Saving Money on Holiday Gift Shopping

Choosing a gift for someone you love or respect seems to be a very easy task. Once the holiday season commence, many of us will be on the move in quest of suitable gifts. It depends on the person for whom the gift is intended. Perhaps it is for a baby or an adult. It may be for someone in the family or for a friend. The recipient may be young or old; male or female. Sometimes it will be difficult to take a decision as to what should be the gift. Budget also is to be taken into consideration, while choosing the gift. It should be age appropriate and sex appropriate one. No doubt, the task is not very easy as we think. At times it will turn up to be an ordeal.

As there is no other alternative, the gift shopper has to indulge in shop hopping. The crowd of shoppers, who throng the gift shops, malls or departmental stores during holidays, will be beyond speculation. The streets in the busy shopping districts can never be empty. Driving through the crowded streets and finding out a convenient parking space are not very easy on a holiday. Then comes selecting an ideal one from among the large collection of gift items. Bargaining and settling the bill are also time consuming processes. In the midst of chaos, the shopper will return home with a sense of relief that a difficult task is completed satisfactorily. But the shopper will be compelled to repeat the exercise once again, if something is found defective with the item purchased. The cost of fuel, parking and incidental expenses that incurred in the process will go up to a level much higher that the envisaged budget.

But the whole exercise can be made easier, effortless and hassle free if the holiday shoppers apply their minds in the right perspective. Internet has come to make shopping easier and cheaper. There are many websites which cater the needs of the gift shoppers. Such websites will be well stocked to meet the diverse needs of the people. No need for the shoppers to push themselves through the crowded streets. No more hardships of driving and parking.

It is better to consult friends and neighbours to choose a reliable website. Visit the favourite site and peruse the illustrated catalogues or virtual showcases. The online dealers update their stocks with latest introductions in the market. Whether it is a doll for a baby, an attractive dress for the teenager next door or a cookery book for the old lady, the online dealers can offer them appropriately much to the satisfaction of the shopper.

The gift market today is highly competitive. The online dealers usually quote cheaper rates to gain an edge over others in their endeavour to attract more customers. The shoppers will be able to strike a bargain and can save money while shopping for gifts. The customers can compare the prices while shopping online. A remarkable feature of the online dealers is their return policy. They also offer to arrange for special gift packs and prompt delivery of the gifts.

50+ Fitness and Fat-Burning Foods

This time of year we are hammered extra heavily with advertisements and claims of the best diet plan. How do you choose the real sound and factual information and skip the hype? Bob and Ron are offering up advice that’s scientific-based and free for the taking.

Bob’s Experience:

I often read articles, actually mostly ads for the newest weight loss diet plan that includes the magic formula of fat burning foods. Fat burning foods… are there such things? The storyline for these diet plans always seems to suggest that specific foods will actually trigger some physical reaction in our body, or metabolism that causes the burning of body fat. Well, I’m suspect of these claims.

One of the reasons I’m suspect is that as an adult with a history of childhood obesity, and a lifelong propensity to pack on the pounds, I have tried most all of these fat burning food plans. Remember the grapefruit diet? I did it. That one was in college, and BTW, I HATE grapefruit! Did I lose some weight? Yes I did, for a few days, but the balance of the diet plan was so restrictive that I gave up out of sheer boredom. And frankly, now that I’m 50 plus, I have learned to enjoy an even greater variety of foods and variety is something that I don’t feel I should have to give up.

I’ve also tried other combinations of foods that were all promoted as the sure-fire way to burn extra body fat. I didn’t see results. But I have often wondered about the reverse of the fat burning food premise, meaning are there foods that actually promote more fat storage? I have to think there are such foods; fatty meats come to mind. But what about carbohydrates and sugars, do they promote fat storage? What about protein?

