Sunday, July 31, 2011

Men's Express Jeans: Born to Rock the Sidewalk!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Express for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Men's Jeans: Browse the Hottest Designer Men's Jeans from Express
Here in our home I am the one who purchases denim jeans for my husband as he hates to shop for his own clothes and that makes me pretty dang gone happy because I then get the pleasure of purchasing jeans for him that look good on his body type.

When I go out shopping for men's jeans I always head on over to Express as they carry the styles that he likes and the ones I think look great on him. Express jeans always has many options in stock and ready for us to purchase and one of the styles I like to buy for him are the Kingston Classic Fit Jeans because they look best on his body type. He isn't into skinny leg jeans at his age (age 49) so he likes the classic fits and I am more than happy to purchase them for him. He likes the Kingston jeans because they fit properly through the rise and through his hips and he likes that they are not body hugging jeans. I think they look awfully nice on him!

Just recently I found out about the Express giveaway where they are giving away 50 pairs of denim jeans! Wow! You have got to go over there and check out that giveaway and make sure that you enter! I know I entered and I am keeping my fingers cross that we win a pair!

Do you purchase jeans for your hubby or does your hubby go out and buy his own? Does your hubby like the trendy slim-fit jeans or does he like the classic-fit jeans?Advertisement

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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Birdwatching | Four Day Old Baby House Finch Birds

Well, the 4th egg never hatched and the third egg totally disappeared so we have 2 thriving baby house finch birds who are now 4 days old! If you click on the photo it will enlarge. You can see their bodies are becoming covered in down and you are starting to see the feathers coming in now too. I love how the 2 birdlets are hugging one another in the nest.

So far so good with mommy bird letting us mist the nest to keep it cool as we are still having 90+ degree weather days here and at times the birdlets seem to be panting and gasping from the heat. I think they are totally cute and I am still waiting to see if that 4th egg ever hatches.

I will get pics in 2 days and update the blog then.

Back to School on a Budget: 11 Back To School Savings Tips

You can hear the groans across the country. Summer has barely begun and already retailers are holding back-to-school sales. Toys R Us actually started their sales July 1, with an end date of July 23. The National Retail Federation says some sales may continue through August, but there might not be the same selection. That's reason enough to consider shopping now.

The question is how to save without busting your budget. Here are 11 savings tips to help you through this early shopping season.

1. Take Inventory
Consider what you'll actually need before hitting the stores. Has your child grown out of their schools clothes or will they do so by September? Can you reuse last year's school supplies or will you need to replace some items?

2. Set a Budget
Create a shopping list and stick to it, so you avoid impulse purchases. That fancy-schmancy Transformers' Trapper Keeper can push your budget over the edge.

3. Use Coupons
There may be great deals, but coupons can make them even greater. Check out sites like that offer a wide selection of online, printable, and mobile coupons for back to school savings.

4. Shop Early
While it seems awfully early to think about school shopping, this is when stores are rolling out their best deals of the year. As they say, the early bird gets the worm.

5. Go Mobile
Tap into your mobile phone with apps like "RedLaser," which allows you to scan bar codes and find any cheaper prices online or at other retailers.

6. Check Social Media
Twitter and Facebook are great places to find deals offered to a brand's social-media fan base. "Like" or "Follow" the merchant and keep an eye out for coupons and sales announcements.

7. Buy in Bulk
Take advantage of bulk offers on pens, crayons, paper and other items your kids will burn through over the course of the year. You might team up with other parents for bigger bulk purchases that will bring prices down even lower.

8. Spend More to Save More
Sometimes it costs money to save money. For example, Staples offers a 15-percent savings pass for $10, which you can use throughout the back-to-school season.

9. Exchange
Gather your family and friends -- along with their kid's school wardrobes -- for an exchange night of hand-me-downs that will save everyone money.

10. Wait Until Labor Day
Labor Day is the traditional time for big sales on school clothing. You might take a chance and wait until then to buy any necessary items for your child.

11. Buy for Yourself
Back-to-school sales aren't just for kids. You might stock up on office supplies, jeans and other items that traditionally go on sale during this season.


Consumer and money saving expert, Andrea Woroch, is available for an in-studio, satellite or skype interview. As a nationally recognized media source, Andrea has been featured on NBC Today Show, FOX & Friends, MSNBC, ShopSmart Magazine, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Affordable Cell Phone Plans From Straight Talk 2

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Straight Talk for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

After having the same cell phone company for the past 4 years hubby and I are ready to change to a new plan that is more cost effective. For the past 4 years we have been locked into a contract and way over-paying our current cell phone provider and not getting the service that we expect. For the past 2 weeks we have been doing some online research trying to find a new and better option.

