Q&A – How to Save Money in this Tough Economy by Planting Your Own Veggies

In the current state of our economy, grocery prices continue to climb and there’s no true end in sight. Luckily for consumers, some stores, like Weis Markets, are initiating a price freeze on popular products that appeal to their customers, promising they won’t raise the price on those groceries for the foreseeable future.

Despite these price freezes – and even the use of coupons – consumers need to find other ways to save money and reduce expenses in the current economy. Last year was a big year for consumers starting their own vegetable gardens, and this year is expected to have an even bigger gardening surge.

In the spirit of saving money in creative ways, George Ball, chairman and CEO of Burpee, shares the following tips for beginner gardeners and anyone who wishes to grow a vegetable garden and save some money on groceries this year.

Q. Life Love Beauty – Roughly how much can a couple or a small family save in grocery money by growing their own produce?

A. George Ball (Burpee) –
A couple – $500-$700
Small family – $1,000-$2,000

Q. Life Love Beauty – Typically, how long is the growing season for the different “zones” in the US? How many months of home grown veggies can gardeners expect in a typical season?   

A. George Ball (Burpee) – 10 months, deep South to 4 months far North, 6 months of home grown veggies

Q. Life Love Beauty – What are the best veggies to grow with grocery store savings in mind?  

A. George Ball (Burpee) – Green Beans, Large Tomatoes, Colored Bell Peppers, Sugar Snap Peas

Q. Life Love Beauty – What are some veggies that may seem challenging or intimidating but aren’t?  

A. George Ball (Burpee) –
Green Beans, Peas, and Cucumbers

Q. Life Love Beauty – Do you have any tips for beginner gardeners who want to try and slash their grocery bill this year?  

A. George Ball (Burpee) – Implement succession planting.  Begin planting cooler weather crops such as lettuce in the spring, then move to warmer weather crops like tomatoes and peppers, and then back to cool weather crops like spinach, radishes, etc.  Burpee developed the Money Garden seed pack especially for this purpose / new gardeners.

Q. Life Love Beauty – What kinds of veggies are the easiest to grow for even those who haven’t tried gardening ever before?

A. George Ball (Burpee) – Radish, Lettuce, Potatoes, Onions

Q. Life Love Beauty – Do you have any other facts or statistics on growing veggies and/or saving money that may apply to this topic?

A. George Ball (Burpee) – Yes.  See price comparisons…Homegrown versus store-bought veggies.


A tomato—from one plant—you’ll get bout 40 to 50 medium to large fruit, per season.  At the stores, they run about 75 cents to a dollar each, or 35 dollars to 45 dollars per season from one plant.

A seed packet contains, say 25 guaranteed seeds out of 30 total.  Place the average at 40 dollars, multiply it times 25, and you get a thousand dollars worth of store bought tomatoes from a 3 dollar to 4 dollar packet of seed.  This is a ratio of 1:250.  Ten times my (George Ball, Burpee’s Chairman) average ratio.  If someone says, wait, what about fertilizer, etc. you’re still looking at an incredible level of savings.  Say the tomatoes go on sale, at 50 cents each, ratio is still 1:125 or 150.  Way over 1:25.

Bell Pepper
A large red bell pepper—from one plant—you’ll get about 10 to 15 peppers, maybe 20 tops, per warm season.

At stores, these run around $1.50 each.  So, average 15 times $1.50 is $22.50 per plant.  Seed runs at 10 seeds for $3.00 or 30 cents/seed.  From 10 seeds guaranteed germ, you get ten plants resulting in 10 times $22.50 and the yield from the packet is $225.00.  Ratio this time is less, since peppers are less productive, at 1:75.  So, on sale would drop it a bit as would any extraordinary costs or insect problems or cold snap.

Sugar Snap Pea
Sugar Snap Pea—from one plant (vine)—an average customer gets just over a pound, but be conservative and say a pound per plant.  (FYI they run about 90 to 100 pods per pound.)  They go in stores anywhere from $3.50 to $4.00 a pound.  Say $3.75 a pound bag.  Seed runs about 150 seeds for $1.50, in general.  Or a penny a seed.  However, they get “thinned” by 2/3, so that’s 50 vines for 3 cents per.  Fifty vines yield fifty pounds @ $3.75 store bought comp.  So, a $1.50 packet of seed yields $187.50 worth of sugar snap peas.  An average 1:100 ratio this time allowing for the fencing, etc.  Unless you like stringing vines, which I happen to do.

Beans, green snap beans, have a similar profile, of about 1:90, or 1:80, depending on the bean.  Haricot verts will be less, since they’re less productive, as well as more expensive at the store, maybe 1:40.  Real bargain in flavor, especially, unless you live next door to a farmer’s market.

–    All information provided in this comparison is courtesy of Burpee.

Tips on When to Start Your Veggie Garden Seeds
If you are like many beginner gardeners, you may be wondering when to start your vegetable garden seeds, and whether you should start them inside or wait and plant them outside. Growing vegetables from seed is a very interesting and rewarding process. The tender loving care you give to your seeds, seedlings, and plants returns to you many fold in the crops your vegetable plants produce for you.

Tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants should be started indoors, shares George Ball, chairman of Burpee, adding that all other seeds can be started outside. He also notes that seedlings should be six to eight weeks old when taken outside and planted in your garden, and the best time to plant your veggie seeds is after the threat of frost is over in your USDA Hardiness Zone.

About the Burpee Money Garden:

For gardeners of all aptitudes, Burpee offers the Money Garden, a large packet of vegetable seeds to get your veggie garden going with six types of veggies – Carrot Big Top (1500 seeds), Tomato Steak Sandwich aka: Large Round Tomato (30 seeds), Bean Heavyweight II aka: Bush Snap Bean (2 oz.), Lettuce Burpee Bibb (1000 seeds), Pepper Home Run aka: Bell Pepper (30 seeds), and Pea Super Snappy aka: Garden Pea (300 seeds). This vast packet of seeds costs only $10 and contains enough seeds to produce more than $650 in delicious, homegrown produce requiring a mere tenth of an acre of growing space.

