Christian City’s Graceland Thrift Store Grand Opening

Shirley Ritchie, Christian City resident and faithful volunteer, at the new spacious and modern Graceland Thrift Store.

Shirley Ritchie, Christian City resident and faithful volunteer, at the new spacious and modern Graceland Thrift Store.

Join Christian City’s Board of Trustees, along with Mr. Truett Cathy and other special guests, as they celebrate the grand opening of the new and improved Graceland Thrift Store located on the Christian City campus at 7425 Red Oak Road in Union City. The event will be held on Thursday, May 23rd from 4:00pm-7:00pm with a ribbon cutting at 4:00pm followed by FREE refreshments, door prizes and 25% off everything in the store. All store proceeds benefit The Children’s Village at Christian City.

Graceland Thrift Store opened in 1984, and was named after “Mama Grace” Duke, who had recently retired from being a house parent  and began this ministry as a “yard sale” to raise money for The Children’s Village. The Children’s Village at Christian City has been caring for children in need since 1965. Over 1,000 children have called Christian City “home.” For more information about The Children’s Village, please visit www.christiancity.org or call 770-703-2636.

Simplify Your Morning Routine with a BB Cream

dr jart

What would you say if you found out you could take care of your moisturizer, skin treatment, sunscreen, and makeup all at one time? You could hit the snooze button an extra time or two thanks to no longer needing to apply a product, wait for it to soak in, then apply another, and another. It’d also help keep your bathroom counter clear of extra products, and you could keep all the special serums and creams tucked away for days when you have more time and really want to pamper yourself. The solution to your morning makeup (and skin care) dilemma is called BB Cream, or Blemish Balm.

Not all BB Creams work the same way. Not all of them offer the same coverage or same amount of SPF, so if you can visit a Sephora or department store where you can get your hands on samples, do that. You may have to go through a few different kinds to find the one that offers just what you need and makes your skin look as close to flawless as a do-it-all product can. A few to check out include:

Boscia: This comes in only one color for now, but a bronzer BB Cream from this line will be on the market soon. It has SPF 27 as well as antioxidants, and the coverage is opaque for a BB cream, similar to light-to-medium coverage foundation. All skin tones are supposed to be able to wear it, but those with very fair skin may find it a bit too orange. ($38, Sephora)

Urban Decay Naked: This is another single-shade product meant to meld with most skin tones. It has SPF 20 and it’s designed to minimize pores, wrinkles, and redness instantly. If you use it on a daily or almost-daily basis over the course of eight weeks, your skin should look lifted and firmer. ($34, UrbanDecay.com)

Maybelline Dream Fresh: This doesn’t actually offer much in the way of skin treatments or coverage, but if your skin is nearly flawless anyway and you’re just looking to even out your skin tone a bit and add moisture and SPF (SPF 30), it’s worth a look. The texture is silky, it’s inexpensive (around $8), and can be found at most drugstores and Ulta. Another perk is the fact that it comes in five shades that will give your skin a healthy glow.

Dr. Jart +: This line has consistently received fantastic reviews from beauty product junkies, and some argue that these are the closest to the original Korean BB Creams you could possibly get in the United States. There are several to choose from, such as Renewalist (SPF 40), Black Label Detox (SPF 25), Water Fuse (SPF 25), and Premium (SPF 45). If it’s difficult to choose the perfect one for your skin and you’re not near a Sephora where you can give them a try, there’s a set with .5 oz of each of the four at Sephora.com for $34.

Clinique Age Defense BB Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 30: Clinique is well-known for its skin care line, so the addition of a BB cream to the line should be no surprise. This one’s $37 at Clinique counters and Sephora, and it comes in three shades. Some reviewers feel that it’s too heavy, while others say it doesn’t offer enough coverage and they use it as a primer for their regular makeup. If you tend to love Clinique’s products, at least give this one a whirl at the counter to see how the formula feels on your skin.

BB creams can be the ultimate time savers, or if you’d prefer, they can be an extra step in your normal routine. Use them as a multi-functioning product in the mornings or use them as a foundation primer in conjunction with your normal moisturizers and serums. The important thing is to sample as many as possible in order to find your skin’s perfect match. You may never go back to the complicated morning routine again.

 

Smart Design Tips to Maximize Small Spaces

small spaces

If you’ve ever strolled through Ikea’s showroom in downtown Atlanta, you’ve probably been in awe that designers can fill and decorate every inch of a 600 square-foot living space while still preserving the room’s visual balance, interest, and functionality. It’s not as much of a challenge as you might think, though. Whether you are struggling to make your tiny spare room look organized and spacious, or you are contemplating an entire condo makeover, here are a few insider trips and tricks to keep your small space looking (and feeling!) like it is fit for a king.

