Archive for November, 2011

Shellac attack! is it worth it?

[ 0 ] November 30, 2011

Shellac manicure using UV light

Even though it made a grand entrance onto the market back in 2010, the Shellac nails trend is just being discovered by those living under rocks. Like me.

A cross between a polish and a gel? That doesn’t chip? It sounds like magic!

Well, it is magic. Or pretty close. My nails are terrible. I have the gross and awful habit of biting them when I’m stressed, so they’re barely worth getting manicured or fussed over at all. However, when my wedding rolled around, I tried to make a conscious effort to NOT bite them – I was going to get them all gussied up with a Shellac manicure. I ended up getting a French Manicure, and even my teensy nails looked like a million bucks afterwards. And for 14 days afterward.

Yes, Shellac is the stuff you put on furniture to make it look seriously glossy. But it’s actually safer than a lot of regular polishes. It doesn’t contain some of the more toxic substances found in some brands, like formaldehyde, DBP and toluene (look on your bottle at home). And yes, I was a little taken aback that they use a UV lamp to dry the polish. In actuality, you get more UV exposure walking across the parking lot than through the lamps that are used.

Okay, so let’s take a look at Shellac nail polish and some of the pros of this product:

  1. It dries instantly and doesn’t chip or smudge when you’re reaching into your purse for the keys 8 seconds after you leave the salon.
  2. The finish is beautiful. It’s really shiny and the color choice is growing all the time.
  3. Pricewise, it’s not that much more than a regular manicure. A little bit more, but does a regular manicure stay on for 14 days? Nope. Worth it!

The main con is that Shellac removal is best done by a professional, which costs extra. It’s tough stuff! By the end of 14 days mine was starting to peel, so I chipped away at it. This is not recommended. My nails looked ridiculous afterward. Please take your nails to a salon and get it done right (it involves a lot of tin foil and acetone).

Basically, Shellac is a wonderful method of polishing those nails on special occasions where having chipped nail polish just simply isn’t an option. It may hurt your budget if you go on a regular basis, but I would definitely consider it for that holiday party or wedding. It’ll look fabulous in photos.  No matter if you’re embarrassed at the state of your nails or not, you’ll love it!

Have you tried a Shellac nail treatment? Would you try it again?

the $500 holiday wish list contest!

[ 12 ] November 29, 2011

GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

Thanks to all who entered! Stay tuned for more contests and giveaways coming soon!

It’s that time of the season again.

Time to shop ’til you drop to find the hottest gifts for the people on your holiday shopping list. This year, we’d like to help!

Introducing the fs $500 wish list contest! Starting today, at 1:30pm EST we’re giving you the chance to win $500 to spend towards your holiday shopping list! Making your holiday stress-free and full of savings!

to enter

Follow us on Twitter (@FabulousSavings).

Check this post every Tuesday, starting today (11/29), for the hot products on our featured staff member of the week’s holiday wish list:

featured staff member of the week

Lindy’s 2011 wish list:
  1. ViatorCatamaran Cruise to Saona Island from Punta Cana
  2. Zappos  – Bass Lady
  3. Musician’s FriendRadiohead In Rainbows Piano/Guitar Tabs
  4. FlaviaFlavia Fusion
  5. Kohl’sDana Buckman Petra Tweed Satchel
  6. GapShaker Stitch Pea Coat Sweater 

 

Remember the 7 retailers on Lindy’s wish list: Viator, Zappos, Musician’s Friend, Flavia, Kohl’s, Barnes & Noble and Gap. We’ll hide a special gift box on the page of one these 7 retailers every day this week.

Visit FabulousSavings.com. Search for the 7 retailers on Lindy’s list using our search bar or by browsing our brands/categories. Search for the hidden gift box on the retailers page on our site. Hover over the gift box with your mouse and a pop-up will appear! Then just tweet the provided message using the Twitter button.

To keep you on your toes, we’ll change the location of the hidden gift box each day (or maybe we wont!). So, be sure to check FabulousSavings.com every day! The page can change at any time, but only tweet once per day!