For more information on Burpee, gardening, and vegetables, please visit online at www.burpee.com.

Become the New, Flawless, Fresher You — Product Review: Become’s Age Resistant Face Smoothing Gel

At each stage of life, as females, we dream of becoming. Become's Age Resistant Face Smoothing GelAs young girls, we wish to be become flawless, fresh-faced replicas of the models that graze the pages of a magazine. Then, as time works its inevitable aging process, we dream of becoming ten, twenty years younger — relishing in the days when our beauty reached its ultimate pinnacle. Now, no matter what your stage of life or personal beauty aspiration, your wish may be granted. But instead of rubbing a magical lamp to obtain your fanciful standards of beauty, all you have to do is rub your face — with Become’s Age Resistant Face Smoothing Gel.

A luxurious exfoliator infused with Jojoba beads, Become’s Age Resistant Face Smoothing Gel gently polishes the skin to create a silky, radiant complexion. Become’s products are expertly designed to slow the aging process, and this particular gel features an algae extract that firms and tones the skin, leaving you feeling years younger, with skin as smooth as a baby’s bottom.

This smoothing gel is a great pick-me-up for your morning shower — where I first decided to try it out.  Within seconds of flipping open the cap, I was met with a noticeable, yet pleasant fragrance. The product emitted a dominant and invigorating smell of fresh mint, but under this initial layer emerged a subtle hint of fresh and fragrant rose petals. Understandably, this awkward mixture of opposing scents may seem rather unpleasant, but the pairing actually proved to be a delightful balance that left me feeling energized, yet still softly feminine.

Become's Age Resistant Face Smoothing GelThe light pink gel is infused with tiny scrubbing beads that work to polish the surface of the skin. Rubbing the gel between my palms, the texture reminded me of a day at the beach — removing my hands from the ocean and feeling the small granules of sand that haven’t completely washed away.  When rubbing these sand-like beads on your face, it does seem a bit harsh at first, but to tell the truth, this slight polishing sensation became, to me, more of a positive than a negative. The abrasiveness of the beads made me feel as if the product was truly doing its job, scrubbing away the imperfections for a deep and thorough clean.

Barely into my twenty’s, I wasn’t extremely concerned with the age reversing aspects of the gel, but was simply looking for something to give my skin an all-over smoothness, as I sometimes struggle with scratchy areas around the forehead and nose. When I rinsed my face (an easy task since the lightweight gel was a breeze to remove), I was surprised to find that I not only received the results I was looking for, but could also identify how the product truly helps to battle signs of aging.

My skin instantly felt silky smooth — even those troublesome areas that are usually tough to eliminate. I seemed to radiate with an all-over freshness.  Although I could not take full advantage of the aging features of the product, I could see how the gel may leave women feeling rejuvenated and years younger.  The product left my skin feeling extremely firm, and any poking or prodding could barely produce a budge. The gel creates such a remarkable smoothness — as if it peels away years and years of aging layers to reveal the true, younger you beneath the surface.

The directions recommend using the gel once a week for dry skin and three to four times for a normal or oily complexion. I found with most face washes, the initial smooth feel would fade overnight, as I would wake up the next morning with the same problem areas. With this Face Smoothing Gel, however, the feeling lasted throughout the next day, leaving me feeling silky, smooth, and radiant for days at a time. Overall, I’d recommend this product to anyone looking for a great cleanser, a radiant complexion, and a youthful boost of beauty!

A 5.3 oz. bottle of Become’s Age Resistant Face Smoothing Gel runs for $29, and this and other Become products may be ordered at www.becomebeauty.com or 1-877-BECOME2.

Also, stay tuned this month for our Face Smoothing Gel Giveaway. You might just BECOME a winner!

St. Patrick’s Day Jewelry and Irish Accessories

4 leaf clover green pearl necklace by Mu-Yin Jewelry, LLC, www.muyinmolly.etsy.comWhether you are Irish at heart or Irish through and through, celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with a festive Irish wardrobe and Irish or green accessories is a great way to get involved with the holiday. From earrings to necklaces, bracelets, bangles, and beyond, you can have lots of fun dressing up your outfit for St. Patrick’s Day with fun, green jewelry fashions and Irish accessories.

Feel free to dress for the occasion… If you are going to a bar, you might go for a funky look with chunky green jewelry or unique, Irish themed accessories. If you are hosting dinner in your home, a single conversation piece – a special piece of jewelry with a story behind it – can really lighten up the mood. If you are going on a special date for St. Patrick’s Day, you might choose jewelry from your significant other or pick out items with an Irish theme to show off your unique sense of style.

Irish Themed Jewelry for St. Patrick’s Day
When it comes to sporting the right accessories, your own personal fashion sense leads the way. Select items that make you feel good about being you – items that make you feel natural and comfortable yet also daring and fun.

Here are some fun St. Patrick’s Day jewelry fashions and Irish themed items that caught our eye:

Gold Oval Charm Necklace by Janna Conner Designs

•    3832 Gold Oval Charm Necklace, Shown in Kelly Green / Clover – $87.  Enjoy the luck o’ the Irish with this unique gold plated oval pendant enhanced with vibrant Kelly green enamel and a gold plated clover charm hanging from an 18″ 14K gold fill ball chain. Designed by Janna Conner Designs, www.jannaconner.com.



Gold Medium Charm Bangle by Janna Conner Designs

•    3668 Gold Medium Charm Bangle – Shown in Kelly Green / Lucky Mix – $81.  Gold plated bangles enameled and decorated with unique charms. One of our most popular styles! Shown in Kelly Green/Lucky Mix (top). Measurements: 2.75″ diameter, 0.75″ width. Also available in silver. One size fits most! Designed by Janna Conner Designs, www.jannaconner.com.



