Cooking and Baking Tips to Help You Lose Weight During the Holidays

Trying to stay fit and trim over the holidays? The baker or the chef may have nearly as much control in one’s weight gain as the person consuming the food. Several factors determine the overall healthiness of a meal – including method of preparation, ingredients, and balance.

For a mouthwatering but healthful meal, consider some of the following baking tips and cooking tips to lose weight – or at least avoid gaining weight – during the holidays.

– Use butter, salt, oil, and cheese sparingly. For seasoning, instead try fresh herbs like garlic or other spices. Use lemon juice and choose margarine over butter.

– Whole grain breads and rolls are better for you
than bleached whites, and the same goes for rice. Be adventurous and go for the wild rice – besides, it gives a meal great color!

– Avoid frying your foods if you can help it. Grilling, baking and broiling are much healthier for you. Try to avoid charring your meats too much – it really isn’t good for you if your food goes from juicy burger to hockey puck….

– Steam veggies and go easy on the butter and salt. It may take a little getting used to, but if you are feeding everyone from your mom and pop, 92-year-old grandfather to your three-year-old cousin, try to accommodate everyone with a delicious and healthy menu.

– Using powdered milk or evaporated skim milk instead of the real thing for your goodies may make all the difference. A drastic reduction in calories can only give your guests one more reason to smile.

– Substitute applesauce for the oil called for in a recipe. Try first substituting between 1/3 and 1/2 of the amount of oil required, and then alter to taste.

– Substitute cocoa powder for unsweetened chocolate, in the ratio of three tablespoons cocoa powder per one-ounce chocolate, plus one tablespoon melted shortening or cooking oil.

– Use two egg whites instead of one whole egg. The yolk is not as healthy as the whites are.

– Use an artificial sweetener in place of some or all of the sugar in a recipe. This also makes a nice treat for diabetics! Be aware that your goodies may not be as sweet as they normally are due to the sugar reduction.

– Add herbs and garlic to mashed potatoes in the place of butter.

– Do not feel obligated to include as much as the recipe suggests. If you think a full pound of chocolate chips is too much, go with your gut…or later you might be seeing it on your gut!

– Do not be afraid of products that boast “Low Fat!” or “Reduced Fat!” (cream cheese, sour cream, etc.) They may not taste the same outright, but when mixed with other ingredients, who will even notice?

Baking a healthier meal will get you on the right start to a slimmer, trimmer winter figure, but remember that it isn’t just what you eat. How you eat and how much you eat are also critical in the overall progress toward a healthier you.

With all the visiting you may be doing this holiday season, realize that you may also have to practice some discipline in your eating habits. Get on the right track and check out healthy eating tips for the holidays, too!

24 Time-Saving Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Day

For many people, there is never quite enough time in the day. Between driving, working, going to school, running errands, attending meetings, returning phone calls, and on and on, the list is seemingly endless and the hours in the day don’t ever seem to stretch far enough. To save time and get the most out of your day, we’ve compiled 24 Time-Saving Tips, thanks to suggestions from many of our readers.

Add some more free time or quality time with your loved ones back into your day by following these helpful time-saving tips.

1. Have your coffee maker filled and ready to go for morning. If you’re like me and not so coordinated in the early morn, this saves even more time because you don’t have to spend time cleaning up any mess you may make. – Christine Fidance, DE

2. Shower with your significant other.
This cuts down on not only time spent but also water used. – Christine Fidance, DE

3. Have all your clothes laid out the night before also and there is no confusion in the morning and getting dressed is much quicker. – Christine Fidance, DE

4. Strategize your errands. My tip comes more from having to conserve gasoline; the time savings was just a perk. In an effort to save gas, a friend and I decided to dedicate a day for our errands and carefully plan out which order we should do our tasks by location so that we could do less driving to get everything we wanted to do each week. We have gotten so efficient at coordinating our stops that as we got more organized we also gained several hours that we now add other pleasurable stops on our way of course, like a craft shop or a movie. Love it. – Catherine Miller, MA

5. Keep a list to shorten your shopping trips and not zigzag from place to place. That wastes time. – Angela Jacobs, CA

6. Plan your day. The best way to save time is to use a small amount of it to plan your day, a simple outline of things you want to accomplish (a to do list) and a plan on when or what order you expect to have them done. This gives you real goals and the ability to measure progress. Always have a reward at the end of the list even if it’s only an espresso, etc. – John Redfield, TX

7. Get your chores out of the way first. The best way to get the most out of your free time is to plan your time. Do your chores first, set up time for each chore. Be realistic in your expectations for chores; don’t expect too much of yourself.  When you get what you expect done, then don’t do any more. Do less. Do what you want for the rest of the day. Reward yourself for doing the chores by doing only what you want. This will give you the ultimate satisfaction that you have done what you should do, but also took time out to do what you love. – Therese Mary Kolvenbach, CA

8. Do the important things first. The best way to find free time is to get all of the things you have to do done and out of the way right away, as early as possible. That way the rest of the day is free time! – Janice Wright, IA

9. Put everything in its place. Always put your keys in the same place in your purse, your scissors in the same place, your tape, etc.  And, keep your credit cards and driver’s license in the same order in your wallet. That way you don’t lose them, and you save the time and stress that goes with misplacing these items. This frees your mind to attend to your real business. – Sheila Christensen

10. Plan, plan, plan. To achieve optimum free time and use it effectively needs planning.  Planning is always the necessary first option.  Scottish poet Robert Burns opined ‘the best laid plans of mice and men aft times go astray’, planning will make those ‘aft times’ less frequent. No matter how you do it, diary, computer, blackberry or fridge magnets plan for what you must do and want to do and leave wiggle room for less frustration and more fruition. – Shirley Hodge, PA

