Archive for December, 2010

New Year, New You: It’s Time for You to Reinvent Yourself & Give Your Life a Makeover in 2011

December 29, 2010

December 2010:

Michelle Lee

Michelle Lee, Hollywood Make-Up Artist

The countdown to 2011 has begun, but forget New Year’s Resolutions. They lose their steam in just a few weeks. In fact, recent research shows that while 52% of people are confident they will succeed with their New Year’s Resolution’s, only 12% actually achieve their goals (Quirkology). But the New Year is a great time to give your life a makeover and it doesn’t have to be that complicated.  A new look may be all you need and there’s lots of ways to reinvent your life in 2011 if you take a lead from Hollywood.  Madonna is the master of reinvention; Gwyneth Paltrow has gone from film star to a new country music sensation; and who new with one haircut, Harry Potter’s Emma Watson could not only change her look, but the entire direction of her career. Celebrities are the masters of reinvention and no one knows that better than Hollywood Make-Up Artist, Michele Lee. You’re never too old or too young to reinvent your life.

Watch Video: http://player.vimeo.com/video/18554585?autoplay=1&loop=1

Easy Ways to Reinvent Your Life in 2011. For most people, New Year’s resolutions don’t last but lifestyle resolutions are a life long commitment and usually you think about reinventing your look for a new life and celebrities are the masters at it.  Something as a simple as a haircut and eye make-up can change a career direction and the celebs that are really setting trends now from hairstyles to make-up include Rhiana, Taylor Swift, and Mylie Cyrus.  Now whether you’re a celebrity or not, most women are looking for ways to turn back time especially where their skin is concerned.  However, unlike celebs, your budget is probably a concern.  Michelle has recently discovered a nighttime moisturizer that gently resurfaces skin as well as a light chemical peel in just seven days – the new Regenerist Night Resurfacing Elixir from Olay.  It’s dermatologist tested and gentle enough for daily use and has a light, fast-absorbing formula designed to work with your body’s natural nightly changes to accelerate skin’s natural exfoliation and help gently resurface for tighter, smoother skin in the morning.  You can get it at your local drugstores for under $25.

How to Capture the “Fountain of Youth” Like Celebrities Do. One thing most celebs know is that great skin and great make up starts with their diet.  It’s sort of like beauty starts from the inside out. You need to keep your skin hydrated and Michelle recommends you drink lots of water and eat foods that are rich in healthy, fatty acids like fish and avocados which help hydrate your skin and hair.  In fact, one-fifth of a medium fresh California avocado has nearly 20 beneficial nutrients and acts as a nutrient booster by enabling the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha- and beta-carotene.  Now, your resolutions can get easily derailed when eating out, that’s why like restaurants like Applebee’s. They’ve just expanded their Unbelievably Great Tasting & Under 550 Calories menu and have also added new Weight Watchers selections.  You get full portions of steak and potatoes, shrimp and pasta – great flavors and all less than 550 calories. They even have Skinny Bee cocktails that are lower calorie versions of margaritas, mojitos and Long Island Iced teas. You can get more info on Applebees.com.

Five-Minute Makeovers. The average woman wants that professional celebrity look but they don’t want to spend the time doing it and many don’t have the time.  That’s why the mineral make-ups are very popular right now.  You put on a moisturizer, dust on a mineral make up foundation, add a little mascara and some cheek color and you’re out the door.  You’ve given yourself a quick youthful glow to your skin in five minutes and the natural look that is popular with celebrities like Jennifer Aniston.

Lifestyle Changes That Don’t Cost a Dime and Even Save You Money. Pilates is very popular with celebrities for keeping fit because it helps strengthen muscles and elongate your body as well. A lot of celebs have personal Pilates trainers but now you can get similar work outs on DVD for about $20 or less and you don’t have to have hire a private instructor to get the same results.  Valerie Bertinelli and The Biggest Loser’s Jillian Michaels both have DVDs that give you a great workout.  So aside from the initial minimal investment, it doesn’t cost a dime to work out in your home.  It sure saves on gym memberships, but you do have to be dedicated and disciplined to work out three to five days a week.

Lifestyle Changes That Don’t Cost a Dime and Even Save You Money. Not only is Michelle Lee a Hollywood Make-Up Artist, but she also runs a professional network for hair and makeup artists.  Technology can help you get organized from the internet to today’s smart phones.  One of the things she preaches to members is to have a good solid financial plan and to take care of and track your expenses so that you’re living within you means and make sure you’re not going to into debt. She has a free downloadable spreadsheet at hmartistsnetwork.com.