Contest runs from Tuesday, November 29 @1:30pm EST ’til Monday, December 19 @ 11:59pm EST. A winner will be announced on Tuesday, December 20th on our blog and notified via Twitter.

contest rules

  • Only one tweet per person, per day. Anyone who tweets the message more than once a day will be disqualified from the contest.
  • The winner will be randomly selected and announced at 1:30pm EST on Tuesday, December 20, 2011 on our blog and notified via Twitter.
  • The winner must be following us @FabulousSavingsIf the winner is not following us another winner will be selected.
  • Maximum 21 entries per person
  • 18+ US residents only

Good luck and happy holidays!

FabulousSavings.com reserves the right to cancel this contest at its discretion.

FabulousSavings.com reserves the right to change the rules at anytime.

FabulousSavings.com shall not be responsible for any possible technical difficulties or delays which might otherwise affect eligibility.

 

after NaNoWriMo: how to finish your novel

[ 0 ] November 29, 2011

"Once upon a time, the beleaguered novelist had nothing to write about..."

If National Novel Writing Month was a sport, I’d be the one who falls flat on his face as soon as he steps onto the court. It’s a friendly competition to write (or start) a 50,000 word novel in one month. Is it fun? Oh yes. But it can also be frenetic and unreasonable. I don’t know who the lunatic is that thought this up, but it’s near the end of November and I’m nowhere near done.

If you’ve signed up, chances are you aren’t done either. We’ve got busy schedules and jobs, after all – where do we get the time to write 50,000 words? Although I won’t reach the end goal, that doesn’t mean I want to stop writing my novel. So I’ve come up with a few pointers to help steer you toward the end of your story, as impossible as it may seem.

Set Your Own Goal                                         

Coming up with a standard writing ‘ritual’ is difficult; different things work for different people. But it is important for you to set goals and limits for yourself. When I signed up for NaNoWriMo I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish in time, but it would give me a great starting point.

November is quickly coming to a close. If you’re still around the 10,000 word mark, it’d be mighty unrealistic to say you’ll be finished by the 30th. Look at how far along you are and set a ‘due date’ for yourself based on how quickly you write. You’d be surprised by how motivating it can be to know that there’s an end in sight. Or, for us failed NaNoWriMo-ers, another end in sight.

Give Your Story a Kick in the Butt

I don’t mean printing out your novel and giving it a literal kick (though I’ve wanted to do this plenty of times), I mean giving your story some spice when you get stuck. I like to map out all the major plot points of my story before I write it but I often have no idea how to fill the space between those points.

That’s why I use the Terrible Things Generator. It introduces random situations to overcome and problems for your protagonist to solve. Of course, you don’t have to use any of its suggestions, especially if it’s not appropriate for your genre (one of the plot points is simply “Earthquake!”) but they might inspire you to write something great.

Write Non-Linearly

When I started writing I was so locked into the notion that everything had to be written in order. This hindered me more than anything. I found myself stalling during the ‘slow’ points of my stories. But you know what? The novel police aren’t going to show up at your door if you write in bits and pieces instead of one continuous string. There’s no rule that says you can or can’t!

If a particular scene comes to mind and it’s so vivid and clear that you can’t stop thinking about it, then write that scene. Save it in a separate document and come back when you need to fill the gaps of your novel. This really helps me because I know I have something done. Plus, editing becomes much easier when you have the clarity and perspective that comes with revisiting old writing.

Use the Right Software

I don’t believe that word processing begins and ends with Microsoft Word. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fantastic program, but for some writers it can be either too much or too little for their needs.

For relaxing, distraction-free writing, I like Ommwriter. It’s a full-screen word processor equipped with stark, minimalist backgrounds and ambient music. You can tweak both to your liking or turn off the music completely, but it really helps me stay inspired.

I like to use Celtx when I need a program that has more robust formatting options. A lot of writers in the industry actually use it to write screenplays, but it has a full set of tools for novels, stage plays and even comic books. Who knows, new software might make penning your Great American Novel that much easier.

