U.S. News & World Report: 15 Free Things

I love finding good articles to share again, and normally I’m a fan of paraphrasing. But this one is just too good, so it’s going on in its entirety. I did add a few photos to make things more interesting. Please leave comments with other things you should be getting for free, and good freebie websites to use!  

15 Things You Shouldn’t Be Paying For

by Phil Taylor, Thursday August 19, 2010

provided by US News & World Report

So much money and energy is wasted on things we could get for free. If you’re into new, shiny things and collecting stuff, this is not for you. But if you want less clutter in your life and want to keep more of your money, then check out these 15 things you shouldn’t be paying for.

Basic Computer Software — Thinking of purchasing a new computer? Think twice before you fork over the funds for a bunch of extra software. There are some great alternatives to the name brand software programs. The most notable is OpenOffice, the open-source alternative to those other guys. It’s completely free and files can be exported in compatible formats.

Your Credit Report — You don’t have to pay for your credit report. You could sign up for one of the free credit monitoring services online to get a quick look at your credit report. You just have to remember to cancel the service before the end of the free trial. Or you could do one better and visit www.annualcreditreport.com, the only truly free place to see all three of your credit reports for free once a year.

Cell Phone — The service plan may be expensive, but the phone itself doesn’t have to cost a thing. Most major carriers will give you a free phone, even a free smart phone, with a two-year contract.

Books — There’s a cool place in your town that’s renting out books for free: the library. Remember that place? Stop by and put your favorite book on reserve. And if you don’t feel like getting out, visit www.paperbackswap.com and find your books there (small shipping fees apply).

Water — Besides the monthly utility bill, there’s no reason to shell out $1 for every bottle of water you drink. Bottled water is so last decade anyway. We’re over it, and into tap, filters, and reusable water bottles. It’s cheaper for you and better for the environment.

Credit Card — With as many credit cards as there are available on the market today, it’s easy to avoid a credit card with an annual fee. Unless you’re dead set on a particular perk that a fee card brings, skip the annual fee card and pocket that money yourself.

Debt Reduction Help — Speaking of credit cards, if you’re in over your head with credit card help, there are many free sources you can turn to for help with your debt. No one is going to be able to magically wipe away your debts, but there is help out there that will set you up on a debt reduction plan you can handle. Start with a visit to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.

Basic Tax Preparation — If your tax situation isn’t that complicated, then you should probably be preparing your own tax return using one of the many free online services. It’s now common for e-filing to be free as well with many services. You won’t even need a stamp.

The News — Leave it to a blogger to try and kill off traditional print. I’m not anti-newspaper. I just don’t find them practical anymore. Skip the daily .50 cents and get your news online. And for you dedicated coupon clippers, you can get most of your Sunday coupons online now too.

Budgeting Tools — There are many budgeting tools (both online and desktop) that offer up the service for free. Don’t ask me how they do this, but who cares. If you’re looking to rein in some of your spending, the good news is you can do it for free.

Pets — This is a controversial one, I know. But there are likely many pets down at your local animal shelter that could use just as much love as the pure-bred types. There may be a small fee due to the shelter for shots and basic care, but you’ll have your pet home without paying a mini-fortune.

Shipping — If you like to buy online, you probably use coupons to get a percentage off of your purchase. Take your skills to the next level and look for coupons or promotion codes that offer free shipping. If in doubt, visit a site like www.freeshipping.org.

Checking Account — Isn’t it nice when a bank takes your money, lends it out to earn money, and then has the audacity to charge you for the service? What a joke. Checking should be free. If yours isn’t free then move to one of the many banks that offers a checking account for free. And the same can be said for ATM fees, teller fees, and checks.

DVD Rentals — Did you know that you can rent DVDs from RedBox locations for $1 a night? And better yet, if you use one of the coupon codes from www.insideredbox.com you can avoid the $1 charge. Free DVD rentals! Most libraries now have free DVD rental as well.

Exercise — Skip the expensive gym memberships. Visit your local park for a walk or run. Do basic push-up and sit-up programs in your living room. Rent a workout DVD from the library. There are many free workout programs you can download online as well.

Photo source, source, source, source, sourcesourcesource.

Some other great articles cited on Yahoo! Personal Finance:  Why Spending Less Can Make You Happier by Stephanie Rosenbloom and  Get Out of Debt the Right Way by Laura Rowley. More from USNews.com includes: 8 Painless Ways to Save Money20 Things You Should Never Buy Used, and  5 Ways Spending Money Makes You Fat.