Michelle Lee has worked as a professional Makeup Artist for the entertainment industry for over 15 years. She specializes in getting celebrities red carpet ready for press related events and appearances plus provides the perfect on camera look for TV shows to music videos.  She believes in a complete approach to helping her clients achieve the perfect on-air look that starts with a good diet to promote skin and advises for wardrobe as well.  Her clients includes a roster of A-List celebs including Gwyneth Paltrow, Robert Redford, Danny DeVito and Jack Black to industry legends like Kirk Douglas, Martin Landau, Sally Kellerman, Neil Sedaka, Mariel Hemmingway, Maureen McCormick & George Hamilton (to name a few). Michelle has been in demand to teach her Hollywood make-up techniques throughout Japan. She is also the CEO of The Hair & Makeup Artist Network (HMAN), a professional organization for independent Hair & Makeup Artists (hmartistsnetwork.com)

2010 Last Minute Holiday Travel Tips

December 12, 2010

December 2010:

Emily Kaufman, The Travel Mom

Emily Kaufman, The Travel Mom

Tips from The Travel Mom, Emily Kaufman. The holiday travel season is in full swing but there’s a lot you need to know before you travel.  Passengers took advantage of bargains last year, when airlines dropped prices to the lowest levels in decades to entice recession-battered travelers back into the air. But this holiday season, the more than 41 million Americans expected to fly home for the holidays are paying seven to eighteen percent more.  Travelers can also look forward to more crowded flights since the airlines have added few new planes or routes in the past several years and no matter where you’re staying this holiday season, The Travel Mom, Emily Kaufman, has last minute travel tips to keep your holiday spirits holly jolly and travel advice for a hassle free trip for the entire family.

Biggest Trends in Travel in 2011. The biggest trend is that travel is “back.”  The good news is that the great travel deals won’t go away and you’re going to continue to see credits available at hotels, value added packages, and cruises – with so many new ships continuing to be added to cabin inventory – will have great deals.

YPMobile.com

YPMobile.com has a great app for travel.

Also, travel technology and the latest apps that make travel easy are trending in travel.  Since Emily travels a lot and is in unfamiliar areas frequently when she travels, she uses the YP mobile application that helps her find everything she needs when she’s on the road with her family. If you need to get Children’s Motrin for that unexpected kid’s fever at 11 pm, the app will show you the drugstores nearest to Grandma’s house.  Or if you find yourself on the road with a car full of hungry kids, you can search for restaurants nearby that are clean and open – and get maps and directions to get there. You can get  the app for the iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, Palm and Android and for more information, or to download the app, just go to ypmobile.com or go directly to the app stores and search for “YP. “

YPMobile.com

You can get the YPMobile.com app for the iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, Palm and Android.

Avoiding Aches & Pains with Traveling. We all know the about the TSA headaches, but what you might not know is that a recent survey reports that 75% of Americans have aches and pains when traveling.  That’s why it’s so importance to arm yourself with a handy items in your carry on bag before you fly and find yourself in pain.

Therma Care

Therma Care

You can apply a ThermaCare® HeatWrap on a trouble spot like your neck or lower back for all day pain relief and it can also be worn under your clothes when you travel. This is actually more effective for back pain than the maximum dose of acetaminophen, the medicine in Tylenol® (after eight hours). These wraps provide a heat therapy that penetrates deep into your muscles and joints that really helps alleviate pain and you can get more information about how they work at ThermaCare.com

For more information, go to ThermaCare.com.

For more information, go to ThermaCare.com.

The Bed Bug Buzz – New Product for Travel. Now, no matter where you’re staying this holiday season, bed bugs may be an issue.  They have been found on airplanes and in reputable hotels and stores in all 50 states.

Bedbugs

Bedbugs found in all 50 states.

There is a new product that is a great solution to this outbreak that is a pesticide-free treatment and proven 100% effective in killing and preventing bed bugs.  Stop Bugging Me! is safe for the entire family, including pets, and you can pack a 3 oz travel-size spray bottle with you and have it with you at all times when you travel.  You spray it on any bed bug prone or infested area like mattresses, bedding, linens, and luggage.  They have two sizes that cost under $20 and you can purchase it online at StopBuggingMe.com

Stop Bugging Me

Stop Bugging Me - Solution to Bedbugs.

Handling Travel Delays with No Worries. No doubt about it, travel delays can be stressful for everyone.  You can use technology first to find out about delays in advance and have a back up plan including phone numbers or email addresses programmed in your phone so you can let your family know about delays – especially if you have someone picking you up at your destination.  Also, make sure you have a boredom buster bag for the kids with games, books and electronics so they don’t cranky.

Last Minute Holiday Travel Deals & New Year Getaways. Your best bet for great last minute travel deals will be choosing a destination anywhere it’s the off-season.  Also, you may want to check out cruises for last minute deals as they have so much inventory of cabins with all the new ships and they’re an excellent value.  Finally, a short getaway for a day or two of skiing may also be an easy drive to destination and check the internet for deals on lift tickets as well.

Follow Emily Kaufman on Twitter @TheTravelMom.

2010 Holidays on a Budget: Making Them Special

December 8, 2010

December 2010:

Tara Aronson, Lifestyle Expert

Making the Holidays Special on a Budget 2010 View Video on Vimeo.