In a small room, where design options are limited, it is very important to decide on a main focal point – typically the space by a window or a wall. Fill the focal point space with a bold piece of furniture, such as an armoire or a pair of dramatic bookcases, and then position more modest accent pieces throughout the rest of the room. To play up the illusion of openness, consider adding clear Lucite chairs or a glass table as accent furniture. If your taste is more traditional, use a neutral color palette to make the space feel larger. Incorporate tasteful, interesting pieces that don’t overwhelm, and be flexible to seasonal changes and inspirations. One way to corral clutter and still stay organized is by storing items in cottage-style baskets or modern, sleek boxes.

Drawing the eye upwards to the ceiling to make the room seem larger is one design trick that is commonly used by designers who are working in smaller spaces. Two tried-and-true ways to accomplish this is by installing floor-to-ceiling windows (or simply dressing existing windows with floor-to-ceiling curtains), and by using vertical stripes to lengthen the height of the room. Layering curtains is less of a commitment than hanging striped wallpaper, and can give the illusion that there are large windows behind the curtains instead of a large, empty space with one small window. If the focal point of the room is the window, layering a variety of curtains can add depth and color without overwhelming. Layering curtains is similar to peeling an orange in that the outermost panels should be a thicker, heavier fabric, and the innermost panels should be lighter, breezier fabric. As always, when choosing panels, you have to consider the color scheme and décor in the rest of the room. If the room is mostly neutral with a few pops of color and accents, then choose your outermost curtain panels to match one of your accent colors, and your innermost panel to match a neutral hue.

Another way to bring drama to a small space is to amplify the lighting. Floor lamps, table lamps, and sconces will brighten up dark entryway corners and make vacant bedrooms feel warm and cozy for guests. In smaller spaces, where the amount of accessories is limited, choose lamps that are interesting and unique to give the space personality and flair. Pair lamps with colorful shades, or give basic shades a mini-makeover by adding some DIY accessories like tailored ribbon edging or a rustic burlap flower. Another trick for magnifying light in a small space is by using mirrors to reflect the natural light in the room. When hanging a mirror in your guest bedroom, entryway, or dining nook, be sure to place it across from a window or lamp so that the maximum amount of light will be reflected back into the space.

Whether your room’s footprint is large or small, maximizing its space with smart design tactics. By planning for a focal point, increasing the vertical height of the room, and amplifying light, any space will feel twice the size.

 

7 Savings Tips for Winter Formalwear

prom dress

Nestled between homecoming and prom, the winter formal is a festive way to kick off the new year. It helps combat post-holiday blues and distracts dance-goers from the fact spring is still a few months away.

Though the timing of this dance is ideal for teenagers, it couldn’t come at a worse time budget-wise. Families still recovering from the spend-heavy holidays may not have much in the way of cash for formalwear. Thankfully, there are several frugal ways to find “the dress” without breaking the bank.

1. Shop Second-Hand
The best way to save on formalwear is to buy it second-hand. Since most girls wear formal gowns only once and never again, it makes sense (and cents!) to buy them for a fraction of the original price. If you don’t have a Plato’s Closet or Buffalo Exchange in your area, head online to LikeTwice.com for several brands including BCBGMaxazria, Ralph Lauren and Banana Republic.

2. Swap With Friends
If you’re short on time and cash, consider organizing a dress swap with your closest friends. You’ve likely coveted the formal look of a friend recently, and this is your opportunity to showcase her style in your own unique way. Plus, you can make a party out of the exchange and gossip about your big night.

3. Be Frugal (for Now)
Ultimately, there’s no reason to spend a bundle on a dress that will be worn less than 12 hours. Save the bulk of your dress money for prom and pick up a trendy frock for your winter formal on the cheap. You can even shop online for deals by going to FreeShipping.org for coupon codes to places like Forever 21 for additional savings.

4. When in Doubt, LBD
You may dream in color and sequins, but ultimately you can’t go wrong in style or budget with a classic little black dress. Glam it up with inexpensive baubles from Claire’s or Charming Charlie, or peruse the clearance section of department stores such as Macy’s or Lord & Taylor.

5. Reinvent Your Fave
Do you love the cut of a dress you wore before but don’t want to show up in the same ol’ gown? Reinvent your floor length fave by getting it tailored to a shorter look. Alternatively, you can lengthen a shorter dress by asking a tailor to add a chiffon overlay for a very trendy look.

6. Rent for Less
Though your winter formal isn’t quite as fancy as prom, you still want to feel like royalty when you step onto the dance floor. For the best in designer gowns, check out RenttheRunway.com and consider renting your dress for less than $100.

7. Be a Bridesmaid
You can find great formal attire at bridal shops in the form of bridesmaid dresses. Peruse the clearance rack and ask sales associates to point you toward the dresses available for take-home. The tradeoff in price is buying something many people have tried on before you. Be sure to get the dress dry cleaned before the main event.

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Kendal Perez is a frugal fashionista and bargain shopper who helps fellow shopaholics find hassle-free ways to save money. As the marketing coordinator for Kinoli Inc., site manager for a family of money-saving websites, Kendal has the resources to be an extreme couponer but prefers a less complicated approach to staying in-budget. Kendal has been quoted in such media outlets as People StyleWatch, TIME Business & Money, Kiplinger Personal Finance, Health Magazine, FOX broadcast and many more. For savings tips and more information, visit HassleFreeSavings.com.