Can you think of other things you should be getting for free? Leave your suggestions in the comments below, along with any other freebie sites you recommend!

Cheers,

Jenna Kate

DIY At Home Spa Day

I thought it would be a nice, mid-week break to put together some easy DIY spa treatments. Pull out your kitchen cabinet, a DVD of Pride and Prejudice (I just got the Kiera Knightly version in the mail!) and relax. Maybe you can even get your guy to join in! Here are my top 5 at-home spa treatments.

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1. Soft Hands: TV-Friendly Hand Salve : Combine a few spoonfuls of cold cream, 2 drops of tea tree oil, 5 drops of lavender oil, a spoonful of olive oil and a banana (for a fruity smell) in a blender. When the consistency is smooth, slather liberally all over hands and cuticles. Then slip hands into a pair of yellow rubber gloves—yes, the kind you use to scrub the tub with. For the softest hands ever, I like to sit down and watch TV with my lotioned and gloved hands underneath a heating pad so that the heat will help my homemade salve penetrate my skin that much more. India-Jewel Jackson, GlamBlush, Posted on Glamour.com

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2. Silky Hair: Olive Oil Mask: Summer time means salt water and sun combine to make frizzy, unmanageable hair. To combat this, comb through your hair a couple of tablespoons of good olive oil and then cover with plastic wrap or a shower cap. Leave for fifteen minutes then wash clean.  Anya Merryfield, NZ Girl


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3. Tight Pores: Indian Tomato Tightener: This simple recipe only has 2 ingredients: 1 small or medium unripe tomato (the greener, the better) and 1 tsp. honey.  In a blender, puree tomato and honey to a thick pulp. Cleanse your face well and exfoliate with your favorite product or washcloth to ensure pores are open. Using two fingers, gently massage the pulp into your face. Let it sit for 20 minutes and then rinse off with cold water. Put leftovers in Tupperware and place in the fridge; they’ll last for up to a month. This mask benefits skin by tightening pores and removing excess oil (tomato) and naturally moisturizing (honey).  Shobha SoHo in New York City, Posted on TheNest.com

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4. Smooth Feet: Bedtime Piña Colada Callous Treatment: Even if rough feet aren’t a big problem for you, this foot soak sure sounds yummy. In a foot bath or large, clean bucket, pour in 2-3 cups pineapple juice. Add in ½ cup coconut milk and stir well. Soak for feet for 8-10 minutes and rinse well with warm water. Gently rub a natural pumice stone across any rough areas. Towel dry and apply your favorite moisturizer while feet are still damp. For extra softness, pull on a pair of cotton socks to wake up in the morning  Barbara Feiner, Organic Authority


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5. Touchable Skin: Sweetheart’s Chocolate-Honey Scrub: In a rubber mixing bowl, combine 2 cups honey (100% pure is best) and ½ cup grape seed oil. Stir in 6 Tbl. grated unsweetened chocolate (or dry cocoa powder) and 2 cups kosher salt, mixing completely. Consistency should be grainy and thick. Apply scrub to your skin and gently massage all over your body. Remove with warm, damp towels or rinse off in shower. Makes two treatments. The National Honey Board and Christopher Watt Esthetics in West Hollywood, California, Posted on TheNest.com

Have any other DIY at home spa recipes to share? Post them in the comments! Happy DIY spa day, and have a happy Hump Day!

Cheers,

Jenna Kate

If It Comes In Pink

Photo source: Lil Bit Old Lil Bit New

My friend Chelsea just unknowingly introduced me to my new favorite website: Make Mine Pink. This is a great little place full of online vendors whose wares are, of course, pink! Be careful wandering around the marketplace, the system for searching these stores is pretty basic. But if you’re looking for something particular, it’s a great place to start.

Some things I found that I love include these great Fleur-de-Lis bookends ($19.99) from Vintage to Vogue:

Photo source: Vintage to Vogue

this Alice in Wonderland style teacup bird feeder ($18) from Forget Me Not Dreams:

Photo source: Forget Me Not Dreams

and even these fun rose rings ($12) from CarolineAlexander:

Photo source: CarolineAlexander

These boutiques are a great place to find vintage and hand-crafted items of all sorts and at reasonable prices. There are even vendors for furniture! I’m sure Adam will love that. Happy pink hunting!

