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Apr 25, 2017

7 Ways to Maintain a Young-Looking Face

We all want to look as youthful as possible for as long as possible. We spend money on creams, facials, fillers, and even sometimes plastic surgery. To get some tips for how we can maintain a young-looking face, we went to several great beauty professionals including Dr. Kirk Brandow, founder and director of the Brandow Clinic for Cosmetic Surgery in Philadelphia, who has appeared on national programs such as Good Morning America and 20/20. Here’s what they all have to say.

1. Get rest.
There absolutely is such a thing as beauty sleep. “Women come to my practice thinking they need an eye-job or a facelift when all they need is sleep. Sleep is a time when we rejuvenate ourselves and cellular turnover is at its height. Getting 7-8 hours of sleep nightly will make a huge difference in how youthful a woman appears especially as she approaches age 30 and collagen production decreases,” says Dr. Brandow. “A woman can speed up aging if they are constantly sleep deprived.”

2. Use an overnight treatment.
If you suffer from breakouts or skin dryness leading to wrinkles or blotches, treating your skin concerns at night, is a way to maintain a youthful glow. “Work closely with your dermatologist or aesthetician who can recommend non-irritating skin treatments specifically addressing your concern,” advises Dr. Brandow. You want to take advantage of overnight options available to boost collagen and heal skin while sleeping.

3. Hydrate
When it comes to anti-aging and putting your most youthful face forward, water is key. Water flushes your system of toxins which helps skin to glow. “Women spend a lot of money on topical creams formulated to boost moisture and hydrate the skin yet, if they integrated more water, even 4, 8 ounce glasses per day, they would see fewer wrinkles and an overall smoother younger skin texture within a month,” says Dr. Adriane Pompa, Miami based board certified dermatologist who specializes in aging skin.

4. Be smart about fillers
Fillers are used to add volume that diminishes as we age but people have taken it to extremes. There have been many advancements with fillers over the past 5 years offering more options and more sophisticated ways to administer them to achieve a youthful look.

According to Dr. Brandow, many patients believe that filling their cheeks will soften their laugh lines, so they push doctors to administer two to four syringes in their cheek bones and cheek area at once. This can result in swelling and doesn’t necessarily lift their face. Fillers are often done as an alternative to a face lift but, if not spread out over several weeks, it just gives the patient an unnatural look that distorts their face and makes them look odd.

“My personal preference is to perform the fillers sequentially. For example, I will use one syringe of filler in multiple locations. Then I’ll have patients return in 4-6 weeks and perhaps do another syringe to the same places, or different places, giving them an overall natural look. This leads to a softer, more natural result. The key to doing fillers well are going with small amounts every 4-6 weeks,” explains Dr. Brandow.

5. Get facials.
According to Dr. Adriane Pompa, one facial per month does wonders for skin’s clarity, texture, and ability to produce collagen. “There are many at-home facials available one can do weekly. The key is knowing your skin type and ingredients that address your specific skin concern. Also, you can treat different parts of the face differently depending on skin issue. Let’s say you are prone to breakouts on your jawline, have wrinkles on your forehead and dryness on the cheeks, your dermatologist or aesthetician can recommend a facial plan customized for you.”

6. Consider lasers and light!
Lasers are another tool that blasts away acne scars, evidence of past sun damage and evens out skin giving that flawless, youthful glow. There have been so many advancements with lasers resulting in more immediate results without downtime. Lasers typically cost between $600 - $1200 per treatment depending on the city and type of laser. The advantage with lasers is accuracy. You can treat a specific area without affecting the rest of the surrounding skin.

7. Tone down your make-up.
One way to immediately take 10 years off your look is to revamp your make-up. Consider hiring a professional make-up artist who can teach you how to enhance and even modernize your look. New York make-up artist, Carlo Geraci, who was protégé to Trish McEvoy and Kevin Aucion, explains that a lot of women are doing their make-up the same way they did 20 years ago. That bronzer that you loved in the 90’s when you were 24 may appear harsh and outdated at 44. “Heavy eye liner and strong lip colors may only accentuate wrinkles and fine lines. As women age, less is more when it comes to make-up. Opt for a great hydrating foundation or a touch of concealer, a pinch of blush, a swipe of mascara or a gray or brown eyeliner and a natural looking lip liner topped with a tinted hydrating balm,” he suggests.

About the Experts:
Dr. Kirk Brandow, founder and director of Brandow Clinic for Cosmetic Surgery is a plastic surgeon with 2 locations in the Philadelphia metro area and a 3rd one at the jersey shore. Named a “Top Doc” in Plastic Surgery by Philadelphia Magazine as well as nationally recognized for one of America’s “Best Plastic Surgeons” of this decade, Dr. Brandow is a trusted expert who has developed many innovative, minimally invasive procedures for the face, body and skin. He has been featured on local, national and international television programs including 20/20, CNN’s Headline News, Good Morning America.

Dr. Adriane Pompa is a board-certified dermatologist and Associate Professor of Dermatology at University of Miami, Jackson Memorial Hospital who is highly trained in medical dermatology, dermatologic surgery and cosmetic dermatology. In addition to her general practice, she specializes in anti-aging skin care, skin cancer prevention and treatment, and laser use in dermatology.

Carlo Geraci, New York make-up artist has worked alongside Kevin Aucoin, helped launch the Trish McEvoy brand, and was invited by Barneys New York to became the first Beauty Guru, a position created specifically for him. His work has appeared in print and commercial campaigns, New York Fashion Week runways, red carpets, Broadway stages, television, film, and fashion editorials. He has also appeared on the Style Network, CBS News, and Today on NBC. 

