Monthly Focus: Wedding Series

Notley Tythe Barn. This barn is used for weddi...
Notley Tythe Barn. This barn is used for weddings and wedding receptions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
During the month of April, there will be at least one post in regards to weddings and its details on a daily basis.  I will be sure to put in Monthly Focus as part of the headline.  We will provide guest posts, discounts, deals, to do lists, interviews, just about anything that has to do with weddings.  We will talk about wedding locations, guests, planning, cakes, dresses, fears, and wishes, and much, much more.

Weddings should be not stressful times for you.  Let us help you by giving you ideas and resources.  If you have any favorite wedding resources or topics, do let me know.  It  may be featured right here!
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Free Webinar – Leveraging Women-Owned Small Business Certifications to Win Contracts

Women business owners are working harder for government contracting opportunities. According to a recent survey from American Express OPEN, they invested $86,643 seeking federal contracts in 2010, up 23% from their 2009 investments of $70,512. Currently, just over one-third (37%) of active women contractors who have self-certified as a woman-owned small business (WOSB) report that the designation has been useful to them, with 17% saying that it’s been very or extremely useful.

Given recent efforts to enhance the WOSB Procurement Program and make it easier for women-owned businesses to win federal contracts, the WOSB certification will certainly become more beneficial. To help women-owned businesses maximize the year-old federal contracting program and receive their fair share of federal contracting dollars, American Express OPEN and Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) are offering a free web tutorial on Wednesday, April 4. This educational webinar is part of Give Me 5, a national program created by American Express OPEN and WIPP to help women business owners get their full 5% share of federal contracts. 

In this one-hour webinar, Give Me 5 instructor Gloria Larkin, President of TargetGov, explains the unique requirements of the WOSB Procurement Program. The session will take a look at what happens after women entrepreneurs self-certify their business and walk them through the four required steps in order to compete for a WOSB set aside contract.

Business owners who are interested in joining the webinar can register at

Additional information can be found below:
Date: Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Time:  3 PM ET/ 12 PM PT
Where: Virtual

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Grocery Shopping in Dearborn

Part II:

Yesterday, I wrote a post about eating Arabic food in Dearborn, Michigan.  Today, I will talk about grocery shopping for Arabic food items in Dearborn.  Hubby, son and I went to a grocery store called Super Greenland on Warren Ave.

Talk about unbeatable prices in Fruits, vegetables and other items!

Just about any grocery item found in the Middle East, can be found in Super Greenland.  This store doesn't just carry Middle Eastern items, it also carries western items like Nutella, Snickers, and other national brand items.  What caught my attention is the fact that you can buy vegetables or fruits in bulk, literally in a carton.

Some of the items we bought include:

Fresh Almonds

Cactus Pears

Fava Beans


How awesome is this?!  Fresh produce in bulk at very cheap prices.  I mean the zucchini was $0.49 per pound.  Seriously?!  So, if you are in Dearborn, or you are going to Michigan, head on over and experience some grocery shopping--Middle Eastern style.
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Free Digital Magazine: Ladies Home Journal

Signup to get 11 free digital issues of Ladies Home Journal.  Click here

Coupons to Print

Worthwhile Trip: Shatila and Al Ameer Restaurant

Part I:

This weekend, my family and I visited family in Dearborn,MI. It was great to see family after three long years. Time flies.

If you love to experience different cultures, then it is a must- to visit Dearborn, Michigan. There you will experience the Arabic cultures--from food to dress. We went to Shatila, an Arabic bakery that specializes in Baklava, cookies, smoothies, pastries, and more. All were delicious.

Decoration inside Shatila
Fruit Smoothie

Chocolate Cake

After we went grocery for Arabic foods, we decided to eat at Al Ameer Restaurant, also in Dearborn, MI. As we walked in the restaurant, we see Arabic decorative theme as well as hearing Arabic music to the tune of Abdel Halim Hafez, a classical Egyptian singer. Our Arab waiter recommended his favorites of Al Ameer in details.  We ended up ordering Tabouleh, the Ameer Platter, and Buffalo Chicken Wings.  The food wasn't for for 3 people, it was probably more like 6-8 people.  We ended up taking the rest to go, as we left to Chicago.