11. Prepare meals in advance. I spend part of one of my days off preparing the next weeks dinners in advance and store them in the freezer. When I come home after work all I have to do unfreeze the dinner add a salad and were good to go. It has saved me a ton of time on week night and it’s made me be able to spend more time with my children. – Teresa Nelson, WA

12. Be as organized as possible. It’s the oldest tip in the book but the more organized you are when you start the sooner you’ll accomplish whatever you’re doing.  Since I started using preparation lists I’ve had more time for things I enjoy than I’ve ever had. – Patricia Schraier, CA

13. Do the dishes right away. How to make more free time -The older you get, the faster time seems to pass and the less time one seems to have!  Here is my recipe for more free time – Never leave a dirty dish in the sink, always place them directly into the dishwasher.  – Diane Baum, MI

14. Sort your mail as you bring it into your house.  – Diane Baum, MI

15. Always put things in their proper place the first time.  – Diane Baum, MI

16. Wash clothes once a week instead of everyday. – Diane Baum, MI

17. When you have to wait, multitask. I keep a bag inside my car, which has paperwork to do in it. If I have a doctor’s appointment, waiting for a kids game to start, or have time in the car waiting to pick them up, I can get bills made out or any correspondence such as thank you notes, lists,  etc. – Rosanne Morrison, IL

18. Press a few clothing items at the same time. Love the time to save by simply by multi-pressing two or three layers of children’s clothes by utilizing a layer of thin cheesecloth/laundry clothes. – Sarah Woods

19. Turn housework into exercise. 
I do lunges while I’m vacuuming.  When folding the laundry, I do a squat to pick each item out of the basket to fold it. I also make a separate trip to take each item upstairs or down. It takes a little longer to clean the house, but I save the time and money it would take for a gym membership. – Casey Becher, KS

20. Find your time-wasters.
What do you spend a lot of your time on that isn’t on your essential list? Take a close look at these things and really think about whether they’re necessary, or if there are ways to reduce, minimize or eliminate these things. Sometimes you do things because you assume they’re necessary, but if you give it some thought you can find ways to drop them from your life. Figure out what you do simply to waste time — maybe surfing certain sites, watching TV, talking a lot at the water cooler, etc. You’re going to want to minimize these time-wasters to make room for the more important stuff, the stuff that makes you happy and that you love to do. – Max Lakshtanov, CA

21. Schedule the time. As you sit down and think about your life and what you want to do, versus what you actually do, you will be looking at ways to free up time. It’s crucial that you take a blank weekly schedule (you can just write it out on a piece of paper, or use your calendar) and assign blocks for the things you love — the stuff on your essentials list. If you want to exercise, for example, when will you do it? Put the blocks of time on your schedule, and make these blocks the most important appointments of your week. Schedule the rest of your life around these blocks. – Max Lakshtanov, CA

22. Consolidate. There are many things you do, scattered throughout your day or your week that you might be able to consolidate in order to sa
ve time. A good example is errands – instead of running one or two a day, do them all in one day to save time and gas. Another example is email, or any kind of communication – batch process your email instead of checking and reading and responding throughout the day. Same thing with meetings, paperwork, anything that you do regularly. – Max Lakshtanov, CA

23. Plan to accomplish 10 things each day. A very smart person told me once, make a list of 10 things you want to accomplish in a single day in the order of what is most important. Try and at least get halfway through the list and that is 5 things less you have to do the next day! I swear when you first hear this it sounds strange, but I started doing it and now there are some days I can’t think of a thing to write because I have done so much the previous days! It is much better than going through days where you accomplish nothing. – Suanne Giddings, TX

24. Take your favorite book or magazine with you. My favorite timesaver tip is to carry your favorite book or magazine to any of your appointments – you can read while you are waiting and when you get home you can use the time you have saved for something else. – Joy Venters, OH

Editor’s Note: Thank you readers, for your excellent time-saving tips! We hope these tips help all of our readers save time and make the most out of their days.

Exclusive Q&A with Kimberly Cole – How to Stay in Shape with Dance and Roller-Skating

Kimberly Cole Exclusive Interview with Life Love Beauty!Kimberly Cole is what many people call a well-rounded person. She’s a championship roller-skating athlete, a musician, a former MTV VJ, and absolutely gorgeous to boot. Her hit single, “Nitty Gritty”, is a catchy, contagious tune that is reminiscent of No Doubt and its front woman, Gwen Stefani. Her other jams seem to infuse pop, hip hop, and soul, often with a love story or a truly independent theme.

Have you ever considered roller skates a fashion accessory? Maybe you should… Kimberly Cole gives skates their own pizazz and sex appeal. Or maybe that’s her killer body and incredible hair. Read on – Kimberly Cole shares details about herself and her own workout tips in an exclusive Life Love Beauty interview.

Q. Life Love Beauty – So, what kind of workout do you get from roller-skating (and dancing?)? Can you tell us about some of your most intense workouts / competitions?

The lovely Kimberly Cole...A. Kimberly Cole – I get the best work out from skating and dancing.  I use every muscle in my body to perform. It takes a lot of control in my core to execute each trick.   When I would have an important competition coming up I would train almost 6 hours a day!! I loved every minute of it.

Q. Life Love Beauty – How do you stay in such great shape? How do you train, and what are your favorite training or cross training activities?

A. Kimberly Cole – I love hiking and running.  I also love taking long walks and multitasking by returning phone calls…..anything that makes me forget I am working out!!!

Q. Life Love Beauty – How about your diet… do you have to watch what you eat, or have you found a balance between nutrition and snacking and exercise?

A. Kimberly Cole – I always have to watch what I eat and try to just keep everything in moderation and balanced.  I am a snacker so I will eat 6 mini meals every day. If I have done a ton of exercise I will usually treat myself to Pink Berry with chocolate yogurt chips.

