Thursday, February 22, 2018

Have a Pet You Love? Enter the #ZulilyPetWeekContest

If you follow me on social media, you know we recently adopted a sweet, mellow Golden Retriever. If you don't [shameless plug coming] you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more updates, information on must-have products, beauty secrets, and all the random things. Since adopting our big guy, I have been obsessed with finding great treats, toys, and products. I don't know why I didn't look on zulily sooner!

But here's something really fun that zulily is doing to celebrate all of the adorable, silly, and sly pets around. To celebrate Pet Week, zulily is hosting the #ZulilyPetWeekContest. Simply post a picture of your pet on Facebook or Instagram for a chance to win a trip to zulily for a personalized pet photo shoot, a curated package for your pet, and to be featured in images and post across zulily’s social media channels including an interview on zulily’s Facebook Live Channel. Plus, four runners-up will win a curated pet product package worth $100! For contest details click here

To enter on Facebook click here.

 One of the cutest parts of the contest is the five themes. These are:
  • "Biggest Baby – Do you have a dog and a puppy in the house? Share a photo of them together for a chance to win. 
  • Cutest Puppy – If you just brought home a new fur baby, this is your chance to win with a photo of your new puppy. 
  • Pet & Human Duo – Are you and your pet a dynamic duo? Show off your favorite photo together to win this category. 
  • Coolest Cat – We know there are some cool cats out there - here is their chance to shine & take home a prize. 
  • Most Unique Pet – This one is for those pets with scales, wings, feathers, etc.!"
So, why not enter? Share a picture of your pet and maybe you'll win! can look at all of the other adorable animal photos to destress at the end of a long day (or in the middle of one).  Contest ends February 23rd (ending at 11:59PM PT).

The newest member of our family

Monday, February 12, 2018

Five Mom Hacks For Saving For Your Children's Future

Written by a contributing writer

Saving is hard but necessary, especially when you have children. If you have hopes of sending your child off to a good college, paying towards their wedding, helping them put a deposit down on their first home, or even buy them a safe and reliable car when they pass their driving test, then you need to start saving when they are young. Sure there are fantastic loan options they can use like, but as a parent, you want to try and help them as much as you can. However, with so many daily expenses, it can be difficult to commit to putting away a decent chunk of money. Not to worry. Just like with trying to save yourself some time, you can save a lot of money by simply making small changes. By saving yourself a small amount of money here and there, you can start to build up a decent pot of money with next to no effort at all. Below are five tips to help (Source) you start to build that pot.

Say No to Coffee

Don’t panic. You don’t have to give up coffee forever. But consider how much money you spend heading to Starbucks even once a day on your way to work. Instead, make your own coffee at home and put it in a travel mug for your morning journey. The money you would have spent on the coffee shop visits can be put towards the beginnings of a savings account. It may not seem like much, but you’d be amazed how much those little purchases add up to a substantial amount of money over the course of a month.

Change Jar

An old favorite, get yourself a big jar and put all your change in it. You might choose to put all your coins in or maybe just the lower currency values, either way, all that money will add up over time. Many people throw small amounts of change away, but by keeping hold of them, you are maximizing your money usage. You might be surprised how much money you can build up over the course of a few months or years. Once the jar is full, you can either take it to the bank or use a machine which will convert your change into larger monetary denominations and you can then put it into a savings account. Be warned though, even a regular sized jar filled with change can be heavier than you think.

Yard Sales and Clear Outs

Everyone has junk they bought, used, loved, but no longer need. You could throw it away, but by selling it, you get a little bit of extra money in your pocket that can go into savings. You can also use a yard sale as an opportunity to teach your kids about how to haggle and get the best price for things.

Look at Your TV Packages

Most people have incredibly comprehensive packages for their cable TV. But be honest, how many of those channels do you really watch? Consider lowering your package to the next level down, or even the most basic level. There are also ways to keep up with your favorite shows (through the internet and apps) without having to pay for traditional cable TV. You may think you’d miss it, but you’d be surprised how quickly you adapt to less choice. You may even get more work down around the house without the TV to distract you.

Stay in Instead of Going Out

Going out is expensive, even when you do it on the cheap. Create some quality family time by staying in with a board game or doing an activity together. Playing outdoors, cooking together, and putting on a talent show are all fun ideas you can do at home.

Hopefully, these tips have helped ease your mind and shown how easy and painless it can be to start saving for your children’s future. By making small changes, you can put that money to better use planning for the future.

Monday, February 5, 2018

3 Tips to Choosing the Right Diamond

Written by a contributing writer

Buying diamonds is easy. But choosing the right one – that is usually a little more difficult. You see, some people liken it to the process of choosing a life partner. In both cases, you have to tread with care. This is especially true when it comes to picking out the perfect diamond rings that can be used for proposals. That said, taking the right approach will help make the selection process easier and more enjoyable.

The key to choosing the perfect diamond is knowledge. Sure, most people have already heard of the 4 C’s that define diamond shopping. But that by itself is not enough. Brief research or a short visit to your local jewelry store will not give you enough information to pick the best diamonds. But it’s not an impossible prospect either. Here are 3 tips that will help you choose the right diamond:

1. Consider the Cut

The cut should be your topmost consideration when buying diamonds. That’s because it’s the biggest factor determining its beauty. Simply put, the better the cut, the better the diamond’s sparkle and brilliance. On the other hand, cuts that are too deep or shallow will not reflect enough light. That’s why poorly cut tones usually look dark and lifeless.

So if you want to find a diamond that looks great, then consider its cut grade. This refers to the objective assessment of the stone’s proportion and finishing. Use the GIA system to rate gems before you buy them. The ratings here will range from Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor. Always strive to get the best cut of diamond that is available within your budget.

2. Check Out the Shape

If you are going to buy to buy diamonds as a gift or engagement ring, then you had better get the recipient’s shape preferences right. While it’s true that other factors like price and quality will affect your choice, let the recipient’s personal style and taste guide your choice of shape. This is especially true when it comes to the fancier or more exotic shape diamond rings.

If you can’t ask for your partner’s shape preferences directly, then think about getting a round diamond. That’s because they tend to have more brilliance than other shapes. They can also accommodate any setting and are always in fashion.

Furthermore, make sure to check out the gem’s length to width ratio. This calculation has a major impact on the shape of any diamond. For instance, the difference between a rectangular or square princess cut stone is quite obvious to any eye. So if you’re not sure about the diamond shape that you want to get, view some stones with different length to width ratios to see what you like. This is also a great way to narrow down your search.

3. Don’t Forget About Color

The vast majority of untrained buyers can’t tell the difference between one color grade and the other. But diamonds are more than just colorless pieces of stone. High-quality stones often show differences in color that make them look much more beautiful.

For the best value, look for stones rated G-J diamonds. It’s also important to note that it is easier to detect color in larger diamonds. In that case, you can opt for a G-H rating in stones that are over one carat and I-J for those that are below one carat. When coupled with a great cut and setting, you will end up with a beautiful and expensive looking diamond ring at a fraction of the price.