It’s the most wonderful time of year but now more than ever it can also be a frustrating time financially with the economy weighing heavy on everyone’s mind. But there’s no need to cancel Christmas or your holiday spirit because you can still make the holiday season special — even on a shoestring. Believe it or not, Gallup’s initial poll of Americans’ 2010 Christmas spending intentions finds consumers planning to spend an average of $715 on gifts.  But budget minded elves can save $325 by harnessing Santa’s secret to making the holidays memorable even when money is tight.  You just have to be creative – from planning holiday parties to giving great gifts that work – you can plan a Christmas that’s 50% off the projected spending amount and still have lots of great memories to last a lifetime.  Lifestyle Expert, Tara Aronson has some tips to make the holidays memorable when money is tight.

Host a Holiday party for under $25.  You can definitely host a holiday party for under $25.  It’s simple and easy to do with an old-fashioned pitch-in or potluck themed party where everyone brings a dish.  Your guests supply great hors d’oeuvres, casseroles or holiday cookies and you provide the party space and drinks – sodas, punch or even some of the budget wine that’s available.

New Ways to Save Online
The average Christmas gift budget for 2010 is $715 and you can save 50% of that budget with one simple idea.  Instead of buying a gift for everyone in your family or circle of friends, use the old fashioned Secret Santa idea and draw one name so you buy one gift instead of ten or more.  This is a great way to save and everyone will appreciate the savings.  Just in case you want to get a little personalized something for everyone on your list, here’s a new spin on an old fashioned gift giving idea that saves time and money.

At PearTreeGreetings.com, you can craft personalized cards and gifts. There are hundreds of designs and colors to choose from in a price range from $.85 to $1.25 per card.  You can also design personal stationery that’s a unique and personal gift for anyone on your list.  It’s easy to upload your photos, write personal greetings, and your cards arrive within a few business days printed on beautiful thick card stock that’s 100% post-consumer recycled.  The unique and personalized designs make a cherished memorable gift.

Now this is one of my favorite ways to save money online. At Pig.com, you can earn up to 15% cash-back on purchases and $5 will be added to your online Piggy Bank just for signing up.  This website gives you cash back on purchases made at 1,000 of the most popular online stores and there’s no limit to the amount you can earn. Once at least $10 accumulates in your piggy banks, you can cash out and collect real dollars.  You can also earn $5 just by referring other friends and family to the website.

Christmas Gifts that Don’t Cost a Dime.  You know if your budget is super tight one of the most priceless gifts you can give is the gift of time.  Classic gift ideas that won’t cost a dime are coupons for the gifts of “time” like “5 hours of Babysitting” – “Movie Night @ Home” – “One Hand Car Wash for Dad” or even a “Day at the Museum.”  Also, check out Craigslist.com under FREE and who knows what you might find.

Give More.  Spend Less.  Get Family & Friends Involved in Spirit of Giving and New Traditions. Make those Homemade or Personalized Christmas Cards and make it a family affair.  Also, the whole family can get into the spirit of giving by adopting a charity each year like the Heifer organization.  $20 buys a Gift of Chicks and your gift will help provide a family in need with a starter flock of 10 to 50 chicks that will lay 200 eggs a year – a steady source of nutrition and income for a third world family.  Also, start a new tradition of volunteering during the holidays – this could be volunteering to help serve Christmas dinner at the local mission, caroling at a nursing home, or assisting with pet adoptions.  Also, designate a Make Room for Santa Day and have the kids clean out closets of old clothes & toys that are then donated to a local mission or homeless shelter.  Finally, create an ornament for the tree for each family member (perhaps a child’s school picture) and don’t forget the pets.  This ornament collection grows throughout the years.

2010 More Everyday Ways to Save Money

December 8, 2010

September 2010:

 

Tara Aronson, Lifestyle Expert

Tips from Lifestyle Expert, Tara Aronson.  According to CareerBuilder.com, 61% of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck and trimming your budget is the first line of defense to help ease those monthly budget burdens and there are some everyday ways to save money that really add up.   When cash is tight, you might be tempted to look for “big” ways to start saving, but cut backs don’t have to be drastic to save literally thousands of dollars a year.

Two Simple Ways to Save $2500 a year.
Brown bagging it can save $1700 a year over eating out and cutting down that daily cup of coffee (also known as the latte factor) could save you almost $800 a year.  That totals $2500 for the year!

Look for Promotions.
Another great way to save is to look for the latest promotions from retailers.  Here’s one that’s happening October 3rd through November 13th that’s great if you have a business, you work at home or you have school projects for the kids. You can get 50% back in rewards when you spend $25 or more with Staples Copy & Print,  This includes anything from business cards, stationery, envelopes, invoices, holiday calendars, whatever you need – it’s so easy to save. There are a few restrictions, but basically all copy & print services are included. Just pop into any Staples store for all the details.