Q. Life Love Beauty – We all have guilty pleasures when it comes to food… what one item couldn’t you live without?!

A. Kimberly Cole – Hands down cold cereal!!!  I could eat it for every meal!!!

Q. Life Love Beauty – Did you play sports or participate in athletics growing up in addition to roller-skating?

A. Kimberly Cole – I was a cheerleader in high school and also ran cross country!!!

Q. Life Love Beauty – How did you get into roller-skating?

A. Kimberly Cole – My mom, who skated when she was younger, took me to take one class and I fell in love with it!!! I didn’t realize when I was little that roller-skating was such an unknown sport!!

Kimberly Cole, the Roller-skating beauty...

Q. Life Love Beauty – What do you like best about skating?

A. Kimberly Cole – I love the fact that it mixes athleticism with artistry.  And now as a recording artist and dancer, I love the fact that it makes me unique.

Kimberly Cole, athlete and musicianQ. Life Love Beauty – Can you tell us about some of the skating stunts you do?

A. Kimberly Cole – I love incorporating hip hop and lyrical dance styles on skates, but I would have to say doing pairs tricks and being thrown around in the air is the most fun!

Q. Life Love Beauty – Do you ever have one of those days where you just don’t feel like working out? What do you do when your motivation starts to sink?

A. Kimberly Cole – When I have those days I will turn some music on and dance in my room!  It’s fun and still burns calories.

Q. Life Love Beauty – What kind of workout would roller-skating (minus the cool stunts!) give an average person? Did you ever experience this kind of recreational skating?

A. Kimberly Cole – I love skating down Venice Beach.  Just cruising’ along still gives a great total body workout.

Q. Life Love Beauty – Just out of curiosity, do you ever rollerblade or go ice-skating?

A. Kimberly Cole – I do rollerblade outside sometimes and have a blast doing that as well.  I was in a stunt show a couple of years ago and had to learn how to drop in on ramps on my inlines.

About the Expert:
Kimberly Cole is an athlete and musician who uniquely blends music and dance with roller-skating. Her main Web site is www.myspace.com/kimberlycolemusic and her music is available on iTunes.

Healthier Eating Habits for Any Time of Year

Getting in shape is something we can do all year long. Whether you’re dreaming of the beach and new swimwear or thinking of those cold winter nights snuggled up by the fire, having a fit and trim body can become a reality if you commit yourself to it. Pair healthy eating habits with ample cardiovascular exercise and you’ll be well on your way to a fitter figure.

Toning various body parts and dropping a few pounds at any given time is a common goal for many people. Practicing the right eating habits with regular exercise can truly impact your weight as well as your overall body image. There’s no time like the present to develop healthier eating habits, so let’s get started.

When it comes to shaping up and slimming down, several factors impact a person’s body and general healthiness. Different diets and eating routines work for different people. The following “dos” should put a positive spin on helping those who wish to revamp their eating habits in the hopes of transforming their bodies for the better.

DO eat well-balanced meals throughout the day, kick starting your metabolism with breakfast as often as possible.

DO eat several helpings of salad, fruits and vegetables throughout the day. Recommended amount is five servings of fruit and vegetables each day.

DO drink lots of water. Strive for at least eight glasses a day, but drink as much as you are able. Your body will eventually crave the water, which often makes you less hungry for snacks throughout the day while also flushing toxins from your body.

DO avoid eating simply because you are bored. Popping candy, cookies and other sweets into your mouth merely to pass the time is not conducive to modifying and maintaining a healthy body image.

DO sit down; enjoy your food and CHEW! Avoid scarfing down your lunch in the car as you drive. Rushing meals and trying to get too many other things done while eating may prevent the food from digesting properly. Take the time to enjoy a leisurely meal without constantly trying to do something else.

DO reduce your intake of sugars and fats if you find yourself eating junk food all day.

DO avoid grocery shopping on an empty stomach. Almost inevitably, those shopping with hunger pangs pushing them along may be apt to throw a few more goodies in the cart than if shopping after a meal.

DO eat when you are hungry. Try to substitute healthier snacks, like vegetable sticks, for salty or sweet snacks like chips and cookies.

DO eat foods that are high in fiber. This will help to keep the snacking urges from breaking through as often.

DO be realistic about your body image goals. Do not expect overnight results. Work to achieve your goals but do treat yourself every once in a while!

DO stop eating when you are full. Many people try to force themselves to clean their plates completely in order to be “polite” or to “get their money’s worth”.

DO exercise at least twice a week, whether by jogging, walking or doing a cardio workout. Combining healthier eating habits with cardiovascular exercise is a surefire way to lead a healthier life.

To improve your body image and the way you feel about yourself, monitor your snacking and do your best to follow a disciplined eating routine. Eat balanced meals, exercise and maintain a positive outlook and you’ll be well on your way to a healthier body, mind and soul.

Puppy Love: Socializing a New Puppy, and Dating with Dogs

Cute, cuddly and completely adorable, even the smartest, most lovable puppies have a lot to learn about the world and their surroundings. From the time they are first born, puppies have their littermates and mommas to keep them company and enjoy the world around them. Play outside with your pups! (Photo courtesy of Mette, morgueFile.com)

As the puppies grow old enough and strong enough to join families of their own, they need a little help in preparing for on adventures of their own. Showing your new pet warm, loving care and introducing new people, places, and things are both critical to the most cohesive development of a puppy’s disposition. This article offers suggestions for socializing your new puppy and also ideas for double dating with your dogs.

Enhancing Your Puppy’s Social Circles
As with young children, socializing your new puppy can be just as important as proper housebreaking and disciplined training sessions. Before you have any uncomfortable run-ins at the vet’s office, make efforts to introduce your pet to other pooches. Taking your puppy on play dates with other dogs can really impact his or her character while also building a pleasant social routine for both of you.

