human interest

  • Money Saving Tips -- New Year, New YOU!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    What resolutions did you make for the New Year. Many people make goals to lose weight and shed those unwanted pounds. However, if you are one of those people who have decided to go on a financial diet and shed your unwanted debt we have some great money saving tips on the CharmingChick blog today. Depending on your financial situation, things may seem very bleak. It is easy to feel very overwhelmed by debt or your other financial worries -- but stressing about it doesn't help you solve the problem. Simple measured steps can help you get where you want to be. It won't happen over night. It will take hard work, determination and commitment BUT the end result will be worth all of your hard work!!!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    Money Saving Tips

     

    1. Set a Budget

     

    It is very important to set a budget so you know where every dollar you have coming in, is going out to. The first month or so will be a little difficult if you don't really know how much you spend each month on things like groceries, eating out, gas, clothing etc. The easiest way to set your budget and track your spending is with a budget tracker. Mint.com offers a free version that can help get you started AND get you organized. You can also use Quickbooks or just create your own for FREE using Microsoft Excel or Google Docs. Setting up a budget and tracking your spending will help you know exactly where you can make cuts and possible help save yourself hundreds of dollars each month.

     

     

    2. Save for an Emergency (they do happen)

     

    Debit expert and financial guru Dave Ramsey has developed what he calls Seven Baby Steps. These steps are designed to help you eliminate debit and create a stable financial future. One build on YOUR money, not on top of debit which can create issues down the road. The first baby step is to save up for an emergency. If you put away $1000 as quickly as you can by selling something, working overtime, skipping eating out for a month, whatever it is you can do to save that money do it. This creates a safety net for when emergencies arise. This way you can pay cash instead of creating even more debt. ONLY use it for an emergency!

     

     

    3. Use Coupons

     

    Using coupons and coupon codes can save you lots of money on the things you buys everyday. At CharmingChick we post many of our coupon codes that can help you save money. There are so many great coupon code websites out there but two of the most popular that we use are RetailMeNot.com and CouponChief.com. If you need to purchase something, always check to see if there is a way you can save money on it first. You can also find discounts on the items you purchase every day like groceries, toiletries, eating out and MUCH more.

     

     

    These three money saving tips are just the beginning. Do you have a great money saving tips you'd like to share We'd LOVE to hear it.

     

     

  • Holiday Shopping : Gift Planning for the Holidays

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Well, it's the first week of November and most of us have started thinking about holiday shopping -- or maybe not. Have you started planning?? Have you started shopping? Well, I bought my first Christmas present of the season and I am chomping at the bit to buy more. However, if you are like me you might do shopping here and there and then wen it comes down to the wire you discover you are missing some people and gift heavy on others...and staying on budget? That can certainly be tough as well BUT today we are going to give you some holiday shopping and planning tips that should make things -- merry and bright this season.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Holiday Shopping Tips

     

    1. Make a List -- and Check it Twice

    The first thing you'll want to do before you start your holiday shopping is to make a list of all the people you would like to buys Christmas gifts this year. If you have ideas about items that you would like to purchase and an estimated price. If you love creating spreadsheets, this task can be right up your alley. No only can you keep track of who you need to buy for and what you have purchased, you can also keep track of packages you need to mail and all kinds of other things.

     

    2. Create a Budget

     

    After you have your holiday shopping list together figure out an overall budget. As much as possible try to set aside money throughout the year so you won't be paying for your Christmas gifts all the way until next Christmas. After you come up with an overall budget, you can assign a certain amount to each person on your list .The BEST idea is to set aside the money for Christmas gifts aside into a separate account that you can access when you set out to go shopping.

     

    3. Shop Sales and Look for Coupon Codes

     

    You don't have to wait until "Black Friday" to start your Holiday shopping and save big. In fact retailers are starting to offer amazing deals now. PLUS, if you shop early you won't feel so stressed. At Charming Chick we are constantly offering great deals leading up to Christmas. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to hear about the latest specials and get coupon codes. You'll want to shop sales now and don't worry about what might be coming -- if you want to enjoy your holiday and not feel so rushed shop early.

     

    Right now at Charming Chick we are rewarding all those who want to shop early with FREE Saver Shipping through the entire month of November. Just enter coupon code FREESHIPNOV at check out!