Cashback Reward Programs.
Now more than ever it’s important to know how to leverage money you’re already spending in order to get more bang for your buck and one easy way to do this is through a credit card rewards programs.  Here’s a program I’ve recently discovered that is simple and delivers a lot of value.  With Discover Card, you can get 5% cash back for every dollar you spend on clothes and restaurants from October through the end of the year with their 5% Cashback Bonus program.  This is the only card that allows you to redeem rewards for more than their face value with gift cards from over 100 merchant partners, like Bed, Bath, & Beyond and TJMaxx.  For example, You can turn $40 in a Cashback Bonus into a $50 gift card at Gap or Banana Republic.

Save on Utilities.
Here are four great ways to save on utilities.  First, unplugging small appliances when they’re not in use can save up to 26% off your total electric bill.  Second, replacing your light bulbs with energy saving CFLs can save $30 per bulb over its lifetime.  Third, if you still have a landline and don’t use it because of your cell phone, then get rid or the landline and just use your cell phone.  That could save you $600 to $1200 a year.  Finally, this is not going to be popular, but I currently pay $110 a month on cable.  So consider cutting your cable bill down to the basic service that could save you another $600 per year or more.

How to Get the Kids on Board.
At the grocery store, make it a game with kids to find the best deals.  You can have them help you find the best price on items on your grocery store list.  You can also have them help you find great deals with coupons.  By involving them, you’re also teaching them how to be smart shoppers.

2010 Travel Tips for a Last Minute Summer Vacation

December 8, 2010

July 2010:

Emily Kaufman, The Travel Mom, on location in Ft. Lauderdale.

Trying to squeeze in a last minute summer vacation before the kids go back to school but haven’t made any travel plans? Don’t worry.  If your budget is tight and you’re concerned you’ve missed out on travel deals, you’re in luck. The Travel Mom, Emily Kaufman, has some creative ways to take a last minute summer vacation without breaking the budget.  Many people may think they’ve missed out on travel deals for the summer, but it’s  not too late to plan your summer vacation.  Although you can definitely save by planning your vacation in advance, especially when it comes to airfares, Emily says she’s been seeing a lot of great last minute travel deals online every day.

TIP # 1 – Get Great Travel Deals in Destinations Where Summer is Actually the Low Season. The summer is a great time to get really good rates at the best hotels and low airfares when you think about vacationing in destinations where summer is the low season.  One of Emily’s favorite vacation spots in sunny Greater Fort Lauderdale where there are 23 miles of clean, beautiful beaches overlooking the very blue Atlantic Ocean on the East Coast of Florida.  It’s gorgeous in summer and you can see for yourself with their Live Beach Cams on the destination’s website at sunny.org.  You can also save 50% on admission to museums, spas, and lots of outdoor activities including golf and kayaking with their special two-for-one  “Vacation like a V-I-P” card.  That’s just a sample of how you can get good deals at off the beaten path summer destination.

TIP # 2 – Save 50% Off Your Vacation by Taking a Mini-Vacation. One way to save on your last minute vacation is to take a shorter vacation or a mini-vacation.  It can cut the cost of your trip in half, especially if you do a road trip to a destination not more  than a half-day drive from your home.  Mini-vacations don’t require weeks of planning but still provide the same basic essentials of any trip: the chance to recharge your batteries, get your mind off of work and take a break from your regular routine.   Also, when you’re traveling with the kids, look for a hotel that is reliable, kid-friendly and has all the amenities they need, like the Hilton Garden Inn. Between now and September 6th, with the HHonors ‘Great Getaway Promotion’ you get 20% off the Bed ‘N Breakfast rates plus get a delicious cooked-to-order breakfast for up to four adults staying in the same room. And kids 12 and under eat breakfast for free.   HGI.com has a list of participating hotels all the details.

TIP # 3 – In the World of Travel, Loyalty Has its Rewards so “Be Loyal.” If you’re looking for a last minute getaway, check into your loyalty reward programs as you might have enough reward points for a mini-vacation.  It’s important to be “Be Loyal” since hotels, airlines, cruise lines and rental car companies all reward their loyal customers with great travel perks. Loyalty means free upgrades, priority check in, preferred seats, free baggage check and dedicated telephone numbers for faster service.  Cruise Lines even host special events on board for their loyal members and are given priority tender tickets and priority dinner reservations.

TIP # 4 – Road Trips are Easy and Less Expensive Last Minute Vacations. A road trip is probably one of the easiest and least expensive last minute summer vacations you can do since you can save by not paying a huge airfare.  The most important thing to remember is to book your hotel in advance and make sure, in addition to your GPS system, that you carry real maps with you as they can really help if come across unexpected construction and need to take detour in an unfamiliar area.

TIP # 5 – Official Tourism Websites are a Great Source for Travel Deals at Your Destination. Check with the official tourism site where you’re visiting as you can almost always find great deals there with discounts on attractions, dining deals, hotel deals and so much more.