Apr 24, 2017

Mark Your Calendar! Mini Hess Toy Trucks Return June 1 Exclusively Online

If you are a Hess Toy Truck collector, you have to mark June 1st on your calendar. Hess Corporation has announced that the Miniature Hess Toy Truck series will return as a limited-production, three-vehicle set – forming the 2017 Mini Collection. Each vehicle included in the set will be a fully detailed, small-scale version of one of the popular holiday Hess Toy Trucks, equipped with working lights and a detachable display base.

The designs included in the 2017 Mini Collection will be revealed when it goes on sale June 1 at 10 a.m. EST. The three-vehicle set will be sold exclusively at for $26.99 with free standard shipping and 9 Energizer® batteries included.

To stay up to date with the Hess Toy Truck, sign up for alerts at and follow Hess Toy Truck on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Why Care And Nursing Work Is Good For A Parent

Parents know and understand that simply being a parent is a full-time job in and of itself, so pointing out how another job such as nursing would be fitting may seem a bit odd, perhaps asking too much. Becoming a nurse is difficult, and requires study and an eventual qualification. For parents looking for a job that provides a nice paycheck, there are some important points to consider when it comes to training and being a nurse.

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Being a nurse requires being able to care compassionately for people who are complete strangers. If you are a parent, you probably have a higher amount of compassion and empathy for others simply because you have children you care for. You know what it means to take care of someone who needs help because he or she cannot help him or herself. You learn from your child what it is you need to do as they grow up, and it is not only hard work, it is really rewarding work. As you grew as a parent, you probably were not thinking of all the skills you were learning, like communication and understanding non-verbal cues, planning, supervising, and critical thinking. Yet all of these skills are necessary in dealing with patients as a nurse as well, so the gap between parenthood and nursing should seem a bit smaller now.
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What is it that would be expected of you should you become a nurse? Let's look at what nurses working with children do as an example; especially since it may be a job you would be interested in doing. Nurses who have become Nurse Practitioners (NP) by passing their classes and the test can treat common illnesses, order medical tests, do some tests and procedures, write prescriptions, answer questions about health problems, and specialize in and manage chronic illnesses, along with so much more. Nurses have such a huge impact on family life, and often the nurse is the one who sees the patient for a longer amount of time than the doctor, so developing a relationship with patients is a gift nurses have that can come from parental experience.

There is always the issue of when you would go to school; are there even any schools nearby that offer a nursing degree? Is there anywhere that is flexible to be there for a parent trying to gain a degree? The good news is that there are educational establishments that offer online courses, such as Maryville's master of science in nursing. The flexibility of these courses means that even those of you raising children on your own have a way to find a good fit for your schedules, as hectic as they may be. So you can continue working your side job to raise your child and take your classes online while your child is at school or asleep, and when you get your degree you can decide on working hours that suit you.

There are different nursing degrees you can go for that can also decide when and where you work because the degrees themselves focus on different patients. As far as ideas for places to think of working at, being a school nurse means you can be close to your kid while you can also be a home care nurse to look after the elderly. Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) require the least amount of training compared to Registered Nurses (RN) who need to pass a two-year program. Nurse Practitioners (NP) require even more training with a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) being the minimum degree required to be an NP. You can learn more about nurse practitioner programs at GMercyU, and once you receive your degree it is an option to then focus on different concentrations, such as being a Certified Family NP (CFNP) or a Certified Pediatric NP (CPNP). Parents will find they will most likely relate to the CPNP since this certificate focuses on kid's health. Both of these concentrations would allow a working parent to find a job outside of a hospital easily if it is more doable for the parent to get the job done during the day instead of at night.

Downsides? Of course, there are some; especially given the hours you may be studying and working while your child is sleeping or going to school. Another mom talks about her love for her work but also feels worried over how her daughter is unable to attend sports activities because she helps so much with her two youngest daughters. She appreciates it greatly, but this is still a big sacrifice. However, she also feels that nursing has taught her to be a better mother as well as the reverse being true. Her family understands that you cannot take anything for granted, a lesson she has learned from this job as well.

As a parent, and single parent especially, this choice is very difficult to make, but there are some great pros to come out of having this career that go even beyond the higher salary. However, it is a decision that is truly up to you, so consider all the elements carefully.

Apr 18, 2017

Important Things To Keep In Mind Before Going To The Gym

Going to the gym in itself is an important step to take when entering into a healthier lifestyle. If you decide to take time out of your day to go to the gym it means that you care about your health and desire to get into shape. You become willing to sacrifice a couple of hours every day in which you would usually be doing something else, to dedicate to getting fit. However, as great and exciting as starting a gym membership can be, there are many things that newcomers don’t take into consideration and end up hindering them greatly in the long run. Let’s take a look at some of the things that you should keep in mind as you start going to the gym. These can be taken as some simple tips that will help you get more out of your gym sessions and also as a sort of introduction to the gym life.

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Don’t leave your weights lying around

The first time you go to the gym, as well as the next time, and the next after that, you might be inclined to try out different weights for your workout. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, as most workouts impliment using multiple weights for the same exercise. The problem is that newcomers aren’t familiar with gym rules, which clearly state that you need to put the weights back on the rack. Don’t be that guy that leaves them all around the gym for others to search for. Keeping this in mind will spare you the frowns of your fellow gym goers.