Gold Thin Charm Bangle by Janna Conner Designs

•    3666 Gold Thin Charm Bangle – $75. Shown in Olive/Lucky Mix.  Gold plated thin bangles enameled and decorated with charms. Shown in latte/owl head (left) and olive/lucky mix (right). Bangle measures 2.75″ in diameter and 0.5″ in width. One size fits most! Designed by Janna Conner Designs, www.jannaconner.com.


Gold Christa Bangle Set by Janna Conner Designs

•    4903 Gold Christa Bangle Set – $123.  Set of three gold plated thin bangles decorated with a mix of charms hanging from a large jump ring. Mix consists of a gold plated knot charm, asymmetric Swarovski stone, and small semi-precious coin. Shown in Emerald Swarovski mix. Also available in silver. Designed by Janna Conner Designs, www.jannaconner.com.


four-leaf clover guitar pick necklace by Heidi B, Funklectic Mistressfour-leaf clover guitar pick earrings by Heidi B, Funklectic Mistress

•    Four-leaf Clover Guitar Pick Earrings and Matching Necklace – How cool is this design?! The cord is made from a recycled guitar string! Cool white guitar picks are accented by four-leaf clover design in a pretty Irish green. Design by Heidi B, Funklectic Mistress, www.funklectic.com.





1 OAK Crystal and Mayoica Pearl Lariat Necklace


•    1 OAK Crystal and Mayoica pearl lariat necklace with a pop of green – This piece includes a 14K gold filled chain with a combination of Green Crystal, Pink Topaz and Mayoica pearl beads. The chain is approx. 29.5″ in length – this is excluding the bottom pendants which are almost 1.5″ long. This lariat style necklace looks great dressed up or casual. Designs by Sara, of 1 O.A.K.

4 leaf clover green pearl necklace by Mu-Yin Jewelry, LLC, www.muyinmolly.etsy.com•    4 leaf clover green pearl necklace – Four rare lime green petal shaped keishi freshwater pearls are wrapped in sterling silver wire to resemble a four leaf clover.Looks gorgeously feminine on a sterling silver chain and irresistably cute on a leather choker. Pendant measures approximately 5/8″(17mm) wide. Choose a leather cord or sterling silver chain. Designs by Mu-Yin Jewelry, LLC, www.muyinmolly.etsy.com.


“sweet pea” green pearl jewelry by Mu-Yin Jewelry, LLC, www.muyinmolly.etsy.com.

•    “sweet pea” green pearl jewelry – Enjoy a classic sweet pea look with creatively designed pea pods or single peas. The green pearls are lovely and offer a unique spin on green jewelry. Sweet pea jewelry is available as necklaces, earrings, and rings. Designs by Mu-Yin Jewelry, LLC, www.muyinmolly.etsy.com.

Garnet, Jade and Opal Jewelry by Nancy Dobbs Owen

•    Garnet, Jade and Opal Jewelry – Five stone crushed chain necklaces are made of sterling silver, gold fill and green garnet or jade. The confetti necklace is crafted in sterling, gold fill and Peruvian opal.  Designs by Nancy Dobbs Owen www.nancydobbsowen.com.



Abstract Triangle Bangle by Velina Glass


•    Abstract Triangle bracelet – This bangle is made of custom dyed epoxy resin and sterling silver.  I pour the liquid resin into a mold made from transparency paper.  I cure the resin with heat and finish it by hand using increasing grits of sandpaper.  Only hand sanding can give the resin this luminous look and silky smooth texture.  This bracelet is priced at $100 and is available at www.velinaglass.etsy.com. Design by Velina A. Glass, The Artist Online, LLC,  www.artjewelryonline.com.


 “I recommend a necklace made of a green stone – green garnet for prosperity, jade for wisdom, opals for good fortune…,” says Nancy Dobbs Owen (www.nancydobbsowen.com). “Natural, gorgeous, flattering and useful!”

“Especially on holidays, jewelry can be such a perfect way to add a pop of color,” says Sara, of 1 O.A.K.

St. Patrick’s Day Recipes for Irish Main Courses, Appetizers, and Sides

If you are planning to host guests for a hearty St. Patrick’s Day dinner, chances are you’d like to prepare a feast to be remembered. Corned beef and cabbage with potatoes is a popular St. Patrick’s Day dish just as Irish Potatoes are a popular St. Patrick’s Day confection. Instead of going with the traditional, tried and true Irish recipes, why not try something a little less familiar?

Whether this is your first time cooking an Irish meal or whether you’re a seasoned pro just looking for a new Irish recipe to try, consider these traditional Irish dishes – from main courses to sides and more.

Shepherd’s Pie
Courtesy of Mealtime.org

Hearty, simple, healthy: three words that describe traditional Irish cuisine. Topped with lumpy mashed potatoes, also known as Irish Champ, mixed with green onion or other vegetables, you can prepare this dish ahead of time and bake it for dinner on St. Patrick’s Day.

1 pound lean ground beef or lamb
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) carrots
3 tablespoons canned tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped parsley

2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) sliced potatoes, drained
1/4 cup fat-free milk
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup chopped green onion
2 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese

Cook and stir the beef, onion and celery in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until the beef is lightly browned and the onion is translucent. Add the carrots, tomato paste, thyme and black pepper. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes to blend; mix in parsley. Transfer to a 9 1/2-inch pie pan.

Topping: Combine the potatoes with milk, black pepper and nutmeg; mash in food processor with pulsing action. Mix in the green onion.

Spread the potato mixture over the beef mixture in the pie dish; sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350°F for about 30 minutes, or until the potato is lightly browned. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Servings: 6

Nutritional Information Per Serving: Calories 260; Total fat 9g; Saturated fat 3.5g; Cholesterol 50mg; Sodium 620mg; Carbohydrate 28g; Fiber 6g; Protein 19g

– Recipe courtesy of Mealtime.org.