     

     

  • Baby Shower Etiquette

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Baby Shower Etiquette

     

    Baby Shower Etiquette has changed a bit over the years but there are some things that have stayed the same. Today on the Charming Chick blog we will address some of the most commonly asked Baby Shower Etiquette questions -- but first we'll examine a little bit of the history and the purpose of a baby shower.

     

    Baby showers actually date back to ancient times. Of course they weren't really anything that we think of today. They were a lot less of a "party" and more or a "ritual"  -- or right of passage. Sometimes it involved going to a temple to dispose of the after birth, or to witness a baby naming ceremony. Through the years these rituals evolved into other rituals where mothers could share their experience and perhaps items that their children had outgrown, with the new mothers. Today we typically throw baby showers before the baby is born, but long ago it was customary to wait until after the infants birth -- sometimes a month or more. Today baby showers are generally filled with food, fun and games. Mothers-to-Be and their little bundles are "showered" with gifts from loving friends and family!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Though etiquette has become a little more relaxed over the years but some people hold tight to the old traditions. Here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked baby shower etiquette questions.

     

    Q. Who should host a baby shower.

     

    A. Baby showers are usually given by close friends of the mother-to-be. A long standing rule of baby shower etiquette is that it looks "greedy" if the soon-to-be grandmother or other close family member hosts the shower. Some folks still hold firm to this rule, however, etiquette rules have relaxed a bit and mothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, etc. have been known to host baby showers. The mother-to-be should not host her own shower however.

     

    Q. Who pays for the costs associated with the baby shower?

     

    A. Baby shower etiquette typically states that the person hosting the baby shower pays for everything needed for the party. However, there is nothing wrong with a group of friends getting together to host and share the responsibility and the cost.

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    Q. When should the baby shower be held?

     

    A. Baby showers are usually held about 2-3 months before the estimated due date but they can honestly be held anytime. If the parents-to-be are finding out the gender and will be sharing the news with others, it's fun to wait until that announcement so guests can purchase gifts related to that gender -- but it's certainly not necessary.

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    Q. If this isn't a first child (i.e. 2nd, 3rd, 4th), should a baby shower still be given?

     

    A. The general rule of etiquette is...no, if it's not a first child there should not be another shower given. However, baby shower etiquette rules have relaxed a bit in recent years and it is not uncommon for people to have a celebration for each child. They are sometimes called "Sprinkles" or "Diaper Showers" These are intended to give the mother-to-be items that she may not have left over from her previous children. Also, if there is a big gap (5 years or more) between children, it's a child in a new relationship, you have moved and have a new set of friends, then it is common to have another baby shower.

     

    Be sure to visit our Baby Shower Planning Ideas board on Pinterest for LOTS of great inspiration!!

     

  • Halloween Hospitality -- Welcoming the Trick-or Treaters

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    If you are looking forward to welcoming trick-or-treaters to your home this Halloween, then this post is for you! You'll want to be sure that your home, mainly you porch and walkway, are ready for all the little ghosts, goblins, superheros, princess, and more that will be headed your way. Today we will examine some of the dos and don'ts that will keep everyone safe, so that you all will enjoy this fun holiday.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Turn Your Porch Light On

    On Halloween night you'll want to keep your porch light on if you want to have trick-or-treaters come to your door. It's a common rule for trick-or-treating that folks should never go to a house with the poach lights off. There are a few reasons for this but the BIG one is safety. Keep your light on so trick-or-treaters know that you are giving out treats and having your light on also lights a path so that no one has to fumble around in the dark and potentially hurt themselves.

     

    Clear a Path

    Having festive and spooky decorations is a huge part of the fun on Halloween but you'll want to make sure that everything is out of the way so none of the little trick-or-treaters, or their parents, trip over your pumpkins or Halloween decor. Using candles in pumpkins has always been a popular way of lighting up jack-o-lanterns, but there are some pretty awesome lights that you can stick in them now. They are very expensive and you can use them year after year, plus you don't have to worry about someone's cap or loose clothing getting caught in a flame.