Don’t neglect the warm-up

A lot of people, even some that aren’t exactly beginners, are caught getting straight into lifting weights. That couldn’t be more dangerous as not warming up beforehand can lead to accidents in the gym. You can pull a muscle or strain a tendon, and create some unnecessary complications for yourself. The consequences of neglecting your warm-up can be even worse, but these are just some examples. Make sure you properly stretch before the workout and wear knee straps for squats.

Stay hydrated and make sure you have fuel in the tank

There’s nothing worse that going to the gym on an empty stomach. To someone that isn’t familiar to the life in the gym this might seem like an acceptable idea, but the truth is that you need plenty of nutrients and enough fuel to take you through a successful workout. Don’t eat right before hitting the gym. Make sure you have a consistent meal about two hours before your gym session. You can also drink a protein shake for the extra protein boost which can do wonders if consumed before a workout, as well as after the session.

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Also make sure to stay hydrated throughout your workout, because lacking water in your system will slow you down. You will start to hit the brakes on your ability to keep pumping out max performance. Keep a hefty bottle of water close to you at all times and take small sips now and again to stay hydrated. Don’t gulp half a bottle in one go either because your stomach will hate you and you won’t be able to continue for much longer after.


Apr 17, 2017

How to Choose the Best Slipcover for Parsons Chairs - Guest Post

A slipcover may not seem important, but it can make the difference between a professional look for your sitting room and a design that is made just for the sake of it, without too much effort. Most times, the attention to details is the one that pays off, and this is true especially for interior design. Even if you don’t work in this domain, it’s not hard to get the right slipcovers for your room. But if you need help with this, read on.

Where to Get Slipcovers for Parson Dining Chairs?
There are lots of places to get slipcovers, but as usual, the most interesting things are found in hard to reach stores and in garage sales where people don’t need their stuff anymore. You should start by going to the local shops found near you, since there are high chances to find what you need. However, the easiest thing to do is to search online for some great items. Try Amazon and Ebay, and you can even find some serious sales there.

Read Reviews
If you are buying online or if you know the brand and the material of the slipcover, then you should totally read the reviews. These are important from several points of view. On the one hand, it’s great to know what type of material you have there, how resistant it is etc. On the other hand, it is particularly useful to see how other people incorporated the respective slipcover into their own design. For example, you might think a yellow slipcover is awesome (and maybe it really is!), but does it match your red parsons chairs in the room?

Check the Size
Not all slipcovers may fit your particular type and size of chair, so you should make sure you are buying the right size for you. If needed, then you can write down the size your chairs have and then check before buying anything. It is quite easy to get tricked about the space and size, especially if the colors are somewhat odd.

Test the Possibilities
If you’re not sure how the slipcovers will look, there’s nothing wrong with testing them before. Regarding the size, you can test it with any slipcover you have around (or you can borrow one): pay attention to the corners, the size, length and so on. About the color, you can test the way in which the slipcover will be integrated within the design with any material in that color. Place the material on the chair and step back in order to see the final effect. If the blanket, shirt or dress you are using to replace the slipcover don’t really match the rest of the room, you should probably reconsider it.


Apr 13, 2017

Math Skills- Subtraction Practice For Third Grade

Math is one area where most kids struggle or bump into some sort of challenge. I was really excited to be contacted by to share some practice work and strategies to help my son really grasp some math concepts. You can't ever have too much practice in math, although I am sure he would disagree. Below is a fun activity to help with subtraction.

Subtraction Action

Most parents probably wouldn't mind subtracting 8-9 years off their age. Here's a fun subtraction activity for your child that will do just that—in theory, anyway. It's also a good way to boost third grade subtraction skills and make them real and relevant.

What You Need:

What You Do:

  1. Explain to your child that his mission is to find out how old everyone was when he was born. Encourage your child to go around and record each family member's current age--don't forget grandparents, cousins, uncles, and aunts! Use the adult's age as the top number, and your child's age as the bottom number. Have your child set up the equation and subtract.
  2. Now that your child knows how old everyone was when you were born, try it this way: Add his age to every family member’s age today. When you get the result, have your child make a line graph with numbers 0-100 on the y-axis (vertical) and names of family members on the x-axis (horizontal). Ask your child to plot the ages and connect the dots to see how large of an age difference there is between family members.
  3. Write a word problem with your child using the ages collected above. For example, when I was born, mom was thirty years old. Now I am 9-years-old. How old is mom? Word problems in abundance!
  4. What's going on? You're tying abstract math skills--the stuff on flashcards and worksheets--to real life. These kinds of activities help your child build lifetime skills, and they help make related topics--like the timelines of history--make perfect sense. Don't be surprised, of course, if you also end up with some cherished family stories while you're at it.


Apr 12, 2017

Slimsation has what every mom needs

I have been a mom for 22+ years and my body has surely changed over time. I remember the days of being 100 pounds and having the nerve to be unhappy about it. Well, those 100 pounds days are long gone and I have come to terms that those days will probably never return. Like most moms, especially if you have had a couple c-sections, I have the annoying mom tummy. It makes buying clothing that fits properly a trying task.

Luckily, the SlimSation brand of clothing is here to save the day. I have been wearing their jeans and dress pants for about 3 years now and out of all the brands I have tried, they fit and wear well. SlimSation has a higher cut waist that has a wide, built in elastic band that controls your tummy for a sleeker, slimmer appearance. Normal jeans tend to give me the dreaded muffin top look that make me feel like I have to keep pulling them up. No lady should have to go through all of that.