Taking your little pup for a walk through the park makes a great first start at seeing how your new family member will react to other pets and unknown people. Before socializing your puppy with other dogs and people, be sure that he or she has received all puppy shots.

Play fetch when you can (Photo courtesy of Phaedra Wilkinson) Puppy pals (Photo courtesy of morgueFile.com) Share a snack! (Photo courtesy of Chi Hinks, morgueFile.com)

Fun for you and pup! (Photo courtesy of morgueFile.com)

Consistency in socializing the young pet with an assortment of different people and pets, will aid your pup’s best traits in shining through. Something as simple as bringing your new puppy into town one day will add the element of new aPups explore new friends (Photo courtesy of Lisa Solonynko, morgueFile.com)nd unexplored territory, mixed with unfamiliar people and maybe even a few unfamiliar pets.

Depending on your dog’s breed and interests, playing Frisbee, having a catch with a tennis ball, or chasing each other around grassy areas may be the most enjoyable means of getting a healthy dose of exercise. By incorporating other people, gentle children and other dogs into the equation, your young pup will reap the biggest benefit in outgrowing timidity and shyness while learning to play nice with others.Going for a ride (Photo courtesy of Charlotte Jessen, morgueFile.com)

If friends have a new puppy or even a dog that’s been with the family for many years, consider getting together with them at a neutral location like a park, or host a small get-together at one of your homes to socialize the pets. Keep them under close supervision, but allow them to explore the area and get to know one another.

No matter how young or old pets and people might be, socializing your new puppy with a variety of friendly strangers will tremendously improve his or her social behavior and general temperament.

When Puppy Love Sneaks Up… Dating with Your Dog
Perhaps a bit cliché from all the exposure in the movies, singles often express an interest in members of the opposite sex who clearly love animals. Allowing two pets to become close companions can be positive for their dispositions and overall happiness.

Spend time with your dog (Photo courtesy of Kevin Rosseel, morgueFile.com)Should two singles meet, both walking their own pet, a mutual double date for owners and pets could be a great icebreaker! While guardians get to know each other, pets may enjoy the new company, whether walking along side-by-side or frolicking in the park. Below are a few date ideas for anyone tickled by puppy love!

New pals for playing ball! (Photo courtesy of Mariana, morgueFile.com)Fun Double Dates for Pet-Lovers:
–    A walk or a gentle jog in the park
–    A trip to a dog-friendly restaurant or bakery
–    An adorable photo session with a disposable camera
–    A trip to a pet-friendly beach
–    A casual roller-blading excursion
–    A trip to a pet boutique or pet-friendly store that allows you to shop together

A Romantic Weekend Getaway to Beautiful Niagara Falls USA

Niagara Falls, whether on the USA side or the Canadian side, makes a wonderful romantic weekend getaway for couples. Taking a three-day or four-day weekend to visit Niagara Falls gives a perfect amount of time to relax, take in the sights, and taste the cuisine of the many fine restaurants in the Niagara region. No matter what activities you and your significant other like best, there’s something for everyone at Niagara Falls USA.

Niagara Falls and Maid of the Mist (Photo courtesy of R Beaty, morgueFile.com)

According to Laura Taczak, a representative for the American side of the falls, Niagara USA attracts roughly 50,000 honeymooners every year. She said the Niagara Falls destination became a popular honeymoon getaway in the early 1800s when Napoleon’s brother and Aaron Burr’s daughter honeymooned there.

“The mystique that attracts lovebirds to the region involves everything from the falls themselves — with their power and grace — to the region’s quaint small towns that offer relaxation, historic exploration and enjoyment,” Taczak said. “Travelers looking for romantic getaways will enjoy stunning outdoor vistas, gaming at the Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel, seven distinct wineries and lodging at more than 20 luxurious bed and breakfast properties.”

Beautiful Niagara Falls, American Falls (Photo courtesy of Noel Clark)She noted the availability of countless activities and excursions for couples on a romantic weekend getaway, such as limitless shopping, a wealth of history, exquisite and delicious dining options, adventure and excitement, romantic tours, and luxurious accommodations. Taczak suggests the following exciting and memorable ideas for planning your romantic weekend getaway to Niagara Falls USA.

Shopping in the Niagara Falls Area
On your romantic getaway to Niagara Falls, you can take a little time to pick up a few special reminders of your trip at the numerous shopping venues. Browse through the antique shops throughout the county or visit nearby Lewiston, Youngstown, Olcott, and Lockport for their unique antique and boutique shopping prospects, such as Lakeview Village Shop and Wilson Harborfront Shops (both in Olcott-Newfane).

For a well-rounded shopping experience, you might also consider visiting Fashion Outlets Niagara Falls, boasting more than 150 brand name stores, such as Burberry, Anne Klein, Coach, and Tommy Hilfiger.

Niagara Falls Activities for History Buffs
If you and your significant other are interested in some historical adventures on your romantic getaway, you might want to check out Old Fort Niagara to discover one of the fortresses that protected America’s northern border for more than 100 years.

You can also visit the charming Castellani Art Museum, which features a new Underground Railroad Historical Center. Another great historical attraction is the majestic 30-Mile Point Lighthouse, which offers spectacular views and amazing photograph opportunities.

Dining during a Romantic Weekend Getaway to Niagara Falls USA
Your dining choices on the side of the American Falls range widely from catching a meal at one of the well-known family-owned restaurants to checking out any of the Seneca Niagara’s six famous restaurants, and more. If you would like to get up close and personal to the falls for a breathtaking dining experience, consider lunch at the Red Coach Inn, which is perched a mere 1,500 feet from the American Falls.