     

    Give out Commercially Packaged Goodies

    I love making and receiving Halloween treats as much as anyone, but if you hand them out to trick-or-treaters, chances are  pretty good that they will get thrown out -- unless the trick-or-treaters know you well. As delicious as they might be most parents don't feel comfortable letting their little ones eat homemade food from folks they don't know. You don't even have to give out candy if you don't want to. There are prepackaged crackers, fruit, chips and more that you can hand out. Some people hand out gift certificates, toys or toothbrushes as well.

     

    Keep Your Pets Indoors

    Halloween can sometimes spook our pets. Having strangers come to the door wearing costumes can cause even the most even tempered pet concern. You don't want them to get hurt, or to hurt someone else, so keeping them in one of their favorite rooms until you're done handing out treats can make them feel much safer and happy.

     

     

     

     

     

  • Expecting a Baby? 8 Creative ways to Share the News

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Telling the world that your are expecting a baby can be a very exciting and fun thing to do. Whether you are looking to share the baby news with your husband, parents or lose friends and family, there are ways to make your announcement even more memorable and special. When the time comes to reveal your big news refer to this list for some fun ideas.

     

    1. Get a charm that says "Grandma" and present it your your Mom. This is an especially great way to share the baby news if she doesn't have any grandchildren yet. She might be a little confused but soon she'll be beaming with joy!

     

    2. Wear a t-shirt that reads "Baby on Board" and see how long it takes people to notice.

     

    3. To tell you husband the exciting baby news, and/or parents you have your your first born wear an "I'm going to be a Big Sister/Brother" shirt.

     

    4. Take a photo of your positive pregnancy test and slip it into a current book, magazine or the sports page of the morning newspaper for an unexpected surprise.

     

    5. Invite people over for a baby themed dinner where you can serve things like baby carrots, baby back ribs, have baby corn in the salad, babybel cheese, baby potatoes, etc. For a little extra fun you could put out a plate of cinnamon buns with a sign that says "There's a bun in the oven" and see if your guests catch on.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    6. Another way to share your baby news is to frame an ultrasound photo and wrap it for your parents to open. They'll understand what is it very quickly! If you want to share the news with other friends you can have photo cards made and send them out with a message "Coming February 2013" or whenever your expected due date is.

     

    7. To announce the big news that you are expecting to your husband, you can hand him a Daddy Diaper Bag or a book for the Dad-to-Be Like "My Boys Can Swim!: The Official Guys Guide to Pregnancy"  or "Dude Your Gonna Be A Dad!"

     

    8. If you will be sharing the baby news that you are expecting around the holidays you can get baby themed gifts for parents or other family members. A bib that says "Grandma is Great" or "#1 Aunt" is perfect. A baby outfit that says "Grandpa Digs Me" or "My Uncle is the Best!" Is ideal as well.

     

     

  • Pinterest Boards: Not Just for Ladies, Guys Like It Too

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    My husband is under the misconception that Pinterest is just for the ladies. Nothing could be further from the truth. It's really for everyone. For instance if your guy is into action movies, superheros and comics there is a TON of stuff out there. Think of all the great boards that guys could come up with related to cars, videos games, their favorite sports teams and so much more. I know that many ladies are interested in these things as well -- I have a boards of my favorite football team of course :) The point is, if you are a guy and the word Pinterest has you envisioning frilly women's fashion, a thousand pages of nail art, and tons of wedding and baby stuff -- well yes, there is a lot of that. However, depending on who's boards you follow -- you will find a lot of stuff you love.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Pinterest is a very visually pleasing site and when you follow boards or people and you see things you like you can "pin" those items to one of your boards. Let's say you are looking for dinner ideas and you see a pot roast that looks delicious. When you "repin" this photo from the board you see it on aren't simply pinning a picture of the most mouth-watering pot roast you have ever seen, you are actually pinning the website where you should be able to find the recipe for this dish. Putting together a Pinterest board of Grilling allows quick and easy access to recipes to make. How many times have you been surfing the web and you end up at a site but you have no idea how you got there or how to get back. You could always bookmark it to your computer but pinning it on Pinterest allows you to categorize items AND desplay a photo. It's and that's certainly not just something only females can enjoy, so come on guys -- if you haven't tried Pinterest yet you really should. As a side note, it also helps you find great gift ideas for your gal. Just peek at her boards and you'll never be at a loss for what you get her, because if it's on her boards it's certainly something she will love!!!