I was thrilled to get a few pairs of SlimSation pants for the spring. First up are the Boyfriend Style cropped jeans. These are perfect for day or night since they can be dressed up or down. They slide on with the ease without a zipper or button. They have pockets in the back and really make my butt look cute. I would show you, but I'm a lady (smile) They are SO comfortable and wash well. This picture is from at least 3 wash cycles and they still look like new. They feel well "broken in" and easily have become my new favorite jeans!

Next, are the classic denim capri pants. Any time I wear them, my husband compliments me and tells me I look like a very classy lady. They fit well and are versatile, too. You can wear them dressed up or down to achieve the perfect look. And most importantly, they fit SO well! They feel comfortable while keep my tummy looking flatter. 

For the upcoming summer, I have the shorts in white. I am hanging on to them for when the temps get a little higher. Again, just like any SlimSation pants or bottoms, they fit perfectly. 

I think the key is once you know the correct size, you are set. I order a size 6 no matter the cut, and they all fit the same way. I can depend on getting jeans and pants that fit my mom body comfortably well without looking like I'm wearing "mom jeans". 

I am so pleased with the superior quality of SlimSation garments. I have some jeans and pants from a couple years ago and they have been washed over and over again, and have held up very well. I feel like purchasing staple wardrobe items of higher quality is a must for moms. We tend to put ourselves last, so you might as well get something good if you don't shop frequently. I highly recommend SlimSation to every woman, even if you're not a mom. Oh, and the fact that my husband sometimes comments, "You're looking extra skinny today" when I'm wearing my pants or jeans is proof of why they are named SlimSation.  

Check out the new arrivals of SlimSation garments today. I know you will love them like I do. They offer a wide variety of styles, sizes and colors to fit every woman's taste. Be sure to connect with them on Facebook and Twitter for updates and style inspiration. 

Disclosure: I received product samples for review purposes. All opinions are 100% mine as always. I absolutely love this brand! 

When adults get braces

When our older daughter, Chardonnay was in middle school, we all noticed that her teeth were not quite as straight as they could be. Of course, that is very normal for most any kid. Her dad urged her to get braces and continued to shove the idea down her throat highly encourage her to get them for years. She was going through that vain teenage stage where she did not want to have a mouth full of metal for all of those important stages of her high school career- prom, grad photos, and so on.

She is now 22 and finally realized that her teeth were not going to fix themselves. Either she do something about it, or just live with it. It got to the point where she really disliked seeing her smile in photos or in video. She is in the public relations field and there are many times where she has to be at events in get this, the public! She wants to always look her best and came to the point of breaking down and calling the orthodontist.

We tried not to tell her, "I told you so", but we are human, so we made sure to rub it in her face. (kidding) She realized that she should have listened when she was a teen, and has learned her lesson. She is now the not-so-proud owner of a mouth full of braces. They look so good on her and she is struggling with getting used to them. Here is the before and after shot.

It's actually very cute watching her speak, because she has to do the whole roll-your-lip-back-over your braces thing while trying not to drool. She is so angry about it all LOL Every day she is like I am calling the orthodontist so he can rip these things out of my mouth! It has been almost a week and she is still not comfortable with eating. I feel badly for her, but assured her that she will eventually get used to them and make a way to eat what she wants within reason. Of course when you can't properly eat is the time you want to eat EVERYTHING. Chardie has a slight lisp like she did when she was in kindergarten. We make jokes that maybe we need to find her old speech therapist from elementary school. HA!

Overall, she is coping the best she can. We have known a lot of people who got braces way later than she did. Oddly enough, we can already see a difference with her teeth shifting. It is amazing how quickly it happens. Well, she has a little under 2 years to go, so hopefully she will get used to them in the upcoming weeks. She told me the other day that she tells her coworkers to not think she has no enthusiasm about anything anymore. She simply refrains from smiling or laughing because she cuts her mouth easily. Just think, this could all have been done when she was in her teenage years. Oh well, you live and your learn.

Did you get or someone you know get adult braces? If you have any advice for her, please leave a comment. Thanks for stopping by today!

P.S.- for those who often ask about her curls, this is what she uses below (affiliate)


Apr 7, 2017

Adagio Teas For The Most Discriminating Tea Lover

I want to tell you all a little something about my husband, Dwayne. He is the rough and rugged type who isn't afraid to work hard and get a little dirty. He also loves books, music and business. In recent years, he has become rather passionate about something we wouldn't have expected. He LOVES tea. He loves it to the point where he buys books on tea, researches them online, and drinks lots and lots of the good stuff every day. 

It isn't unusual for us to go out to a restaurant and he asks the server if they have hot tea. He believes in drinking hot tea after each meal to aid in digestion. Needless to say, he drinks quite a bit of hot tea. We were so lucky to get to try out Adagio Teas recently. They offer a wide variety of teas for every taste. Having Dwayne peruse the site was like sending a kid to a candy store. He was in heaven! 

It took him over an hour to place his order because he was overly excited about what to get. He took the smart route and ordered a variety of sample sizes which makes up to 10 cups of tea. This gave him the option of trying smaller batches so he could narrow down what his favorites are to order in a larger size next time. We actually recommend for anyone to do that as well. There's no need in buying a full size of a particular tea that you might not care for. 

We picked out a variety including chai, rooibos, green and Pu-ehr. He was very curious about the rooibios and honeybush, so he tried those first. He chose this small black tea pot and coordinating cups to steep the tea and make his actual tea drinking experience feel more authentic. I told you you loves his hot tea! 

One of his favorite tea tips is to add a small amount of local honey in the bottom of the tea pot before adding the hot water and tea. This way, the honey gets distributed into the tea so you don't have to add any after steeping. With some tea varieties, he doesn't bother with any sweetener at all. We actually reserve the tea leaves when he does not add sweetener after brewing, to add to his worm compost bin. 