Do’s and Don’t of Buying Clothes Online

chothes online

Innovations in online shopping have made the Internet an increasingly popular outlet for fashion. From technology that promises the perfect fit to widgets that allow you to discuss your potential purchase with friends, virtual clothes shopping is on the rise.

With e-retail spending projected to increase 62 percent by 2016, it’s no wonder this trend is on an upward trajectory. However, anyone who’s shopped for clothes online knows the defeat of getting the wrong size, or discovering a store’s version of bordeaux is actually fuschia. As a fashion-obsessed online shopper, I’ve had my share of both failure and success. That’s why I’ve compiled these do’s and don’ts to make your next online experience a positive one.

DO Know Your Budget
When shopping online, inventory from nearly any merchant is at your fingertips, presenting both an exciting and perilous opportunity. Before perusing your favorite retailers’ offerings, determine a spending threshold so you don’t tempt yourself with items priced beyond your budget. As you browse for coveted items, remember taxes and shipping fees will add to the price of your selection.

DON’T Forego Making a List
Be a proactive online shopper and take stock of your closet to determine key items you need. It’s easy to get distracted by the full-price “new arrivals” and the super-cheap “final sale” offerings, and a list will help you stay focused. Be wary of high-priced trends and spend the most money on classic pieces that transition well through the seasons. Consult Glamour.com for 10 items every woman should have in her closet, then shop (and spend) accordingly.

DO Find a Coupon Code
Before you hit up your favorite fashion sites, look for promo codes to determine which site has the best deals. Some retailers such as Kohl’s allow you to use more than one code, so make sure you know these details before checking out. You can find coupons and free shipping deals for Kohl’s and other retailers from sites such as FreeShipping.org.

DON’T Buy at First Sight
I rarely buy an item the first time I see it online. That’s because I know every “new arrival” will eventually go on sale when it becomes old news. When you find a full-price item you love, bookmark it and monitor the cost over the next few weeks. Though waiting is the hardest part, I saved $50 on a pair of wine-colored skinny jeans by holding out for a 50-percent off sale.

DO Read the Return Policy
It’s important to know the details of online return policies since you may be responsible for return shipping if the item doesn’t work out. Check here for a list of stores that offer free return shipping, and remember most retailers will cover the cost if you’re simply exchanging the item for a different size or color. Some big retailers allow you to return a garment to their local store, so know your options before you click “purchase.”

DON’T Spend More for Free Shipping
While free shipping promotions seem pretty commonplace these days, most retailers have minimum order requirements. If you don’t want to spend more than $50, adding a bunch of items to your cart to qualify for the free shipping threshold of $75 doesn’t make sense. You’re essentially paying an extra $25 for “free” shipping and loading up on items you wouldn’t otherwise buy. Bad idea!

DO Read Reviews
Online reviews aren’t just for electronics and Amazon users. Most fashion retailers enable customers to review clothes they’ve purchased, and these insights are extremely helpful for potential buyers. In some cases, reviewers will let you know if an item runs small or big, or if there are style defects that aren’t obvious on screen.

DON’T Skip the Sizing Chart
Despite the potential of TrueFit, ordering clothes online can be daunting if you’re not familiar with the retailer and their sizing standards. Study the charts offered for each garment and take the time to measure yourself as suggested by the retailer. Doing so will reduce the likelihood you’ll need to return something because it doesn’t fit.

DO Sign Up for Savings
Regardless of whether you’re shopping online or offline, it’s important to know the best time to score a good deal. Sign up for your favorite e-retailers’ newsletters and deal alerts so you know when sales are happening. Set up a separate email account for these notifications to keep your personal inbox from being inundated with marketing messages. The sense of urgency created in these notifications often inflates the value of the deal, so remember to practice restraint.

DON’T Go Crazy with Store Cards
Store credit cards can be tempting, as most of them boast free or reduced shipping costs and other perks for online orders. However, these cards carry high interest rates and can negatively impact your credit score. If you have good credit and shop at the store frequently, getting a store card might be a good savings strategy. Strict management of my Limited Couture Card enables me to enjoy the free shipping perk without racking up debt.

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Kendal Perez is a frugal fashionista and bargain shopper who helps fellow shopaholics find hassle-free ways to save money. As the marketing coordinator for Kinoli Inc., site manager for a family of money-saving websites, Kendal has the resources to be an extreme couponer but prefers a less complicated approach to staying in-budget. Kendal has been quoted in such media outlets as People StyleWatch, TIME Business & Money, FOX, NPR and Kiplinger Personal Finance. For savings tips and more information, visit HassleFreeSavings.com.

5 Dinner Power Combos for Youth & Vitality

sushi

It’s the question we ask ourselves almost every day: What’s for dinner?