Al Ameer Platter

Buffalo Chicken Wings

If you like to experience new cultures, I highly recommend that you go to Dearborn, Michigan to experience the Arabic culture. You will experience the food, music, shows.  You name it.   You will not be disappointed.
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Guest Post: Five Ways to Save With a Detailed Shopping Plan


Stephanie Nelson

Shopping list
Shopping list (Photo credit: Ex-Smith)
Research shows that efficient shoppers with detailed shopping plans do a much better job of sticking to their shopping lists and budgets.

1. Check to see what you already have on hand at home to turn ingredients in your kitchen into meals. This also keeps you from accidentally duplicating items you've purchased previously.

2. Check your stores’ featured sale items on and coupon bargains before leaving home, so you'll know exactly where to find the best deals.

3. Plan specific daily menus around your on-hand ingredients and store bargains. Create bargain minded menu plans. Online recipe sites can help you tailor meals around deals.

4. When you have a menu plan, combine your current food inventory plus needed items bought on sale and with your coupons to create your shopping list.

5. Stick to your plan when you get to the grocery store, no impulse buying.

Stephanie Nelson is the Coupon Mom. With more than 6 million members, Coupon Mom gives members access to thousands ofprintable coupons for groceries, restaurants and more. As the nation’s top expert in couponing across the country, Stephanie has been on every major national television talk show and taught millions how to save money for the past 11 years. She has been called ‘”the rock star of the recession” by the Washington Post and her book, The Coupon Mom’s Guide to Cutting Your Grocery Bills in Half, is a New York Times best seller.

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Join the Joie de Vivre Cravebox Twitter Party

Join Joie de Vivre #Cravebox Twitter Party Thursday March 29th,  at 9PM ET to share your ideas for planning and enjoying an awesome spring of fun activities and seasonal beauty and fashion.

They'll be giving out prizes every 10 minutes!

Follow #cravebox and join in the chat about making the switch to spring fashion & beauty. They'll be talking about new fashion styles and make-up for Spring, plus activities and ideas to fill your calendar and make the most of this great time of year. You can win some terrific products from the brands in this month's Cravebox and a full Cravebox (or two) will also be up for grabs. RSVP to be eligible to win the door prize worth $150, by commenting with your Twitter handle on the Cravebox party post.

Party Details:
When: Thursday, March 29th
Time: 9:00pm EST
Who: You and your friends!
Hashtag: #cravebox
Party Sponsors: @cravebox@puristics@nyxcosmetics,@drinkmercy@beautytruths@mightyleaf
Party Hosts: @cravebox
Party Panelists: @RachelFerrucci,@StacieInAtlanta@RockOnmommies @RobynsWorld @zipporahs,@lisasamples

We're giving out some great Cravebox prizes check back to this blog where we will update details of the prizes! You could win our grand prize, worth $150.

To get started, click here to tweet: "Join me at the #cravebox Twitter Party w/ @cravebox 3/29 at 9pm ET! RSVP"

Pre-Party Twitter Contest:
From 3/27 through 3/29 @cravebox will be tweeting out some questions related to the March Cravebox. RT and Tweet back your answers for a chance to win a prize for each question. The winner for each question will be announced before the next question is asked. 

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Guest Post: Spring Fashion: How to Save on Seven Trends

Kendal Perez

The first official day of spring has finally arrived, creating the desire to overhaul our wardrobes with the latest looks. Sadly, most of us don't have celebrity-sized bank accounts to accompany our star-worthy fashion sense. But that doesn't mean we have to miss out on the latest trends. Consider the following ways to update your spring wardrobe without falling into debt.

1. Pastels
Just in time for Easter, pastels are making a name for themselves on New York runways. Embracing this trend requires the purchase of one versatile piece - like a blazer or pencil skirt - to be paired with other basics already available in your wardrobe. Channel your inner Chanel and pair pastel pink with black accessories, or keep it light with nude accents.

2. Colorful Denim
Leftover from fall, the colorful denim trend is spreading faster than wildfire and offers a refreshing pop of color to any outfit. Since this look is definitely a fad, avoid spending too much on your first (or third) pair by shopping inexpensive retailers like Kohl's. Shop online for even more inventory and savings, and look for Kohl's free shipping codes from to dodge delivery costs.