The packaging is air tight and when you cut it open, you are hit with the distinct tea fragrance. I have to say, this isn't your ordinary supermarket tea. Those simply can not compare! Each packet of tea comes with brewing instructions on the package. You can adjust the amount according to your personal taste. So far with the ones he has tried, the suggested quantity and brewing times have been spot on. He has even experimented with mixing two types together to make a unique blend.

The taste of Adagio Teas is very robust and very true to what it supposed to taste like - pure and natural. You can tell that their tea comes from excellent crops by the quality you receive.

A few things that I really love about Adagio Teas is the amount of information they have listed with each variety of tea or tea accessory on their website. You can find out where they are sourced and read the reviews of verified buyers. This makes it very helpful when you need a little help selecting just the right tea. They sell most of their tea in loose, bulk packaging, but do offer tea bags/pyramids for those who prefer the convenience. My husband actually has a one cup tea ball so he can have his loose tea while at work. Again, we highly recommend starting off with some sample sizes to find which teas you like best. 

So far it looks like the green chai, decaf chai, rooibos, honeybush, and spearmint are the faves. You have to check out the Adagio Teas website because they carry practically every type of tea you would want. You can even design your own tea blends and containers. They have a lot of gift options, tea collections and brewing accessories. If you are a real tea lover looking for superior tea, you have to give Adagio Teas a try. Once you create your account and start making purchases, you can earn points toward gift certificates to use on the site. There's a dashboard where you can keep track of your orders, points, wishlists and more. They also have a tea of the month club and very affordable flat rate shipping of only $3.75 (you can qualify for FREE shipping on orders over $49).

Learn more about Adagio Teas on their website and stay connected on Facebook & Twitter for product updates and promotions.

Disclosure: I received a gift code to spend on products for review purposes and all opinions are my own as always. 

How to Choose Keywords for SEO (Guest Post)

We all know how important it is to use the right keywords for your website. Identifying the most relevant keywords and key phrases can be essential for the success of your website and therefore business, so it is something you should totally treat seriously. Before doing such a thing, it is advisable to know the SEO process well so that your results could be useful.

Step 1. Have a keyword list

Place yourself in the shoes of your target consumer. If you would like to reach your website, what kind of words would you choose to search on Google? Also keep in mind that many users do not use a proper sentence structure or grammar rules. The order of the words is not necessarily the right one, so be prepared for such exceptions too. Use brainstorming for finding the right keywords and write down anything that comes to your mind. For example, people are more likely to look up “seo Chicago in IL” than write “SEO companies offering service in IL”.

Step 2. Research other keywords

You can use special analytic programs or Google’s suggestions to find alternative keywords. Take the list you have in Excel and start looking up each keyword there. But don’t press enter! Let Google suggest you other words there and write down those too. For example, offers a free keyword research tool which you can use. Also keep an eye for the most popular search terms out there.

Step 3. Careful with the pitfalls

Pay attention to possible pitfalls! These are vanity keywords, most of them formed by one word, which are really generic and descriptive. If you have a political campaign, probably you shouldn’t invest in generic keywords such as “senator”, “politics” or “election”, since they are too broad to bring you useful visitors.

Step 4. Test the SEO keywords

Take the list you made with the useful keywords for your website and test them. Check out the terms that belong to your analytics and which have good test results on Rank them and see which ones make it to the top of the list. The next step is to buy pay-per-click ads only on the search engines that bring most traffic to the website. Then all you have to do is to sit back and see how do these keywords perform.

Step 5. Do weekly reports

Every week you should do a report and see how your website is going. In this way you can track any changes, whether for good or bad, and you can prevent other future lows. Compare the results to the baseline you had in the beginning in order to see if the SEO tactics are successful.


Apr 6, 2017

Homeschool Updates Spring 2017

We are headed into our final two months of third grade with William and thankfully next week is Spring Break. We both desperately need the break. I now understand why school teachers used to act like they were about to blow their top at this time of year. I admit, I am burned out. Some days wear me out to the point of aggravation. I am SO ready to get our last day out of the way so that we can relax for a week. I make sure that I take a power nap in the afternoon if I start getting too crazy. It has come to a point to where William recognizes that I need a little breather.

Don't get me wrong, William is a great student when he's not being lazy or getting distracted. He is doing so well and is currently making all A's with a 96% overall average. Let me tell you though, those good grades don't come easy! We both work hard to make it happen. I am so thankful that I can pinpoint what he struggles with so that we can review for as long as it takes until he gets it. I am grateful I have the gift of patience, because some days are trying.

William has really been enjoying learning about different cultures in his current unit in Language Arts and seems to really love math. He sometimes stumbles while learning new skills, but once he understands it, he aces through the work. One of the things I love is when he learns something that his dad recently taught him, which is usually about money, spending, or making smart choices. He geeks out and tells me he can't wait to tell his dad what he learned in school that day.

He is enjoying his life as a homeschooler and never complains about being bored or lonely. That was one of my biggest fears, but thankfully he is like an old man who enjoys the most simple things. We break up the day with outdoor play or having lunch on the back patio. I think we are both going to enjoy Spring Break and hope to be back refreshed and ready to tackle the end of year testing and final assignments. I have noticed that my friends with kids in public school have been going nuts with all of the spring festivities and craziness that comes at this time of year. I can definitely say that I do not miss any of that!

Anyway, I wanted to share the latest regarding William's school progress. Have your kids had their Spring Break yet?

