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April Michelle Designs - HGG 2015

April Michelle Designs is an Etsy shop that specializes in boutique bows, custom embroidery, and personalized items.

From her site: My fingers first hit the sewing machine during the Madonna era of the 80's, when I first began sewing and creating my own clothes. Since the birth of my daughter, I have rediscovered my love of creating fun boutique clothes plus expanded to the world of boys, Moms and Dads.

I have been sewing for over 15 years. I specialize in handmade baby and children items, but at times will also offer things for Mom, Dad, and the House. I love to create new and fun ideas - plus, sister and brother sets are extra special.

They are one of our premium sponsors in this year's Holiday Gift Guide! CHeck out their awesome holiday designs!


ComfyEarrings - HGG 2015

What Makes ComfyEarrings so Comfortable?

ComfyEarrings are unlike any earrings you’ve seen before! They are uniquely created to sit comfortably in your ear without stabbing your neck or squishing your earlobes.

You see traditional earrings have a few problems:

  1. They have a back that slides on the post. Often, this makes the earring too tight, which squishes your earlobe causing soreness and irritation.
  2. They also have a post that sticks out the back and pokes you in the neck when you lay down or talk on the phone.

ComfyEarrings solve these problems!

They bring relief to your ears and neck by using a flat back attached to the earring posts.

This flat back eliminates the pressure on your ears and, because it covers the back of the post, it protects your neck from painful pokes when you talk on the phone or sleep.

100% Comfy or Your Money-Back Guarantee

They personally test and approve every style of ComfyEarrings before they appear on this site. (In fact, co-owners, Nick and Christina Gillick, each wear ComfyEarrings 24/7/365. Christina wears two pair.)

They check for comfort, quality, and style. If a style of ComfyEarrings doesn’t pass, it doesn’t make it into our product line.

Because of the testing process — and the comfort of the earrings – they can confidently offer a 100% Money-Back Guarantee — also known as the “100% Happiness Guarantee.”

Visit their webpage and save $5 today!


Namely Newborns - HGG 2015

Namely Newborns is one of our Premium Sponsors of the Holiday Gift Guide this year!
One of their top selling and most popular blankets is this luxury baby blanket with blue and chocolate plush. It is the soft luscious minky baby blanket. Measuring a generous 29" by 34" inches, this personalized baby blanket is ideal for baby's crib or stroller. The blue plush swirly chenille on top trimmed in brown satin reverses to velvety chocolate minky blue dot creating a very handsome blanket for baby boy.
The personalized, plush baby blankets at Namely Newboars are hand crafted in the U.S. with attention to quality and detail exclusively for Namely Newborns. Because this product is expertly made in America it is stitched with pride and we are proud to offer you a high quality luxury baby gift at an extraordinary price because we manufactured it ourselves and are happy to pass on the savings to our valued customers. FREE personalization is included with two names beautifully embroidered anywhere on the blanket. Add a birth date, weight and third name for an additional fee.
And, you can use coupon code FB10 for 10% off!

The Boy's Store - HGG 2015

The Boys Store offers everything you need for the boy in your life. Their store is literally loaded with great clothing and accessories. The Boys Store offers a little bit of everything. They have dress clothes, t-shirts, hats, socks, sleepwear, outerwear and everything in between.

The Boy's Store is one of our Premium Sponors in this year's Holiday Gift Guide. They have a ton of great options for all of the boys on your list this year!

From their website: We are constantly updating our selection and strive to make it better. We believe that little guys need to look stylish too! From funky pajama pants to cute baby boy onesies, we carry fashionable and versatile apparel for any age. Going on a family vacation? Our boys swim trunks will ensure your child has plenty of fun in the sun. Need some back to school outfits for your young man? Our functional boys cargo pantspea coats and moccasins are trendy and comfortable. Our selection of adorable newborn boy clothes are the perfect gift for even your closest friend’s baby shower.

They are offering an awesome coupon code for our readers this year. Shop at The Boy's Store and save 25% off of your purchase when you use code MM2015!

In addition to their website, The Boy's Store can be found on Facebook and Twitter.


How Moms (and Everyone Else) Can Support Our Local Businesses This Month

While I know most of you hard working moms are working on businesses that primarily function online, there are also plenty of you who are at least partially involved in building your businesses offline in the “real world” where local customers are your bread and butter.