3. Sporty
You might say Sporty Spice was ahead of her time in her choice of athletic-inspired ensembles. Or not. Regardless of your attitude about the "Wannabe" star, active wear and sports-inspired looks are definitely in. That means you can enjoy your off-the-shoulder fleece for at least one more season, and incorporate your gym go-tos into everyday outfits.

4. Color Blocking
Color blocking is one of the easier trends to embrace and offers an opportunity to incorporate other trends. For example, you can pair bright denim pants with a neon shirt or blouse to easily achieve the look. Bisect the top from the bottom with a neutral belt -- think black, navy or white -- and accessorize with equally neutral jewelry.

5. Tangerine Tango
I'm enamored by the color orange and publicly display my affection with a bright leather purse I purchased a couple years ago. Tangerine Tango has a decidedly redder hue but can be incorporated easily with accessories. You can also find inexpensive tees or blouses to embrace the official color of 2012 without going overboard. If you want to balance the brightness, pair with white or gray. If you're more daring, go for hot pink or teal.

6. Metallic
Shiny dresses are great for the red carpet -- Jennifer Lawrence is clearly a fan -- but avoid this trend during the nine-to-five. Depending on your workplace environment, you might pull off metallic pants with a white blouse and black blazer. Alternatively, embrace the trend with footwear and find shiny heels for work and metallic, strappy espadrilles for weekends. offers a great selection of well-priced foot candy, and free shipping both ways allows you to return whatever doesn't fit.

7. Bold Prints
As if neon and color-blocking weren't bold enough this season, runways everywhere featured bold prints with nods to art deco and the great outdoors. Since this look will likely go the way of last season's Navajo-inspired patterns, opt for one or two pieces that you can pair with basics from your closet. Shop discount retailers like TJMaxx and Ross to find this trend on the cheap. 

Kendal Perez is a frugal fashionista and bargain shopper who helps fellow shopaholics find hassle-free ways to save money. As the marketing coordinator for Kinoli Inc., she has the resources to be an extreme couponer but prefers a less complicated approach to staying in-budget. Kendal has been quoted in such media outlets as CNN Money, TIME Moneyland, FOX, ABC, NPR and Kiplinger Personal Finance. For savings tips and more information, visit 

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Depression Clinical Research Opportunity

Guest Post: 11 Tips to Spring Clean Your Finances


Andrea Woroch

If the thought of spring cleaning your home is overwhelming, why not turn that energy towards your financial situation and make sure everything is in order. With just a little time and effort, you can shape things up and enjoy some peace of mind. So scrub up your finances with these 11 tips.

1. Organize Bank Accounts
Streamline your online statements and bill payments. Toss out old statements and checks, then consolidate your accounts at one or two institutions. If you've moved or found better service and rates at another bank, you might have left some cash behind in an old account. Close them out and move your money to where it will work for you, before bank fees throw you into overdraft status.

2. Review Investments and Retirement Planning
Update beneficiaries. Re-balance and consolidate accounts. Move old 401(k) accounts into one at your present place of employment or move them into a self-directed IRA through such mutual-fund companies as Fidelity or T. Rowe Price.

3. Clear Up Debt
Get over that holiday hangover by wiping Christmas debt off the books. Credit cards carry the highest interest rates, so they're the first debts you should tackle. Then, try to buy gifts throughout the year to avoid end-of-year purchasing binges, or commit to budgeting more effectively come November.

4. Slash Your Spending
Once you're on track to reduce your debt, cultivate good spending habits to ensure you're not paying down debt again next year. Use coupons where you can, and buy gift cards at a discount from such sites as GiftCardGranny to save instantly on gifts and everyday purchases.

5. Adjust Tax Withholdings
If you're receiving a big tax refund this year, you're not withholding enough money from your monthly paycheck or quarterly payment. Don't let the government play with your cash all year; Make it work for you now. Use the IRS's 2012 Publication 15 as a guide.

6. Review Monthly Bills
Look for areas you can trim. You can save up to $50 per month by simply canceling your movie channels. It's a lot cheaper to download or stream films, and you'll have access to your favorites much faster. Or you might just read more books.

7. Organize for 2012 Taxes
Instead of tossing all your receipts into one shoebox, set up a filing system to separate health-care forms, travel records, 401(k) contributions, etc.