1 lb. Bacon Slices
2 lbs. Premio Sausage Links
Bacon Fat or Oil
2 large onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, whole
4 large potatoes, thickly sliced
2 carrots, thickly sliced
1 bouquet garni, (parsley stem, celery, bay leaf, other aromatic herbs of your choice)
Black pepper
Hard cider (apple wine) or apple cider
Chopped parsley for garnish

Lightly fry bacon until crisp.  Place in large cooking pot. Brown sausage in some bacon grease or vegetable oil. Remove and add to pot.  Soften sliced onions and whole garlic cloves in fat, then add to pot with potatoes and carrots.  Bury the bouquet garni in the middle of the mixture.  Sprinkle with pepper.  Cover with cider.  Simmer 1.5 hours over medium-low heat; do not boil.
Garnish with chopped parsley

– Recipe courtesy of Marc Cinque, owner of Premio Foods.


“In Ireland, parsley sauce is an essential accompaniment to the traditional meal of corned beef (or boiled gammon), boiled potatoes and cabbage. My husband, Michael Patrick Carroll, whose birthday falls on March 17, won’t touch a plate of corned beef without parsley sauce,” says Mary McEvoy Carroll, principal of Sand Hill Communications.

Parsley sauce (serves 6)

Quarter cup of all purpose flour
Half teaspoon of salt
4 tablespoons salted butter (Irish brands give the correct rich taste)
8 – 10 fluid ounces of full fat milk
Quarter teaspoon white pepper, or to taste – the parsley is quite peppery on its own
A small grating of whole nutmeg

One bay leaf
A big handful of curly parsley, finely chopped. This is not the time for the Italian versio

1. Make a roux by adding the first five ingredients to a cold saucepan and whisking continually over a low heat until the butter is melted, the flour is incorporated, and the mixture has thickened.

2. Add the nutmeg and bay leaf and barely simmer at a very low heat for 5 – 10 mins.

3. Whisk in more milk if the mixture is too thick.  We are looking for a pouring sauce.

4. Remove the bay leaf and stir in the parsley.

5. If you make this ahead of time, it’s traditional to put a lump of butter on top of the warm sauce before covering. The butter will melt and pool so that the surface doesn’t develop a skin.

6. Reheat gently on the stove top or in the microwave. Pour over anything on the plate.


– Recipe courtesy of Mary McEvoy Carroll

More Irish Main Courses, Appetizers, and Sides…

Tropical Hair Ornaments for Beach Weddings and Destination Weddings

Beach weddings and destination weddings present so many fun and exotic options, from a flirty and beachy wedding gown to adorable and perfect tropical hair ornaments. Flora, $79, made of Feathers and Austrian Crystals - By PrincessBrideTiaras.comTropical hair ornaments offer a variety of stunning hairstyles, whether up-dos, half-up half-down, or long and flowing bridal hairstyles with a simple tropical hair clip off to the side.

When selecting tropical hair ornaments for beach weddings and destination weddings, brides have many options in terms of materials that make up the tropical hair accessories as well as the color scheme, and tropical theme (starfish, flowers, shells, etc.). Destination brides and beach brides can also have fun picking out tropical hair ornaments for their honeymoons – after all, you can really take advantage of pretty and exotic hair accessories when you’re spending a week on the beach!

Types of Tropical Hair Accessories and Ornaments for Beach Weddings and Destination Weddings
Wild Rose, Pearl. $69, Made of crystals and leaded class with crystal stone center, by PrincessBrideTiaras.comDestination brides and beach brides have many options when it comes to selecting wedding day hair accessories for tropical themed weddings. From headbands to clips, decorative combs, and hairpins, the possibilities for beach themed hair ornaments and exotic hair styles are innumerable. First, the bride should decide if she wishes to wear her hair up in a tropical up-do, down and flowing with the tropical breeze, or half-up and half-down, showing off a beautiful wedding day hair ornament.

Some popular materials adorning tropical hair ornaments and accessories may include seashells or pieces of shell, pearls, mother of pearl, and Swarovski crystals. Silk flowers, such as the Karin’s Garden Orchid Hair Clip shown in Life & Style, are another popular option for tropical wedding hairstyles. If you cannot decide on a particular type of wedding day hair accessory or tropical hair ornament, consider consulting your hairstylist for a professional opinion. If you find several styles that you like, and if they are within your budget, you might consider picking up several tropical hair accessories so that you have options. They will still be fun to use on vacations long after your wedding day, after all.

KARIN'S GARDEN Silk Amaryllis French Hair Clip - Pink - $25, available at Amazon.com  Tropical Hair Ornaments for the Bride and the Bridal Party
Destination weddings and beach weddings create the perfect forum for fun and flirty hair accessories – especially when worn by the bride or members of her bridal party. Brides may choose to wear a special hair ornament on their wedding day while requesting that bridesmaids wear a different tropical hair ornament. Or, the bride may wish to be the only person in the bridal party wearing a tropical hair adornment.

Flower girls may look especially adorable with seashell barrettes or other fancy beach themed hair accessories on the bride’s wedding day. The options for these kinds of hair decorations truly are limitless, so brides will do best when they give some thought to the hairstyles before seeking out the pretty hair accessories.

Choosing Tropical Hair Ornaments and Accessories for Wedding Day Hairstyles
One way to help you decide on the perfect tropical wedding hair accessory is to style your hair similarly to how you plan to wear it on your wedding day, and then to test your style with a variety of hair ornaments, if possible. If you cannot test the hair accessories in person because you plan to purchase them online, you might try to obtain a photograph and get a few opinions from close family members, your bridesmaids, your hairstylist, and even your husband-to-be, if you don’t plan to keep every detail of your wedding attire a secret.