I've Finally Joined The Cool Kids With Online Shopping

For those of you who really know me, you more than likely think I'm old school. Yes, I claim that title proudly! I remember around 5 years ago when everyone bragged about getting all of their holiday shopping done online in about an hour. I was so not on board with that and appreciated being able to shop physically since I like to touch and feel things. Well, this year has been big for me.

I tried out ordering groceries online last December using Kroger Clicklist and it really changed my life. I realized that I was spending way too much every time I shopped and by ordering online, I have zero temptation for all of the extra things that would usually land in my cart. I do about two big grocery orders a month and try not to make too many trips in between. So far, I have seen a huge difference in my spending. You can get the details about Clicklist here.

The other thing I did was get Amazon Prime. I usually would use the husband's or daughter's accounts since they had the student discount for the membership. Well, they eventually graduated or decided they didn't want spend the money any more, so I broke down and got it. I have to say, it was the best thing I could have done. Now I can buy all of my fresh food from my local grocery store and get all of my pantry and household staples through Amazon Pantry. I am also obsessed with Prime shipping. Seriously, free and fast shipping is life!

I probably need to watch myself with Amazon though. I seem to find everything that I can't seem to live without. I guess that defeats the purpose with saving money, huh? I realized that most everything is done online these days and I finally accepted it. Of course there will always be things that I prefer to buy in person, so I still get to be hands-on. I do feel badly for stores that have to end up going out of business because of online shopping, but you have to roll with the times. Good thing we have been buying most of our garden supplies locally from the Mom & Pop shops as well as supporting local farmers and roadside vendors. We surely don't want small businesses to suffer.

What are your shopping habits like? Are you a big online shopper or do you stick to the old school, traditional in-store shopping?

Apr 5, 2017

The Fresh Market Grand Opening in Columbia, SC on April 26th

This is exciting news for Northeast Columbia residents ––

The Fresh Market invites the community to celebrate the grand opening of the specialty grocer’s second Columbia location on Wednesday, April 26. The new 24,000 square-foot store will be located at 10286 Two Notch Road and will be the grocer’s ninth store in the state of South Carolina and 179th store nationwide. The Fresh Market is pleased to bring approximately 80 new jobs to the Columbia area.

The Fresh Market’s grand opening activities will begin Wednesday, April 26 at 7:30 a.m. and run through Sunday, April 30 with chef demonstrations, in-store sampling, live entertainment, special deals and giveaways.

Beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 26, guests can enjoy:

  • Ribbon cutting with the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce
  • FREE meal for four from The Fresh Market’s signature Little Big Meal program for the first 50 guests in line
  • FREE reusable shopping bags first 1,000 guests
  • Live entertainment featuring the Lonesome Ryde Bluegrass Band
  • Chef demonstrations featuring crab cakes and Mama Mancini’s meatballs
  • Grilling demonstrations featuring The Fresh Market’s gourmet beef burgers and a variety of sausages
  • Food sampling throughout the store, including favorites from Stonewall Kitchen, Earth & Vine Provisions, World of Chia and Republic of Tea
  • “Cracking of the Parmesan” and tasting, featuring a 75 pound wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano, which is known worldwide as the “King of Italian Cheeses”

At The Fresh Market’s new Columbia location, guests will discover a new look that stays true to the company’s roots in offering a curated selection of fresh, delicious food with friendly service – but re-imagines the neighborhood market as a weekly destination where guests can now find an increased selection of inspiring meal solutions, health-conscious items – and now, everyday grocery classics alongside the specialty grocer’s quality, signature items.

The Fresh Market has successfully launched this concept in three markets in its home state of North Carolina, in addition to a new location in Boca Raton earlier this year, and will continue rolling out refreshed stores across the country through 2018.

“The Fresh Market provides a unique grocery shopping experience featuring delicious fresh food in an inviting atmosphere. Every item in our store has been carefully curated, and we stock our shelves with a combination of produce from local farmers, specialty items found from around the world and everyday grocery essentials,” said Matt Carson, store manager. “We know from our existing presence in Columbia that this community has always offered a warm welcome to The Fresh Market, and we look forward to delivering extraordinary eating experiences to even more of our Columbia neighbors.”

Beginning April 26, the new Columbia location will offer guests more of what they love from The Fresh Market with a concentrated focus on several key areas:

Delicious, Fresh Food – Fresh is top priority, with a bountiful selection of seasonally fresh produce, and exceptional quality meat and seafood sourced from the best providers across the globe. The new location will provide a large variety of delectable offerings throughout the store, including produce sourced from local South Carolina farms such as blueberries from Cossaw Farms in St. Helena Island.  The Fresh Market is committed to bringing its guests extraordinary and effortlessly delicious ingredients every day.

Meal Solutions – A dedicated sampling station will offer guests the chance to taste flavors from across the store, including the weekly dish from the signature Little Big Meal program. Additionally, on-the-go guests can conveniently pick up that week’s featured ingredients at the station to easily serve a delicious meal at home.  Signage will also be located throughout the store to clearly designate departments, as well as inspire guests to explore new tastes.

Grocery Essentials – Expanded product offerings include an increased selection of grocery and household items. Guests will find over 800 everyday grocery essentials including baby and pet products to supplement the premium, gourmet and specialty items guests have come to love.

Health & Wellness – A comprehensive destination for health and wellness products, The Fresh Market now offers even more items to help guests live a healthy lifestyle with its new Mind & Body department – featuring a selection of over 2,000 vitamins, minerals and supplements, as well as an in-store specialist to answer guest questions and offer recommendations. In-store signage will guide those shopping with dietary restrictions or food allergies to a robust selection of health-conscious products across the store including several organic items, certified gluten-free items and certified non-GMO items.