8. Meet With a Financial Expert
Get some professional help to go through your IRA, 401(k) and 529 College Savings Plans to understand where all your money is going and whether it's working for you. The Wall Street Journal offers some good advice on how to select a financial adviser.

9. Review Your Budget
Even if your income hasn't changed, spring is a good time to look over your budget and see if it still works for you. Or, if you've put off creating a budget, now is the time to establish where you'll spend your money and how much you can sock away for the future. Kiplinger has an easy budget form to get your started.

10. Address Estate Planning
Create or update your will or trust. Look into setting up a living will and power of attorney, should the unthinkable happen. Destroy old documents so there's no confusion when you're gone.

11. Update Insurance Policies
Call around or surf the Net for new quotes on car, home and life insurance policies. Update the beneficiaries on your life insurance. Rates have gone down of late, so you may be paying much more than you should.

Andrea Woroch is a nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert who helps consumers live on less without radically changing their lifestyles. From smart spending tips to personal finance advice, Andrea transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers. She has been featured among top news outlets such asGood Morning America, NBC's Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more. You can follow her on Twitter for daily savings advice and tips. 

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Free Webinar Teaches Small Business Owners How to Write Successful Proposals

Small businesses are working harder for government contracting opportunities. According to American Express OPEN’s government contracting survey, small business contractors invested an average of $103,827 seeking federal contracts in 2010, an increase of 21% over 2010. Since small businesses are investing more time and money in growing their businesses through government contracting, learning how to write a well-developed proposal can not only save business owners time and money but also make the difference in winning a major contract.

To help business owners get contract ready and achieve contract success, American Express OPEN and Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) are offering a free web tutorial on Wednesday, March 28. This educational webinar is part of the Give Me 5 program,a national program created by American Express OPEN and WIPP to help women business owners get a leg up on selling to the world’s largest customer: the U.S. government.

In this one-hour session, Give Me 5 instructor Barbara English will teach business owners step by step instructions on how to write winning proposals on federal government solicitations. Business owns will also learn in detail the contents of an RFP, understanding pricing tools and whether "to bid or not to bid".
Additional information can be found below:

Date: Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Time:  3 PM ET/12 PM PT
Where: Virtual

Business owners who are interested in joining the Webinar can register at: .

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Guest Post: Adjust Your Picture: 6 Tips for Saving Money on TVs


Andrea Woroch

With spring fever striking and another five months until football season starts, TV shopping has dropped to the bottom of the priority list for many Americans. If you count yourself among those willing to wait for another round of holiday deals, you may want to reconsider your strategy.

Consumer Reports recently reported that many television manufacturers are changing their pricing policies as of April 1. The new policies will prevent stores from selling TVs at a price lower than the one suggested by manufacturers. Though these policies are designed to protect stores from losing ground to Internet retailers, they also mean higher prices for consumers. Luckily, you still have a chance avoid this impending price hike by following these tips.

1. Research First
Even though it feels like the clock is ticking on your remaining time to buy a TV, don't succumb to the shopping pressure. A new television is a big expense and worth buying for quality instead of a bargain. Often product specs are analyzed in detail by review sites, but they neglect the user experience over time. provides a nice pairing of expert reviews with user reviews to give you a complete picture.

2. Buy Old Models
If you're still lugging around one of those bulky tube TVs, the picture on an HDTV from last year versus the picture from the latest release will be unrecognizable. What you will be able to notice is the huge discrepancy in price. Manufacturers turn out new television technology all the time, and stores will still slash prices to make room for units that make them the most money. Before you go shopping, brush up on some key HDTV terms so you don't end up like a deer in the headlights.

3. Using Coupons
Whenever the tyranny of high prices threatens innocent consumers, coupons come to the rescue. These money-savers are especially important when you're planning to order your TV online. For example, TigerDirect coupons from sites like FreeShipping.orgwill often combine a discount with free shipping and help you get a better deal all around.

4. Open Box Specials
Most stores have a section at the end of an aisle or off in a corner filled with open-box items. While the name is somewhat offputting, don't mix these discounted products up with damaged goods. They're generally items that were opened and returned, but are still in working condition. Sometimes open-box items will have different rules regarding warranties, so be sure to ask first.

