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Wednesday
Nov302016

5 Secrets to Stress-Free Traveling

Traveling can be stressful, but with some careful planning and the right mindset, you can have a great time on your journey—wherever you go. Here are 5 tips for stress-free travel.

1. Check The Weather: Do you know what the weather will be like at home and when you arrive to your destination? A quick look at your weather app, Android and iPhone are both capable of downloading a variety of weather apps that will let you know what the weather will be like before you leave. If you’re flying, a quick look at local radar weather will let you know what to expect before you get off the plane.

2. Make a List: Before you pack, make a list of everything that you need to bring. This will ensure that you don’t forget any essentials. You can also make sure that you won’t be facing allergies by checking your accurate weather app. Android models, and any smartphone, will allow you to download the pollen count widget to help you gauge how much medicine you need to pack.

3. Incorporate Fun: Whether you are flying or driving, incorporate something fun into your journey. Grab a book, a gossip magazine, or create a travel mix on your iPod before your trip. This will give you something to look forward to while you are in transit. Remember to account for the time it takes to get to your destination and to get home.

4. Bring Snacks or Plan To Spend Extra Money: Airport food is expensive, so if you are on a strict budget, you should bring plenty of snacks for your trip. Be sure to allocate your spending money for coffee and water.

5. Give Yourself Time: Give yourself extra time to travel, get to your hotel, and recover from your journey. This will prevent stress in case of delays, and it will give you extra time to unwind if everything goes as planned.

The most important aspect of traveling stress-free is to enjoy the journey. If you consider it an adventure, something that is a part of your trip, rather than a nuisance, you’re sure to have a great time.

 

Wednesday
Nov232016

CardsDirect:: A Plethora of Holiday Card Options

CardsDirect recently reached out to me and asked if I would like to review some of their holiday card designs. I always love sharing things with my mom business owner friends that I think will make their lives simpler, so I agreed! When it comes to Christmas cards, everyone wants something attractive, high quality, yet easy. CardsDirect has plenty of options to help with just that!

They sent me a variety of cards. Some folded, some flat, some personalized, some not. Each was made from high quality cardstock paper, was beautiful to look at and had unique features. Sending out the same holiday card as your neighbor is almost the equivalent of showing up at the prom in the same dress. Everyone wants unique cards and CardsDirect has plenty to choose from.

Some of the features that make their cards unique are die cut, foil, calendar and photo options. All of which can help your card stand out.

Of the cards I was sent, a flat Ice Pearl Metallic photo card stood out as my favorite. It immediately caught my attention and I loved the beautiful paper. The photo here doesn't really do it justice. There are several cards that can be ordered in this spectacular paper, this was just one option. The glittery feel is elegant!

The easy-to-use websites gives suggestions on paper based on each different design. Many cards have size and fold options as well. It’s simple to customize your card to meet your specific likes. I also received some embossed cards and always love the look and feel of those. It really makes your card so much more dignified.

One thing I really love is photo cards. It is a great time of year to showcase your family, show how much your kids have grown, etc. CardsDirect offers more than 490 photo card options! That is amazing! If you aren’t sure which to choose, you can request some samples before making your final decision. This is a very convenient option.

Cards also include envelopes and there are several options to choose from. There are color, paper and lining options to choose from. Card prices start around $1 each, which is very reasonable for the high quality product offered. Combined with the number of customization choices, you really can’t go wrong ordering your holiday cards from CardsDirect!

Be sure to visit their website, and follow them on Facebook, for upcoming holiday specials!

Wednesday
Nov162016

Introducing: CALZICO, a clothing collection for tween girls

I am beyond excited to say that Market Mommy is among the first in the blogosphere to review clothing pieces from the soon to launch CALZICO clothing line! What an honor! If you have tween girls, this is definitely something you should sit down and pay attention to!! CALZICO is globally inspired, versatile clothing for tweens with reversible and convertible features. “So many ways, she’ll have outfits for days.”

My daughter was thrilled when our package arrived and immediately loved the look and the feel of the clothes. Shannon, the company's founder, graciously sent us a signature ‘zipskirt’ and jacket to try. The skirt has a removable layer revealing shorts underneath for two ways to wear it. The jacket can be worn four (YES 4!) ways. We show it here closed; using interior and exterior buttons, but it can be worn open as a cardigan and then reversed to wear both ways again!