Entwined in this daily dialogue is wondering whether we’ll need to dash into the grocery store on the way home from work. The next time we make one of those supermarket pit stops, Dr. Eudene Harry, author of “Live Younger in 8 Simple Steps,” (www.LivingHealthyLookingYounger.com), would like us to veer in a new direction.

“When people shop on the go, they tend to gravitate toward old standbys and foods they can multipurpose with – usually not the most nutritious choices possible. But by substituting a few items on your list, you can not only look and feel more youthful, you’ll boost your resistance to certain cancers and other illnesses.”

Some of the most nutrition-packed foods not only taste great, they’re readily available at the grocery store and easy to prepare, Harry says.

“The more you eat, the more you’ll crave them.”

Here are five food combos for shoppers with healthy eating on their minds:

• Tomato, garlic, chicken and almonds: Tomatoes contain one of the world’s most concentrated sources of cancer-fighting lycopene, which is best absorbed from tomatoes that are cooked. Garlic has been used for centuries for various health purposes and is a known free-radical destroyer. Nuts help to lose weight, maintain healthy blood pressure and support moods; almond crumbs are a great substitute for bread crumbs on chicken. Pair these goodies with whole wheat couscous for a full dinner.

• Pomegranate-Balsamic tempeh: With its high protein, fiber and isoflavones content, and meaty texture, tempeh is heavily utilized by vegetarians. It’s made from soybeans processed in a manner similar to cheese making. Like tofu, tempeh takes on the flavors with which it is cooked or marinated, including zesty-tangy balsamic vinegar – perfect for accentuating salads.

• Mashed cauliflower gone Greek: Not only does the “original” yogurt have a thicker texture and richer taste, it’s also denser in lactobacilli, the healthy bacteria that may delay the onset of cancer. And yogurt is low in fat and high in protein, which is essential for many body functions, including building and repairing muscle tissue, organs, bones and connective tissue. Rather than add fatty, cholesterol-filled butter and sour cream to starchy potatoes that stick to your ribs, why not pair two healthy options with mashed cauliflower with Greek yogurt and fresh black pepper for simple goodness?

• Sushi – wild salmon, minced cucumbers, shredded carrots, kelp, sesame seeds and rice: A sushi roll is much more filling and satisfying than a non-sushi eater would think. Many grocery chains offer ready-made rolls, but they are also fairly easy to make. A bamboo roller is a great start; place a sheet of nutrient-dense kelp as the first thing on the roller, and add, lengthwise, desired ingredients. Your first try is not likely to be perfect, but the tasty and healthy ingredients will be there.

• Fruit salad for dessert:
Bring together chopped apples, strawberries, cantaloupe, watermelon and pineapple with blueberries and grapes for a sweet and juicy post-dinner palate-cleanser. Lemon juice prevents fruits from bruising. If that’s not enough, combine the salad with Greek yogurt – perhaps blended with vanilla or almond extract – and fiber-filled granola for a parfait.

 

 

About Eudene Harry, M.D.  – Dr. Eudene Harry holds a bachelor’s in biology from New York University and completed both her medical degree and residency training at Thomas Jefferson University. Currently the medical director for the integrative and holistic Oasis Wellness and Rejuvenation Center, she has practiced medicine for nearly 20 years, is board certified in both emergency and holistic medicine, and for more than a decade practiced emergency medicine as an attending physician in Level II trauma centers. In 2005 she opened Oasis for Optimal Health, a private practice focused on integrative, holistic wellness and empowering and educating the patient.

13 Tips for Smart Health-Food Shopping

salmon

By now you know which foods are healthy and which are not. Fruits and veggies should be snack staples, while Doritos and Red Bull really shouldn’t be part of your daily intake. Though you have a handle on where and what to buy, your new year’s resolution to eat healthier seemingly conflicts with your other goal to spend less money.

According to the USDA Economic Research Service, the average cost of fresh fruits and vegetables will increase between 3.5 and 4 percent in 2013. Not surprisingly, that’s higher than the estimated increase for sugar and sweets.

Despite these projections, healthy food doesn’t have to put a huge dent in your bank account. Follow these 13 strategies for smarter health-food shopping on a budget.

1. Plan meals through circulars.
Meal-planning is one of the fundamental rules of saving money at the grocery store and eating healthy. Take your planning session to the next level by reviewing store circulars for weekly sales. Find out which healthy and fresh foods are available for less and create your menu with those ingredients.

2. Go beyond the supermarket.
These days you can find healthy, vitamin-rich food in the same retail space as furniture and home decor. Broaden your grocery store horizons to include places like World Market, and save on everything from quinoa to organic coffee by using discount gift cards. Sites such as GiftCardGranny.com offer World Market gift cards for up to 10-percent off, yielding instant savings without coupons.

3. Opt for frozen berries.
Berries offer a number of health benefits: They’re low in calories, high in fiber and contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which promote optimum health and wellness. When not in season, however, fresh berries are expensive. As a cheap alternative — and one that offers a longer shelf life — opt for bags of frozen berries. Though nothing beats fresh fruit in season, frozen fruit tastes just as great in yogurt, oatmeal and smoothies.