PrincessBrideTiaras.com caters to many destination brides and beach wedding brides. The hair accessories offered by PrincessBrideTiaras.com are often crafted with Austrian crystals, leaded glass, and even feathers.

Here are a few styles of tropical hair ornaments by PrincessBrideTiaras.com and a few other picks that we just love:

 Calla Lilly Brooch (can be used as hair jewelry), $109, made of Austrian Crystals - By PrincessBrideTiaras.comStarbright, $59, made of Austrian crystals (gold) - By PrincessBrideTiaras.com  Starbright, $59, made of Austrian crystals - By PrincessBrideTiaras.com

Wild Rose, Pearl, $69, Made of crystals and leaded glass

Wild Rose also available with crystal center stone

Starbright, $59, made of Austrian crystals

Starbright also available in gold

Calla Lilly Brooch (can be used as hair jewelry), $109, made of Austrian Crystals
 Star Flower, $59, made of Austrian Crystals - by PrincessBrideTiaras.com
Star Flower, $59, made of Austrian Crystals
Flora, $79, made of Feathers and Austrian Crystals - By PrincessBrideTiaras.com e=”5″ width=”179″ height=”250″ align=”right” />
Flora, $79, made of Feathers and Austrian Crystals

KARIN’S GARDEN Amaryllis Clip-Pin Duo – Shown in “GLAMOUR” March 2006: In Pink or White – $24

KARIN’S GARDEN Silk Amaryllis French Hair Clip – Pink – $25

Try a variety of exotic wood hair accessories – Hand Carved Hair Forks.


* * *

If the tropical hair ornaments and wedding hair accessories you find never seem to be the right fit for you, consider wearing a fresh flower or several fresh flowers in your hair. Tropical flowers worn in the hair on one’s wedding day offer a very natural look that is accentuated by other flowers carried or displayed at the wedding. A hibiscus flower makes a lovely addition to any tropical wedding day hairstyle!

Five Tips for Conquering Cellulite

Legs. Men love them, and women love showing them off. From skimpy swimsuits to sexy miniskirts, we continually find ways to accentuate our best features. Try as we might, though, we cannot always prevent cellulite, lumpy and dimpled fat deposits that resembles cottage cheese or an orange peel, typically noticed on our legs, hips and buttocks.

Countless procedures – medical and non-medical, surgical and non-surgical – offer alleged “cures” to cellulite, including everything from medicinal injections to herbal body wraps available at most spas. And while all these supposed cures exist, each person responds differently to various treatments and procedures. Some at-home remedies for cellulite may be just as effective as a complex procedure like mesotherapy, which involves microinjections of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and medications. These chemicals react with the fat deposits in the targeted areas where the injections occur, dissolving the fat deposits and shrinking the fat cells.

If heaving over a heap of cash to smooth out the cellulite from your legs isn’t in your plans, consider these at-home remedies to lessen cellulite’s impact on your life and your legs!

Detoxify your diet! By eating lots of healthy, fresh fruits and veggies, you’re already taking the first step toward healthier skin and fewer cellulite problems. Whole grain foods also contribute to your cause. Think about reducing or eliminating your intake of alcohol, coffee, soda and cigarette smoke to further aid your quest to end cellulite. Items high in fiber positively impact your health and also respond better to the digestive process. Your best-case scenario: A low-fat diet high in fiber and rich in fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Exercise to your heart’s content.
Not only does exercising help you lose weight and tone your muscles, but it also helps to improve circulation while firming your tissues in general. You’ll notice an increase in your energy levels and hopefully, you’ll enjoy your exercise routines enough to see its value on mental, emotional and spiritual levels.

Relax. Avoid those things that cause stress and aggravation in your life if at all possible. Take hot bubble baths, practice yoga or begin meditating on a daily basis. A more peaceful frame of mind will help you get into the routine of satisfying your skin’s needs.

Exfoliate and renew your skin naturally. Try natural body scrub products during your shower routine and use a loofah pad, massage brush or other cleansing tool to release dry and dead skin cells so new, healthy ones can form.

Find a massage partner and relieve tension while stimulating your circulatory and lymphatic systems. Massaging your body can help prevent cellulite from forming while it also helps to battle cellulite that already exists. To begin, try basic massage techniques. Start by massaging your legs one at a time in a circular motion. This should help prevent fat from collecting while also breaking down and ridding the body of toxins.

Try a few of these tips for reducing and preventing cellulite in your body. Remember that about 90 percent of women experience cellulite in some capacity, no matter how slim they might be. If you believe you have more serious cellulite problems than most, speak with a dermatologist to learn more about treatments that may be available to you.

Product Review: MS. Manicure & MS. Pedicure Nail Care Sets

Oh how excited I was this past weekend. The Ms. Manicure set is available at Amazon.com.What’s funny is that I had so much fun with my girls, yet we never left the home. My girls and I rocked the soles of our feet and buffed our fingernails as we took turns giving each other the most perfect manicure and pedicure treatment ever!! What made it more fun was doing the whole “girly thing” with Patience and Piper because they had never experienced any of this before…needless to say, THEY LOVED IT!

I have actually been to a spa once or twice and had a wonderful time (I won’t even begin to down play that), but because of the cost, I wasn’t able to experience it with my girls, which is what I’ve always wanted to do. So when I was asked to review these particular products, I jumped at the chance and happily accepted (knowing good and well that doing this was going to require a bit of “help” (wink-wink) from the little ones…you know, in order to really try out the products for durability and satisfaction).

Ms. Manicure and Ms. Pedicure productsWhen I opened the box, I was pleasantly surprised with how many products MS. Manicure and MS. Pedicure offer. The names they give each product are catchy and cute too. Here’s a list of the products I tried along with a short description of what they are:

1.    There’s the Ms. Pedicure Rock ‘n Sole ($1.99); a pumice stone that’s great for exfoliating and smoothing dry skin and calluses, it’s got an easy-grip shape with a rope (good for hanging) and it’s a great aid for softening your feet (but be aware, if you have sensitive feet…stay clear of the arch- it TICKLES!).