    Be sure to check out all of our Charming Chick Pinterest boards! We are constantly updating and editing items to keep things fresh.

     

  • Bridesmaids Tips ~ Before you Say YES!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Bridesmaids!!!!!

     

    Many things come to mind when we think about bridesmaids; giggling girlfriends shopping for dresses, a lot of elegant bridal parties in preparation for the bride's big day, a luxurious and exciting bachelorette party -- fun, fun and more fun!!! It is such an honor to be asked, especially if you are being asked by a dear friend or close family member to be one of her bridesmaids. You may be willing to invest much more time and money than if the bride is one of best friends -- but what if she isn't? Either way, before you say "YES!" you'll definitely want to consider some very important things first, and on the Charming Chick blog today we want to give future bridesmaids the information they need.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Weddings are  time to celebrate love, friendship and all of the wonderful joys that uniting two people and two families can bring. However, there are other things that can throw a bit of a wrench into all the joy. If you are prepared for the things that can happen, then you'll know how to deal with it and whether or not you are up to taking on the duties and costs associated with becoming a bridesmaid.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The High Cost of Being a Bridesmaid

     

    Bridesmaids to have to pay their way for a lot of things, so being a bridesmaid can get expensive. You may think you'll only be out the price of a dress (which can cost a fortune if you have a bride with expensive taste) and shoes -- but there is so many other things to consider. Here is a list of potential items bridesmaids may have to pay for:

     

    *dress

    *shoes

    *accessories

    *hair

    *makeup

    *bridal shower

    *bachelorette party

    *wedding gift

    *travel and lodging expenses

    *and more....

     

    This can add up to be $1500 but often more! If your friend is frugal or at least conscious of trying to keep the costs low for the wedding party -- give her a BIG hug and tell her thank you. Spending $1500-$3000 might not seem like much to you, especially if you are headed for a tropical destination wedding but for many bridesmaids that is a huge expense. That being said, there are some very generous brides who will pay for many things for their bridesmaids, but that is the exception and not the rule.

     

    Communicate openly about your budget restrictions and if you don't want to go into debt -- well, gracefully and humbly bow out. There are always other duties you can help out with.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Bridesmaids Have Many Duties

     

    As a bridesmaid you do need to know that you will expected to help out with some of the wedding activities. You must show up to all the pre-wedding parties and you will also be expected to help plan some of them, especially if you are the Maid of Honor. You will also be expected to assist the bride in any way possible the day of her wedding but she may also ask for your help in putting some wedding projects together as well.  After the wedding you may need to help gather the gifts, the bride's dress, tuxedos, etc. If you don't think you have enough time to commit to such things you might want to consider declining the invitation to serve. However, if the bride means a lot to you -- you can probably find the time.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Being a bridesmaid is both an honor and a lot of fun. Just make sure you are comfortable with the financial and time commitments involved before you say yes. If you think about things things before being asked then you won't have that awkward silence that can make you both uncomfortable and potentially strain your friendship.

  • Parenting Tips ~ 7 Reasons Your Baby will Cry


     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    If you are a new parent,  you are probably learning that babies cry for a variety of reasons and at first it can really be difficult to decode the message they are trying to send you. Since babies can’t say "Hey! Mom and dad I'm hungry!" Their crying lets you know that they need something. No parent wants to hear their child cry. It can be heartbreaking to listen to, so time is of the essence when it comes to figuring out the issue and addressing it. Of course, you want your baby to be happy and comfortable once more. Here are some of the most common reasons your baby might be crying and what you can do to soothe them.

     

    Hungry – This is one of the most common cries and probably the one you will get to know quickly. Time can get away from new parents, especially if you haven't had an opportunity to establish a schedule. So, even though it seems like you just fed your baby, it may have been awhile. If they are crying and show hunger signs like; smacking their lips, sucking on their fists or rooting it’s probably time for a feeding.

     

    Diaper's Full – Some babies are not bothered at all by a wet or soiled diaper -- but others can’t stand being even the tiniest bit wet. When you baby is crying this should be one of the first things you check -- it’s a pretty easy fix.

