Ask Away...: March 2014

Monday, March 31, 2014

A Month Without...Candy





I'm participating in my own little project called My Year Without. Each month, I go without something different.  


January was texting and driving.   I actually did pretty good!! I refrained from even checking my phone at a stop light.   It made me realize how dangerous it really is to be distracted by a phone when driving.     


February was cursing but that didn't work out to well.  I never curse around situations where it's not appropriate anyways so I'm not really worried about it.  Behind closed doors I can express myself however I wish. 

March was spending.  I didn't but things I didn't need and this was actually a huge success.  Aside from groceries and paying bills, I was able to restrict my spending and I even paid off my 2nd to last credit card!  

April is going to be candy.  No snacking on jelly beans, chocolates, or anything else that people normally sneak throughout the day.  And yes, I'm well aware that April is Easter, and that's fine!



What can you live without this month? 










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Keep Your Wardrobe Fabulously Fresh + A Giveaway

The Purex brand provided me with a sample of Purex Crystals Limited Edition Fabulously Fresh in exchange for a product review.  However, all the opinions expressed here are my own.

I love an organized closet for a new season, but I also like a fresh scent to hit me in the face every time I open my doors to choose an outfit.  That's why I make sure I use Purex Crystals when I do my laundry.  Purex Crystals eliminate odor and freshen laundry so that you won't get that "plain clothing" smell even if you wear your shirt again and again.

And Purex has a new scent... Purex Crystals Limited Edition Fabulously Fresh fabric softener has a fresh floral scent that reminds me clean linens drying in the Spring air!





I have a small space so my closet is squashed together and my clothes are always touching.  This is why I like them to smell fresh and crisp and clean even after multiple wears.   It's so easy to use Purex Crystals, you just pour some into the cap and toss in with your laundry! 




And the bottle is super stylish and elegant.  It looks great in the laundry room next to fresh flowers!  I mean really... I can't tell which smells better!
And the great thing is that Purex Crystals don't reduce the absorbency of towels.   It's a great alternative to your usual fabric softener! Clothes now smell fresh for weeks not just days.  You can use Purex Crystals on all loads even children's sleepwear and workout clothing!


Also, you can enter to win a $1,000 shopping spree and a year's supply of Limited Edition Purex Crystals Fabulously Fresh!  You can enter here.

And as for my own giveaway...

One winner will receive a coupon for a free bottle of Purex Crystals Limited Edition Fabulously Fresh.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Shop Your Way MAX for $39/ Year!

This is a sponsored post. I am a Shop Your Way blogger and all opinions are my own.


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Friday, March 28, 2014

Are You Ready to Shop Peter Som for Kohls? #PeterSomforKohls

I participated in a campaign for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Kohl’s. I received a gift card as a thank you for participating.



I have always loved shopping at Kohl’s because I can find all the latest fashion trends for Spring.  But I am SUPER excited to announce that Kohl's is partnering with renowned American Fashion designer Peter Som!!   Inspired by beautiful St. Barths, the exclusive Peter Som for DesigNation collection features bold patterns a bright colors in feminine skirts, dresses and separates. The unique patterns and the pop of color are perfect for the warm weather!   I am also stoked to tell you that next week I'll be meeting Peter Som in person and shopping his collection before it hits stores!    Don't be jealous though, you can still be one of the first to shop the Peter Som for DesigNation line. Just RSVP to Kohl’s Peter Som Watch & Shop Google Hangout on April 4th at 12:00 PM ET. He'll be talking live with fashion bloggers and letting us all see pieces from his collection!  See you there!!


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My Chihuahua/Rabbit Hybrid + A Giveaway

This site has affiliate links and sponsored content. Read my Disclosure Policy.


Spring has sprung! Woohoo!  And it's time to refresh the doggie toys, treats, and outfits...at least in my household it is! 

Petco has some great new toys and goodies for your furry babies.  They actually sent me a care package for the pups and you won't believe what's inside.  

I started off by enticing the babies with some new toys.  This is a cute little tug o'war Valentine's Day themed toy. 
 


And my God the toys that Petco has right now are adorable.  The little pea pod is my favorite (and Pixie's) because it crinkles. It's easy for her to carry because she can either grab it by the side of the pod, or hold a pea in her mouth. They also come apart but they are still held in by a little string.  So precious!
Now do you remember in A Christmas Story when Ralphie's Aunt Clara gets him a Christmas gift that he despises?   The bunny suit?  Well, Pixie's doing her best impression of Ralphie in his bunny suit!