2.     Ms. Pedicure Smoothy Groovy ($2.99); the Smoothy Groovy is a 2-in-1 foot brush & pumice. It’s similar to the Rock ‘n Sole but it’s on a non-slip handle (also with a rope for hanging) and comes with a brush which allows you to scrub feet clean after you’ve used the pumice to clear away dry skin and calluses.

3.     Ms. Pedicure Heeling Fine ($3.99); The perfect healing cream for those dry, cracked heels or great for maintaining those already soft feet.

Ms. Pedicure Toe Riffic Tools, available at Amazon.com4.     Ms. Pedicure Smooth Talker ($4.99); a 2-in-1 callus reducer. Now, I have to say that I really enjoyed this product…a lot. It resembles a grater, but it’s for your feet. The coarse side exfoliates dry skin while the fine side smoothes. Much like the Smoothy Groovy, it crafted on a beautiful, pink non-slip, easy grip handle.

5.     Ms. Manicure Handy Dandy Mani ($9.99); a 9 pro tool set for that perfectly marvelous manicure. This set includes: nail brush, wood cuticle sticks, cuticle nipper, nail clipper, nail scissors, washable salon board, 4-way nail buffer (the best buffer ever…no need for nail gloss ever again), tweezers and all these items come in a double-zippered pocket bag to take with you on your travels.

6.     Ms. Manicure Block Party ($.99); a 6-way buffer on an easy-to-handle handle. The buffer is conveniently numbered for step-by-step buffing to make smoothing and shining a snap. You might as well throw away the nail gloss because this buffer will leave your nails shining for days (without the nail gloss chips).

Ms. Pedicure Spa Retreat for Legs & Feet, available at Amazon.comNow, these are just a few of the many products to be had at MS. Pedicure & MS. Manicure. Every product is perfectly packaged with in the cutest shades of pinks & blues and the smells from the healing cream are so minty; you’ll literally feel the tingle in toes as an “Ahhh” or an “o-o-oh” escape your mouth. Seriously, they smell (and feel) that good!

After trying all of these products, I can assure you that they’d make the perfect gift for anyone on your “gift” to-do list (or yourself). The prices are practically unbeatable and come with the satisfaction of many, many months of spa goodness.  I give every one of these products a big thumbs up for appearance, quality and long lasting results.

Please visit Ms. Pedicure and Ms. Manicure if you’re interested in purchasing any of the products listed above or for more information. You can buy Ms. Manicure and Ms. Pedicure products at Amazon.com.

Spring 2009 Beauty Preview

Spring traditionally marks a time of new beginnings and nothing could be truer when it comes to the seasonal beauty scene. While softer looks usually take center stage, this year splashes of bold, beautiful colour also make a statement.

First and foremost, skin serves as the foundation for our beauty and is the most important aspect of any makeup look. Obtaining a good moisturizer is the first step to achieving beautiful, glowing skin ─ no matter what your skin type, hydration is critical to skin’s overall health and appearance. Follow this with a light-weight foundation to give skin an even color, without looking heavy. For example, ARTISTRY® Tinted Moisturizer will give you the even color you want, but it also contains a moisturizing formula and UV protection that helps shield skin from the sun’s damaging rays for naturally gorgeous, younger-looking skin.

For Spring 2009, during a season inspired by nature’s beauty, three standout makeup directions are emerging.

Bright Eyes
A single pop of colour adds a playful twist to spring beauty. Apply colour from lashline to crease and enhance the look with full, flirty lashes. Get the look of the season with ARTISTRY Eye Colour in Sapphire or Tulle. Keep the rest of your look light with a gentle blush on the apples of cheeks and gloss for shimmering lips.

Beautifully fresh-faced is a season standard. Turn to shades of soft sands and earthy browns to capture a look so natural that it’s barely there.

Created with tonal colours applied to eyes, cheeks and lips; it’s effortless beauty at its best. One easy way to achieve this look is to use a customized makeup kit, such as the ARTISTRY essentials makeup kit. The kits come complete with everything you need to create this simply flawless look, from mineral foundation to mascara to lip shine, and more.

Bold Lips
Springtime-chic took an unexpected turn with bold lips and a classically defined eye. Think updated Hollywood glamour with signature red lips transformed into berry-stained hues and dramatic liner redefined with surprising colour. Get in on the action with ARTISTRY’s high-dimension lip colour in Opulent or Sheer Chance.  And for lips that are picture-perfect, shape and contour them with ARTISTRY Lip Define in Downtown or Nuance.  Keep the rest of your face bare for a sophisticated, modern finish.

Experiment with one look or try all three. Spring is the perfect time to update your makeup, try new things, and remember just how much fun colour can be!

About the Expert:
Barb Alviar is the US Beauty Marketing Manager for ARTISTRY Cosmetics. For more information on ARTISTRY products, please visit online at www.artistry.com.

How to Use Concealer and a Product Review: Mary Kay Concealer

Using a concealer can be… Mary Kay Concealer helps achieve a clear complexion.well, let’s just say that it’s one of the more rewarding steps to the whole “applying” makeup experience, but it can be a bit tedious and even disastrous if you don’t have the right shade to cover with.

Let’s look at it this way: if the shade is too light, you risk looking a little ghostly and you’re not actually “concealing” anything you set out to hide in the first place; if it’s too dark, you end up looking splotchy and again, defeat the whole purpose of using the product; essentially, you end up drawing more attention to the problem rather than disguising it.

The goal of using a concealer is to cover those unsightly blemishes, swathing those miniscule scars or brightening up those dark, under the eye circles (without looking like you tried). A concealer is merely a “helper” for covering up the areas that regular liquid foundation can’t fix or mask.

