Blog Posts by The Succulent Wife

  • Groupon for Non-Profits

    We all have heard of sites like Groupon , LivingSocial and the myriad of similar deal-of-the-day shopping sites, but have you heard of Philanthroper ? Instead of selling you a deal, they share with you a new non-profit organization everyday. If you like the "deal", simply donate $1.00. That's right and you can, in fact, only donate $1.00. Their feeling is that if you only spend $1.00 today you will come back tomorrow and do the same for another non-profit organization. Philanthroper takes no percentage of the sales (that is why you see advertisement space on their site), leaving your whole dollar to go directly to the organization. Plus, they pay the featured organizations within a week.

    Philanthroper is always looking for non profit organizations to feature. If you know of an exceptional group that is doing good, especially one that is new and growing, then email them here When they identify a group that interests them, they look at the individual business

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  • User post: Save Your Shoes

    Among many other things, this economy has thought us about buying quality over quantity. Buying things that will last past the trends and fads and that will endure triumphantly over the wear-and-tear. This is what French women have always done with their fashion and accessories choices. Their expensive but few yearly purchases are considered investments pieces: the classic designer handbag, the impeccably cut jacket and the shoes. Ah, the shoes…

    If you have invested in a new pair of designer shoes, you will want to treat them well so that you have them for years to come. Here are some accessories that can help save your designer heels:

    save Your SoleSave Your Sole - Most designer shoes are made with a delicate sole. The recommended practice to keep designer shoes looking as good as when they were first bought is to re-sole them even before they are ever worn. Save Your Sole are soles made specifically for designer shoes to NOT change the structure of the shoes. They are available in a

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  • Our Picks For the Oscars - And We Don't Mean Who Will Win

    In honor of the upcoming Academy Awards ceremony, we thought we'd ask some of our favorite contributors to try their hand at styling their favorite nominated actress. They each created their looks on either or . Who needs an overpaid Hollywood stylist when these succulent hausfraus provide these services at no cost?

    Audrey van Petegem for Amy Adams: I am not sure if Amy Adams will win the Oscar (although she should) this year for her role in "The Fighter" but if she takes my advice she will be a winner on the red carpet (next year Amy, call me). I love the subtle style of the dress with the brightness of orange lips, earrings and clutch. With Amy's auburn hair in an up-do she will shine, because we know, it is all about the accessories. Aiden Mattox ivory chiffon beaded strapless gown, Giuseppe Zanotti sandals, Joan Shepp Petal clutch.

    Oscars 2011 Amy Adams


    Alex Purnell for Michelle Williams: Michelle is the hip ingenue. Her short 'do reminds me of Mia Farrow, so I choose a mini with a 60′s feel yet with an ethereal quality. Her red shoes give it an edge. Dress by Hoss Intropia, clutch by Roberto Torretta, heels by Lanvin for H&M.

    Oscars 2011 Michelle Williams


    Natalie Greggain for Natalie Portman: I decided to dress Natalie P. with a sexy yet simple outfit. She's never been much of a show-off and the neutrals in this outfit will allow her natural beauty to carry the look. The gown provides room for her pregnant belly so she'll be comfortable, but the cross front accent shows the perfect amount of skin to allow her to feel sexy

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  • Know Where You Came From - The Genographic Project

    genographic project logoNational Geographic and IBM joined forces in a global research project to chart the migratory history of us humans. The purpose of the project is to gather DNA from people around the world (like you and me) to study how our ancient ancestors migrated to where we are today. How cool is that!

    I bought the Genographic Project Participation Kit years ago for my husband, Scott, for his birthday and was glad to recently learn that their study is ongoing. When Scott received the package, he simply swabbed the inside of his cheek and returned the DNA specimen in the prepaid envelope. After his DNA was studied by a team of renowned international scientists and IBM researchers, he received a world map charting his paternal family's migration to Canada. In his case, his family originated in the northern part of Africa and migrated to the British Isles before immigrating to Canada.

    genographic project

    This Project has shown, with all that have participated thus far, that all humans today descend from

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  • The Fitbug - Motivation in my Pocket

    I do enjoy my workouts… the second they are over. Granted, there is a definite sense of pride and "I did good for my body today" feeling that follows a good workout. But somehow, that sense of achievement holds no reserve to motivate me for any subsequent workout. I'm on my own. Left to my own device, I would probably never exercise. And really, I only workout because I have to. I wish that I were one of those that could get lost in the endorphin rush, able to move past the pain. But no such luck. My neurotransmitters just ask me, Is this over yet?

    We are all aware that, as we get older, we tend to get more sedentary and thus need to exercise more. And, with my current lifestyle of sitting at a computer 10+ hours a day, it's not by getting coffee refills that I'll fit in those 10,000 steps a day .