2010 40th Anniversary of Earth Day

December 8, 2010

April 2010:

Tara Aronson, Lifestyle Expert

Tara Aronson’s Ways to Go Green & Save “Green” & Save Our Ailing Planet.  It’s the 40th anniversary of Earth Day in 2010 and our world is in greater peril than ever, but there is also unprecedented opportunity to build a new future.  Earth Day 40 is a pivotal opportunity for everyone in America, along with corporations, and governments to join together to create a global green economy. Whether you’re trying to save money or trying to save the planet, going green makes a lot of economic and environmental sense. There are so many ways to save energy, make environmental decisions in every day activities and even when you travel. It’s so easy to be green. All it takes is making simple changes in your home, office and daily habits. There are hundreds of ways to go “green” and save the “green” and Lifestyle Expert, Tara Aronson, is on a mission to make the environment better NOW and here are some of her green ideas, not just for Earth Day, but for every day.

Give your home a green makeover.
Many people don’t realize how easy and inexpensive it can be to give your home a simple green makeover.  Not only will it help save the planet, it will save you money.

  • Unplug appliances you’re not using and save up to 26% off your total electric bill.
  • Replace your standard light bulbs with energy saving CFLs and save about $30 or more in electricity costs per bulb over its lifetime since CFLs use 75 percent less energy and last up to 10 times longer.
  • Conserving water by taking a shorter shower and only doing a wash when you have a full load will reduce your water bill measurably.
  • Carpool to work. If you carpool, you can save around $780 a year!  You may be able to find people looking to carpool on Craigslist or in your local paper.

You know, you can find more of these “40 Days of Earth-Friendly Living” tips online from The Elmer’s Glue Crew Recycling Program. It’s a 40-days, 40-ways calendar that offers an eco-friendly tip or idea each day, such as bike to work or school or turn off the lights. It’s a great way toget your family involved. You can download the calendar at elmersgluecrew.com.  The 40 Days calendar is just one way the company helps teachers and parents educate children about taking care of the environment. The program also includes a national classroom drive to collect and recycle millions of empty glue bottles and sticks each school year.  Last year, Elmer’s Glue Crew recycled 2 million empty glue bottles and glue sticks, and program participation reached 1.2 million students, 16,000 teachers and 83,000 classrooms.  Again, you can find out more at elmersgluecrew.com.

Buy Products from Companies that Practice Earth Friendly Choices.
One of the ways to really make a difference with our environment is to make “green” choices when you shop.  This means supporting companies that make “Earth Friendly” choices.

Green Giant vegetables is committed to reducing their carbon footprint. Last year, they replaced their packaging with unbleached recycled paper board reducing their green house emission by approximately 80%.  This also saves around 54,000 trees annually.  Also, for almost 80 years Niblets corn is vacuum packed so the same amount of corn is in this smaller 11-ounce can as in this 15-ounce cans. This uses less water, less metal and less fuel in shipping the product.  This Earth Day, they announced a program with The Nature Conservancy and are giving $200,000 to encourage and promote greener farming practices in and around their growing region.  You can learn more or make a donation to The Nature Conservancy at GreenGiant.com.

You know there are so many companies that understand the importance of being “green” and they’re initiating great earth friendly programs.  Here’s a company that’s really making a difference.

We’ve all heard of Underwriters Laboratories – they have been a pioneer in safety standards for more than 115 years. You know that “UL in a circle” on the back of products: did you know that the average home has more than 125 products with the UL Mark on it? That Mark signifies that the product has been tested and meets rigorous safety requirements.  Underwriters Laboratories also focus on environmental concerns where Moms have a chance to win an eco-friendly Imagination Playground designed to encourage creativity and sensory play critical to a child’s development for their own neighborhood or community center. This is all part of a “Save Play” program that encourages Moms to pledge support for local play areas through a Playspace Finder – a playground locator available at SafetyAtHome.com where they can also enter to win that Imagination Playground.

Don’t forget some non-traditional ways to make your home a greener place.
There are so many ways that you can make green choices in your every day life and they are so simple.  Here are just a few.

  • Skip the bottled water. Use a water filter to purify tap water instead of buying bottled water. Not only is bottled water expensive, but generates large amounts of container waste.
  • Make your own cleaning supplies. This is another earth friendly money saver that also eliminates waste on packaging of cleaners and that is to make your own earth friendly cleaning supplies.  All you need is a few simple ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, bleach and lemon.
  • Find new uses for old things. Before you toss something in the trash, consider how you might reuse it. An old tissue box is a great way to store plastic bags.
  • Make earth friendly choices when you travel. Hotels and cruise ships are becoming increasingly aware of being more eco-friendly.  One very simple way to conserve water when you travel is to not have your sheets or towels every day on extended stays at a hotel or while you’re on a cruise.  More tips on earth friendly travel ideas are at BestTravelDealsTips.com.

Remember, it is essential to teach your kids about every day ways to protect the planet, after all – they’re inheriting it from us.

2009 Five Ways to Save on Holiday Travel

December 7, 2010

November 2009:

Emily Kaufman, The Travel Mom

Did you know that an estimated 41 million Americans took a trip last Thanksgiving, despite record prices for both gas and airfares?  The Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are amonth the most popular times for Americans to travel. So will better deals on travel be availabel this year or are we in for a pricey holiday travel season?  Though airfares hit record highs last year, during the 2009 holiday travel season travelers should see significant relief on prices.  Now more than ever, travelers are seeking more value for thier money, but if you think peopel are shying away from travel for the holidas because of the current economy, think again.  Emily Kaufman, The Travel Mom, has five ways to save on holiday travel.