My feeling is that carbohydrates get a bad rap, and over fatty foods have been given a pass by such popular and heavily promoted diet plans as Atkins. Personally, I always have said “carbohydrates are your friend”! Granted I have mixed reasons for this:

1) I truly feel that I have more workout energy if I eat sufficient carbs and

2) I absolutely love pasta. But there are other good sources of carbs that are non-starchy, broccoli for example, and even blueberries, both foods packed with other important nutrients.

Likewise there are alternative sources of protein beyond fatty meats that contain healthy fat sources, like nuts, egg white omelets, fat free organic milk and others. And don’t forget that our bodies do need some fat in the diet; just choose the healthy fat sources like olive oil, avocado and almonds, etc.

And as for foods that promote fat storage (or are more prone to pack on the pounds), the guy with the expertise in this area is our friend Ron the Trainer. Listen to what he has to say and then refer to our jointly compiled list of favorite foods for staying lean (or reducing body fat) and building and maintaining your muscle.

Ron’s Expertise:

I constantly hear people say that now that they are getting “older” they find it harder to lose weight or maintain the body weight they desire. Unfortunately, many people 50 plus will throw in their age as the reason their body weight isn’t where it should be. But, I suspect that IF they hear all of the good advice on weight control AND really, really, really take a hard look at their lifestyle, age isn’t the factor in being overweight.

But most people like, even crave a variety of good foods. And for many fitness enthusiast the idea of good food is very different from the average American who struggles with the bathroom scale. I suspect the average American is overeating and more sedentary than the fitness industry and US Government recommends.

Now, onto “fat-burning” foods… well, these are actually natural foods that are lower in fat and will help to contribute to weight control and, in some cases, help to lower cholesterol. The fitness industry recommends:

Natural starchy carbs and whole grains include:

  • Wheat Bread
  • Brown Rice
  • All Varieties of Beans – except refried!
  • Hot cereals such as oatmeal, cream of rice, and others which contain barley, rye or oats
  • Sweet Potatoes and Yams – there is a slight difference
  • White Potatoes – just not French fries!
  • Wheat Pasta

Best vegetable choices are:

  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Cucumbers
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Peppers – all colors
  • Spinach
  • Salad greens
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini

Lean protein selections:

  • Buffalo
  • Egg Whites (the yolks in eggs are where fat is found)
  • Whey Protein (protein powder supplements)
  • Skinless White Chicken (especially breast meat)
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Lean Ground Turkey
  • Turkey Breast
  • Top Round Steak
  • Flank Steak

Best Fruit Choices:

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes
  • Oranges
  • Grapefruit
  • Peaches
  • Pineapple
  • Strawberries

Of course, all of these great food choices are of no value if you prepare them poorly. I interjected a couple of choice “not” directives, but making good food choices and preparing them well (fruit and vegetables in their natural, uncooked state is best) makes all the difference between struggling with the bathroom scale and succeeding. Meat, poultry and fish should be baked, broiled, etc. to bring out the most flavor and be healthiest.

When choosing healthy, non-processed foods, be sure to include those with the healthy fats included, such as almonds, avocados, extra virgin olive oil, flaxseeds, flaxseed oil supplement, walnuts.

Some of the best advice ever regarding food choices is to limit your grocery shopping to the perimeters of the grocery store – fresh, produce, dairy, meats. The lists here may seem as though you are being limited in your choices but really, when eating fresh and healthy, you don’t have to eat the same things over and over.

So, 50+ or not, don’t throw in the towel when it comes to weight control but also be wary of amazing fat-burning food claims. Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels – so, stay focused on your weight goals, monitor food choices and portions for your 50+/+Fit Quality of LifeStyle!

Fashion Scrapbooking

Another way to become a fashion authority is to suggest looks. Start to collect pictures from fashion magazines with the latest wearable looks. Keep a scrapbook for yourself and/or for your customers which shows what is hot on the runways. Then look at your jewelry and pair them with some of the outfits. Literally, take the magazine photographs and place one or two pieces of your jewelry on top of them to show a complete “look”, as if you were actually accessorizing the models behind the scenes.