The fabric and pattern were beautiful and the clothing had a soft, luxurious feel to it. If you’re like me, you struggle to find appropriate clothing for your tween daughters. Not only is my daughter on the shorter side, making clothes often disproportioned, she’s quite picky! I often find that clothes in her size range fit poorly and are sometimes too mature. So, when I discovered CALZICO and their concept, I was thrilled.

According to Shannon, , the CALZICO collection is for Tween girls, ages 6 to 14 years and is specifically designed for that in-between stage. She says that during the construction of each piece, consideration is given to how it will give tweens a boost of self-confidence. This is so critical at such a crucial age!

One of the strongest strengths of CALZICO clothing is its versatility. It can be worn multiple ways and multiple styles. You can see that in the two pieces we reviewed. All pieces of the collection are able to be flipped, zipped or layered to create multiple looks. This gives girls even more ways to express themselves, which is a definite plus at any age!

CALZICO is officially launching this December and its first season will feature six pieces. The collection includes reversible items, the skirt we reviewed (which converts to shorts) and other pieces, all of which are responsibly made right in North Carolina. CALZICO is cut and sewn in NC using textiles from the US, West and South Africa, Australia, Canada, and Indonesia that celebrate world diversity while aligning with others who empower locally.

The good news is that you don’t have to wait until December! You can pre-order during CALZICO’s special Kickstarter campaign that was just launched this week. Check out all of the great information and pre-order options by clicking here now!

This isn’t the only way you can help to support this brand new mom-owned business. You can like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter and Instagram, and sign up for their e-mail updates. This way, you won't miss a single announcement about their exciting new products! I can say that I am hooked and am personally so excited to see them unveil their entire line. Market Mommy is thrilled to be partnered with CALZICO and look forward to bringing you lots of information and product insights in the future!

Wednesday
Oct122016

4 Simple ways to change up your small bathroom

You can say that a bathroom is your own personal sanctuary. In fact, for people who have big families, it is one of the rare places where you can isolate yourself and find some comfort. Due to this, most of us see it as a room where you can relax and take care of yourself.

Due to all of this, we cherish our bathrooms a lot. It can be very hard when you have limited space at your disposal or when the bathroom is not functional enough. This is why you have to rearrange it and place equipment and furniture in a way so that you can maneuver around. Besides that, different rules apply when it comes to decoration. We have much less options when it comes to a small bathroom and that’s why we have to be extra careful.

Here are our tips as how to do it.

Be careful with colors
Colors can have an amazing impact on tiny bathrooms. Both your floor and walls have to be painted in a certain way. White or light gray should be used as a basis. You can add some more nuances to them making a perfect blend. Soft yellow and green are also amazing choices as they leave a natural impression. But, make sure to avoid dark colors as well as very intensive ones. They can be a little bit overbearing and visually imposing. Black is especially troublesome as it “shrinks” the room.

Light is an asset
Light is another factor that needs to be considered and works great in conjunction with proper colors. In this case, windows are great solution as they add a lot of natural light to the room. You also have to be careful when adding light bulbs. Standard yellow ones are pretty hard to pull off. They are good for certain color schemes. However, white neutral light is great. It emphasizes colors and makes room more vivid. Whatever you do, make sure not do overdo it. Even though room has to be properly illuminated, you shouldn’t add to many bulbs. It can have a very negative impact on your eyes making stay in the bathroom unbearable.

Buy things according to the space
If you just moved to the apartment or house, you might have brought your old furniture and equipment. But, they probably won’t fit in your new small bathroom. Tiny bathrooms give you lot less liberties in comparison to the big ones. Every piece of equipment needs to be bought especially according to room’s dimensions. In fact, make sure to get everything in advance and project how the room will look like with all those pieces together. Each corner has to be utilized properly as well as the upper regions of the room, near the ceiling. You can do wonders with limited space if you have enough imagination. Although you need to compromise with the equipment, you can definitely try and use unutilized parts of the room.

Be Rational
We have certain expectations and views when it comes to this space. We believe that bathroom should be used for all your hygienic and cosmetic needs. Although you are right when it comes to hygienic part, small bathrooms shouldn’t be used cosmetically. Make sure to remove everything that doesn’t belong such as hair dryer, manicure kit, make-up etc. Limit yourself to using bathroom only for personal hygiene and basic human needs. Install mirror someplace else in your house and start putting make-up there. This will save you a lot of space in bathroom as you remove anything that is not absolute necessity.

