Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Romwe Valentine's Day Giveaway

It's almost Valentine's Day, which means it's time for the chocolates and romance. If you're like me, however, almost every holiday is a fashion opportunity. So, what am I going to be doing on Valentine's Day? I'm skipping the cheesy commercialized teddy bears and candy, and celebrating it as a day of love for all. I'll be checking out the latest fashion trends and dress styles, like the web smock dress below.

Romwe will be having a sale on this smock dress starting January 23rd for $16.99. As a bonus, you can also win this dress for free!

Monday, January 20, 2014

New Year, New Me: Music, Singing, and Dancing

I mostly write about fashion, beauty, and health. There is also the occasional post about unique food and beverage brands that I try and like. This post is more personal and may not be of relevance to you since it has to do with my own goals and action plan.

My love of musical instruments
I have always loved music, dance, and art. I grew up in a strict family who blocked every attempt I made to learn music and dance. As a child, I signed up for summer school in order to secretly take music classes. This was back when school districts had money, and summer school was not a punitive measure. I learned how to read music during those two summers, and learned how to play the violin and flute in a brief period of time. Sadly, over time, I forgot what I learned during those summer months.

Why did my family block me from learning music? It was simply based on the fact that I'm a girl. They were a hindrance to every potential creative idea I had or wanted to explore. They did not allow me to take dance lessons, and refused to pay for music lessons because they wanted to spend their money on the "American dream" of owning a home, and to pay for my brothers to have what I could not. They accomplished what they wanted, and I don't hold a grudge against them, but I will never forget the way they treated me, and how well they treated my brothers.

My love of dance
Fast forward 20 years, and here I am. This is the year of action - if not now, when? I grew up listening to hip hop, R&B, jazz, and oldies music. I love rhythm and groove, so at the beginning of the year, I signed up for a hip hop dance class! I'm on my second lesson and it definitely takes me out of my comfort zone, but I'm enjoying every minute of it.

My instructor told me I was a natural! I can only wonder where life would have taken me if my family had recognized potential, and encouraged me to go for my dreams. Who knows? Perhaps I still have time to explore creative avenues!

My love of music and singing
I also decided to get back to my love of music. I enjoy singing, but I'm afraid of being judged for not sounding good enough. I can carry a tune, but when I lived with my parents, my mom made fun of me and told me I sounded like a child when I sang (at 14, I was a child). Needless to say, the environment and people were abusive, and I have moved on from that world.

I'm starting to take voice lessons online. I'm trying out a wonderful new program, which I will be writing about very soon! My next plan of action will be to take piano lessons when I can afford them.

I'm very much excited to work on my vocals, musical abilities, and dancing. Most importantly, I'm glad to finally be improving my confidence that I will succeed in these areas!

I know that there are other girls out there who have had or currently have a similar situation in which they are restricted from accomplishing what they want, simply based on gender. I'm writing this in hopes of empowering other girls and women to go for what you want! Best of all, I feel more empowered than ever to finally take action.

I hope that one day I can encourage and help others accomplish their goals. I don't know how exactly I can do that yet, but I have plans. Once I am done with my vocal lessons, I hope to be more confident, and confident enough to share them with all of you!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Prom Dresses from Dress First

Of all the fashion apparel and accessories I write about, my favorite subject is dresses. I love finding the latest styles of dresses for special occasions, evening dresses, and even for prom. Dresses are fun and they can make a bold statement about your personality, when you find the right fit and style for you.

Prom dress shopping can be time consuming if you don't know where to look and for what type of dress you want. This is why I am always looking for trendy fashion sites online with great deals. There is always a cousin, niece, or friend's daughter who needs to shop for prom dresses. When they come to me for advice on affordable fashion, it's nice to know what I'm talking about before giving out dress recommendations!

Friday, January 17, 2014

No Fail Dinner Ideas Sweepstakes

Here is a great giveaway for Amazon gift cards!

Cozi is giving away $25 Amazon gift cards to help with meal planning! This is a fast and simple giveaway.
What is Cozi? You can find out more about them and what they do through the sweepstakes page below.

To enter:

Go to their sweepstakes page, follow their Pinterest board, and pin or re-pin an image: Cozi Sweepstakes

Be sure to enter your name and email so they can contact you if you are one of the winners. That's it! This giveaway will end in 22 days. Good luck everyone!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Plasma Bike Giveaway for Kids


It's time for a new giveaway, this time for a Plasma Bike for kids ages 18 months and older! So, what exactly is a Plasma Bike? This bike is described as a lightweight, yet durable bike that assists children develop critical skills, such as motor skills or coordination. This bike can hold up to 55 lbs, which is quite impressive given the fact that this bike weighs only 7 lbs!