They sent an adorable heart dress that I forced Grace to wear.  How cute is she?  And it's so poofy I love it!


Oh and here's Stella in the bunny costume!



So anywho, now that I've tortued my dogs, I have a giveaway for you! One of you will get a bunny costume for your pooch!



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Meet My Fellow Blogger Emily of Her Philly



Her Philly is a lifestyle blog for young women dining, shopping, playing & living in the city of Philadelphia. I started my blog when I moved to the city after graduating college and was looking for a Philadelphia guide for women my age. I wanted a place that gave realistic advice for practical & affordable things to do as a 20 something in our amazing city. Her Philly covers everything from the new spot to get your hair done, fun food festivals, great first date ideas and more. If you are new to the city of Philadelphia, stopping by for a visit, or even a long time resident looking to get out of a routine, don’t fear! Let my blog be your guide for fun in Philadelphia.


5 Things About Myself
1. My family & I are very close. My parents live at the Jersey Shore (think surfers, not guidos), so I try and go home as much as possible to get some color on my translucent skin tone. 
2.I love make-up (especially bright lip color). Before I discovered blogs, I watched YouTube beauty guru tutorials & hauls daily. 
3. I have a long commute, so I am obsessed with Audible. I just finished Silver Linings Playbook and I'm "reading" Water For Elephants now.
4. My favorite artist is Kurt Halsey. I have his sketches all over my apartment. 
5. I have a serious addiction to pizza. One of my favorite apps is the Pizza Compass - and yes, it is exactly what you think it is.

Two of My Favorite Posts are:
Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia {Everything You Need To Know} - Every year, Philadelphia (and over a dozen cities around the world) hosts a pop-up, all white picnic called Diner en Blanc. The event has a lot of rules your must follow to attend, so, as a first time guest myself, I interviewed the co-host and answered everything you need to know about DEB.

The 10 Hottest Men Wearing Philadelphia Jerseys Right Now - Being young & single, I am a big fan of all of the professional athletes in our city. I ranked my ten favorite men currently playing a sport in Philly, and even got my blog read to my #1 pick live on the air from 92.5 XTU


Let's ConnectTwitter





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My 5 Best Tips for Other Bloggers






As a blogger, I often feel like there’s no quick and easy way to sum up what I do.   When I tell someone that I work full time and also run a blog, the usual response is “Oh that sounds fun!”   Don’t get me wrong… it is fun… but it’s also a lot of work and I often wonder if people think it’s as easy as typing something and hitting publish.  

In reality, as a blogger you end up being a writer, editor, photographer, PR gal, social media pro, graphic designer, brand researcher, and much much more. You have to market yourself as a brand in all ways possible and that alone is a lot of work. 


On any given day at my full time job, I can be seen responding to blog-related emails on my cell phone anytime I step away from my desk for a bathroom break.   

After I get home, there’s usually a few packages at my door, so I have to open them, log them in, and if I have time I stage photos.   If I don’t have time, I have to make time very soon so I can plan any outfits for photos, edit the photos, write the blog post, format it, schedule it, plan and schedule social media shares, and let the company know about what’s going on.

So how do I do it all without losing my mind?   


I know a lot of people out there  can teach you about SEO, Social Media, and more,  but I find that sometimes you just need to get a few tips to help you stay organized so you don’t become overwhelmed. 


1.Use an Editorial Calendar

This is what you will use to schedule posts, track the progress of them, and allows you to schedule what days you need to take a posting break.   I use my calendar to plan everything and to give myself reminders for when I need to reach back out to a brand down the road.  Bring this with you everywhere.  I carry mine in my work bag and if I’m traveling I carry it in my regular handbag.


2. Keep Your Emails Organized

Use folders to sort and store different types of emails and leave your general inbox as clear as possible so it can act as a REAL inbox for you.  If it’s still sitting in there, it means you either need to file it or respond to it!   I have my GMAIL inbox all organized with folders including: Product Reviews DONE, Product Reviews (for open ones), Product Reviews MAYBE(follow up with them later), Brand Ambassador, Blogger Networks, PR Emails, Reading (for all of my newsletters).  Keeping an organized email inbox makes it MUCH easier when you need to find something.


