Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Getting off the Ground

Guest written by our friend Gladys Fuentes

One of the things that took us so long to settle when we were getting ready to open our kitchen supply store was the aspect of credit card processing. Deciding on a processor was actually a really big decision since it's a service that costs money, and we didn't want to choose incorrectly and end up losing out. Thankfully, my brother is a business consultant and helped us look over all the options in our area and decide on the best plan. Another factor that kept us from opening on time was the growing list of construction issues in our old warehouse where we were to open the store. I don't know what we would have done without our contractor, Ryan, but he certainly saved our life on more than one occasion. Now that were open, all the hassles seem like so long ago, but I can't forget how much work went into getting this place off the ground. It sure makes me appreciate each day that runs smoothly in this store of ours!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

It's Pizza Night!

This post brought to you by FRESCHETTA®. All opinions are 100% mine.

I'm on my own tonight, which means peace and quiet and no need to cook dinner for anyone else.  Of course this means only one thing - pizza night!  And I don't even have to deal with getting it delivered because I picked up some of those new FRESCHETTA® Simply…Inspired™ pizzas the last time I was at the supermarket. 

I had seen a commercial for theses pizzas and thought they looked good, so I checked them out in the store.  I really like thin crust pizza so their Thin & Crispy style appealed to me right away, and they have yummy sounding flavors like Rustic Pepperoni Pomodoro, Tuscan Farmhouse, and Hawaiian Style.  (There are eight flavors to choose from.)  Nobody else in my family likes Hawaiian style pizza, but I love it, so I think that's going to be my pick tonight.

I've always thought that Freschetta made some of the best quality frozen pizzas, so I'm sure I'll enjoy the Simply...Inspired pizzas too.  One of the new things they did that I like is the FRESCH-TASTE SEAL™ Packing - it's designed to help lock in the flavors and freshness of the ingredients while also using less packaging material.  I'm all for something that can make my food taste better and be more eco-friendly at the same time.

If you're a fellow Freschetta fan (see what I did there?), you can follow @FreschettaSI on Twitter and Like on Facebook.  They have weekly giveaways on their Facebook page as well as a chance to get a coupon for $2 off so that you can try the Simply...Inspired pizzas for yourself. Enjoy your pizza night!

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Taking A Hike

Yeah, okay, so I couldn't resist the cheesy title. Some friends of mine are organizing a hiking trip for next month and I've decided to join the group. I haven't been hiking in a long time, but the scenery in the area that they've picked is supposed to be really beautiful, and it sounds like a fun trip. Of course, since I'm still me, I'm also using the trip as an excuse to shop around for some new hiking boots.

So I found a website with a great selection of hiking gear, including boots, and I've been checking it out. Of course, there's always the classic leather style of hiking boots like this Barigan boot:

I do like those, but on the other hand I really don't go hiking that often, so I'm not sure how much use I would get out of them. I'm thinking that I might be better off with something that has all of the benefits of hiking boots, but doesn't look so much like the classic style. I'm really liking these light hiking shoes from Teva:

Cute, right? And they're still waterproof and durable like regular hiking boots. I say there's nothing wrong with being prepared and being stylish at the same time.

Spring Shoe Shopping

The beautiful spring weather is finally here (at least some of the time), which means a few things - spring cleaning, eating healthy to get ready for swimsuit season, sitting outside with an iced coffee, and checking my favorite women's shoe blog and websites for some cute new spring shoes. You know, all the essentials.

I really love Stuart Weitzman shoes, and he has some great new styles for the spring. Some of them are a little on the expensive side, but at least I know that the quality is good, so if I invest in a pair they'll last me a lot longer than one spring. I think these Botanical Plum snake print sandals are gorgeous:

Of course, this season also means dealing with those spring showers, so I've been looking at rain boots too. I was never really a rain boots kind of girl before, but these Hunter boots come in so many cute colors that I'm seriously reconsidering:

So cute, I love them. Has anyone else been doing some spring shoe shopping? Got any cute styles to share?

Father's Day Shopping: Belt Buckles

I'm continuing my Father's Day gift search for my super hard to shop for dad. At the moment it's taken me to a site that sells belt buckles. (I said I like to think outside the box when it comes to this task, remember?) I figure he already has all of the ties and cufflinks that he could ever need, so this would be something a little different.