You might also consider a meal at a restaurant in one of the nearby towns during a shopping excursion, as mentioned above. The Village of Lewiston, located approximately 7 miles from the falls, boasts a number of finer restaurants worth the trip.


October and Beyond Shopping – Purchases of These Products Include a Donation to Breast Cancer Research and Support Groups

October is widely recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Countless businesses do their part to help a good cause, and many individuals do the same. Auxier Gas has a pink delivery truck for Breast Cancer Awareness.While Breast Cancer Awareness Month takes place in the month of October, there are many things we can do to support Breast Cancer research and prevention all throughout the year. Check out this guide to do your part and contribute to the Breast Cancer prevention, research, and Awareness.

More companies than we can count are making their own contributions to the fight for a cure for Breast Cancer. From stand-alone local businesses to national corporations and everything in between, everyone wants to be a part of this great cause. As an example, Auxier Gas recently debuted its famous pink delivery truck to deliver propane to its customers in 11 counties in Southern Ohio and Northern Kentucky. The truck’s plan is to “drive early detection of breast cancer and awareness among current customers and the community at large”. When 2008 comes to a close, a portion of all the propane sales delivered by the pink truck will be donated to the American Breast Cancer Foundation. Auxier Gas also has its own Think Pink Grillers, a philanthropic barbeque team that will attend community events to raise money for the same charity throughout the fall.

As another example of a local business doing its part, Pilates People Physical Therapy and Fitness in San Diego, CA (www.pilates-people.com) initiated a program known as “Pilates for PINK,” which is raising money for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation through sales of tank tops, toe sox, and selected Pilates for PINK classes, as well as a raffle for a cure where the winner receives a deluxe package of services valued at $290.

“One of the most rewarding gifts you can give is to make a financial contribution to a good cause, and this has become easier and quicker as organizations facilitate online donations,” said Heather Cabot, Yahoo! Web Life Editor.  “Because we are making financial contributions to such personal causes, we want to ensure that our money benefits the right organization and is kept out of the pockets of scammers.”

On that note, those looking to make donations may want to check out Charity Navigator, the country’s largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities, “not all of the nation’s largest Breast Cancer charities are operating efficiently.” Charity Navigator rated more than 20 breast cancer organizations that collectively raise more than $1 billion per year in contributions to fight Breast Cancer. Interestingly, Charity Navigator’s research points out that a number of the organizations do not manage expenses or deliver aid as efficiently as they could.

Charity Navigator’s list of charities with accompanying financial data and ratings is available online for free at www.charitynavigator.org/breastcancer.

“During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, consumers are overwhelmed with opportunities to purchase products that support breast cancer charities,” says Sandra Miniutti, Vice President of Marketing for Charity Navigator. “But if you really want your consumer purchases to make a philanthropic impact, then you need to do your homework and not simply buy the item because it is emblazoned with a pink ribbon. If you can’t discern exactly how much of your purchase will end up in the charity’s coffers, and if you’re not willing to make a direct contribution to the affiliated charity, then don’t buy the product. Instead write a check to a well-run breast cancer charity.”

Of course, if you do want to buy Breast Cancer Awareness gear and apparel, you can check the charity out on Charity Navigator. To follow are a number of exciting “pink ribbon” items that contribute to Breast Cancer research and prevention when purchased during the month of October, or in some cases, at any time. Check out our categories of items and products that donate toward Breast Cancer Awareness, research, and prevention:

From clothing to accessories and more, you can make a difference while changing up your wardrobe or your current look. Check out clothing for yourself, your kids, and other loved ones, and don’t forget the neat accessories listed here. Your purchase makes a difference in the effort these companies are making to contribute toward various Breast Cancer organizations.

Keep Reading for Great Opportunities to Donate and Help…


The Do’s and Don’ts of Stain Removal

Two things are at a premium for everyone these days- time and money. No one wants to spend more of either one of them on something that they don’t need or want to be doing.Stain removal tips (Photo courtesy of morgueFile.com)

Doing laundry, on the one hand, is a necessary evil. Yet, on the other hand, it provides the opportunity for pleasant experiences. Our clothing is a gateway to memorable occasions. How we look precludes compliments and admiring gazes.

Doing our laundry correctly ensures that our outfits are pristine in appearance and therefore, worthy of every compliment we receive. Stains that have not been properly treated mar the appearance of an outfit. Therefore, it is extremely important to treat stain removal seriously.

Below are a few vitally important tips to stain removal:
– Take action immediately.
– Blot or soak up any excess substance from the garment quickly.
– Read the care label of your garment for instructions on cleaning it.
– Use the specific directions as closely as possible for removing the stain.
– Follow the specific instructions on any cleaning agents that you use.
– Identify the stain’s origination if possible, and use stain specific tips for its removal.
– Always work from the outside of the stain towards the center of it.

– If the stain is stubborn, massage it as gently as possible to aid in its removal.
– If possible, test a piece of the fabric in an inconspicuous place before applying any cleaning solution.
– If you can not possibly treat the stain right away, use a pre-treating stain stick.
– If possible, line dry the clothing after rinsing it thoroughly. Then, if the stain is gone, re-wash the garment per the label’s instructions.

Wash your clothes effectively! (Photo courtesy of Clara Natoli)

Here are a few equally vital tips on what not to do:
– Never wait until the next day to begin treatment of the stain.
– Do not rub the stain as this spreads the stain, and creates a larger area of the fabric to treat.
– Never use hot water on a stain because this will set the stain.
– Avoid mixing cleaning solutions to treat a stain. Some combinations are toxic.
– Do not use bare hands to apply solvents or bleach.

– Avoid inhaling the fumes from any cleaning agents that you use.
– Do not place the garment in the dryer if you think the stain has not been completely removed.
– Do not attempt to remove the stain yourself if the garment label indicates dry clean only.