How far along is your NaNoWriMo novel? What do you do to stay motivated and inspired? Leave us a comment!

cyber monday deals

[ 0 ] November 28, 2011

Ah, Cyber Monday…

A day for those who choose to forgo the annual in-store free-for-all that is Black Friday, to enjoy blowout-worthy deals from the comfort of your fuzziest slippers.

Below we’re listing the hottest Cyber Monday deals as they come in throughout the day. So before you check out, check back to this list for up-to-date deals!

ESPRIT: 40% off any order

Coupon Code: CYBERMON11

Expiry: 11/29 *Excludes licensed goods and real leather.

Bare Necessities: Up to 40% off select styles

No coupon code required

Expiry: 11/29

Discovery Store: Up to 60% off

No coupon code required

Expiry: 11/28

Steve Madden: 30% off plus free shipping

Coupon code: STUFFING

Expiry: 11/28

Nike Store: Extra 25% off plus clearance

Coupon code: ADVANTAGE

Expiry: 11/30

Eastbay: $25 off with $99 purchase

Coupon code: LKS1VN76

Expiry: 11/28

Victoria’s Secret: 20% off any single clothing item

Coupon code: JINGLE20

Expiry: 11/28

Land’s End: 30% off your entire order plus free shipping

No coupon code required

Expiry: 11/28

Hotels.com: 50% off during 4 day sale

No coupon code required

Expiry: 11/28

Lee Jeans: 40% off all jeans plus free shipping

No coupon code required

Expiry: 11/30

Bath and Body Works: 25% off any purchase

Coupon code: CYBERMONDAY25OFF

Expiry: 11/28 11:59pm EST

Swarovski: $20 off $150+ orders

Coupon code: CYBERMON

Expiry: 11/28 11:59pm EST

 

happy black friday!

[ 0 ] November 25, 2011

Black Friday shoppers look no further!

Think of us as your one-stop shop for the webs best Black Friday deals! This year, beat the crowded shopping frenzy.

Check out our list of today’s hottest online Black Friday deals below & enjoy scoring BIG savings from the comfort of home!

We’ll be updating this list throughout the day. So stay tuned for updates! Also, check out our Black Friday page on fs.com!

 

ESPRIT: 40% off any order!

Coupon Code: BLKFRIDAY11

Expiry: 11/29 *Excludes licensed goods and real leather.

OnlineShoes.com: 25% off $100+ order!

Coupon Code: 1THXDAY

Expiry: 11/26

Home Depot: 25% off Dyson vacuums!

No coupon code required

Expiry: 11/28

Roots: 25% off + free shipping!

No coupon code required

Expiry: 11/28

Banana Republic: 25% off any order

Coupon Code: BRFRIDAY

Expiry: 11/25 (8:59pm EST) *Excludes Timeless collection, Men’s Gavin, Dawson, & Emerson pants, Men’s Bags, SFMade product, Cashmere and Chan Luu.

Aeropostale: 50% off everything + extra 20% off

No coupon code required.

Expiry: Today only!

Rockport: 40% off site-wide + free shipping!

No coupon code required

Expiry: 11/28

happy thanksgiving!

[ 0 ] November 24, 2011

We’d like to give our thanks to you: the fabulous people who use our coupons to find great savings.

Now go out and eat lots of turkey (or tofurkey…whatever your flavor)!

Have a fab day!

10 fun and fabulous chilly weather date ideas

[ 0 ] November 24, 2011
don’t let the chilly weather put
a damper on your date.

Finding fun ways to spice up a winter date night can be a challenge. Especially if you’re like me and would spend the entire season in hibernation if given the choice (…lucky bears!).

It may be cold outside, but don’t hide away! Below are 10 fun and fabulous date ideas. Some I’ve tried myself. Others, I’ve come across while searching things to do to help make the harsh winter chill a little more bearable.

So read on, winter-lovers and wannabe hibernators alike! Below are date ideas that’ll satisfy even the most mismatched weather pairing.

indoor date ideas

1) old school video game tourney

If you and your date are self-described gamers, you’re gonna love this one.