The Fresh Market is also committed to the neighborhoods it calls home and has been proud to support local organizations within those communities. The new store will proudly partner with Harvest Hope Food Bank by providing regular food donations. In addition, The Fresh Market is a national partner of No Kid Hungry® to help raise funds and awareness for the organization, which is dedicated to ending childhood hunger in America by surrounding children with healthy food where they live, learn and play.

Apr 4, 2017

Helping an elderly family member in their later years

Caring for elderly relatives and ensuring they spend their days in a dignified manner is important. Talk with your family members to discuss their wishes for their end of life care and funeral preparations. As difficult as it is to have these conversations, it is well worth it to have everything planned as early as possible to get their input while they are able. Planning will ease the burden on family and friends when the time comes.

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A home for family members
Many families have an elderly family member to care for during their later years. Typically, the younger relatives of the elderly person help care for them or help them plan their care. If the family is large, with many children or grandchildren of the elderly family member, there might be a need for conversations about who will be the primary caretaker or point of contact for their care.

Some families wish to have their family member live with them. Depending on their needs, this might require one adult to stay at home around the clock. If you plan to do this, learn as much as possible about their illness or disability before making the commitment to care for them long-term. If you decide that you are able to care for your loved-one, remember to encourage their independence while caring for them. Seek out devices and technology to allow them as much independence as possible.

While caring for your family member, limit yourself to only things you feel qualified to do and always ask a doctor’s advice when needed. It is understandable to ask a family member or healthcare professional for help. There will likely be times when you feel overwhelmed. Take time to yourself and seek counseling or join support groups to connect with others caring for a family member. Consider home health aides or adult day care for seniors to take a break. Keep in mind that some employers in certain states provide family leave programs. These leave programs usually allow several weeks of leave time from your job per year.

Another option is to consider a care home that meets the needs of your family member. There are care homes designed to look after those who need around the clock care, such as people with Alzheimer’s, and there are care homes similar to apartment homes that provide on-site medical assistance. Care homes can provide socialization for your family member while allowing you to focus on your own needs and existing obligations, like work and children. You and your family member will need to decide how to pay for their care. This might involve selling their home or reducing your inheritance.
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Financial planning
The financial future of your family member and making their will are things that should be discussed as early as possible so there is no question about their wishes later. Have a conversation with your family member and make sure they have a will. It is important to have their assets clearly allocated.

Meet with your family member’s financial planner or set up a meeting with one to discuss your questions. Consider their care, guardianship, property, assets, and estate planning including wills and trusts. Take into account their debt, income, expenses, and benefits. The last thing you want is to not have their debt under control and allocated appropriately. If you need some beginner guidance, is a great resource to start. Financial planners and lawyers are well versed in their area of expertise, so they can help your loved-one determine how to manage their finances for end of life and their estate.

End of life plans
Talking about end of life for your elderly family member might be difficult for you, your family, and for them. Plan to avoid feeling rushed and stressed when making plans during a time of grief at the end of their life. Discuss how they want to handle their end of life care and funeral preparations. Talk with them to determine whether they would like a casket burial or cremation services. Plan a time when they are able to meet with a provider, like Dallas funeral services, to discuss all of their options.

A burial with a casket funeral can offer many fine details, while cremation provides a dignified and affordable option. Loved ones might like an open casket funeral. Others might prefer cremation and a ceremony scattering the ashes at a memorable location. Either option allows for a respectful service. The loved ones left behind should also have important documents such as transfer of death deeds, documents for an obituary, and other certificates needed at hand.

Caring for your elderly family members is personal and involves many different aspects to consider. Planning for the future is never emotionally easy, but the benefits to planning early outweigh the emotional toll that comes with waiting until the end of life. Gather your family and have conversations about the future. Preface the conversation by expressing that these discussions come from a place of love and caring.

Gadgets that give your home a warmer feel

When skies are gray and the weather is chilly, there’s nothing like coming back to a nice warm home. A roaring fire is a real treat, but that’s not practical for everyone, and even when it is it will often only heat one room. The good news is that constantly evolving technology has led to the development of some great gadgets for keeping your home snug. These are some of the best.
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Smart thermostats
Once upon a time the only way you could control heat sources in your home was to manually turn them on and off. Thermostats made it much easier, enabling you to set precise temperatures for your central heating, and now the next generation of thermostats lets you do that from wherever you are – even if you’ve gone overseas on vacation and forgotten to turn the heating off. You can make sure you have a warm home to return to even if you’re working irregular shifts, and it’ easier than ever to avoid waste, which also makes this good for the environment. in addition, you can sync it to other apps, so that, for instance, if your fitness app notices that you’re working out, it can tell your boiler to heat water ready for a shower.

Thermal bedding
If it’s hard to get your home to warm up in the mornings or if you tend to get cold at night, thermal bedding is a great solution. It’s now much more diverse – and much safer – than the traditional electric blanket. A thermal pillow, for instance, can aid relaxation, and some emit a gentle scent of lavender, known for helping people get to sleep. You can even buy thermal coverlets that are separately adjustable on different sides, so you and your partner can both be comfortable even if your preferences vary. Thermal blankets can be used in bed but are also great for keeping you warm as you wander round the house upon waking, or for curling up in on the sofa at the end of a long day.