Tip One:  The Internet is always your best source for last minute travel deals. The internet is always going to be your  best bet for last minute travel deals as inventory remains open during the season, hotels and cruise lines will start slashing rates to fill empty hotel rooms and cbins.  If you Google “last minute travel deals,” you will get a choice of great websites that have great last minute deals.  Though it may be tough to get great airfares for Thanksgiving, you can still find some deals in time fro Christmas and driving to your destinations that are within a day drive can save hundreds, even thousands of dollars in some cases.

Tip Two: Think ”off the beaten path” for Holiday Travel Deals. You want to think “off the beaten path” for the best holiday travel deals. East Coast Beach Destinations near Charleston, South Carolina, for example, where it’s off-season but temperatures may still be in the sixties offer great hotel deals.  Las Vegas before New Year’s has incredible deals.  You can get a Vegas hotel room for just $31 a night and the Excalibur has $29 24-Hour VIP Pass which allows you unlimited access to their buffet so you can eat for under $30 a day in Vegas.


Tip Three:  Avoid getting sick on your holiday trip or it will cost you.
There are a lot of things that can derail your holiday travel budget and getting sick can ruin your holidays and cost you not just in possible medical bills, but in opportunity cost since you’ve spent the money on your travel, but can’t enjoy your holiday. First, understand that you need to take defensive measures when you travel since you are in close contact with passengers in airplanes, buses, trains and even cruise ships which increases the chance of coming into contact with someone who is sick with a cold or flu.  Since flu is often transmitted hand-to-hand, you need to wash your hands often and avoid rubbing their eyes or nose.   Also, on a plane, don’t put your face directly on airline-supplied pillows or blankets that haven’t been cleaned. Now, if you do get sick while traveling, many doctors are now recommending homeopathic medicines to combat the first signs of flu or flu-like symptoms.  Here’s one I always travel with called Oscilloccocinum.  You take at when you first feel symptoms like feeling run down, headaches, body aches, fever and chills and it will reduce the severity and duration of symptoms.  There are no side effects like drowsiness or drug interactions.  And you can give it to kids age 2 and up.  Whether you’re on the road or at home, you can nip flu-like symptoms in the bud having it on hand.  Keep it in your travel bag, backpack or purse and more info is available at Oscillo.com.


Tip Four:  The latest trend is added value programs and travel packages where kids stay free, eat free and even sail free.
The latest travel trends involve added value to your travel package that includes everything from kids stay free, eat free and even sail free on cruises. Here’s a couple of current trends and deals:  Holiday Inn has a kids eat free program; several Cruise lines have a kids sail free program when traveling with 2 full fare adults and staying in the same state room including Disney Cruise Line, MSC Cruises and Costa; and another trend in cruising is offering free upgrades, ship board credits and even prepaid gratuities which can save you hundreds of dollars.

Tip Five:  Use technology so travel delays don’t cost you more than they have to. Here are a couple things you need to know so that travel delays don’t derail your budget. First, always keep a list of important numbers in your cell phone in the event that you’re delayed or a flight is cancelled. This includes a travel agent (if you use one), a number to the airline directly as it may be easier and quicker to get them on the phone than stand in long lines with other delayed passengers, and your hotel or local contacts that can assist you with re-routing your trip or avoid charges if you can’t get to your hotel. Keep in mind that airlines are not necessarily responsible for putting you up in a hotel due to weather delays, etc. One final thing that is always a good idea is travel insurance which can pay for a lot of additional fees depending on the policy that may include buying clothes if there’s a luggage mishap.

2009 Top 5 Busy Mom Time Management Makeover Tips

December 7, 2010

October 2009:

Tara Aronson, Lifestyle Expert

Tips from Lifestyle Expert, Tara Aronson. 72% of moms with children over one-year-old work and moms with a full-time job spend 13 hours each day working at the office or at home completing family chores. Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, work-at-home mom, or a working mom, you probably feel overwhelmed and as though you are always running out of time. Between managing jobs, the kids schedules with school and play, cooking, and cleaning, getting organized and under control doesn’t usually come naturally and busy moms need help. Working Mom and Lifestyle Expert, Tara Aronson, wrote the book on helping moms get control of their homes and their lives with Simplify Your Household and Mrs. Clean Jeans’ Housekeeping with Kids and she has smart time management tips for busy moms  Here are her top five tips for a Busy Mom’s Time Management Makeover.

TIP # 1 – Eliminate Morning Madness. Simplify your mornings by doing as many things as you can the night before.  Sign off on homework and school papers, pack lunches, pack up backpacks and station them near the door and lay out school clothes including shoes, socks and hair bands.  Finally, make sure kids set their own alarm clocks as it encourages them to be responsible for their own schedules.