One of the reasons why I was so eager to review the New Mary Kay Concealer was because I knew that I was the perfect candidate. I was born with bilateral cleft lip and have endured 23 facial surgeries to date. Without the use of a concealer, my scars stand out like a sore thumb. I had already been using the yellow concealer from Mary Kay, so I knew how well the product worked…when asked to try one of the color shades, I was more than excited about it. If you’re not sure what a yellow shade is used for; it is used to reduce the appearance of redness on the skin (much like a scar or for women who suffer from rosacea). It can also be used to cover red blemishes in women with ivory to beige colored skin tones.

The other reason I was so thrilled to accept and do this review is because I know that it’s made from one of the leading companies for skin care and color cosmetics. I know that the minute I apply this product to my face I’m getting the best treatment possible.

Mary Kay Concealer helps achieve a clear complexion.Now, some of you ladies may only need to use a concealer for a week or two out of the month; others (like me) need to use it daily. So, it’s one of those extra makeup products worth having around. It is a lightweight waterproof formula that is suitable for sensitive skin. It’s fragrance-free and is non-comedogenic (meaning it does not block pores).

For as little as 10.00 per .3oz tube; you’ll have the ability to conceal for (literally) years to come (*depending on how often and how much is used per application*). I’ve had my yellow concealer going on 2 years now and haven’t even reached the bottom of the tube yet. All you need is an itty-bitty speck (much less than half the size of a pea) and you’ve got yourself great cover that will last all day. There are seven shades in all; perfect for blending naturally with an even wider array of skin tones. It’s suitable for sensitive skin and has been dermatologist tested. This concealer can be used in conjunction with your regular foundations and powders or can be used as a standalone. It’s definitely something worth adding to your makeup bag.

In conclusion; I recommend the new Mary Kay concealer to anyone who is seeking flawless-looking skin, wanting to conceal blemishes and other imperfections and for anyone who suffers from dark under-eye circles. You’ll absolutely love the way it evens out your skin tone, hides those dark circles under the eye and masks marks and other imperfections.

If you are interested and want to know more about this product; please visit Mary Kay online by going to http://www.marykay.com.You can also call 1 (800) MARY KAY (627-9529) or swing by your local representative’s house (maybe you can call her first…LOL) for your ordering convenience. Thanks for reading the review and I hope it’s helped with the decision in your next concealer purchase.

St. Patrick’s Day Cocktail Recipes – Alcoholic Drinks and Non-Alcoholic Beverages for the Irish and Irish at Heart!

St. Patrick’s Day is a special holiday meant for celebrations and socializing. Green Fin, featuring FinlandiaWhether you plan to throw a St. Patrick’s Day party at your home or simply wish to have a special St. Patrick’s Day cocktail as a pregame or a nightcap treat, you’ve come to the right place. These St. Patrick’s Day cocktail recipes and Irish themed alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are enough to get your party going or just relax before the night comes to a close. We even suggest a number of green smoothies for the health conscious and any expecting moms.

You can enjoy St. Patrick’s Day cocktails with a green color scheme and a festive Irish theme. You can also mix Guinness beer with a few beverages to create special Guinness cocktails and alcoholic beverages for St. Patrick’s Day. Don’t forget to use special Irish and Celtic glassware for an even bigger impact. Consider these fun Irish cocktails and green drinks for your own St. Patrick’s Day celebration.

St. Patrick’s Day Drink Recipes Using Guinness
Many people love Guinness beer, but aside from the Irish Car Bomb, how many can say they’ve enjoyed a cocktail made with Guinness? In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, please enjoy these exciting Guinness cocktails responsibly.

“Guinness is much more versatile than many people think,” says Elizabeth Balduino, who is a representative Guinness. “As you prepare recipes for St. Patrick’s Day, here are a few great beverages to help you toast the day.”

All-Irish Black & Tan, featuring GuinnessAll-Irish Black & Tan

1/2 pint Guinness Draught
1/2 pint Smithwick’s Irish Ale

From a chilled bottle, fill a clean pint glass just over halfway with Smithwick’s Ale.  Open a chilled can of Guinness Draught.  The head will rise.  Prepare to pour.  Place your Black & Tan spoon (regular spoon will also work) face down on the rim of the glass and slowly pour your newly opened Guinness Draught over it.  When the Guinness has risen to just proud of the rim, you’re ready to enjoy the distinct pleasures of The All-Irish Black & Tan.

– Recipe courtesy of Guinness

Black Velvet, featuring GuinnessBlack Velvet

5 oz chilled Guinness
1.5 oz chilled Champagne

Pour Guinness into champagne flute. Add champagne carefully, so it does not mix with Guinness, and serve.

– Recipe courtesy of Guinness

Guinness Shandy, featuring GuinnessGuinness Shandy

1/2 pint Guinness
1/2 pint lemonade

Mix lemonade with Guinness in a pint glass. Serve in a beer mug.

– Recipe courtesy of Guinness

Original Half & Half, featuring GuinnessOriginal Half & Half

1/2 pint Guinness Draught
1/2 pint Harp Lager

From a chilled bottle, fill a clean pint glass just over halfway with Harp Lager.  Open a chilled can of Guinness Draught.  The head will rise.  Prepare to pour.  Place your Half & Half spoon (regular spoon will also work) face down on the rim of the glass and slowly pour your newly opened Guinness Draught over it.  When the Guinness has risen to just proud of the rim, you’re ready to enjoy the distinct pleasures of The Original Half & Half.

– Recipe courtesy of Guinness

Special Note:
As a special sidebar note, Guinness is petitioning Congress to make St. Patrick’s Day an official holiday. You can join the cause by signing the petition at www.proposition317.com.

Green Cocktails and Irish Beverages for St. Patrick’s Day…

Top 2009 Spring Break Destinations

Spring break is a long awaited, much anticipated holiday for college students. Poolside may be the best place to relax for spring break. (Photo courtesy of morguefile.com)Each year, students scatter across the country and even to the Caribbean and beyond for an exciting weeklong getaway. Spring break vacations take students away from books, homework, exams, professors, jobs, and even athletic team practices most times. For 2009, some of the top spring break destinations may not surprise you – but some other top 2009 spring break destinations may catch you off guard.