Get out your gaming stations, your favorite video games, pizza to munch on and a few drinks (optional, of course). And voila! You’ve got yourself a super fun, winter-proof date night!

This is one of my favorite low keys dates. Great for when you and your partner want to avoid the cold all together and just spend time together at home.

cotton candy on a cookie?
if it tastes good, bake it!
image source:

2) ultimate cookie bake-off

Now this one I haven’t tried. But it sure sounds fun! For a super sweet bonding experience come up with the best sounding cookie ever and bake it. Combine you and your date’s favorite cookie ingredients to make the ultimate cookie.

Or, if you and your date have differing opinions on what makes up the best cookie ever, then have a bake-off! Make separate batches of cookies with your individually chosen ingredients and enjoy the finished products together!

 

3) board game challenge

Sometimes the simplest date ideas are the most fun.

The key to making this date idea a success is to turn off all distractions and plunge right into the games. Don’t be afraid to get competitive!

Some fun and fabulous game suggestions for date nights: Cranium (best for more than two people), Twister, Scrabble.

Savings tip: check out our Amazon.com coupons for deals on your favorite board games!

4) hotel fake-out

Step one: Send the kids to Grandma’s…

Now that the kids are away it’s time to create an at-home hotel experience. Spend the day in bed, order in (room service!), watch movies and enjoy some quality alone time together for the night.

Or, do the real thing! Rent a hotel room for just one night. Indulge, pamper and enjoy yourselves, guilt-free. I love doing this every once in a while. It feels like a one-night getaway vacation!

Savings tip: looking for hotel deals for your one-night getaway? Get 5% off your hotel stay with our Orbitz coupon!

5) make hot cocktails

The options are endless when it comes to the yummy holiday inspired cocktails you can create.

Visit your local liquor store and grab some delicious liqueurs that’ll taste fabulous in a hot drink. Start with hot chocolate as your base and it’s hard to go wrong.

Mix your drink together and add toppings such as, chocolate or caramel sauce, cinnamon sticks, whipped cream, etc. Get creative with it! My personal fave: Hot chocolate with mint or french vanilla Irish Cream…mmmm!

outdoor date ideas

5) make a snowman

You don’t have to venture far into the winter cold to have a good time.

This is something I joyfully discovered last winter. Yup, a great date idea is just steps away from your door…as long as there’s snow on the ground.

Just grab your date and some snowman making essentials (carrots, a scarf…you know the drill), head outdoors and start creating your snowman buddy. Don’t forget to snap some pics after you make him. He won’t last forever!

6) see the lights

Take a stroll around your block and check out the fabulous holiday light displays your neighbors have put together.

Didn’t find any amazing light displays in your area? That’s alright. The holiday decorations in my neighborhood are pretty average, too. Just take a drive and discover an area where the residents go all out. Almost every city or town has at least one! Track em’ down and enjoy.

cold outside? get a little
closer!

7) winter nature walk

Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy nature. Bundle up in your warmest attire (we’re talking layers here!) and get out there.

A great tip is to visit conservation areas in your area and check if they have any winter activities you and your date can do together (e.g. ice fishing, skating, snowshoeing, etc.).

Who knows, maybe you’ll discover a new winter hobby you and your date can share!

8) go sledding

All you need for this super fun date idea is a hill and a sled! Make it interesting. Have races or take turns timing each other. If you’re super adventurous pair, build tiny jumps and hills and try to do some tricks!

Don’t have a sled? No problem! Grab some cafeteria trays, a large slab of cardboard, some vinyl cushions…pretty much any thing that’ll hold your weight and slide down the hill smoothly. But, be prepared! Some of these DIY sleds may be a bit faster than your average sled…

9) go skiing or snowboarding

Whether you’re a pro or a beginner, these winter activities will show off your adventurous side. If you’re both beginners it’ll be a fun experience learning together. Both experts? Well then show off your skills!

If one of you is more experienced than the other, you’ll have a great time learning and/or teaching your date how to be a pro! Whatever to case, you’re set up for a great winter date.