TIP #2 – Conquer Clutter and Cleaning to Prevent Chaos. You can conquer what I call important clutter like receipts, mail, permission slips and other important items by creating a temporary holding area with what I call clutter-buster baskets.  These are not a permanent dumping grounds because you will check them daily and distribute the contents. Now, here’s a cleaning tip most people don’t know about.  Many kitchens can get foul odors if the dishwasher and garbage disposal are not properly cleaned as directed in their Use & Care guides.  In fact, dishwashers in particular can be a problem when dirty dishes sit for several days or when food residue is not completely rinsed away.  I recommended something that is brand new on the market from Whirlpool for a cleaner, fresher dishwasher and disposal, Affresh™ Dishwasher and Disposal Cleaner.  You use this once a month or as needed and it’s the only national two-in-one product available that removes odor in dishwashers and garbage disposals.

TIP #3- Make A Family Calendar to Save Time by Organizing Schedules. Everyone in the family has activities so it’s important to make a family calendar.  This can help you figure out things like what errands can be combined and if you can arrange car pools that can be real time savers. Also, establish routines with set times for homework and playtime so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel each day.  Now, with school in full-swing, several play dates for your toddlers in the afternoons, and soccer games on weekends, kids can get some tough stains on their clothes that can be time consuming to get out.  To tackle these messes, here’s another new product, Tide Stain Release.  It’s an in-wash booster designed to help remove the toughest fresh and dry stains.  Just drop one of these duo pacs into your washing machine, along with regular detergent, and Tide Stain Release will help lift tough stains like grass to ketchup on everything from your clothes to your favorite linens.

TIP #4- Get the Kids Involved to Save Time Cleaning. Make family participation in household cleaning and maintenance the rule rather than the exception.  On Saturdays, have your whole family engage in a 60-minute cleaning routine.  This is a round the room and through the home cleaning and organizing system.  The goal is turn housework into teamwork, with each member of the family helping to get it right and fast.

TIP #5- Learn the Art of Delegation to Balance Work and Family. Working mothers of all kinds need to know that getting your entire family involved with effective time management is the key to overcoming overwhelm and balancing work and family. Too many times, moms try to do it all by themselves.  They need to look at their family to as a support system.  Start getting kids involved early with age appropriate chores to lessen your load.  The more the kids pitch in, the less Mom and Dad have to do, and the more free time everyone has to go to the movies, eat out at a favorite restaurant or take afternoons off to head to a park or a beach.

2009 Top Five Money Saving Travel Secrets in Any Economy

December 7, 2010

September 2009:

Emily Kaufman, The Travel Mom

Most people don’t know that we’re coming into one of the traditionally least expensive times of the year to travel in a good economy known as the shoulder season but the recession is creating travel deals bigger and better than ever. Hotels, airlines and tour operators hurting for business have lowered rates, cut fares and added extra values to entice travelers and it’s worked.  The travel industry grew one trillion dollars last year in a down economy as those who love to travel have been taking advantage of the travel deals.  But in any economy, insiders like The Travel Mom, Emily Kaufman, have secrets that every day travelers don’t.  Here are the top five.

TIP # 1 – Travel in the Off Season

Ft. Lauderdale Beach

Traveling in the off-season has been an insider secret for decades. When you travel off-season (or shoulder season), you can avoid long lines, crowds and higher prices. Try the Caribbean or Florida in the fall instead of winter. Now is also a great time to take advantage of the lowest airfares of the year, plus great deals and packages at top beachfront hotels and resorts.  For example, you can experience Luxury for Less in Greater Fort Lauderdale during September, October and November with three great programs.  Lauderdale Spa Chic allows you to relax and pamper yourself at top spas with $99 treatments and Dine Out Lauderdale offers special $35 three-course prix fixe menus from the best restaurants. If you’re taking a cruise out of Ft. Lauderdale, make sure you plan a couple of extra days to take advantage of their “Cruise & Play” program with special offers for hotel packages and discounts at attractions and restaurants.  Don’t forget to take time to enjoy some of the gorgeous 23-miles of Blue Wave beaches and go to sunny.org for more information.

TIP #2 – Go Where the Dollar Takes Your Further

You need to travel where the U.S. dollar has the most punch and combine that with some of the travel savings programs out there so you can really stretch your travel dollars.  Here’s what we’re talking about.  American Express just launched a program called Destination Family that specifically provides family-tailored travel benefits and offers for its Cardmembers.  This program offers all kinds of benefits from kids stay and/or eat free offers to 50% off of a second hotel room to free car seats when you rent a car.  The offers are available at some of the best travel brands out there like Hyatt Hotels, Royal Caribbean, Avis Car Rentals, and many more.  Cardmembers can take advantage of the program by going to americanexpress.com/familytravel where you can also find travel agents that specialize in arranging and customizing family vacations.