3.Track Gifted Items on a Spreadsheet

Whenever you agree to feature a gifted item on your blog, you need to make sure you track when you receive it, whether you’ve scheduled it for a review or not, and if it’s even been posted. 

I use an excel spreadsheet with the following columns: Company, Item, Price, Date sent, Date received, Date Posted, Giveaway? Y/N.  

Everything is highlighted in yellow until it is scheduled for a review, then that row gets set back to white.  Once I post the review, I log the date and I change the highlighting to dark gray.  This really comes in handy when a company asks If you received their product and you really can’t remember!


4.Schedule the time you work on your Blog

Whether it’s all at once on a specific day, or a little bit here and there a few days a week, make sure you set time aside to work on your blog and don’t make any excuses.   I schedule Tuesday and Thursday nights for blogging and I always chip away at it when I can. 


5. Don’t Post Every Day

You’ll exhaust yourself and your readers.   Set a day aside where nothing gets posted, and a good day for that is a Sunday because most people don’t do their normal routine of Internet stuff on Sundays OR if they do, it’s the day they catch up on a lot.  My days off are Sunday and Thursday. I put giant X’s on those days in my Editorial Calendar.

And don't forget to check out these other posts about making your comment section more user friendly and running better giveaways.  Oh and this fabulous post about tips for brands and bloggers working together

 





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Outfit of the Day: Country Chic

This site has affiliate links and sponsored content. Read my Disclosure Policy.
For this look I decided to be a bit country chic with some boots, a denim blouse and skinny pants.


This Light Blue Long Sleeve Contrast Denim Blouse from Sheinside is fabulous.  It's so comfy and I love how it goes great with a variety of colors. I chose purple pants for this look. There are so many colors in the embroidery design  

It was easy to style this blouse by throwing on a pair of comfy brown boots.  



So What I Wore:
Blouse - Sheinside; Pants - Old Navy; Boots - JustFab





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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Carrots + Pumpkins + Chihuahuas, Oh My!

This site has affiliate links and sponsored content. Read my Disclosure Policy.
My girls (and boy) are such a blessing in my life, but with 4 dogs there can be a plethora of issues here and there at any given moment.   One of them is digestion issues, or someone getting, er, backed up.   Pixie tends to be more at risk for that for some reason, so whenever she has issues, I pull out the pumpkin. 



Pumpkin (both with humans and dogs) does a great job of equaling you out.  If you're backed up it gets you moving and if you're moving too much it gets you regulated.  

And carrots are a big hit as a snack for my pups so when I saw that Chewy.com had a soft snack available with carrots AND pumpkin I was thrilled!   Since chihuahuas have tiny teeth it's always a good idea to not give them rock hard treats especially as they get older. 





Old Mother Hubbard makes Natural Moist Dog Snacks in several different flavors.  They are called Soft Bakes and they are great for tearing into smaller pieces and using as a training reward.   Not only are these made in the USA but they are all natural.  The aroma is amazing and definitely made all their ears perk up! Chewy.com has once again impressed me with more healthy products for my fur babies!
 





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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

10 Favorite Features of the 2014 Toyota Camry SE Sport

Toyota provided me this vehicle in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own. Read my Disclosure Policy.

So last week I was lucky enough to drive around in the 2014 Toyota Camry SE Sport.  It was a shiny red beauty just screaming for me to get in, relax, and enjoy the ride.


This is my first experience driving a Toyota and I have 10 reasons that I love this vehicle and the way it fits my lifestyle. 


