Getting together with friends and shopping - the two go hand in hand, no? How about getting together with good friends in the comfort of your own home and shopping at the same time? Pretty dreamy, right? Well, if you've ever been to a Stella and Dot jewellery party, you know this amazing combination exists!
I went to my first Stella and Dot jewellery party last year, and I was able to hang out with friends, eat some food, drink some wine and... shop! And boy, did I ever shop! I ended up leaving with a few necklaces, a set of three beautiful silver bracelets, and a pair of hoop earrings - all more than reasonably priced!
Let me give you a little background on Stella and Dot:
"Stella and Dot, Inc. 500 Fastest-Growing Company, is a San Francisco based social selling company that creates flexible entrepreneurial opportunities for women. Their boutique-style jewellery and accessories line is available exclusively through in-home Trunk Shows by Independent Stylists and online. Their one of a kind collections are designed by celebrated New York designers and featured in Gossip Girl, In Style and Lucky Magazine as well as on the wrists and necklines of today's hottest celebrities."
Yes, it's true - you too can accessorize like Serena and Blair from Gossip Girl! The company has a great mission too: "To give every woman the means to style her own life." How great is that?
I recently met Sandra Butler (Stella and Dot Director and Founding Leader) at the fall 2011 launch party in Ottawa, and I showed her the necklace I was in love with - the Isadora Pearl Bib necklace - and in a few days, guess what she gifted me with? Yes, I may have jumped up and down from excitement, just a little bit.
I was also really excited when Sandra told me she'd love to give a $150 gift certificate to one of my Yummy Mummy Club readers!
Friends, there are a lot of amazing pieces you can get yourself for $150. Not to mention, you could get an early start to your holiday shopping! I know it's not going to be easy to decide what you'd spend that money on, but what would you love to own from the new Fall 2011 collection?
Leave me a comment below telling me what piece catches your eye and you stand a very good chance at winning the $150 Stella and Dot giveaway!
Yummy Rules and Regs: You must be a Yummy Mummy Club member to win. Click to sign up! It's free and filled with perks. One comment per member. Entries accepted until August 7, 2011. Contest open to Candian residents only."
As you know, I'm a shopaholic. I have a little problem, you see. I can't stop shopping! For clothes, books, or household products, if I'm in a store, I never walk out empty-handed. I have maxed out my credit cards time after time, and every time I reach that point, I tell myself (or, rather, my husband tells me) to be more wise about spending money, and to think about what I'm doing before I charge things to my credit card yet again.
I recently received some great financial advice on how I can cut expenses from Kanetix.ca, an insurance company that aims to offer Canadian insurance consumers a better way to shop for insurance.
First of all, there are two ways of looking at things: increase your income, or reduce your expenses. I don't think my income is going to drastically improve anytime soon, so let's focus on cutting expenses. Trimming the amount that you spend can add up to big money in your pocket! (Yay!)
When you shop with a credit card, you lose sight of how much you're spending. I sometimes see shopping with a credit card as using 'free money' to get the things I want. NOT a good thing, friends. Credit cards can quickly turn into a financial trap for consumers.
Some tips I received:
- Resolve to reduce outstanding credit card balances. The interest rate alone you pay on your credit card debt is likely to be the highest of any of your financial obligations, so cutting this down to size can equal great savings.
- Shop around for credit cards that offer relevant benefits for you. I love to travel, and plan on switching to a card that offers airline miles so I can try to get a few free flights!
- Perhaps a straight cash-back card is the best choice for you, if you’re looking for money to pay other bills.
Whether you're renting or own your house, here are some tips I learned that are especially helpful:
- If you rent, research the market, especially in times of economic turmoil. Rental prices tend to fluctuate a lot. Shop around to determine what the going rental price is for places like yours, and if you notice a difference, show your landlord and request lower rent.
- If you own your home, consider refinancing. Even if you refinanced your mortgage loan recently, interest rates continue to remain at record lows and the competitive mortgage market means that many lenders are vying for your business.
- Be sure to perform a cost-benefit analysis to ensure that the upfront closing costs of a refinance don't eclipse the potential long-term savings. Phew. Definitely something to look into!
Insurance for cars, homes and health are all part of a prudent financial plan. But there are ways you can reduce expenditures here, too!
Bundle your insurance with a single provider if you can. Most insurance companies offer discounts to customers who buy more than one type of insurance through them.
Consider increasing your deductibles. You'd be surprised how much this will help reduce your premiums! Just be sure to have the entire deductible amount stashed away in a savings account in case of an emergency.