And, even if your entire business resides online, you and your family are still an integral part of your local community and you have money to spend to purchase what your family wants and needs.

So, with those two thoughts in mind, let's take a moment to look at a serious problem that can affect all of us:

Why are our local businesses in danger?

The fact is, between the ease and convenience of ecommerce and the prevalence of huge box stores within easy driving distance of nearly every home in America, the small, local, independent businesses that used to be the only option in most small towns and cities are facing a true crisis. We might call it a figurative “mass extinction event.”

In case you're not familiar with that term, it's the scientific term used to describe cataclysmic events that cause huge numbers of species to die off. Like the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs, for instance. And it's not melodramatic to say that the current trends in service trades, food service, and specialty retail could spell similar disaster for the small, local shops and restaurants along Main Street, USA.

Is there a bad guy to blame?

Unlike any other time in history, it's not only possible but it's actually easier for the majority of consumers to avoid small, independent shops and restaurants in favor of one-stop-shopping at Wal-Mart or Target, and consistent menus at large chain restaurants like Applebee's or Chili's.

Now, there's nothing wrong at all with shopping at Wal-Mart or eating at Applebee's. These companies provide a valuable service, convenience, and quality products, not to mention a significant number of jobs in the community. The danger, however, is in patronizing these large chains exclusively in lieu of our smaller local businesses.

While the competition provided by the inclusion of a large box store or popular chain restaurant should theoretically have a positive impact on the local retailers, all too often the huge price differences and overwhelmingly larger marketing budgets of these large stores create an environment where smaller business owners can't afford to compete.

In those cases, it's really up to the business owners themselves to become more creative in their methods of differentiating themselves and adding value to their offerings, and it's up to the local consumers to recognize the importance of helping these smaller shops stay in business.

Why are these small businesses so important?

While the large box stores rake in billions of dollars in annual revenue and can't help but have a tremendous impact on the local economy in terms of job creation and tax revenue, the combined value of the smaller local businesses in the area nearly always exceeds the value of the large store.

The reasons are simple:

  1. In any economically viable community, the number of small independent businesses will likely outnumber the larger national chain locations 10-to-1 or better. All of these stores and restaurants will have employees and tax responsibilities, so they combine to amount to a greater impact than the large store.
  2. Unlike a large national chain or franchise location, nearly all the money spent at a local independent business stays right in the community since the owners and employees all live in the area and there is no national or international corporation taking the lion's share of the proceeds to invest elsewhere. 

So, logically, every dollar you spend at a small local store or restaurant provides a greater investment in your own community than that same dollar spent at a franchise location or box store.

And, there's also the matter of longevity and a commitment to the local community. While the fate of a franchise restaurant or large box store depends completely on the balance sheet and it can be closed down in a heartbeat if an accountant a thousand miles away decides it's no longer viable, a small local business is generally being run by an active member of the community to wants to stay right where they are for the long term. By supporting their efforts, we can support the long term growth and stability of the local economy.

What can we do to help small local businesses THIS MONTH?

You may already be aware that Saturday, November 28th is “Small Business Saturday”.

This is a perfect opportunity to show your solidarity with the local business community and to explore the incredible variety of products and services available from local professionals, retailers, restaurants, and craftspeople.

Small Business Saturday is held each year on the day after Black Friday (when we realize the huge box store savings opportunities are impossible to ignore) and Cyber Monday (when ecommerce holds sway across the nation.) It's the perfect balance to these two annual shopping events that encourage investing your holiday spending outside your community.

Do you know what's going on in your local community on November 28th? Most likely your local economic development organization or Chamber of Commerce already has a series of events planned. If you own a local business, investigate what they're doing to celebrate the day and participate! Even if you don't own a business with a physical location in the area, see what you can do to add to the publicity surrounding the events and make sure you take the time to shop at a local stores on that day!

And, if you don't currently own a local business but you have dreams of entrepreneurship, consider buying a local business that's for sale and keeping the dream alive in your area.

By supporting Small Business Saturday, we set a precedent that can have an impact throughout the rest of the year as well: we stay aware of the great things our local independent businesses have to offer and we let them know just how much we appreciate and need them.