:
  • Sprinkle a little powdered illuminizer (Bare Minerals or like-type) in your palm. 
  • Add a very small drop of your daily facial moisturizer and swirl together. 
  • Apply on dark circles in a circular motion.
That's it!  It looks very natural and if you are using a water-based moisturizer the powder blends right in so it isn't obvious.  Let me know if you have good results as I did.

Free Crochet Pattern for Breast Cancer Awareness

It's been quite awhile since I've posted to anything but Twitter, and I was inspired by the many bloggers that I follow to get to thinking and writing more.  I have not been lazy by any means...on the contrary, my life has been quite eventful both with things wonderful and things that have not been so easy to deal with.  But I miss sharing special things like I've found today and I just had to share!

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, I thought it befitting to share this awesome free crochet pattern from  It's a quick and easy pattern for a pink Skinny Scarf - what a great gift or donation to your local hospital.

If you know of any more Breast Cancer helpful crochet or knitting patters, please post them!