Groceries and Dining Out
I have a bad habit of buying lunch out every day, since I work downtown. This is terrible for my wallet! With food prices (and everything else) on the rise, it makes sense to look for ways to reduce spending money on groceries and visits to restaurants.
As tempting as restaurants are, they are almost always more expensive than buying groceries and preparing your own food. For inspiration, watch a few of the cooking shows or visit a local farmer's market to see what's at the peak of freshness. Bonus: in-season produce is less expensive than imported fruits and vegetables!
If you have the space for a garden, grow your own produce and herbs. I'm sure the children would love to help too!
When you do eat out, search for coupons and promotions on the internet first. There are specials all the time, if you look carefully.
Another way to save money? How about winning a $100 gas card from our sponsor, Kanetix.ca? Stop waiting for gas prices to drop and enter Kanetix’s $100 gas card contest!
You have until August 3, 2011 to tweet:
"I want a $100 gas card from @KanetixLtd! Follow & RT to enter: http://tinyurl.com/3pgxa3c #kanetixcarinsurance"
Good luck! For official rules and regulations go here.
This blog is proudly sponsored by our friends at Kanetix.ca
When I was in my graduating year of high school, I was voted ‘Best Dressed’. I have always loved shopping, and I used to love getting dressed every day for school. I was an avid reader of Seventeen magazine and back to school shopping was an almost religious event for me. New boots, sweaters, and tights? Yes, please! (I also must admit I love shopping at Staples for back to school supplies: new pencils, binders, and paper always made me excited to start a new school year!)
As soon as I became a mom, certain things shifted for me. When I brought my baby boy home from the hospital, I was clueless. I didn’t know quite how to hold him, how to burp him, or how to change his diaper. Of course, with time, I learned, and doing these things came to me with ease after a few weeks.
Another thing I was clueless about when I got home from the hospital? What to wear. For a few days, I was wearing my husband’s button-down shirts, because nothing else seemed to fit right. Even after I lost the baby weight, there were some clothes that I kept folded away in the darkest corners of my closet because they were just never going to fit the same again. Like my little Abercrombie and Fitch t-shirts. (Sob.)
Losing weight was a challenge, but re-learning how to dress so I could look like a yummy mummy? That was a challenge, too!
What I’ve found that works for me is basically the looks I’ve always been drawn to. Classic, timeless pieces – these looks will work for you, too!
Every Yummy Mummy should have:
A few ‘favourite’ pairs of jeans. My most favourite pairs of jeans are from the GAP – Sexy, Boot and Curvy. I have three pairs of each of these jeans! (Yes, I live in jeans, can you tell?)
A LBD! Yes, a little black dress is key – I have a black BCBG dress I wore to my 2002 engagement party that I still wear to this day to important functions. In all honestly, the majority of the dresses in my closet are black, but hey – if it works, it works, right?
Comfortable flats. I swear, this is the most important pair of shoes you’ll own as a mother. Find a pair that work for you, and you’ll be able to walk for miles – with no blisters or tears! You can find amazing pairs of flip flips at Old Navy, and with those amazing prices, you can buy a pair in every colour!
A sexy pair of heels. Hey, mummy has to look sexy, too! Black and nude pumps are all you need. I love a little platform heel, for added comfort and sexiness. Check out Town Shoes or The Shoe Company for some of this season’s must-have wedge heels!
A bathing suit, tankini, or bikini that you feel good in. When you’re a mom, you sort of lose the luxury of just lying in one spot on the beach. As a mom, you’re now in the sand, running after your children and in and out of the pool a lot. Wear something that looks good on you – something you feel confident in. My favourite bikinis this year are from Joe Fresh and Old Navy. They make the most adorable swimwear, at the most incredible prices!
T-shirts and a Go-To Sweater. The more clothes you have in your closet that you just love reaching for, the better. Comfort and style, that’s what it’s all about! I stock up on tank tops and t-shirts a few times a year at Banana Republic, Gap, and Old Navy.
When you become a mom, you will need to buy a few new items, but these will soon become items you can’t live without. One thing that should never go away, even after you become a mom, is your confidence and ability to look as good as you feel, and to enjoy shopping like you used to! Remember, style and comfort can be said in the same sentence. Stick to with the basics, in colours you know look good on you, and you can’t go wrong. And don’t forget, accessories can be your best friend. Sunglasses, an oversized handbag, and that necklace you always get compliments on? Wear it, own it, love it!