This site does custom belt buckles as well as things like money clips, lapel pins, and golf bag tags, so I feel like I should be able to find something interesting and unique here. I've been browsing and I think this one has got to be my favorite:

They also have a bunch of military belt buckles, so I think I may get something for my grandfather while I'm at it. He was in the Navy and I know this kind of gift is something that he would get a kick out of. And he's just as hard to shop for as my dad, so if I could get something for both of them at the same time, I'm all for it.

Anyone else working on Father's Day shopping? How's it going so far?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Father's Day Shopping: Tarps

So I've started shopping around for Father's Day gift ideas. My dad is super hard to shop for, so I'm constantly on the lookout for things that I think he might actually need or want, and I'm willing to think outside the box sometimes if I have to. That's the reason why I'm currently browsing a website that sells nothing but tarps.

I guess that requires a little bit of explanation. See, my dad has been really into doing projects around the house lately, including painting the guest room and some other spaces in the house. The thing is, knowing him like I do, I'm sure that he's doing it using a "dropcloth" made out of old sheets or a plastic shower curtain or something. So I was thinking of getting him a real canvas dropcloth that he can use for all of his painting projects. That way, he can focus on the painting part without worrying about whether he's making a mess out of the floor.

While I'm at it, I may also get him a couple of heavy duty silver tarps that he can use for any projects he does out in the yard or garage. These things are resistant to just about everything - water resistant, mildew and rot resistant, acid resistant, alien attack resistant (just kidding on that last one) - so I think they'd be great to protect whatever current project of the moment he's got going on outside.

Anyone else have people in their lives that are hard to shop for? What creative gifts have you found?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Getting Vaporized

I was talking to a friend of mine who is really into alternative health and aromatherapy and things like that, and she just introduced me to vaporizers. A vaporizer is a smoking alternative that allows you to inhale various herbs and other materials without actually burning them with a flame. Since there's no flame involved, the process is cleaner and can last longer and, probably most importantly, significantly reduces any toxins or carcinogens that may be present.

So I've been looking at this really interesting website that sells lots of different kinds of vaporizers and has a ton of helpful information. I've been reading up and learning about the different types of vaporizers that are available and the benefits of each kind. One of the most impressive looking ones is called the Volcano Vaporizer (even the name is cool, it sounds like something a superhero would use). It's a high quality German product that uses a method called a balloon valve to safely create scented and flavored vapor.

Yeah, I know, if you're unfamiliar with this it kinda sounds like science fiction, but it's all legit and I find it really interesting. I'll definitely be looking into vaporizers more and maybe investing in a Volcano of my own.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Business Owner Boot Camp

So I just got another update from my friend who is starting her own business. I love hearing from her and getting all of her stories about the crazy ups and downs of being a business owner.

Today she was telling me about this cool site that she found that sells business ebooks and other resources for new business owners. They have books like The Essentials For Starting a Small Business that cover a variety of topics, as well as more specialized items. You can learn how to create an employee handbook for your business, or read up on SEO, facebook, Wordpress, and other essentials for your company's online presence. There's even a book about how to create a great home office! I know that's where I would start.

Another really helpful thing that they have available is various spreadsheets that a business owner might need, from invoices to marketing plans to general business plans. There's also a tax spreadsheet specifically for freelancers, which I think I may have to snag for myself. See, even though this isn't my business, I'm still totally picking up my own set of helpful tips and resources along the way.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Getting Gold

My cousin had a garage sale last weekend and I helped her out with it. She did really well, and one of the things that we thought was interesting was how many people asked if we were selling any jewelry. When we showed them what we had, almost all of them immediately started going through looking for anything that was gold. Guess that answers the question of whether people are still paying close attention to the price of gold in this economy.

Since gold is such a hot topic right now, I've been doing a little research and trying to learn more about it. Obviously there's a big difference between setting a gold price at a garage sale and tracking gold prices for real, but in a way it is all somewhat connected. Investing in gold is just a smart thing right now, no matter what the size or scale of the investment.

I still have a way to go when it comes to learning about gold and investing in general - like figuring out what terms like gold bullion spot gold mean (no, gold spot isn't a stain remover) - and it's really interesting to get more informed about investing and finance. I'm not sure how much gold I can afford to invest in these days, but it's definitely something I'll continue to inform myself about.