Following these quick and easy rules will keep your wardrobe looking good and you looking even better!

©2005 Susan M. Keenan

Five Things to Consider When Selecting a Great Halloween Costume

Halloween is a fun and festive time of year for all ages. While the novelty of trick-or-treating wears off with age, costume parties are something we can enjoy for our entire lives. Wicked Witch costume, by Shirley of HollywoodWhen adults dress up for a Halloween party, they can choose costumes that align with their favorite things or even their fantasies.

As you begin the selection process for your Halloween costume, you should consider a few things to help you make your decision.

As you start thinking about your Halloween costume for this year, give yourself some time to get creative and to shop around for the perfect costume. Consider these five tips from Shirley of Hollywood, a boutique manufacturer and designer of costumes and lingerie fashions and accessories.

Shirley’s Top Five Tips on Halloween Costumes: 
Shirley of Hollywood offers the following tips for choosing the perfect Halloween costume this year:

Night nurse, by Shirley of Hollywood1. Accessories! Like any outfit, it’s all about accessories for Halloween. For instance, if you dress up like Little Miss Muffet, don’t just stop at wearing a frilly dress. Shirley of Hollywood’s Little Miss Muffet costume comes with a lace up dress, hanging spider, cotton cap, a ribbon tie choker and spoon, while our Roman Emperor costume comes with tunic, cape, breast plate, golden leaf crown, imitation leather ciraso and sword.  And you can add you own to finish your look with things like long satin gloves, boas, bling, boots and vintage shoes and fishnet or sheer hosiery.

2. Connection to Pop Culture. Costumes that connect to current pop culture and trends are always a hit. This year, keep your eyes open for Speed Racer & Trixie, Wizards (with the highly anticipated release of the final Harry Potter film), Olympic-themes, Wicked Witchy Woman or Glinda the Goody Goody Witch paired with Shirley’s Tinsel Town Tin Man plus great time period pieces — from Napoleon to Musketeers, Old English King & Queen, Scotsman & Scottish Lassie, Gangsters, and of course, the ever-popular cowboy / cowgirl and cave man / cave girl ensembles.

3.  Colorful Wigs… Wigs are a great addition to any Halloween costume. They really help ignite the fantasy of taking on an alter ego for the night. Shirley of Hollywood offers a range of wigs in all colors and lengths. Plus, a wig can be worn any time of year if you decide to get a little funky.

Cowboy and Cowgirl, by Shirley of Hollywood4.  Try Couples Costumes! Shirley of Hollywood has great his and her costumes. Some couples’ costume ideas: French Majesty and Miss Antoinette, Phantom of the Opera and Phantom’s Bride, Wizards, Gangsters, Scotsman and Scottish Lassie, King and Queen, Matador and Bull Fighter, Speed Racer or Racer X with Trixie, Musketeers, Pirates, Elvis paired with a Vegas Showgirl, Queen of the Nile and Roman Emperor, Pimp and “pimpette”, Cop and Inmate, and Man of the Mansion and hot bunny.

5. Emphasize Comfort. Approachable textures, breathable fabrics, and body-clinging yet functioning materials will let you live it up past midnight.

French maid, available from Shirley of Hollywood“Follow your fantasies, wherever they lead,” says Shirley’s President Roy Schlobohm. “That’s what Shirley’s Halloween Collection is all about. With Shirley, you can escape to Wonderland, be swept back to the French Revolution, engage in swashbuckling duel with the Pirates of the Caribbean or find grand passion as Cleopatra and Marc Anthony. Get a taste of the wild, wild, wild West in the Shirley Saloon, join the Circus, Circus, or dress up as a French maid and sweep the Man of the Manor away. Halloween is the time to unleash your inhibitions and let your imagination soar.”

Keep these five tips in mind as you plan your Halloween costume and you should be off to a good start for picking the perfect costume. To help give yourself some additional ideas on costumes to consider, check Shirley’s Halloween collection online.

About the Expert: Shirley of Hollywood is a boutique manufacturer and designer of fine lingerie, accessories, and costumes. Shirley’s collections include corsets, babydolls, legwear, Halloween costumes, bras, robes, and other undergarments, to name a few. For more information or to browse Shirley’s catalogs, visit online at http://www.shirleyofhollywood.com.

Bachelorette Party Ideas – Wild Weekend Hotel Getaway

Just as the man has his bachelor party, so should the woman have her own night of fun. So get all the gal pals together and prepare to celebrate your bride-to-be’s last flickering moments of independence in style. Plan a bachelorette party she’ll never forget – here are some tips to help you along the way.

Bachelorette goods available at Amazon.com!

Bachelorette party planning can be fun and stressful at the same time. From the guest list to the location to the drinks, food, and trinkets or party favors, this is an event that requires some careful contemplation if it is to be a success. For a fun and unforgettable bachelorette party, start with these tips and then build out your perfect evening or weekend for the girls. Here are some bachelorette party ideas for a wild hotel getaway theme!

The Bachelorette Party Guest List
You want to plan an evening that involves the bride and all the bridesmaids at the very least, but you may also consider reaching out to female family members and close female friends. If you are planning to host the event at a hotel, or at least planning to use the hotel as a place to sleep, you may need to reserve more than one room, depending on the hotel’s policy.

Tip: Send out your invitations as early as possible so that you give people a lot of notice. You’ll be more likely to get positive responses if you get your bachelorette party event on people’s calendars sooner rather than later.

The Bachelorette Party Date and Time
No matter what the movies tell you, the night before the wedding is most likely NOT the best day and time for the bachelorette party (much less the bachelor party!). Plan your event enough in advance that it won’t conflict with the rehearsal dinner or any of the other special wedding week festivities. If possible, try to plan it in the same month as the wedding, but at least two weeks prior, if not more.