Cheers,

Jenna Kate

Pineapple

In my office, they order dinner for everyone who is working late, which I think is really great. My Mediterranean salad from last night had some yummy pineapple chunks mixed in with grilled chicken, dried cherries, sesame seeds, chopped lettuce and a yummy honey-lime dressing. This got me thinking about how I never posted pictures up from Easter when my parents purchased a pineapple core-er.

Here you can see my little brother, coring completed, pouring the extra juice out of the pineapple:

And here’s my handsome (now) fiance proudly showing off his nice towering ringlets of pineapple:

So, in honor of Pineapple Wednesday, here’s an easy recipe for a great summer Pineapple Salsa from BlogChef.net:

Pineapple Salsa

Ingredients:
1 can pineapple chunks
1 onion (diced)
1 Red bell pepper (diced)
1 Green bell pepper (diced)
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons coriander leaves (chopped)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 jalapeno pepper (optional)
salt (to taste)

Cooking Instructions:
Pineapple SalsaPineapple Salsa

Photos source.

Step 1: Combine pineapple, red bell pepper, onion, and green bell pepper in a bowl and mix.
Step 2: Add in cayenne pepper, coriander leaves, and lemon juice. Mix well. Let refrigerate until ready to serve.

Enjoy your pineapple today!

Cheers,

Jenna Kate

New Edition from J. Crew

If you know me, you know J. Crew is part of my religion. And as I am now psychotically stalking their weddings and parties collection, I have found my new love: the Silk Chiffon Arabelle gown:

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While I look good in white, I’m trying to mix up my wardrobe color palate. I’d pick it in Spiced Wine. There is another new dress in the fall W&P line that I’m super excited about: the Silk Taffeta Selma Dress:

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Here it is in a beautiful color called Matisse Blue. I’ve been to the Matisse museum in Southern France, and this is certainly a color he’d approve of.  Now I’m just waiting for a reason to order them!

Also in the new arrivals on J. Crew are Bobbi Brown lip gloss in colors buff and rosey, and Cosabella cutie lowrider thongs, in colors black, olive moss, barely peach, melon, shocking pink, and radiant orchid. J. Crew is truly turning themselves into a one-stop shop for the fashionista looking for a chic, semi-casual look. Any new favorites of yours for the fall line?

Cheers, Kate

Top Etsy Finds: From Camper Vans to Cameos

Popular boutique shopping site Etsy posted up a list of the most popular items on their site. Here are my favorites from each of the categories:

Charms: 24k Gold Acorn necklace

$85 from GurKimel.

Campers: Vintage Camper Birdhouse

 

This item has already sold. I also like The Little Old Trailer desk caddy for $23.50.

Animal Prints: Lisbon Falls. Hand Blown Leopard Hanging Pendant with Chain and Canopy

$59 from Lamp Goods.

Salt: Jalapeno Lime Finishing Salt

This item has already been sold, but check out this seller’s other gourmet finishing salts and spice blends.

Folk and Bohemian: Victorian Ornament Flourishing Folk Porcelain Egg Cup

This item has already been sold. Check out other Victorian egg cups here. The seller VisuaLingual has some great graphic design and screen printing work. I love this ‘Cincinnati Is My Home’ print on vintage wallpaper:

$50 from VisuaLingual

Cameo: 1 dozen Silhouette Cookies

$30 by TabbyCat13.

Hope you enjoy all these fun finds and check out these cool Etsy companies!

Cheers, Kate

Lola Summer Survival Kit Giveaway:

I love finding giveaways I can repost for you all. I’d love for one of you to win!

The guys over at NVPerricone are offering one reader of Her Name Was Lola their Summer Survival Kit complete with Citrus Facial Wash, High Potency Amine Complex Face Lift, and the truly remarkable Perricone MD No Foundation

HOW do you enter? Become a follower of the blog and leave a comment on the giveaway post sharing why you want/need/must-have your very own Summer Survival Kit ($180 value) by Friday, July 16th @ noon EST (U.S. and Canada only). A winner will be chosen at random.

This is also a great blog to keep tabs on, I love her spread on vintage Diane von Furstenburg. Including this chic blue floral dress:

It’s photos like this that make me wish I was A. a brunette, and B. living pre-1970. See more photos of the great DVF here.

Keep me posted on your giveaway entries! Cheers, Kate.

Photos source.