TIP #3- Get More Bang for Your Buck When You Live Like a Local

A great insider tip to saving money is to “live like a local” and avoid tourist traps by eating at neighborhood restaurants where the locals eat.  Just go up to someone on the street and ask them to recommend a restaurant with a local flavor.  A great place to do this is Baltimore since it’s a very walkable city and it’s easy to get to by plane, train, or car for a great fall getaway.  Before you go, you’ll want to download coupons for local attractions, restaurants and hotels at baltimore.org where you can also find great hotel deals and packages  Also, October feaures Free Fall Baltimore where you’ll find 300 free arts and cultural activities in the city including free admission to museums like BMA. Now for something really unique, you don’t want to miss the 200th Anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday with actor John Astin’s re-enactment of Poe’s funeral complete with a candlelight vigil.

TIP #4- Don’t Book Your Flight Too Far in Advance

The best time to start comparison shopping for flights is about 45 to 60 days before you would like to travel. You may not know that airline computers are intentionally set up not to give you a deal outside that time frame because they are looking at the law of supply and demand.  However, with airlines cutting back on flight schedules, don’t wait too long to book your ticket or you could get locked out of travel dates even in an off-season.

TIP #5Carry a First Aid Kit with OTC Products

Don’t let your health or your budget get derailed when you travel.  Many people don’t think to pack a small first aid kit when they travel and a vacation can be ruined with headaches, allergies, sunburn, upset stomach, motion sickness, a cold or worse. You need to bring a simple kit to ensure that if you do get sick, you have what you need to treat your symptoms and still enjoy your trip.  This is especially important if you’re traveling internationally as many of the products you can get over the counter in the U.S. are not available in foreign countries and it’s difficult understanding labels in a language you don’t speak (if not impossible).

2009 Mini-Vacations, Family Fun on a Budget & Last Minute Summer Travel Tips

December 7, 2010

June 2009:

Emily Kaufman, The Travel Mom

Just because budgets are tight doesn’t mean you have to say “no” to family fun!  A vacation doesn’t need to be expensive or elaborate to give you a much needed break from the stress of your everyday routine.  And a change of scenery and spending quality family time does not mean breaking the budget.  The Travel Mom, Emily Kaufman has tips on how  a little creative planning can go a long way when it comes to stretching your vacation budget.

 

Mini-Vacations are better than Stay-cations. We are definitely living in challenging times, but research and health professionals point towards the health benefits of taking a vacation.  When times are tough, a vacation is essential therapy, and mini-vacations are an easy and less expensive way to get away.  They don’t require weeks of planning and can shave thousands off the vacation budget, but they still provide the same basic substance of any trip:  the chance to recharge your batteries, get your mind off of work, and take a break from your regular routine.  Right now, there is no easier or more affordable way to get away than on a cruise as there’s nothing to plan as everything is done for you on a cruise.

Cruise ShipCLIA, the Cruise Line International Association, has a summer-long “You Deserve a Cruise” promotion where you can take advantage of unprecedented cruise values and savings including two-for-one cruise pricing, significant fare reductions, free air transportation, kids sale free offers, as much as $2000 in shipboard credits and even free upgrades and shore excursions.  These special offers are for 2009 and 2010 cruises throughout the world.  Go to cruising.org for a complete list of special cruise offers and to find a CLIA-certified travel agent.

Look for Rewards and Hotel Deals on the Internet Loaded with “Extras.” The internet is always the way to go to not just find the deals, but also extra value every time you travel.  This Fourth of July, hotels.com is offering free nights plus up to $75 on a pre-paid MasterCard so that you can afford to enjoy the holiday with a weekend away from home.  More than 900 properties are available in the Fourth of July Sale in great local getaway destinations including Anaheim, Myrtle Beach, San Antonio, Miami, Chicago, San Diego, and Washington, D.C. to name a few.  Also, all properties in the sale are also eligible for credits with their welcomerewards loyalty program where you get a free night stay when you reach 10 total nights booked on hotels.com.  You can earn and redeem rewards at 53,000 different hotels, condos, and bed & breakfasts with no blackout dates or restrictions.  Here’s a little known tip: Tuesdays are the best days to book amazing travel deals at hotels.com.  Every Tuesday at 12:01 am, the site posts approximately 200 new deals and they’re only listed for 24 hours, so the earlier you log on, the better your odds of snagging a discount. You’ll primarily find bargains in the U.S., Mexico, the Caribbean, and Canada.  The best part?  Offers are for rooms that can be booked through the year.

Other last minute deals. If you find yourself needing a last minute getaway, you can always just fill the car with a tank of gas and drive a half-day or so for a local getaway.  If you’re on the East Coast, check out the historic state of Connecticut at CTVisit.com and Baltimore, near the nation’s capitol is loaded with family fun ideas including 50 things you can do for free!  If you’re in the MidWest, you might want to take a new look at the Twin Cities, including Minneapolis with amazing international cuisine that rivals New York City.  And if you’re out West, the Grand Canyon and treasures of Yosemite National Park are a short drive away.  Check out hotels.com for the best deals on hotels before you hit the road.