5. Buy Used
Buying used electronics isn't for everyone. However, if you need your TV for utilitarian purposes like video games or a spare bedroom, there are always plenty available locally on Craigslist or at a pawn shop. Just make sure you check what the same model is selling for new. People often ask outrageous prices for their unwanted sets and sometimes you can get an identical TV right out of the box for less than it's listed for online.

6. Buy Accessories Separately
It's astounding what stores will charge for HDMI cables. One simple, six-foot cord can run upwards of $30 when purchased directly from stores like Best Buy. A quick search of Amazon will produce dozens of results at a fraction of the price. If stores are already going to raise prices on TVs, don't let them nickel-and-dime you on the accessories.

Andrea Woroch is a nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert who helps consumers live on less without radically changing their lifestyles. From smart spending tips to personal finance advice, Andrea transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers. She has been featured among top news outlets such asGood Morning America, NBC's Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more. 

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The Real Rosie the Riveter Oral History Archive at NYU, April 3

Rosie Header
The Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives at NYU
Elizabeth Hemmerdinger and Spargel Productions

Cordially invite you to celebrate the opening of

The Real Rosie the Riveter Oral History Archive

Comment by Ruth Milkman
Professor of Sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center
and Professor and Academic Director,
Joseph F. Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies

With special guest Rosies

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012
6 pm to 8 pm

New York University
Tamiment Library
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, 10th Floor
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012

Light refreshments will be served

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Guest Post: 3 Tips for Luck Year Round

Ellen Whitehurst
Cover of "Make This Your Lucky Day: Fun a...
Cover via Amazon
Seed your day by getting lucky first thing in the morning!  Even if you’re traditionally not a morning person (wink) there are some things that anyone can do to start the day off from a place of anticipation, expectation, gratitude and joy.  The very first thing you see the very first time you open your eyes in the morning will influence and impact, not only that particular day but potentially your entire life.  If the first thing you spy as you open your eyes is a desk full or unfinished business or exercise equipment (a ‘no – no’ in the bedroom anyway!) with the dry cleaning hanging on it or an open bottle of Vick’s NyQuil from the cold you had a week ago, well, imagine how these images impact your experience.  
On the other hand if you have a clean and clutter free sleeping space with a beautiful comforter keeping you cozy and warm and some images or artwork of beauty and possibly even some soft music playing in the background, well, then you might feel fully present as you express “Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.”  Beginning your day in a state of present of gratitude also begins your day with grace. And don’t forget that ages-old legend and lore says that if you get out of bed by climbing over the foot of it, you’ll have outstanding luck all the day long. 
Now, speaking of expectation, recent scientific research done on the difference between lucky and unlucky people shows that lucky people’s expectations, their dreams, goals, hopes and ambitions often become a reality because of one fundamental difference in how lucky people think.  Simply put lucky people have positive expectations that then motivate them to take control of their lives.  They will actually attempt to achieve whatever they want from life no matter the likelihood of being successful.  This internal motivation prompts lucky people to persist even in the face of challenge, obstacle or adversity.  
Lucky people define at least five goals for themselves on a regular basis by writing them down and looking at them often.  And, then, they take (at least!) one proactive step each day towards reaching those same goals.  They reach out or join in or even simply do a positive meditative visualization of what they will FEEL like when their goal is reached.  Lucky people expect success.  And, so, they often achieve it.
Invariably and, again, according to scientific studies, lucky people are found to follow their instincts, intuition and plain old gut hunches much, MUCH more than those who consider themselves to be unlucky.  The lucky bunch do different things in order to enhance their intuition and hone their instincts such as investing time and energy in some formal form of meditation or simply sitting quietly and clearing their mind and focusing on the first thoughts that come to that same place after asking an appropriate question.  Creating a sense of stillness in order to get in touch with intuitive inspiration is a hallmark of lucky people and can add immeasurably to a state of clarity and calm as well.  Go ahead, ask any harried mom how lucky they are when they can find a personal peace as well as some clarity and calm.  See?  Lucky.

Ellen Whitehurst , is a Better Living Expert as well as the author of the bestselling MAKE THIS YOUR LUCKY DAY (Ballantine) Recognized as the country’s premier expert in Feng Shui and other empowering modalities such as holistic medicine, aromatherapy, and astrology. Ellen also pens a daily inspirational tip for currently reaching over a half million each day. She is also the newest Ultimate Health and Wellness expert contributing to 

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