It's Peachy Keen is hosting this great giveaway along with some impressive bloggers. Do you want to win the Plasma Bike for your child? Then keep reading!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Sverve Turns One Sweepstakes

Don't you love birthday celebrations? Sverve is turning one, and in honor of their first year, they will be giving away five $50 Amazon gift cards!

Five winners will each receive their own $50 gift card. This is one of the easiest to enter giveaways I have seen in quite some time.

How to enter:
- Simply pin or re-pin an image that is inspiring to you
- Include the hashtag: #sverveturns1 in your pin
- Enter your email and pin URL

That's it!

The sweepstake can be found here: Sverve Turns One Sweepstakes

Sverve is a site dedicated to connecting female social media influencers with brands and businesses. They are a great company to work with and their staff are friendly and pleasant when I've needed any assistance. Kudos to a great company and great employees!

Good luck everyone! 

Causora Raising Funds for Charitable Organizations and Giveaway

If you have ever donated to charities, chances are you did not expect or receive a reward in return. I recently came across a company called Causora, which does just that.

How Causora Works:

When you pick a cause and make a donation, you will receive the equivalent value of your donation in Causora credits. For example, if you donate $40, you would receive $40 in credit to spend.
This is a fantastic concept because you are then able to support socially responsible merchants with your Causora credits.

Zipcar, Happy Canyon Vineyard, and Vaute Couture (beauty for vegans!) are just a few companies where you can spend your Causora credits.

What's Next?

Would you like to try Causora and learn more about this great organization?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Little Black Dress from Romwe for Valentine's Day

When people think of Valentine's Day, they think of red; red dresses, red hearts, red heart-shaped candies, and red roses. I'm a little unconventional in that I like wearing black dresses on Valentine's Day. To me, Valentine's Day isn't about the gooey, sappy romance. It's about a day of love, and how you express your love for others.

Speaking of black dresses, Romwe's black dress pictured above will be on sale until 1/16 for $27.99. After that, the price will go back up again.

You can also win this dress! It's easy, just go to their contest page: Romwe Black Dress Giveaway 

Leave a comment - the comment with the most likes will win a dress! That's it!

Good luck and happy shopping!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Tonsil and Sore Throat Health Problems

     Ever since I was a teenager, I have had problems with my sinuses, sore throats, and acid reflux. Thanks to the power of the internet, I searched for every possible cure and home remedy to ease my symptoms. Doctors never took me seriously and always sent me away with advice to buy OTC products. I was fed up with wasting my time and energy to figure out my health problems, so I targeted them one by one on my own.

     Tonsil Problems: Every month for 13 years, I had moderate to severe sore throats. I would get the sudden urge to choke or cough intensely, and out popped tonsil stones (also known as tonsilloliths). It was disgusting, and I tried every trick in the book. Do these sound familiar?
     - Gargle with warm salt water
     - Stop eating dairy products
     - Squeeze out the stones from your tonsils with an object; I would use a tongue cleaner

     My solution? After all else failed, I elected to have my tonsils removed. It took me at least one year to get my doctor to agree for me to see an ENT doctor. The procedure itself was not time consuming, but the post-recovery was horrendous!

     Would I do it again? Probably, and unwillingly so. I vomited continuously after waking up from anesthesia and had to take anti-nausea medication. I felt sick to my stomach everyday. The healing process in my mouth looked, tasted, and felt disgusting. When you look inside your mouth, you will see greenish yellow stuff everywhere. That is the magic of the healing process!

Days 1-7 are spent in recovery mode, with pain on a 1-10 scale (10 being most painful) as:

Day 1: 6, Day 2: 7, Day 3: 8, Day 4: 9
Day 5: 10, Day 6: 10, Day 7: 9

Week two is much better once the spots in your throat are better healed.

Everything I ate and drank hurt so much. On day 7, after having liquids and no solid foods, I was still a bit out of it due to all the medications. I decided to eat a fish taco. It was the most delicious food I had tasted! I also didn't know it was a SPICY fish taco. It burned all the way down, but after that, I started to feel better. 

The recovery varies for everyone. Some people have no problems at all, while others are in miserable pain. Tonsillectomies are riskier for adults than kids, since our tonsils are already developed. 

If you're tired of the constant sore throats, tonsil stones, and halitosis, then I'm sure you are already considering a tonsillectomy. Remember to weigh the risks and benefits, and how much your life will be impacted.