     


     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Sleepy Baby and/or Over Stimulated – Babies will cry if they are tired or overstimulated. If you have tried feeding them, checked their diaper and all is well in those areas, it may be time for a nap. Babies need a lot of sleep so it is not unusual that those cries may be coming from a tired little one. Also, if you have been out visiting and your baby has been in a new place being passed round from person to person they may just be a bit overstimulated and need to rest. Try swaddling or move to a quite location where baby isn’t being inundated with lights noise and people.

     

     

    Too Hot or Too Cold – A crying baby could be trying to tell you that they are too hot or too cold. Most newborns like to be warm and snuggled -- but if they are snuggled up and crying, it could signal they are a bit too warm. Often babies will cry when you are changing their clothes or getting them into a bath because they simply feel too cold.

     

     

    Tummy Trouble – Sometimes babies simply need to burp or have a gas bubble. They can also have colic or have other tummy issues. Sometimes trying to burp or gently stretching baby’s legs out and in will help release the pressure. If they cry a lot after feedings, talk to their doctor.

     

    Getting new Chompers – If your baby is a few months old they could be teething. Even before the first tooth breaks through, teeth can be shifting and moving under the gums and causing discomfort. Giving them a teething toy to chew on can help soothe the pain. You can also try using a teething gel or teething tablets

     

    A Little Under the Weather – Your baby could be crying because they don’t feel well. Check to see if your baby has a fever or seems like they are coming down with something. If they are lethargic or show any other signs that make you concerned, call their pediatrician.

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Happy Father's Day 2012!!!

     

     

    From all of us at Charming Chick -- we would like to wish all the Dads, Step-Dads, Grandads, Papas, Uncles and any other man who spends quality time teaching and enriching the life of a child -- a VERY Happy Father's Day!!!!!

     

     

    In honor of Father's Day here are some quotes you can add to any cards you plan on giving...

     

     

     

    Blessed indeed is the man who hears
    many gentle voices call him father!

    ~Lydia M. Child

    The greatest gift I ever had
    Came from God; I call him Dad!
    ~Author Unknown

    A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed,
    and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.
    ~ Billy Graham

    My father didn't tell me how to live; he lived,
    and let me watch him do it.
    ~ Clarence Budington Kelland

    By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right,
    he usually has a son who thinks he's wrong.
    ~
    Charles Wadsworth

    I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong
    as the need for a father's protection.
    ~
    Sigmund Freud

    If the new American father feels bewildered and even defeated, let him take comfort from the fact that whatever he does in any fathering situation has a fifty percent chance of being right.
    ~
    Bill Cosby

     

     


  • Honeymoon Destinations ~ How do You Choose?

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    If you are planning a wedding you've probably been swimming in all the details that will make your wedding day super special -- but you are probably also thinking about what you will do once the wedding is over.  If you are like most couples, you are looking forward to your honeymoon almost as much as you are to your big day! Have you decided on a destination, are you struggling to choose between a few favorites or are you so overwhelmed with wedding details that you haven't even narrowed it down? On the Charming Chick blog today, we have some tips that may be able to help you choose your perfect honeymoon destination.

     

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    1. First Things First

    The best and first thing you should do is to sit down with your sweetie and make a list of all the places the two of you might like to go on your honeymoon. Are you looking for tropical sandy beaches, do you want to get lost in a big city, are you looking for a destination that holds great historical significance or would you like to travel to another country - passports in hand - and experience the sights sounds and flavors it has to offer?

     

    2. Consider Your Budget

    If you have a budget, as most brides and grooms do, you'll want to take that into consideration while planning your honeymoon. If you are paying for your wedding yourselves then you might decide to have a short and romantic weekend getaway, then opt for a more elaborate honeymoon a few months after your wedding. You'll want to consider travel lodging, meals, activities etc. as you are mapping out your budget.

     

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    3. Honeymoon Activities

    In addition to the destination you and your soon-to-be-spouse will also want to consider the types of activities you'd like to on your honeymoon. Knowing what activities the two of you would like to do on your romantic getaway can be very helpful to determine where you ultimately want to go. Once you do that you can check prices and even see what packages are available. Sometimes travel packages can include airfare, hotel accommodations, a meal or two and one or two activities and a reduced price. You can research online or speak with a travel agent for more information.

     

    Whatever you decide to do, it will be memorable. Take a chance. Go somewhere you've always dream of going, do things you've never done and just enjoy each other!!!

     

     

     

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