A few days ago I stumbled upon some information for Straight Talk 2 and I am really interested in this one because there are no long term contracts and there are no credit checks! yeah! I love that they have fabulous nationwide coverage with reliable connections. I read that they use only the trusted cell phone manufacturers like Samsung, LG, Motorola, Nokia and Kyocera and that is important to me.

I know with our current (soon to be old) cell phone carrier that they roped ups in hook, line and sinker to their long-term contract which has taken us years to get out of! I know when I get our new cell phone service set up that one of the first things I am going to do is call a friend that lives over on the West Coast and have a nice longer conversation with her.

I am thinking about getting the "All You Need Plan" which is for heavy phone users like myself and it comes with 1,000 minutes, 1,000 text messages and 30 MB of web data. The unlimited monthly service is only $45 a month and includes, calls, pictures, text messages and web which is fabulous price! Wow, with all the money I am going to be saving...I might be able to take an extra vacation this year! yeah!

Another advantage by choosing Straight Talk 2 is that 411 calls are no extra charge! heard that correctly, no extra charge! There are no activation fees, no reactivation fees and no cancelation charges! The Straight Talk 2 International Long Distance Service is a flexible prepaid calling service that helps you to stay within your household's budget and you can make your calls from home, the office or by cell phone while out and about doing your daily errands.

Straight Talk 2 seriously has everything you need and it's all wrapped up in a nice company that gives you all of these services for an affordable price. You know what they say... mom knows best and this is definitely a company you need to check out for all of your cell phone needs!


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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Birdwatching | Two of the Four Eggs Have Now Hatched!

Wow...check out these cutie pies! I blogged last week about a mommy bird (she is a house finch) who made a beautiful nest in one of my hanging baskets and then she laid 4 tiny little eggs. Well, we have hatchlings! This photo shows two of the hatchlings which are now 24 hours old. They can't hold their heads up yet and they have no feathers. They do have a light sparse layer of down on them but no feathers yet. They cry and cry for mom when she leaves the nest and so far she is really protective of them but let's hubby and I take photos and let's us mist the basket with water. We have had over 96 degree weather here for a week so I think she is happy about us misting water on the basket a few times a day. As soon as the other two hatch, I will get pictures of them.

Our other basket has 5 day old hatchlings in that one also with 4 little birdlets and they are also house finches but that mommy bird is pretty fiesty and not letting me get the photos of them.

I will update the blog in a few days with new close up photos of our new baby birdlets!

~ Shelly ~

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

8 Alternative Wedding Trends for 2011

Today's brides and grooms aren't settling for what's always been done. They're infusing creativity, personality, cultural trends and most of all, they're having fun. They're creating memorable experiences not just for themselves but for friends and family who contribute to their big day.

Author and marketing guru Seth Godin recently spoke at a Chick-fil-A Leadercast about how the new normal is not normal at all. People are questioning why we do things the way we do and turning tradition on its head. It's affecting all industries, including the wedding industry.

Here's a look at eight alternative wedding trends that are popping up in 2011.

1. Mini Wedding Dresses
Whether it's glammed up, vintage or breezy casual, knee-length wedding dresses are more practical and more personalized for today's bride. As more stores roll out wedding boutiques like J.Crew and White House Black Market, brides can pick up a wedding dress from their favorite retail store. And let's not forget that for some, that's Etsy, where they can pick up a custom hand-made gown for as little as $40.

2. Fun with Color
From black accents to bold color blocks, color is king this year. And it's not limited to the bride. Non-matching bridesmaids are coordinating in patterns or complementary color combinations like this crafty DIY wedding of mega-blogger Elsie Larson. In addition to bold color palettes, shades of gray and stripes continue to be big color trend for the year.

3. Alternative Gift Registries
Many couples are registering for gifts that will help them in a practical way. Travel agencies are starting to offer honeymoon gift certificates and some auto dealers are offering gift certificates toward the purchase of a new vehicle. allows couples to create a gift card registry for national retailers. Couples can get creative as they want: they can request gift cards to home improvement stores to offset costs of home renovation, or register for local restaurants so they can continue dating as newlyweds on a budget.

4. Punchy Personalization
While the structure of the wedding remains the same (you've got a bride and groom, an officiant, a group of family and friends, a ceremony and reception) the look is anything but. The time may be different (think brunch), the seating may be smarter (seated at tables & staying put for reception), the furniture may be funky (varying size and shape or non-traditional choices), and forget the wedding favors, today's couples are giving personalized takeaways, like souvenir photo booth picture strips.