You will also need to decide on the duration of the bachelorette party. If you are just doing one night, that is one thing. If you are planning an entire weekend, you will probably need more money and better organization skills.

The Bachelorette Party Location – A Hotel Getaway
If you are planning a night of partying, bar hopping, and drinking, a hotel would be a wise place to crash unless you have a chauffeur to cart you around all night. A hotel room can also be a fabulous retreat where you can play games, watch movies, relax, and enjoy a few cocktails.

You might decide to rent a hotel room with a connecting door to another room so that your group can have a big bash between two rooms. You might also try to squeeze your whole bachelorette party crew into one room. Whatever you decide, make sure your guests are aware of the sleeping arrangements prior to heading out for the night.

Depending on where you live and what your group likes to do, you might consider a casino night bachelorette party idea. If budget isn’t an issue for your party planning, you might consider a popular bachelorette party theme: the infamous Las Vegas trip. The Signature at MGM Grant offers the ‘Sex in Sin City’ Las Vegas Escape Package, which features a two-night stay in a luxurious suite that is almost 1,000 square feet, boasting its own whirlpool spa tub, fully functional kitchen, dual flat-screen televisions, and DVD player, to name a few. The bride and three friends can enjoy all these amenities and more, starting at $425 per person (rates and availability vary) for the two-night stay.

This wild and exciting hotel getaway offers the following great perks, which you could also incorporate into your bachelorette weekend no matter what you decide.

•    Enjoy Cosmopolitans served in keepsake martini glasses.
•    Cozy up inside plush, pink chenille robes that are yours to keep.
•    Treat yourself to the ultimate chocolate fondue.
•    Relax in your own private cabana at the pool, and indulge in poolside massages for your group of four.
•    Cruise around for three entire hours in your own private limo. Check out the shopping or the hottest nightclubs, or whatever your hearts’ desire.
•    Check out the WET REPUBLIC 53,000-square-foot pool a la nightclub with its own pampering elements.
•    Dig into a sushi dinner for four at the award winning Shibuya, and then head over to party on at Studio 54.
•    Sleep in only to awake for a continental breakfast in the comfort of your own hotel suite.

Bride tank, available at Amazon.com!The Bride’s Get-up
Let’s not forget your special bride. Look into fun novelty items to get her in the mood to party like it’s her last night of freedom. Check out the bachelorette veils, bachelorette bash buttons, bride-to-be button, and adorable bachelorette t-shirts or bride-to-be tanks. You might also consider the bachelorette bad girl look.

Bachelorette Party: The Morning After
If there is any possibility of your evening getting a little crazy, consider keeping some Tylenol or Advil on hand, as well as enough Gatorade and bottled water for your whole crew. Continental breakfast – or depending on how everyone feels, a breakfast buffet – would be a great way to end the perfect bachelorette party weekend.

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Whatever you decide to do for your friend’s bachelorette party, remember that this is a night your bride friend will never forget. It’s important to her that you are in attendance and that you celebrate together what just might be her last night out as a “single woman”.

Six Ways to Save Money on Your Cell Phone Bill

Saving money has become more important than ever, due to rising costs of fuel, groceries, and just about everything. Cell phones are no different, and in fact, cell phone bills are surprisingly expensive some months. Not to fret – there are several things you can do to save money on your cell phone bill.

To save money on your cell phone bill, you must first understand what you are paying for and whether it is vital to maintaining your cell phone service. First, examine your bill in detail, and get a representative from the cellular company to explain your bill and its charges to you if you do not understand. It gets easier to save money on your cell phone bill once you understand the charges you’re incurring each month.

Next, decide if you need to keep all the special features such as text messaging, picture messaging, and so forth. Are you already at the lowest allotment of minutes per month, or are you constantly going over? Keep these things in mind as you plot and plan on how to lower your cell phone bill.

Here are some targeted tips for saving money on your cellular phone bill:

1. Monitor your cell phone usage. Those minutes add up. Leave briefer messages when leaving a voicemail for someone. Urge him or her to call you back at their convenience and offer the rest of the details of your message at that point in time. To be on the safe side, your voicemail messages should be on the shorter side of one minute. Not one ten, not one twenty-three, but one minute even or better yet, even less. Those voicemail minutes tally quickly, and once you surpass your monthly allotment, the wireless company will slam you with some painful overage charges.

Consider this: if you normally pay an average of $50 per month without any overage charges, for a year of cellular service you are shelling out $600. Add in 45 cents or so for every minute you use outside of your calling plan and you could be in some serious trouble. Just 10 minutes over is around an extra five dollars once you figure in the tax rate. Be smart about your calls and limit the time you spend on the phone.

2. If you have a hard time saying goodbye, lie. Now don’t take this the wrong way… if your cousin calls you and really needs to talk, by all means give him as much time as you both can afford. If you really need to get off the phone, but for some unknown reason are unable to alert your telephone companion to that fact without feeling guilty over it, make a point to go feed or walk your dog, check your laundry or start cooking dinner. Any sane person will understand when you say, “Wow, I haven’t eaten all day. I had better go find a snack before I waste away.” Trust me, we can all relate.

3. Do not use the cell phone because you are bored. This especially includes driving. Many people do it to make the most efficient use of their time, but levels of concentration are sure to be partially diminished when one is fiddling with the radio or gabbing away on a cell phone. I have driven behind various men and women, wondering why, for Pete’s sake, are they driving so slowly, erratically and all over the road, or stopping for no apparent reason. As my car gets closer to theirs, I then see them waving their hands about the car while yapping away on the phone. It’s kind of like, hello lady or dude, your friend, your sister, your hairdresser – whoever – cannot see you to understand your body language and wild gestures, so save it for another time and get your darn hands back on the wheel!