When your customers come to you to buy something, show them what is in fashion – and see if you can suggest an outfit for them to wear. You don’t have to suggest they go out and spend thousands of dollars on high-fashion couture. The secret to being truly in style is not about how much money you spend. It is about how you can adapt the looks and make them work for you.

With a little research, your customers can find fabulous, trendy clothes at a fraction of the price and look like a million dollars. Find out the best places in your area, such as the neighborhood vintage clothing stores, and keep a list handy, so you can give them out to your customers. Ask them to actually bring in a couple of their own outfits to your store that they were thinking of wearing.

Suggest new ways of putting them together, if necessary; for instance a pair of wide-leg trousers (very hot right now!) with a tank top and multiple over-sized bracelets. Pair outfits up with your own jewelry.

You will eventually become a source of information and style for your customers which cannot help but result in increased sales. They will look to you for fashion inspiration and authority – again building a stronger relationship with that customer going forward.

Women’s Clothing: Styles and Trends for Everyday Life

Year in and year out, women depend on fashion trends to help them decide which items they should keep in their wardrobes, which ones to give away and which ones to add to their collection. This is not an easy thing to do as there are some clothes meant for specific seasons. Therefore, it is important to choose those that can be worn anytime of the year, any day of the week.

Styles and Trends

Here are examples of styles and trends in women’s fashion designed for your everyday wear:

1. Floral wardrobe

There’s something about flowers that make women look and feel good. They’re like the perfect symbol for happiness, and everything sunny and bright.

A floral outfit is not only for the summer or spring season; it can also be worn on gloomy winter days. The colors will add life to an ordinary bleak day. Pairing off a wintry sweater with floral pants and a pair of sturdy boots is one good idea. A long floral skirt paired with any bright colored top and chic winter boots will be good for any woman’s daily grind, whether she stays inside the office the whole day or do some errands for the boss.

Florals are associated with spring, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be worn any day of the year. All it takes is a little imagination and some creative matching.

2. Short suits

A short suit is basically a tailored blazer paired with matching shorts. It’s classic, cool and comfortable. It can be worn anywhere, any day of the week. A pair of printed shorts can be worn with a solid blazer or one can choose to go with a plain silk top. Printed blazers and tops can be worn casually, over jeans, short skirts or plain trousers.

3. Lace

Whether it is the simple white lace or the more intricate colored and black ones, adding this to a woman’s everyday wardrobe will make a big (and important) difference. An ordinary blouse can become an extraordinary fashion affair once paired with a laced skirt. Add in plain tights and boots, and you have the perfect everyday look.

This fashion can be rocked in the office (paired off with a blazer for a more corporate look, or as is for a smart casual look), to dinners with friends or a special someone and even to the moviehouse or a concert.

4. Emerald Green

Anything that’s emerald green is fashionable, especially for redheads. The 2013 color of the year can be a stunning fashion accessory. An emerald green silk top, blazer or one-piece dress will definitely get heads turning – especially if paired with the right accessories (bags, jewelry, shoes).

Emerald green is also good for striped dresses, pants and women’s suits.

5. The Black Bootie

The black bootie can be worn any which way you want to:

• It can be paired with a black hooded jacket, Jersey t-shirt and a wool mini skirt. This cool look is perfect for everyday wear. If the weather’s too cold, the jacket will warm you. If it’s a little hot, simply remove the jacket and let your Jersey t-shirt do the fashion talk.

• As an everyday winter wear, the black bootie can be paired with a double breasted coat, sweater, tube scarf and leather mini skirt.

There are many more fashionable ways to wear the black bootie. It’s up to you what kind of look you want to create. You can go with leather pants, trousers, fur jackets or jeans. You can experiment with colors, too, as black is basically perfect for any shade.

These are just some examples of everyday styles and fashion for women. As fashion is ever changing, something new is bound to come out in a couple of months. Whether you decide to stick with these styles or go with the new, the outcome will depend on your confidence level and how you wear what you wear.