Blog Posts by Carolina Buia, Shine staff

  • The "most searched" gifts of the season

    It's always a challenge to find the perfect gift, so today we're revealing what's popular and trending this holiday according to Yahoo search results, so you can learn what's peaking interests across the country and on wish lists everywhere.



    When it comes to toys, it's the "Squinkie" that's topping online searches, and so are those other furry oddities, "Pillow Pets". And don't be surprised to find "Toy Story" toys and "John Deere" toys on wish lists because parents are searching high and low for them on line. We're also fans of Sing-A-Ma-Jigs, Loopz and Paper Jamz. All three of these toys showed up on toy expert's top toys lists this season. And no matter what toys your kids are asking for, they don't need to cost a fortune because Walmart has literally thousands of Toys for Under $10 and 20,000 gifts under $5.

    Next, the pint-sized phenom Justin Bieber showed up on Yahoo's Most Searched Year In Review Top Ten list for 2010. So here's a little Justin for the holidays….the Justin

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  • Last minute gift ideas

    The holiday shopping clock is winding down! So here are some creative last minute, budget friendly gift ideas for everyone on your list.



    Getting something for everyone, sticking to your budget and having fun at the same time can be a challenge so we enlisted the help of Katrina Szish, Lifestyle contributor for Ideeli.com. Katrina helped us track down some of the hottest gifts of the season.

    You can't go wrong with affordable accessories for the friend who loves their gadgets. Texting gloves enhanced with special material at the thumb and index fingertips allow you to use touch-sensitive devices without taking off your gloves. Colorful covers for the nook, ipad and iphone and other devices will keep everything protected in style.

    Give the gift of a cozy movie night with Stylish Sunbeam heated throw blankets. Classic DVD movies and gourmet home made popcorn kits will complete a cozy movie night at home.

    Gifting beauty products can be a challenge unless you opt for ready-to-go Read More »from Last minute gift ideas
  • How to make holiday baked gift "bundles" for less than five dollars each when you shop at Walmart

    The holiday baking aisles are buzzing at Walmart with moms who are "baking" their holiday gifts this year instead of spending money on expensive gifts. We found two moms and asked them to show us how they turn a favorite holiday cookie recipe into "gift bundles" that cost them less than $5 each. Watch this episode and vote in our poll below to tell us which gift idea most inspired you. Happy Baking!



    Mom #1 Jenn Fowler from www.frugalupstate.com baked Pecan Bars and decorated them in a creative way with double tissue paper and holiday cut-outs.

    Mom #2 Tara Kuczykowski from www.dealseekingmom.com baked Citrus Kissed Thumbprint cookies and packaged them in handy coffee cups.

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  • Holiday cookie decorating with Food Network star Melissa d'Arabian

    We all love holiday cookies and in this episode we share creative ways to turn decorating them into a family activity that's unique, memorable and affordable! You can use your own cookie dough recipe or use store bought cookie dough for each of these ideas.



    Your holiday just got sweeter thanks to some creative confections. We're baking, creating and decorating festive sweet treats with Food Network star Melissa d'Arabian, host of Ten Dollar Dinners.

    Gingerbread Cookie Pops - This idea is simple but it makes an impressive display. All you have to do is buy lollipop sticks at your favorite craft store and insert one in each cut-out cookie, then bake, decorate and wrap in clear cellophane and tie them with a beautiful ribbon. You can create a centerpiece out of them as well, simply place several cookie pops in a vase filled with sugar or foam base to keep them in place. This makes a great gift too.

    Cookie Placards - When you have your holiday party it's always fun to use placards

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  • Toys: the 2010 top toy list revealed

    One of the most well known and respected toy experts, Laurie Schact from TheToyInsider.com is featured in this video demonstrating the toys she knows kids will crave this holiday season. We've brought together toys for everyone in the family and at affordable prices.



    Toy Insider's Top Toy List

    #1- Hide-and-Seek JoJo Interactive Bunny actually plays hide and seek. He is for kids ages 18 months +.

    #2- Sing-A-Ma-Jigs will have kids ages 3+ singing and smiling.

    #3- V.Reader animated E-book system brings reading to life for young children (ages 3+) and is also perfect for older kids.

    #4- Furreal Friends GoGo My Walkin' Pup is a great way to get that puppy your child wants. (Ages 4+)

    #5- Loopz is a skill action music memory game. (Ages 7+)

    #6- Spy Net Watch is a cool spy watch that has a real hidden camera and microphone and full color video screen too. (Ages 8+)

    #7- Vectron Wave/ Air Hogs is a remote control flying game without the remote, it actually senses proximity and

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  • New tools to navigate the holiday shopping season

    Check out the latest electronic tools from Walmart to make the most of this holiday shopping season.