For safety reasons, one should not be using the phone while driving anyway, save emergencies. In some states and townships, there are laws against it. If you are just lazing about the house and feel the need to do something, don’t pick up the cell phone unless you have free minutes during the particular time of day or night it happens to be. Watch a movie, read a book, clip coupons or relax in a hot bath, but don’t rake in any more charges than you have coming as it is.

4. If you are not expecting any urgent calls, check your voicemail during off-peak hours. Many cellular companies charge customers airtime usage for checking their voicemail messages during the designated “peak” hours of the day. If you have free nights and weekends, try to get your messages when it won’t cost you that dime.

5. Limit your calling. If you know you have a tendency to run up your bill with overage charges during peak calling times, make a point to call those friends and family members during your off-peak hours, especially on the weekend. If you both have cell phones, it should help thicken both your wallets!

6. Downsize your cellular plan. Do you really need to check your email and instant message your friends on your cell phone, or can that wait until you get back to your dorm, apartment or home office? Just think – half a decade ago, you couldn’t do all that on a phone to begin with. Anyone who had a cell phone back in the day when they first became popular had one of those dinosaur models that weighed as much as a cheese steak and probably reminded you of Zack Morris from Saved by the Bell.

Eliminating a little bit of luxury will go a long way when you bear in mind that overall costs on cellular services are elevated due to the “Total Taxes, Government Surcharges and Fees” that they don’t excitedly bring your attention to during the shopping and buying phases.

With some discipline and conscious decisions, you can easily cut your cell phone bill down to the bare bones. Save money on your monthly cell phone bill with these six easy tips. Chances are you can find a ton of better ways to spend that money!

21 Wonderful Ways to Flirt and Show Your Love

If you want to show your significant other how much you care, you don’t need to think too long or too hard. Here are some fun and flirty, sweet, and romantic things you can do to to express your feelings. Flirt with your honey, show your love, and let your sensual side show with these 21 romantic gestures!

1. Leave little love notes or piles of candy when you visit each other. Stash them away where your honey will be sure to find them, whether in the car, under his/her pillow or in a travel bag.

2. Call just because you are thinking of him or her… leave a cute message in the voicemail or send a text message with a sweet or seductive meaning. If you prefer to leave a message as opposed to talking, call when you know he or she is unavailable so a little something sweet is waiting upon return to the cell phone, home or office.

3. Send an email, or better yet, get old-fashioned and send a letter or a card through the mail to express your love. After all, who doesn’t love getting mail (well, except for bills!) as a surprise?

4. When you are getting together for an evening or even for just a few minutes, pick up his or her favorite treat or snack, a specialty coffee or dessert as a sweet surprise. If you are going to rent a movie or spend some quiet time at home, get a few snacks to enjoy with a flick or some television.

5. Speaking of renting movies, surprise your sweetheart with a movie you pick out that you know he or she would really enjoy. I often have a difficult time making up my mind about which movie to rent, so it would definitely be a huge – but much appreciated – step if I brought one over that I knew he would like.

6. You know those sweet things you think of when you are together or just thinking about your honey? Well, next time a thought pops in your mind, voice it! Girls especially love to know what wonderful things go on in the inner workings of their guys’ minds, so chances are, guys may also enjoy a few catch phrases.

7. When you spend time together, help each other out with chores to free up more time to spend together. Sometimes lending a hand can even be fun when you are both working together.

8. Swap massages, or simply give your partner a massage if you get the idea that he or she has had a long day. Foot massages and back rubs can do wonders for relaxing people and alleviating stress. Many males seem to enjoy having their backs gently scratched or rubbed softly as a means of helping them to relax.

9. Bring home take-out from a favorite dining establishment after a long day so the two of you can enjoy some food in the comfort of your own home. It isn’t quite as romantic as cooking it yourself, but it is definitely a nice gesture.

10. Pick wildflowers or give a single rose or carnation for no reason. I even found a four-leaf clover once to give to my sweetheart.

12. Do something you may not want to, simply because it is important to him or her. This can be anything from attending a show or an event to doing a chore, giving up a bad habit or just trying something new. Find out what is important to him or her if you don’t already know, and make it happen.

13. Spend time with his or her family. The seriousness of a relationship can sometimes be gauged by how one interacts with his or her partner’s family. Spending time at your honey’s family’s home can also serve to strengthen your relationship.

14. Spend extra time getting ready — dress up or wear something that you know your sweetheart loves to see on you.

15. Snuggle up and take a nap together. There is nothing quite like falling asleep and waking up in the arms of the one you love….

16. Play romantic music and dance together. Slowly dancing around the room to a favorite song can mean so much more when it is completely unexpected.

17. Go on a picnic! Gather your favorite foods, drinks and desserts, a comfortable blanket and some utensils, plates, cups and napkins and head out for the park on a beautiful day. Go for a walk in the park while you are there and enjoy all of the nature around you.

18. Carry his or her photo in your wallet. Keep your sweetie present at all times by putting a photo of him/her or the two of you together in your wallet, at work, in your car or wherever you think you would most like to see it.

19. Bring your sweetheart to visit places you came to know and love in your childhood. Parks, playgrounds, the zoo, pumpkin patches, museums, amusement parks, beaches, boardwalks and any other attractions that you enjoyed as a child can bring back happy memories to share with your significant other.

20. Share your daydreams. Whatever makes your heart soar at thoughts of the future, consider sharing those ideas with your special one. Daydreaming together can be a very romantic and emotional experience, whether it is fully in jest or in a degree of serious contemplation.

21. Spray a little bit of your perfume or cologne on his or her pillow. You will be on each other’s minds to begin with, but the lingering scent after you have gone separate ways for the night will bring sweeter dreams than usual.