4. Choose a cheaper fish.
The American Heart Association recommends eating fish twice a week, ideally those that contain omega-3 fatty acid like sole, tuna and salmon. We all know fresh fish comes with a high price tag, but luckily there are a few ways around expensive varieties. Frozen salmon and canned tuna (in water) boast the same health benefits as fresh fish at a lower cost. Look for deals on these alternatives and stock up during sale time.

5. Look for manager markdowns.
From bruised produce to meat nearing the recommended sell-by date, grocery stores typically feature an entire section devoted to discounted food — also known as manager markdowns. These items are perfectly safe for you to consume as long as you eat or freeze them immediately.

6. Buy whole produce.
When shopping for produce, always choose the whole fruit and vegetable. Bags of shredded carrots, cubed melon and sliced mushrooms are convenient, but ultimately costly. Any food that has been diced, chopped, sliced, minced, peeled or bagged is more expensive — a whopping 30 to 40 percent more, in fact. If time is an issue, set aside an hour one night each week to do all the prep work at once.

7. Go in on a side of meat.
Lean beef is a good source of protein and other nutrients when eaten in moderation. Thanks to last year’s drought, however, rising feed costs are transferring to consumers in the form of higher prices. That’s why going in on a side of grass-fed beef with a few other families is a good idea. Though you’ll need storage space, you’ll pay the same price for tenderloin as ground beef ($3 to $5 per pound on average) and get healthier, tastier meat.

8. Avoid select organic produce.
Being picky about what you put in your body is a good thing, but not all organic produce is created equal. Many fruits and veggies with tough or inedible peels — like pineapples, bananas, and avocados — are a waste of money when purchased organic. That’s because most of the pesticides are absorbed by the skin, so check this list from The Environmental Working Group to learn which produce you can skip in the organic section.

9. Try generic brands.
The organic movement has become so popular, many supermarkets have started selling their own organic food. Buying generic will save you up to 30 percent, so review store shelves for these private-label alternatives the next time you shop.

10. Buy select items in bulk.
Buying perishable items in bulk may not make sense for your family, but certain healthy staples represent the best value when purchased en masse. For example, olive oil is a healthy fat that may help lower your risk of heart disease. I save over 50 percent on Bertolli-brand olive oil by purchasing it from Sam’s Club every six months or so.

11. Go meatless.
“Meatless Mondays” is a movement started by mom bloggers who wanted to find healthy meat alternatives while cutting monthly grocery bills. Take a cue from their collective wisdom and cut meat from your menu at least once per week. You may go meatless more often once you see the health and budget benefits.

12. Get clipping.
Most people assume coupons are reserved for processed and otherwise bad-for-you foods. That’s actually a myth, as deals are available for most foods when you know where to look. Whole Foods, Brown Cow and Nature Made all have coupons available on their websites. Kashi includes coupons on their cereal and granola bar product boxes which I use when I need to restock. Ultimately, it’s best to check store or brand websites, social media profiles and email newsletters for coupons.

13. Grow your own.
Those with space for a small garden can benefit both their pocketbook and waistline by growing their own veggies. Tomatoes, bell peppers and various herbs are easy to grow and can reduce the amount you spend on produce. Use HGTV’s tips to build a small garden, and be sure to limit your plant selection to vegetables you consume and purchase frequently.

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Andrea Woroch is a nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert who helps consumers live on less without radically changing their lifestyles. From smart spending tips to personal finance advice, Andrea transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers. She has been featured among top news outlets such as Good Morning America, NBC’s Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more. You can follow her on Twitter for daily savings advice and tips.

The Best Cool Weather Fragrances

Victor & Rolf's Flowerbomb has amazing sillage and longevity.

Cooler weather opens the floodgates for a parade of heavier, warmer scents with more punch than the average body spray or a fruity-floral fragrance designed to waft gently off of your skin in the light of the spring and summer sunshine. Winter welcomes a whole new world of scents, from spicy to gourmand, leather to woody. Even florals and chypres get their share of air time, and thank goodness, since they’re beautiful but aren’t necessarily the ones you’d want to wear in the middle of a warm day.

Dior Hypnotic Poison blends vanilla with caraway seed, bitter almond, jasmine, moss, and musk.

 

Here are some of the best scents for these cooler months, when you can spritz something heavier under your sweater:

Oriental/Spicy/Vanilla

If you like spices, vanilla, amber, and warm, sensual scents, you might like:

Dior Addict: Vanilla, but not your average vanilla. It’s rich and smoky, but not too sweet.

Dior Hypnotic Poison: Another vanilla, this time paired with caraway seed, bitter almond, jasmine, moss, and musk.

Versace Crystal Noir: Gardenia, amber, and musk make this one a dark, sensual “floriental.”

Donna Karan Black Cashmere: Spicy saffron, red and white pepper, and carnation combine for a delicious oriental fragrance.