5. Eco-friendly Finds
Outdoor spaces, reclaimed furniture, flea market finds and even wooden rings are helping eco-conscious brides and grooms celebrate in a big way without the environmental impact. Green weddings can feature locally grown food and seed-lined wedding invitations that can be planted.

CarbonFund and Terrapass offer wedding carbon footprint calculators, where air travel is most likely to be the big offender. Couples can purchase carbon offsets to lessen the impact, or request contributions as gifts.

6. The Rustic South
There's been a rise in rustic weddings in the past several years and it mirrors a growing hunger in popular culture for all things Southern (think The Civil Wars, J.Crew fashion, artisan jeans, home-brewed beer). Today's vintage and rustic weddings are all about embracing simplicity and infusing new life into old things. From location (barns or old warehouses) to furniture & decor (antiques and flea market favorites) to apparel (vintage clothes and even broach bouquets), many couples are going for the nostalgic feel of the old South.

7. Cultural Cues
Couples looking to add levity to their big day are incorporating pop culture trends. Food cart fare is showing up in pre-wedding cocktail hour and the after-party. Culturally significant themes like retro Asian flavors and ethnic icons like sushi, ninjas, geisha girls and Chinese lanterns are being used in inventive ways. Vintage board games are showing up as Monopoly pieces in bouquets and Scrabble letter tiles as signs for the buffet.

8. Death of the Wedding Cake
The exorbitant cost of traditional tiered wedding cakes have given way to nontraditional desserts like square mini-cakes and cupcake tiers or a dessert buffet that might feature pies, macaroons, Whoopie Pies, cake pops, color-coordinated candy and even ice cream sundae stations or cookies and milk bars.


Weddings expert Cara Davis is the author of Cheap Ways to Tie the Knot and blogs from her home in Orlando, FL, about cheap ways to spend and save at
For more information, to book a segment, or arrange an interview, email Cara Davis at

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Bird Watching | Mommy Finch Laid 4 Beautiful Eggs In Her Nest!

As some of you know...I absolutely love birds and I love to go bird watching from time to time and every year I look forward to various birds building nests in my hanging flower baskets and this year is no exception.

About 10 days ago we saw a mommy finch flying in and out of one of my hanging baskets so earlier today we took the basket down to water my plants and low and behold...we got a brand new nest with 4 tiny little eggs inside! Each egg is no bigger than a dime! Mommy wasn't too happy about us coming near the flower basket but after we hung it back up and misted it with some water she came right back and sat in her nest.I will check it again in a few days to see if the eggs hatched yet and to give you all a progress report. I look forward to this every summer so I am very excited that for the 4th summer in a row...I get to watch the eggs hatch and then watch the babies grow and fledge!

~* Shelly * ~

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Wordless Wednesday ~ Grampy and Me!

As usual...not so wordless! LOL Today I am sharing a photo that I took a few days ago of the wee one with her grampy! I had taken the wee one out into the backyard to pick some hydrangeas as she LOVES flowers so I put them into a small vase for her so she could take them home to her house and she was letting her grampy "sniff" them before she left. She is a totally grampy's girl!!! ~ Shelly

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Get A Free Sample of Honey Nut Cheerios!!!

Have you heard the BUZZ? Honey Nut Cheerios® cereal is America's Favorite Cereal!*

As a special thank you for being such sweet fans, Honey Nut Cheerios is hosting a "Billion 'O' Giveaway," providing free samples to fans beginning July 4, 2011, available while supplies last.

So, if your family is nuts about Honey Nut Cheerios, zip on over to for your sweet sample! In fact, grab a spoon and let's enjoy this moment together.

In addition to checking out the "Billion 'O' Giveaway", make sure to BEE-come a fan of Cheerios on Facebook and get involved in the conversation about Honey Nut Cheerios!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Extreme Coupon Show Backlash as Stores Change Policies: Learn Coupon Do's & Don'ts

A recent article on The Consumerist found the TLC show, Extreme Couponing, has sparked a trend of out-of-control couponers who ransack stores with little regard for fellow shoppers. Merchants have taken notice and many major retailers are starting to change their policies. Here are some of the big ones.

Rite Aid
Rite Aid has taken the same steps as Target to crack down on shoppers looking to exploit BOGO coupon offers. The drug store chain has also made other changes including limiting the number of coupons per item to four. If inventory is running low, managers may limit the numbers further.