It has been nearly one year since my procedure, and I am thankful I no longer have to deal with tonsil stones. On the down side, my throat is often very dry. If I don't have water every 30 minutes to 1 hour, my throat is parched and feels like a desert. Again, I made that decision and the dry throat can never compare to the severe sore throats or inflamed tonsils I used to feel.

I hope this helps you in your decision to improve your sore throat issues. If you have any questions, leave them below and I will get back to you as soon as possible!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Hip Hop Shop Vintage Fashion Giveaway

Welcome to the Hip Hop Shop's giveaway!

Alright, fashion fans, it's time for another fashion feature. The Hip Hop Shop sells vintage-style clothing for kids and adults. How would you like to win your own vintage dress, or a 7-piece outfit for your child? 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

How to Improve Public Speaking Skills

Public speaking skills affect so many aspects of our life and culture. Throughout school, teachers and professors help to hone our presentation skills. In the workplace, those with effective public speaking skills are more likely to move up the ladder and advance in their careers.

Although effective communication and public speaking take years of practice, try starting small and consistently work on your skills. The key to any success is persistence and consistence. You will notice improvement tenfold in just several months of practice.

If you want to quickly improve your skills, try the following:

Presentation Topic
Pick a subject you are passionate about and create a presentation.
Include the "5 W's" (who, what, when, where, why) of the topic. For example, if you were presenting about dolphins, you could give factual details about them, their history, evolution, and why the topic is important.

If you have a presentation for school, do the same.

Once you have completed your presentation and have your speech ready, it's time to practice. Many people write down their entire speech, while others write key ideas and use them as reference points during their presentation.

Stand in front of the mirror: Practice your speech aloud, and make sure you glance up at timely intervals to make eye contact with the "audience" around the room. Practice the glance to the point where you feel comfortable. The key here is to seamlessly glance at the audience for engagement.

Video Recording
Once you feel comfortable presenting in the mirror, set up a video camera and record your presentation.

Watch yourself and take notes on what you said or did effectively, and what needs improvement. For example, you enunciated clearly, but did not engage with the audience through eye contact.

Record yourself again, this time consciously making an effort to strengthen the areas you need to improve.

You will notice significant improvement by working on these skills. If you cannot accurately gauge yourself in video recordings (as in you think you are the greatest human being alive who has no faults), please ask others to rate your video recording.

I hope these tips help you. This process helped me through college, graduate school, my jobs as Assistant to Coordinator and now to Division Supervisor of a well-known medical school, one with a respected reputation throughout the country, thanks to effective public speaking skills!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Dress Sale from Romwe Fashion

The "experts" always tell you never to buy out of season. As a fashion blogger, I don't believe in that one bit! What are the advantages of buying a coat in the summer, or a dress in the winter? You find great deals on items that would normally be marked up by at least 200%!

Take my word for it, if you see a great deal during an "off season," BUY IT. Of course you can find great deals for buying in-season. I am just advocating that buying dresses in winter has its advantages, one of them being for holidays such as Valentine's Day!

Romwe is having a sale on dresses starting at $9.99. They offer free shipping worldwide on all purchases, which is another great bargain itself.

Want a sneak preview of the dresses that will be on sale? Check it out: Romwe Dress Sale

You don't need a date to feel good on Valentine's Day. You need to go out and have fun however you choose to do so. If you can go out with confidence in a nice dress that you bought for a great deal, you are already worthy of dating. It's only a matter of time before that confidence is noticed!

Happy shopping!

Friday, January 3, 2014

$100 Petco Gift Card Giveaway

Welcome to the Winter Wonderland $100 Petco Gift Card Giveaway!
This event is sponsored by the Intimated and hosted by The Parenting Patch

 Pamper your pets this winter with a $100 gift card to Petco! One (1) lucky reader of The Parenting Patch and Intimated will win a $100 gift card to Petco. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Congratulations to our Romwe Gift Certificate Winners

Congratulations to the following fans for winning the $30 Romwe gift certificate giveaway!

1. Elizabeth Bidgood
2. Shin Rara

Please respond within 48 hours in order to claim your prize. Thank you all for entering and be sure to keep a lookout for the next fashion giveaway!

Feel free to share your winning experience here or on my Facebook page. I would love to hear what you plan to buy with the gift certificates!

If you love these Romwe Fashion giveaways, be sure to follow me on Twitter or like my page on Facebook so you don't miss out!

Also, feel free to check out the current giveaways listed on the right. Thank you for being great fans and for supporting me since the start of my blogging career. I hope to bring more companies to your attention with incredible products to your computer screen in 2014!