    The worlds largest retailer, Walmart has new digital and mobile tools that can help all of us plan our shopping strategy right from home. Starting with Facebook, you can use the social network as a gateway to get access to Walmart's exclusive offers. Go to Facebook.com/Walmart and click on the "like" button, and you'll start receiving custom information and deals exclusive to the Facebook community. You can also access your local Walmart circular right there on the Facebook page (or Walmart.com) and when you do, you get timely information on great low prices right at your fingertips. You can page through all the deals and run your mouse over specific products to get even more valuable information.

    And while your reading the online circular, getting a digital store map is a click away. We all know finding the exact location of specific gift can be a challenge, that's why this is

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  • Thanksgiving tips from moms across the country to help you save money on the year's biggest meal

    Moms from across the country share their tips on how they save money creating a Thanksgiving meal the whole family will remember. (This video contains some content created in association with an advertiser.)



    Renee from cutiebootycakes.com shares her southern style and flair that she brings to her traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Her collard greens side dish is a family favorite and budget-friendly because she finds an inexpensive "bunch" of collard greens will serve 10-12 people. Instead of meat for flavoring she adds heat - fresh jalapeno pepper and crushed red pepper are her secret weapons. She also adds garlic and sometimes chops up some onions to add to the mix too. Saute the collard greens in olive oil with the pepper and garlic for about 10 minutes, adding some organic apple cider vinegar for a little extra flavor. And when the collards have wilted, removed from heat, add a little sea salt and serve!

    Mercedes from commonsensewithmoney.com tells us that Thanksgiving dinner

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  • Famous Haven: Grey's Anatomy star Kim Raver gives InStyle Magazine a look inside her coast to coast homes

    From the East Coast to the West Coast, "Grey's Anatomy" star Kim Raver always has a place to call home. In November's InStyle magazine we get a look inside Kim's bicoastal style.



    The stunning actress divides her time between this cozy Hamptons farmhouse and a sleek bungalow in Los Angeles. Anchoring her 300-year-old Hamptons home is a massive fireplace. The kitchen features "bead board" paneling and inviting wood counters. The upstairs master bedroom has exposed beams, and at the foot of the bed is a dollhouse that once belonged to the actress's grandmother.

    Meanwhile, in Pacific time, Kim's Hollywood hideaway has poured concrete floors, a minimalistic family room filled to capacity with family photos, and a state-of-the-art kitchen. Kim's office is a converted garage, mixing industrial, vintage, and mid-century furnishings.

    To see more of Kim's home, check out the November issue of InStyle magazine.



    RELATED LINKS:

    * Inside More Celebrity Homes


    * Stars Show Off Their Closets

    *

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  • Famous Haven: Inside LL Cool J's home with InStyle magazine

    Hip-Hop legend, fitness fanatic and successful actor, Todd Smith (aka LL Cool J) can do it all. Now InStyle magazine's October issue gives us a unique tour of his New York home.



    The Tudor-style five-bedroom is spacious and comfortable.
    The living room has deep and rich colors everywhere you look. That's if you can take your eyes off the stars abs in a portrait hanging on the wall. LL says he wanted his master bedroom to look like a luxurious presidential suite. The light furniture and glittering accents really give the room life.

    The family's kitchen is large, but warm and cozy at the same time, thanks to the dark kitchen cabinets and earth tones in the counter tops. The gym clearly gets a lot use and so does the family's home theater. A few of the star's prized possessions include his trophies, his antique armor and his fish tank. For a closer look inside LL's world, pick up the October issue of InStyle magazine.

    Related links:

    Inside More Celebrity Homes

    Stars Show Off Their Read More »from Famous Haven: Inside LL Cool J's home with InStyle magazine
  • Do you need to escape? Take a tour of our fall dream home

    I love taking a break from my daily routine with a little escape, and today's "fall dream home" is right up my alley. An opportunity to peek inside a home like this is once in a lifetime. Check out our tour of Rye House in Litchfield, Connecticut. A girl can dream, right?



    From the moment you step into the main foyer with its elaborate hand carved staircase and tiger oak floors, you are transported back in time. The massive stone walls on the interior of this house are reminiscent of a castle. There is so much to soak in you're not sure where to look first.

    From the plaster molded ceilings to the nine carved fireplaces, the craftsmanship is jaw dropping. Built in 1908 by famed Architect Wilson Eyre, this magnificent stucco and stone Tudor style home sits on 210 stunning acres and over the majestic Litchfield Hills, every room has an amazing view and what would this massive property be with out a private pond, a 70 foot pool with Jacuzzi, horse paddocks and trails and tennis court.

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