Conclusion

There are just the main things you can do with small bathroom. However, it is possible to try some other things as well. Do not be shy and use everything at your disposal. Be creative when it comes to placing furniture. Lastly, make sure to remove anything that is not completely necessary. In the end, bathroom is not a storeroom. Any excess towels or hygienic products should be relocated.

If all of this doesn’t help, you can always try and completely renovate the bathroom adding more space. It is much more expensive solution but it is definitely worth it!

Tuesday
Oct042016

FOUR Financial Traps Working Moms Can Avoid

Is there anyone in the world busier than a working mom?

Without a doubt, you have your hands full 24 hours a day from work to handling all the tasks at home that your family relies on you for. Amidst all the organized chaos, there are some costly financial traps you can inadvertently run into. Following are four specific tips for avoiding these financial traps:

1. The Grocery Gauntlet

In an effort to select healthy food for the family without spending hours in the grocery store, many working moms make numerous trips throughout the month to pick up last minute items.

This can be costly for a few reasons:

●     Every trip to the grocery store requires gas and time

●     The more often you step through those automatic doors, the more likely you are to be exposed to clever marketing that encourage impulse purchases (especially if you’re hungry!)

●     Spread out over 10-15 short trips, it can be extremely challenging to maintain a predictable grocery budget

One option to avoid this financial burden is to set aside time early in the month and plan one large-scale trip to hit one or more grocery stores for the bulk of the month’s essentials. Between non-perishable foods and items that can be frozen, this can help reduce the rest of the month’s visits to replenishing staple items like milk, bread, and eggs.

This allows you to save time and money on transportation, and gives you a much better chance of sticking to a reasonable grocery budget.

2. The Dental Care Decoy

We all know that proper dental care is important to our health. However, when dental insurance is not an affordable option, families face paying out-of-pocket for dental services, which can be very expensive.

To help ensure your family gets the dental care they need without heavily impacting your budget, consider the following tips:

●     Consult your dental office. Most dentists are willing to work with you on prices and payment options as opposed to losing you and your family as patients.

●     Take advantage of discounts. As an alternative to insurance, dental discount plans like the one offered by Dental Solutions, provide a great way to save up to 50% off the retail cost of dental care at participating providers.

●     Don’t skip dental visits. Ironically, maintaining a strict biannual schedule of visits to the dentist for every member of the family can end up saving more money than it costs. Considering the adage, “An ounce of prevention saves a pound of cure”, it makes sense that maintaining a healthy mouth is more affordable over time. In fact, restorative and emergency dental services are far more expensive - not to mention potentially painful - than routine cleanings and x-rays.

3. The Bundle Booby Trap

Like many families, you may be paying one company a monthly fee for bundled cable, internet, and phone services. On the surface, this seems like the best possible deal, plus it’s much more convenient to handle one payment as opposed to three or more.

However, realizing this is the case, cable companies have been known to add in fees for services and maintenance over time.

It’s always in your best interests to routinely review your bundled bills and contact the provider regarding any unexpected or erroneous fees. If you have more than one provider available in the area, keep a sharp eye on specials they’re offering and use those as leverage to discuss having your bill lowered. Or, if your current provider won’t budge, considering switching to another.

4. The Amazon Ambush

Without a doubt, shopping online can be both cost-effective and extremely convenient. However, there are always ways to shop smarter to cut costs.

While you make use of the internet to shop around, be sure to compare prices and find customer reviews to make wise buying decisions. You should also consider one important fact: just because you’re ordering something online doesn’t mean it’s going to be cheaper than it would be elsewhere. In some cases, shipping and handling costs are inflating the bottom line. Additionally, return policies and warranties may not be what you expect.

The best option? Use the internet to inform your shopping plans, but including local stores in the final decision making process. Many physical stores now offer free “ship to the store” services for items you can order from their online inventory and pick up at the local store rather than having them shipped to your home, which, at times, may be the best price option available.

While these are just four financial traps, there are plenty more out there to be aware of, and it takes diligence to stretch every dollar as far as it can go. As a mother and business professional, you do a great job working hard for your family. So, enjoy these money saving tips, and keep up the good work!

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