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Innovative lighting
Feeling warm enough isn’t just about the actual temperature of your home – it also has a psychological element. Few things factor into this as much as your choice of light. Even little details like having a lighted outlet cover in each room to help you find your way around at night can make a difference. One of the great things about the shift toward diode based lighting is that it offers a much wider range of colors, including lights whose color you can change. Using lights with yellow or pink tones makes your home feel much warmer than using blue tinted or plain white lights, and with a set-up like this it’s easy to temporarily change the lighting if, for instance, you need to be able to see better to clean up a spill.

Luxurious faux furs
Home always feels warmer when you have something to snuggle up in. These days there are faux furs as good as the real thing. They’re more affordable, have none of the same ethical issues and give the home a real touch of luxury. The secret is a technological one – not only have the materials used improved, but designers have discovered that mixing short hairs with long ones enables a fur to trap much more air, creating an insulating barrier that stops body heat escaping. It’s even possible to get thermal fur pillows that generate heat internally so that you’ll feel as if you’re hugging a snugly animal.

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A cozy kitchen
A warm kitchen at the heart of your home can make a big difference to how cozy the whole place feels. If you use a kitchen range that’s on all the time, heat from it will spread throughout the house. If that’s not practical for you, using a slow cooker can have a similar, if subtler, effect. It will also spread delicious smells throughout the house. Thinking about the hot food you’re going to enjoy in a few hours’ time will make you love being in your home. In the mornings, try a bread maker with a timer switch so that you can wake up to the warm scent of fresh food being prepared.

Gadgets like these can make all the difference if your home is feeling chilly. They’ll not only heat it up, they’ll make you feel cozier and more at ease. A home like this always feels welcoming, whatever the weather.

Get Set for Spring with These 5 Beauty Hacks

Just as spring is the perfect time for a full house clean and de-cluttering, it’s also great for a beauty update. There’s nothing better than getting your hair and skin ready for the summer season with a few new treats and luxuries. Since busy moms won’t have a lot of time and money to waste on beauty, We've rounded up the best beauty hacks to get set for spring. With these tips, tricks and trends you can look and feel gorgeous as the sun-rays start treating your skin.

Treat the dry hair

After winter, most of us suffer from dry hair. It’s not even our fault or a lack of TLC that causes it. Winter can just be rather rough on the hair with the temperature changes (indoors it’s hot, outdoors it’s cold) and weather such as constant rain and the wind. We all feel a bit worn out after winter so it isn’t really a big thing to find your hair calling for help as well.

If you’re suffering from parched, dry hair, hair masks are the way to go. There are tons of good treatments out there – give the FekkaiPrXReparatives Intensive Fortifying Masque a go. If you want to find a clever tip for keeping your hair looking smooth at all times, then make your own de-tangler. You just need to add about two tablespoons of your chosen conditioner into a travel-sized spray bottle. Add water, shake well, and you've got a handy product to spray on your hair for quick dehydration!

Wave it up with no heat

Since you want to give your hair a bit more breathing room after the tough winter, you want to leave those hair straighteners and tongs untouched. If you want a no-hassle look, then wave the ends overnight with this simple beauty hack.

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You can add a hold and shine product such as TRESemmé Make Waves to washed and damp hair. Twist your hair into long spirals and create a cute bun with the spirals by tying it up into a knot. Make sure the ends of the hair are tucked underneath. Hold in place with a hair elastic. Open up in the morning and voilá!

Become a primer fanatic

Primers are the unsung heroes of our makeup bags. If you’re not using one, then you need to add one to your storage box immediately. Primer is the perfect spring hack because it evens out your tone and hydrates the dry winter skin at the same time.

Finding the perfect primer on your skin will require a bit of testing. For this reason, it can be a good idea to enter makeup stores and ask for samples – they are more than happy to demonstrate their products and it will save your pennies! If you want a few ideas, we would recommend Benefit The Professional and MAC Prep + Prime Natural Radiance Primer.

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Now, don’t be afraid to go primer crazy. You shouldn’t just use it on your face. Primers can help you achieve a glowing look on the legs, décolletage and arms. So, before you head out on the tank top, add just a bit of primer for a healthier tone.

Makeup brush for the best complexion

Sometimes we pay too much attention to the actual beauty products and not the tools we use with them. But the blame, for example, might not be on the kind of foundation you use, but the way you apply it. When it comes to spring beauty hacks, do yourself a favor and ditch the old makeup brushes and invest in a great brush. A good brush can help you achieve that perfect dewy complexion for the season.

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Charlotte Tilbury’s Foundation Brush is perfect for adding a liquid foundation on your skin. The tapered tool is easy to use and clean, making it super easy to add a soft layer of makeup on your skin. If you want something more matte, then pick a larger brush – the KevynAucoin’s the Foundation Brush is a great pick. You can find both brushes from Cult Beauty – with the added benefit of saving money with your purchase!

Get a head start for the glow

Now spring sun isn’t yet enough to get that beautiful tan. However, you can add instant glamour and freshness to your look with a bronze glow. The solution then is to opt for the faux tanning lotions. Now, we admit, these are not always a girl’s best friends. The tanning lotions can cause more mess than beauty –it’s on the sheets, your clothes, your children and the furniture!

You should try some of the new additions to the tanning lotion regime. Whish Coconut Milk and Bareminerals Faux Tan Body are quite good and less messy than some previous products. Furthermore, if you do get a bit too much tanning lotion on you or you notice patches, pick a bit of baking soda to clean it up. Sprinkle the baking soda on a washcloth and scrub it onto your damp skin. Rinse with warm water and you are good to go!

With these 5 beauty hacks, you are set for spring in no time!

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