 

Floral

Victor & Rolf’s Flowerbomb has amazing sillage and longevity.

 

Traditional and oh-so-feminine in your perfume tastes? Try some of these on:

Givenchy Amarige: Optimistic peach, plum, and orange are tempered by gardenia, amber, musk, sandalwood, Tonka bean, and cedar for a complicated, lovely fragrance.

Guerlain Insolence: This is floral, fruity, sweet, and difficult to pin down, but it’s also intense (and intensely feminine), so it’s best left for cool weather. Notes include violet, raspberry, raisins, balsams, Tonka bean, and iris.

Lolita Lempicka: Flowers (violet, anise) with a licorice twist and a hint of green ivy on a vanilla blanket – Lolita Lempicka is a little of everything and perfect for the complex woman.

Victor & Rolf Flowerbomb: This scent has amazing sillage and longevity, and it combines florals and vanilla for a heady romantic scent.

 

 

Chypre

Chanel Coco Madamoiselle is comforting, yet confidence-boosting.

 

Chypres often feature earthy notes (think moss, leather, wood) combined with florals or fruits. They’re not too delicate and are often complicated enough to warrant an extra sniff or two.

Chanel Coco Mademoiselle: With citrus juxtaposed against patchouli, vanilla, vetiver, ylang-ylang, jasmine, and more, this scent is comforting, yet confidence-boosting.

Dior Miss Dior Cherie: The scent of strawberries mingles against the wet earth in Miss Dior Cherie. It’s light and youthful, but not all candy and bubbles. There are caramel, violet, jasmine, and patchouli notes nestled in the bottle, too.

Jimmy Choo: The bottle may look like Flowerbomb, but Jimmy Choo is a mix of green notes, patchouli, toffee, mandarin orange, pear, and orchid.

Chanel Chance: Pink pepper, lemon, jasmine, iris, vetiver, amber, white musk, and more combine to make this one sparkling cool weather fragrance.

 

 

Woody

Samsara is a classic — but beware of its strength.

 

Think of sandalwood, cedar, patchouli, and vetiver. These scents are usually warm and paired with florals or fruits for balance and complexity.

Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely: Some people call this the poor woman’s Narciso Rodriguez For Her. It has a hint of powder mixed with amber, cedar, musk, and other woody notes.

Bath & Body Works Twilight Woods: Don’t let the fact that it’s inexpensive fool you into thinking this scent isn’t worthy of your attention. It’s the stuff hazy dreams of autumn evenings are made of, with oud wood, musk, warm woods, vanilla, freesia, honeysuckle, mimosa, and additional notes. It may sound like a cacophonous scent, but it’s creamy, smooth, and perfect for cool weather.

Guerlain Samsara: This is a classic, and beware of its strength. There’s sandalwood cozied up to amber, vanilla, Tonka bean, jasmine, iris, green notes, lemon, and more. It’s a complex scent that melds into a woody masterpiece.

Estee Lauder Sensuous: Sensuous is like a warm whisper in an intimate booth of a hole-in-the-wall café. There’s sandalwood, honey, black pepper, molten wood, mandarin pulp, magnolia, lily, and jasmine. It’s just right for spritzing on before you put on a cashmere sweater.

So many fragrances are ideal for winter because the cool air brings out their best notes and helps them meld with the wearer’s skin without overwhelming everyone in the room. These perfumes can sometimes warm up anyone lucky enough to catch a whiff despite the low temperatures.

12 Last-Minute Holiday Gift Ideas

shopping

?What does it take to qualify as a last-minute gift? With a few quick searches, you’ll find suggestions ranging from knitted scarves to diamond stud earrings. Unless you have an abundance of cash or lightning-fast knitting fingers, such suggestions don’t offer much help.

If you’re looking for legit last-minute holiday gift ideas — not just product placement — try a few of these options. Not only do they make for affordable presents, but you can procrastinate to your heart’s content and still come out on top this holiday season.

1. Baked Goods
There’s nothing more universal than the appeal of sweet treats during the holidays. They’re easy and inexpensive to make, plus you can pick up holiday containers at the dollar store for affordable presentation. Seasonal recipes abound, so hit up AllRecipes.com for ideas or take the classic approach with frosted sugar cookies.

2. Gift Cards
What was once considered an impersonal gift is now the most requested item on holiday wish lists for six consecutive years, according to the National Retail Federation. Even better, the proliferation of online gift cards makes it easy to email your gift or share it via social media. Sites like GiftCardGranny.com offer discount digital gift cards to popular retailers and restaurants, enabling you to save on this holiday favorite.

3. Discounted Decor
With only a few days left until Christmas, retailers are eager to rid their shelves of holiday decor. Now’s the time to find festive home goods for less, including decorative trees, wreaths, servingware and more. Select these gifts thoughtfully as most seasonal items are non-returnable.

4. Champagne
Booze represents a gift that’s nearly always accepted with open arms. However, handing over a bow attached to a bottle of vodka leaves something to be desired. Go beyond the college ideals of anything with alcohol being acceptable, and add a touch of class with champagne. As it turns out, December happens to be one of the best months to purchase the bubbly drink so you can likely find a good deal.