Read on for the top 2009 spring break destinations for college students.

Top Spring Break Destinations for 2009 – Overlapping Popular Spring Break Locations
While different travel organizations are bound to find some similarities and some differences in the top spring break destinations for 2009, it’s interesting to see those similarities as a means of gauging the most popular destinations. It is also quite interesting to compare the differences as a way of expanding the possibilities for spring break hotspots for this year.

Cancun, Mexico continues to be a spring break hotspot with Las Vegas, NV also taking a popular spot for spring breakers this year. Some surprising facts – Chicago is among the top 10 spring break getaways for 2009, as is Panama City Beach, FL, which has carried its popularity as a spring break hotspot for many years.

Poolside may be the best place to relax for spring break. (Photo courtesy of morguefile.com)Top 10 Spring Break Destinations on Orbitz – Week of 3/16 (Spring Break)    

•    Cancun, Mexico
•    Orlando, FL
•    Phoenix – Mesa, AZ
•    Oahu, HI
•    New York, NY
•    Miami, FL
•    Los Cabos, Mexico
•    Riviera Maya, Mexico
•    Chicago, IL


Top 10 Spring Break Destinations on CheapOair.com

•    Panama City Beach, FL
•    Cancun, MX
•    Fort Lauderdale, FL
•    Key West, FL
•    Summit County, CO (ski)
•    Lake Havasu, AZ
•    Las Vegas, NV
•    Lake Tahoe, NC/CA (ski)
•    Killington, VT (ski)
•    New Orleans, LA

In addition to the above spring break travel data and statistics, Travelocity has named Orlando, FL as the number one destination for spring break this year.

With highway travel in mind for some spring breakers, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) reminds travelers to use its free 511 Travel Information System, which allows motorists to plan their travel routes ahead of time and call 511 for information on their customized routes to avoid traffic and stay safe. 511 is available in 34 other states, too.

For more information on 511 in Florida, please visit www.FL511.com or www.511News.com, and for information on 511 in other states, check out www.deploy511.org.

Recipe to Get into the Best Shape of Your Life

Thin, trim, athletic and slim… Many men and women across the globe wish for such a figure, but few are fortunate enough to have it without a great deal of work.

Whether you are an avid athlete or a chronic couch potato, this fairly easy dietary regimen should give you a good push in the right direction. Pair it with some regular exercise and a positive attitude, and you could be well on your way to the best shape of your life!

Tip #1: Give up soda.
It’s true – soda is full of empty calories. Sure, it may help you to stay awake at work, but it can also corrode your teeth and increase your waistline’s girth without warning. Sugary drinks impact the acidity of saliva, which quickly increases the likelihood of cavities. Furthermore, continuous consumption of soda and other super-sugary beverages can impact your digestive process.

If you can’t give up soda, at least decrease the amount of soda that you drink in a given day. Try to treat soda as just that – a treat. Have one glass a day with lunch or dinner, and drink ice water or spring water for the remainder of the day. Water is great for your body, helps to flush out toxins, and keeps you hydrated. That’s a lot more than we can say for soda!

Tip #2: Pass up salty, greasy fast food.
Believe me, as a French fry-aholic, I feel your pain. As a cross country runner in high school, I gave up eating fast food at all my favorite chain restaurants. I don’t think I ate a single French fry or chicken McNugget for six months or more. And how could I forget, when my running season was over and I indulged myself in an Extra Value Meal, my stomach cried out in pain for all the greasy chow dumped into it after months on a healthy diet.

Again, if you can’t give up the fast food, try to limit the amount you consume. You can pair your cheeseburgers with salads or fruit cup, or, you can consider switching to a healthier alternative like a deli sandwich or wrap.

Tip #3: Shut out the sugar.
Like I should talk here, being a self-proclaimed chocoholic. But without a doubt, I eat five or ten times as much candy now as I did during my high school sports seasons. Now, ten years later it is ten times tougher to prevent those sugar calories from sticking on my tummy, legs, and hips. What’s a girl to do?

During those months of training for my races, I gave up ice cream and 90 percent of the candy I used to eat. I also chowed down on healthier snacks, like carrot sticks and crackers when I got hungry. Try cutting out the majority of your sweet indulgences and treat yourself to just one (OK, or two) sugary treats a day. A small candy bar, a single brownie, two cookies…give yourself a limit and stick to it. If you feel especially motivated and determined, try to give up the sugary snacks completely for a few days a week.

Tip #4: Stop eating before bed.
Without a doubt, eating and sleeping should not go together as blissfully as they do. Eating makes us feel full and being full is akin to satisfied. Satisfied equals comfortable, and comfortable often leads right to sleep. But, if you limit yourself to eating dinner and all snacks prior to a certain time, you can help prevent those extra pounds from sneaking on late at night.

Sure, it’s all right to get a midnight snack once in a while, or to indulge at a friend’s party or other social engagement. The big idea is to work out a routine of eating before it gets to be late at night. Stick to the schedule as best as you can, and be sure to eat three balanced meals a day.

Tip #5: Exercise!
Adhering to the right kind of diet should help you initially, but exercise does the body good in so many ways. Whether you like to walk, jog, run, bike, swim, go to the gym, or do exercise videos, exercise is critical to keeping your body in the kind of shape you crave. Fitness is good for your body, mind, and soul. Paired with the right kind of diet, a regular regimen of exercise can really work wonders on any body!

* * *

Remember, everybody’s body is different. What works for me may not work as well for you, and vice versa. Whatever the case, cutting some of the sugary sodas out of your diet and working out on a regular basis should bring positive results.

Consult your physician before attempting any rigorous dietary routines or dietary supplements.