The biggest change at Target comes to their buy one, get one (BOGO) policy. They now only allow one BOGO coupon per purchase. Previously, customers could "stack" Target printable coupons, combining store and manufacturer BOGO coupons to get both items for free.

Many high tech shoppers have even started to crack coupon barcodes, allowing them to use coupons on products they're not intended for. Walgreens is working to combat this fraud by adopting a new type of barcode. New barcodes will be able to hold more data and can better make sure Walgreens coupons are used for the right product.

At Publix stores throughout the country they're also limiting the number of coupons that can be used on one product. Their new policy limits couponers to one manufacturers coupon and one store coupon per item.

Shopping with coupons is certainly a smart way to save, but there are right and wrong ways to do it. Here are some basic do's and dont's to help you coupon with class.

DO play by the rules. Couponing isn't too complicated and common sense should get you by in most cases. Rules vary store to store, so if you're planning to use a large amount of coupons, it helps to brush up on coupon policies before you shop. This includes making sure you're buying the item the coupon is intended for and checking to see if they'll accept expired coupons or not.

DON'T clear the shelf. In the eyes of casual shoppers, clearing entire shelves of popular sale items crosses the line between couponing and hoarding. If you really want to stock up on certain products, try making multiple trips or call ahead and ask a manager if they'll set aside an order for you.

DO be organized before you check out. It's a nightmare for cashiers and people waiting in line when you hand over a haphazard pile of miscellaneous coupons. It'll be much appreciated if you clip them before hand and make sure they're all facing the same direction. Also, remember to remove coupons for products you didn't end up buying. If you are using mobile coupons, have them ready on your smartphone for the cashier to scan.

DON'T shop during the busiest times. The stress level of those waiting in line during peak times is high enough. Using dozens of coupons takes time and will only irritate other shoppers. Instead, go shopping when business is slow. It takes the pressure off to complete the transaction as quickly as possible for both you and the cashier.

DO be polite to the cashier and fellow customers. Sure, you might have some knowledge other customers and even clerks don't, but it's no excuse to treat others like they're beneath you. If a cashier isn't familiar with coupon policies, stay calm and ask to speak with a supervisor. They're much more helpful if you don't lose your cool. When your cart is overflowing, give those behind you a heads up that you'll be using coupons. If someone is waiting with just a loaf of bread and gallon of milk, let them cut ahead.

DON'T steal coupons! A growing trend turning the tide against couponers is theft. Newspapers and newspaper subscribers are increasingly finding coupon inserts stolen. This is a big no-no and can get you into some serious trouble. Many people will willingly part with their unused inserts if you ask nicely.

Consumer Savings Expert, Andrea Woroch, is available to share "Extreme Coupon Show Backlash as Stores Change Policies: Learn Coupon Do's & Don'ts" with your audience for an in-studio, satellite or skype interview. Andrea has been featured as a media expert source on The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, FOX & Friends, ABC News NOW, MSNBC, Kiplinger Personal Finance, Smart Money and many more. To view recent interviews or for more savings tips visit

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Wordless Wednesday ~ My Two Girls On July 4th

My 2 beautiful girls on July 4th...our 26 year old daughter and 2 year old grand daughter!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Monte Carlo is Now Playing in Theaters! Great Movie For Girl's Night Out!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Monte Carlo for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
Have you heard about the new summer blockbuster movie called Monte Carlo yet? This wonderful movie staring the talented actress Selena Gomez just hit theaters and is already a hit! This is a great mother-daughter bonding movie or a great movie to go out and see with your best girlfriends.
The movie is about a young woman named Grace (played by Selena Gomez), her step-sister and her best friend. Grace inherits some money and plans a trip to Paris with her best friend and her step-sister for their dream vacation living the high life. While on this great adventure the three of them discover who they really are and have a lot of fun doing it. This movie is considered to be a romantic comedy.
You really need to check out the as it is so funny! The movie has a great storyline and the 3 actresses in the movie do a great job playing their parts. I think this movie will have you on the seat of your pants laughing as it is so entertaining and a great movie to go out and see this summer.
The movie is now playing in theaters and you can purchase your tickets at your local theater or at Fandango if you want to avoid long lines at the ticket counter.  You should fan/like Monte Carlo over on Facebook so that you can be kept up to date with all of the movie news and you can interact with the fans.
This is a fabulous movie! Grab your mother, daughter and a few friends and get out to your local theater today to go see it! It is entertaining, funny and has a great storyline!
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