10) head to trivia night at the bar

This is another idea I haven’t tried myself, yet. But it seems like a super fun time. Head out to a trivia night at a local bar. Grab some beers, some appetizers test out your trivia skills.

If it’s a first date you’re planning, the trivia night will give you both some interesting topics to chat about. Plus, if your team wins, drinks are usually on the house!

What’s your favorite winter date night idea? Share in a comment below!

7 treatments to get your body winter ready

[ 0 ] November 23, 2011

When it comes to my skin, winter is the devil.

The rest of the year I revel in the joy of combination skin – a mixture that brings me about one pimple over those 8 months and requires very little moisturizer to feel great. I’m not going to lie – it’s awesome. But when the leaves start to change color and Mother Nature’s icy claw of dryness known as winter starts to wrap its fingers around me, I’m done for. Goodbye well-behaved softness; hello scratchiness, breakouts and dry winter skin. Winter? My skin hates you.

So like any woman craving rejuvenation and anything that will cure a little SADD, I’ve learned of a few winter health tips that make the winter months a little more bearable. Here are a few of my favorite ideas:

  1. start from the inside. The winter blahs are real and don’t let anyone tell you different. To lift your spirits take a yoga class or two, drink lots of decaf tea and give yourself more time to relax and center yourself. Stress and emotional factors do have an effect on your skin, so slow down and take it easy.
  2. drink plenty of water. This one isn’t necessary a spa treatment – it’s not at all – but, it’s essential to feeling your best and having great-looking skin. In winter, hydration is the key.
  3. moisturize. Like nobody’s business. Dry winter skin not only looks dull, it also hurts. Don’t be afraid to go crazy with the moisturizer once winter comes. Look for one with an oil base rather than water. It leaves a protective barrier over your skin. Shea butter is pretty fantastic.
  4. Don’t forget the sun, son. Just because it’s not 30 in the shade doesn’t mean you’re immune to skin diseases. Always use SPF. It helps to find a moisturizer with an SPF included – two birds one stone.
  5. get clarity on mud wraps. Mud or seaweed wraps are popular during the winter for a number of reasons. First, they help with blood circulation, a big problem when the body temperature drops. Not only that, but they’re said to literally take inches off your body. Not for the long term, but a quick fix to look hot for those holiday parties.
  6. thermal masks. You can get this done at a spa, or even try it yourself at home. It actually heats up for a relaxing experience. And because it’s heated, it’s easier for the nutrients to get into the skin and increase circulation. Vitamin C facials may also give your spirits and your skin a boost.
  7. head to the tropics. If you can get away – do it. Your skin will love the treat of more humid temps and that sun beating down is an instant mood booster. The pina coladas don’t hurt either.

Need to find a spa asap? SpaFinder is a great site that will point you in the direction of the closest spa to your location, and what kinds of treatments are available there. You can even book your appointment right there. Need a deal? No probs. We have a SpaFinder coupon for 10% off $100+. Take that, winter.

How do you keep you skin soft and your sanity saved when winter gusts in?

top Best Buy products to save and geek out on

[ 0 ] November 22, 2011

Geeking out this holiday season is so easy. Especially with the round-up of fabulous deals Best Buy is currently offering.

From HDTV’s to GPS’s there’s enough gadgets to cover every smarty pants on your gift list. Plus a few gadgets you’ll want to pick up for yourself!

Check out some of my top product picks from Best Buy below. Remember to take advantage of free shipping on all orders ’til 12/27!

1) Dynex – 19″ HDTV

Deal: 5% – 20% off select hdtv’s

An HDTV for under $100? Umm…count me in! It may not be the largest gift, or new edition to your home, but this little TV will fill the television void in almost any room. Put it in the kitchen and watch your favorite recipe show while you cook. Bored in the laundry room? Place it over the dryer and watch while you fold. Oh, the possibilities!

2) Monster – Beats by Dr. Dre Beatbox Dock for Apple iPod

Deal: 50% off until 11/26

Impressive bass reproduction and a mini auxiliary input for connecting additional audio devices will get the holiday party started. Bring this to any get-together and have a blast playing DJ for the night.