automobiles, Camry, car reviews, Cars, driving experiences, Toyota, Toyota Camry,
1. Sleek Stylish Exterior
I love fashion and beind stylish but that doesn't end with my wardrobe.   The sleek design and sexy front end really won me over with the 2014 Camry SE Sport.  With a beautiful grin embellished with fog lights, I was quite impressed at the overall sporty look that this sedan has.  I even liked the detail on the sideview mirrors.
2. The Amazing Gas Mileage
I work in the city and I live in the suburbs so when I'm not using the highway, I am often stuck in stop and go city traffic.  That always seems to affect my gas mileage even when I just go a short distance, but wow did the 2014 Toyota Camry SE Sport do a fantastic job with fuel efficiency.   It gets 28 mpg, with 25 city and 35 highway.  I was so so impressed and I know if I owned this car, my budget would be very pleased with my savings on gas.
3. Smooth Handling Around Town
Like I said above, I drive around town a lot so I'm going around windy roads, sharp turns, and bumpy streets.  This car sure made the ride much smoother which is great for someone like me who always has a handbag, tote, and miscellaneous other items in the car that normally go flying around at every turn.  Everything stayed in place, and I had a very pleasant and quiet ride.  I even took this car on a Target shopping spree and everything was still in place and upright in the trunk when I arrived home that night.
4. Paddle Shifting Capabilities
I love automatic vehicles, but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy paddle shifters, and I did just that in the Camry!    This 6-speed gem was very easy to drive around while shifting.  
5. A User Friendly Navigation System
Normally, I struggle with difficult touch screens and lagging menus with navigation systems, but not this time! The GPS was super easy to use, had a pleasant voice, an accurate mapping plan, and was so quick to enter an address into.  This is great for someone like me that travels a lot for work purposes and needs to be able to get out of a "Where Am I" bind quickly! It was a huge stress off my back while I drove the Camry.
6. Great Sound System
I love listening to music, whether it's a CD, my iPod, or Satellite Radio.  I could do all 3 with the 2014 Totoya Camry SE Sport and I loved the quality of sound in this car.  It was easy to navigate around which was another huge feature for me, but most of all I felt in the zone when I drove and enjoyed my favorite music!    I felt like a rockstar pulling into a parking spot while my jam blasted out the open sunroof!
7. Storage and Interior Flow
I have so much crap I lug around on a daily basis that I like to keep it easy to get in and out of my vehicle.  The interior was very spacious even just upon entering the driver's seat.  I loved the little storage compartments and the USB plugs.   There is so much storage room in the trunk as well.   he storage capabilities and overall flow of the interior

8. Comfortable Seats
Like I said earlier, I travel pretty often these days so a comfortable seat makes all the difference at the end of a road trip.  These seats were great! They had power adjustments and really kept me from getting stiff while driving.  Even my passengers raved about them. 

9. Excellent Safety Features
Honestly, this car has great safety ratings.  It's got an Anti-lock brake system, Smart Stop Technology, 10 airbags, tire pressure monitoring system, whiplash-injury-lessening front seats, and it feels safe the moment you push the gas pedal.  It's important for me to always drive vehicles that rate high with government safety ratings.  

10. Ease of Parking
I have to say, I'm impressed with the ease of parking in tight spots, and the ease of sight when checking behind you and around you.  I swear some vehicles have THE WORST when it comes to parking in cities and even store parking lots.

Overall I think this is a great vehicle for someone who is on the go a lot and gets both city and highway travel in on a regular basis.  The storage capacity is great for anyone that likes outdoor activities, transports sports equipment, or just enjoys shopping a lot!   The sleek stylish modern look of the 2014 Toyota Camry SE Sport makes it a great car for millenials like me!





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Win a Bag of $50 Worth of Goodies from Brickyard Buffalo

This site has affiliate links and sponsored content. Read my Disclosure Policy.

If you haven't heard of Brickyard Buffalo before you are really missing out! They are an online pop-up market that showcases items from individual companies and are always working to bring you the best products available.  


Need a new umbrella? 



How about a set of party supplies?



Or maybe even some chic painted planters...

Whatever it is...Brickyard Buffalo has a great selection of random decor, stationary, and even accessory items for you to choose from!

Plus, you get to shop the sales before they run out so you get the thrill of the shopping game!

Here's the fun part - Brickyard Buffalo is giving one winner a bag full of $50 worth of goodies!!    All you have to do to enter is sign up for their newsletter!

Good luck!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Outfit of the Day: Fresh in Flannel

This site has affiliate links and sponsored content. Read my Disclosure Policy.


It was a fresh Spring morning when I took these photos so I wanted to keep it comfy yet stylish.  I also got to style my Chihuahua necklace from Juicy Couture. 

plaid blouse, skinny jeans, flannel, outfit, fashion

plaid blouse, skinny jeans, flannel, outfit, fashion


The adorable red flannel blouse is from Sheinside. It's super comfy and I opted to let it hang open with a simple black cami underneath.



So What I Wore:
Flannel Top- Sheinside; Jeans - Paris Blues; Boots - TJ Maxx; Cami- Express; Chihuahua necklace - Juicy Couture.



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