5. Monthly Clubs
Once limited to wine connoisseurs, monthly clubs are rapidly expanding to other popular products. Is there a beer lover in your family? Get him or her a 2-month club membership to The Beer of the Month Club for less than $100. Is your best friend addicted to beauty products? Birchbox offers customizable monthly samples of the best beauty products on the market, starting at $30 for a 3-month membership.

6. Warehouse Club Membership
Monthly clubs provide fun gifts throughout the year, but another option is to gift someone a membership to stores such as Costco and Sam’s Club. A gift membership at Costco is only $55, and provides year-round access to extra deals and discounts. Plus, if the gift is well received, all you have to do is renew it next year and your shopping is covered.

7. Online Orders
As a last-minute shopper you don’t always have the luxury to use online options. This year, LastSleighDays.com is trying to help with this problem. The site features Christmas shipping deadlines from all of the most popular stores, as well as promo codes free shipping and extra discounts.

8. Flowers
Whether you’re talking about moms or girlfriends, “you never buy me flowers” is a common complaint. Show them you took the not-so-subtle suggestion and pick up a fresh bouquet. Most major grocery stores have a full floral department where you can buy arrangements through Christmas Eve.

9. Daily Deals
Groupon and LivingSocial deals aren’t just for impulsive self-gifting. In fact, they make for amazing gifts when considered thoughtfully. With packages ranging from golf lessons to weekend getaways to mani-pedi sessions, you can easily find a deal suited for someone on your list. Make the presentation special by purchasing a small item related to the experience, like a travel-size bottle of lotion or package of golf balls.

10. Magazine Subscriptions
A magazine subscription is the perfect solution to the last-minute gift-buying challenge. In addition to being quick and relatively inexpensive, the recipient will remember your thoughtfulness every time a new issue arrives. With topics ranging from pet ownership to expert cooking advice, you can find a magazine dedicated to a topic of interest for anyone on your list.

11. Donations
Let’s be honest: Despite the good intentions and worthwhile contributions a charitable gift makes, a piece of paper with a donation amount doesn’t stir much excitement. If you’re going to take this route, consider giving to a charity that provides something more tangible. Organizations such as ChildFund International allow you to contribute toward items that have real-world applications including banana plants for a family in Uganda, or blankets for children is Mozambique.

12. Games & Apps
Are you tech savvy? Do you know all the best apps and games to get for the iPad? While it’s second-nature to you, Grandma might need a little assistance. Instead of giving an iTunes gift card and letting her figure it out, take the extra time to load up her new tablet or smartphone with apps she’ll actually use. Just beware, you’re likely signing up to be on-call tech support for the remainder of the year.

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Andrea Woroch is a nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert who helps consumers live on less without radically changing their lifestyles. From smart spending tips to personal finance advice, Andrea transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers. She has been featured among top news outlets such as Good Morning America, NBC’s Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more. You can follow her on Twitter for daily savings advice and tips.

Driving Safely While Shopping During the Holiday Season

safe parking

The holiday season is a time when busy people can become careless and vulnerable to theft and other holiday crime. The following tips from law enforcement can help you be more careful, prepared and aware during the holiday season.

• Avoid driving alone or at night.

• Keep all car doors locked and windows closed while in or out of your car. Set your alarm or use an anti-theft device.

• If you must shop at night, park in a well-lighted area.

• Avoid parking next to vans, trucks with camper shells, or cars with tinted windows.

• Park as close as you can to your destination and take notice of where you parked.

• Never leave your car unoccupied with the motor running or with children inside.

• Do not leave packages or valuables on the seat of your car. This creates a temptation for thieves. If you must leave something in the car, lock it in the trunk or put it out of sight.

• Be sure to locate your keys prior to going to your car.

• Keep a secure hold on your purse, handbag and parcels. Do not put them down or on top of the car in order to open the door.

• When approaching and leaving your vehicle be aware of your surroundings.

• Do not approach your car alone if there are suspicious people in the area.

• Ask mall or store security for an escort before leaving your shopping location.

• Make sure a family member of friend knows where you are and when you expect to be home.

• If approached or attacked, let it go! Nothing is more important than your life! And if possible, never ever get in a car with someone who wishes to do harm. Your chances of staying safe are much higher if you don’t. This is the time to not be afraid to make a scene. Scream, yell “fire,” do anything you can to get attention to yourself so you can try and get away from the person who is holding you against your will.

Although these tips may sound a little scary, they are a simple reminder for all of us to just be aware of our surroundings to ensure our safety, not just during the holiday season, but all year round.

Protecting Your Online Purchases When Being Delivered

package delivery

The countdown has begun! Christmas is closer than you think and now the buying frenzy begins. Like millions of people who wish to avoid the longs lines at stores, and who just like shopping from the comfort of their home, you do most of your shopping online. View merchandise, add to cart, buy and you’re done!