3) TomTom – GO LIVE 2535M GPS

Deal: 10%-37% off select GPS receivers until 11/26

I’ll admit, I don’t use my GPS as often as I could. Even when I’m lost, I’ll just figure out how to get back on track myself rather than enter in where I’m going. Why? Because I know my GPS will send me to the most traffic-heavy route available. And in a hurry at rush hour, that’s not an option.

This Tom Tom device is something I might actually use. With HD Traffic technology this device provides updates every 2 minutes, so you can avoid possible traffic jams and delays.

Want more? Check out even more fabulous Best Buy offers here.

What tech product is on your holiday wish list this year? Share in a comment!

thanksgiving recipes for guests with dietary restrictions

[ 0 ] November 21, 2011

If the phrase “hosting a Thanksgiving dinner” sends chills down your spine, we don’t blame you. Holiday dinners can really crank your stress meter up to 11, especially if you have guests with certain dietary needs or restrictions you’re not used to.

Not pictured: your frayed nerves.

But there’s no need to panic, because creating a Thanksgiving meal for vegetarians, vegans or any other special group of foodies can be fun and easy. We’ve got a few ideas for yummy main courses, sides, desserts and drinks to get you inspired. Consider it an opportunity to show off your undoubtedly awesome culinary skills in a whole new way:

Vegetarians

Main: Thai Spiced Pumpkin Soup

For the skeptics who don’t think of soup as a main course, you’ve obviously never had a creamy pumpkin soup like this one. Serve with bread, garnish with a few toasted pumpkin seeds and you have yourself quite a filling Fall meal.

Side: Vegetarian Stuffing

Luckily, traditional stuffing is easy to adapt. Most stuffing recipes don’t even call for any meat products! In terms of simple, delicious vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes, it doesn’t get easier than this. Just remember a couple of crucial things: use vegetable stock, not chicken stock and do not stuff it in a turkey!

Vegans

Main: Black Bean and Zucchini Tortilla Casserole

You might find vegans a little daunting to cook for, but they’re not nearly as picky as you might think. And it’d be hard to find anything wrong with this super delicious and healthy casserole recipe. For the corn tortillas, you can either grab them from your nearest health food store or make your own.

Side: High Protein Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Much like vegetarian stuffing, adapting garlic mashed potatoes for vegans is as effortless as a couple of ingredient swaps. Be sure to substitute dairy products for their vegan alternatives, such as unsweetened rice or almond milk instead of cow or goat milk.

Gluten Intolerance

Main: Mom’s Gluten-Free Roast Turkey

Ready for the big one? Roasting a succulent turkey isn’t quite as easy as whipping up a batch of mashed potatoes, but preparing a bird for those with gluten intolerance is a piece of cake. It’s just a simple matter of leaving out ingredients that contain the gluten protein. This delicious recipe replaces breadcrumb stuffing (which is heavy with gluten) with simple vegetables, salt and pepper.

Dessert: Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cupcakes

It’s not Thanksgiving without some sort of pumpkin treat, right? For a little twist, try this drool-worthy gluten-free cupcake recipe. Just remember when you’re in the grocery store to buy pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling. Puree is nothing but pumpkin, while the pie filling has all sorts of unnecessary additives.

Non-Drinkers

Not everyone partakes in a holiday nip, so be mindful of your guests’ drink preferences. Sparkling fruit juices, non-alcoholic egg nog and club soda are all must-haves for your kitchen. Here are some fun non-alcoholic drink and cocktail ideas:

  • Sparkling apple cider with ginger syrup
  • Pomegranate juice & non-alcoholic champagne
  • Cranberry juice & club soda
  • Apple juice, ginger ale & juice from a pumpkin (great for Harry Potter fans)
  • Hot apple cider garnished with a cinnamon stick

See? Cooking outside your comfort zone on Thanksgiving might seem difficult, but it’s only a matter of being resourceful and creative. Have fun!

Do you have any special holiday or Thanksgiving recipes for people with dietary restrictions? Share with us!

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