Great. Now you just wait for your merchandise to be sent to you.

But have you considered what could happen if your merchandise is delivered to your home and you’re not there? Well we have and we have some tips to help protect your purchases from those who might want to take advantage of your shopping for themselves:

  • See if the store has the ability to allow you to track your purchases. If so, do so and often until you receive the merchandise. Contact the store immediately if not received when indicated.
  • None of the package delivery companies deliver on weekends. If you know you will not be at home, consider having your items shipped to your place of employment or to a trusted neighbor or friend.
  • Try and request a delivery time when you know you will be home if possible.
  • Ask the package delivery company to put your purchases somewhere they cannot be seen from the street, e.g. back porch, behind the back door, etc.
  • See if you can arrange to pick up your items at the package delivery company’s place of operations.
  • Request a signature upon delivery. This makes it harder on you but also harder on those who would want to steal your merchandise.
  • When you do receive your merchandise examine it immediately. If you believe it’s been tampered with, contact the store immediately.

Holiday times need to be stress free, but you also need to know that scammers will be in full force. In this time of good will and giving, just be sure the good will and giving is done for those you care about and not for some stranger who sees the brown boxes in front of your home and thinks Christmas has come early for him!

 

Staying Safe While Using Your ATM Machine

atm

With holiday shopping in full swing, many, if not most of us, will be using our debit cards for transactions. That’s why many retailers have ATM machines in their place of business or an ATM machine is located close by. The problem is that scammers know this and want to take full advantage of this fact especially during the holiday season.

Let’s keep the holidays merry and bright. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) provides the following tips on how to be safe when using an ATM machine during the day and night and how to protect yourself from being a victim of ATM skimming.
• Always pay close attention to the ATM and your surroundings. Don’t select an ATM at the corner of a building — corners create a blind spot. Use an ATM located near the center of a building. Do your automated banking in a public, well-lighted location that is free of shrubbery and decorative partitions or dividers.

• Maintain an awareness of your surroundings throughout the entire transaction. Be wary of people trying to help you with ATM transactions. Be aware of anyone sitting in a parked car nearby. When leaving an ATM make sure you are not being followed. If you are, drive immediately to a police or fire station, or to a crowded, well-lighted location or business.

• Do not use an ATM that appears unusual looking or offers options with which you are not familiar or comfortable.

• Do not allow people to look over your shoulder as you enter your PIN. Memorize your PIN; never write it on the back of your card. Do not re-enter your PIN if the ATM eats your card — contact a bank official.

• Do not wear expensive jewelry or take other valuables to the ATM. This is an added incentive to the assailant.

• Never count cash at the machine or in public. Wait until you are in your car or another secure place.

• When using a drive-up ATM, keep your engine running, your doors locked and leave enough room to maneuver between your car and the one ahead of you in the drive-up line.

• Maintain a supply of deposit envelopes at home or in your car. Prepare all transaction paperwork prior to your arrival at the ATM. This will minimize the amount of time spent at the machine.

• Closely monitor your bank statements, as well as your balances, and immediately report any problems to your bank.

• If you are involved in a confrontation with an assailant who demands your money, COMPLY.

Using an ATM at Night:

• If possible, take another person with you.

• Park in a well-lighted area as close to the machine as possible.

• Do not use the machine if the lights on it are not working.

• If the view of the ATM machine is blocked by overgrown shrubbery or trees, or any other objects, use another machine.

• Notify the bank about the visibility problem.

 

How to Avoid being Skimmed
How skimming works

The devices planted on ATMs are usually undetectable by users—the makers of this equipment have become very adept at creating them, often from plastic or plaster, so that they blend right into the ATM’s façade. The specific device used is often a realistic-looking card reader placed over the factory-installed card reader. Customers insert their ATM card into the phony reader, and their account info is swiped and stored on a small attached laptop or cell phone or sent wirelessly to the criminals waiting nearby.

In addition, skimming typically involves the use of a hidden camera, installed on or near an ATM, to record customers’ entry of their PINs into the ATM’s keypad. We have also seen instances where, instead of a hidden camera, criminals attach a phony keypad on top of the real keypad … which records every keystroke as customers punch in their PINs.

Skimming devices are installed for short periods of time—usually just a few hours—so they’re often attached to an ATM by nothing more than double-sided tape. They are then removed by the criminals, who download the stolen account information and encode it onto blank cards. The cards are used to make withdrawals from victims’ accounts at other ATMs.
– Inspect the ATM, gas pump, or credit card reader before using it…be suspicious if you see anything loose, crooked, or damaged, or if you notice scratches or adhesive/tape residue.

– When entering your PIN, block the keypad with your other hand to prevent possible hidden cameras from recording your number.

– If possible, use an ATM at an inside location (less access for criminals to install skimmers).

– Be careful of ATMs in tourist areas…they are a popular target of skimmers.

– If your card isn’t returned after the transaction or after hitting “cancel,” immediately contact the financial institution that issued the card.