    Which is why I was so excited to get my Fitbit about 8 months ago. The Fitbit is a sleek lil' fitness and sleep tracking device that monitors daily physical activity via steps taken, distance traveled and sleep quality. I loved the concept of having a device that would keep me attuned to my actual level of activity. Some concrete measurement - besides a scale - to will remind me that I need to get off… my chair.

    Fitbug I enjoyed the Fitbit tremendously, but lost it within a few weeks. It just fell off and I was crushed when I couldn't find it. I was pondering the idea of getting a replacement when I ran into a new friend who works for Fitbug and lent me a unit to try.

    I love it. And though there are many similarities between the Fitbit and the Fitbug units, but the 'Bug (we like to call it that for short) is also very different:

    • First off, though the Bug's design is not quite as sleek as the Fitbit's, the large display screen shows 8 days of progress and all the details of activity. Even has the time and an alarm (you know, to remind you to hit the pavement). And Bug does have three different form of attachments to ensure that the unit WILL stay attached. I still have it!
    • The Bug is a very accurate device. It is calibrated to one's stride and weight for a personalized reading. Through an algorithm, it differentiates walking from aerobic activity and measures caloric burn and distance accordingly.
    • The Bug presents itself as a software program first, and a device, second. Which is why
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  • Virtuous Lip Gloss - Positive Words for the Lips

    I could certainly relate to Sara Buntrock as she talked about her tween daughter when I met her this last January at a gift show. Being a mother of a tween myself (any child between the age of 7 to 12 is considered one), I know that they start having very mature tastes at a very early age (thank you Hanna Montana/Miley Cyrus and iCarly/Miranda Cosgrove).

    Make-up is definitely one area that young girls love to explore. Although I do not encourage my young daughters to wear makeup, I feel that a little lip gloss is definitely ok. And, so does Sara and her other mom pals, Amy and Molly, which is exactly why they started a company, called What's Your Virtue? , that sells positive statement lip gloss geared towards tweens and teens (although I like them also).

    What's your virtue It all began when these three friends and their teen/tween daughters went on a mother/daughter shopping trip. When they went into a store to look at the lip gloss selection, they were shocked at the explicit and overtly

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  • User Post: The Girl Store - Buy Her Life Back

    "Experience the sensation of buying a girl… her life back". That's the baiting, provocative but so very clever intro of the Girl Store website, effective at demonstrating how a girl child in India can be "bought back" from the perils of being sold for marriage, sex slavery, labor slavery or terrorism.

    The Girl Store , run by Nanhi Kali , an Indian national girl child sponsorship program, provides girls with academic support to get the girl store Padma them in school and to stop the cycle where girls from impoverished families are often sold into marriage or sex slavery.

    In the store, one is able to sponsor the supplies that allow an underprivileged girl in India to go to school and get an education. I bought Padma, age 7, her set of books and was thrilled to see the site immediately updated with an "off to school" message on her photo. This tiny gesture was such a feel-good.

    You too can make a difference in a girl's life right now by either buying school supplies or by making a $65 donation

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  • Getting to College 101 - Teenagers and Time Well Spent

    By Kristin Thomas, College Consultant & Guest Contributor

    Visions Service Adventures It is no surprise that colleges want to know what your student did with their time while in high school. No, I won't be discussing the pros & cons of the social scene in high school or hours plugged into headphones listening to music or playing computer games. I'm talking about the kinds of things that they will be writing on a resume or on the "activities" section of their application to colleges: extracurriculars, clubs, sports, community service, work. There is no correct list of mandatory activities nor is there a magical formula that will guarantee college admittance. There are however, some ideas that might help you guide your student in deciding how they spend their time.


    When I went through this process myself many decades ago (not to date myself), colleges were telling us it was the "Jack-of- all-trades", the student who had done it all, that they were looking for. Now the emphasis is

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  • Fresh Wave: Clear the Air

    Fresh Wave Crystal GelI am a huge fan of Fresh Wave odor eliminators. Not only are they eco-friendly, but they have no strong perfumes or fragrances to mask odors (which give me a serious headache). They are made of natural ingredients such as lime, pine needles, aniseed, clove, soy and cedar wood. This blend of ingredients, somehow, allows the products to neutralize strong smells without being overbearing in their scent. In fact, you can barely smell Fresh Wave. But work, it does.

    Designed to get rid of strong odors in places like solid waste facilities, rubber manufacturing plants and asphalt factories, I thought, for sure, it would work in my teenage son's room. I used the Odor Neutralizing Crystals to rid Chase's bedroom of those teenage-son smells of dirty clothes, stale food, smelly soccer bags and lord knows what else…

    The crystals, made from biodegradable food-grade polymer, completely dissolveFresh Wave Stinky Dorm Kit when the natural odor ingredients slowly dissipate (about 30 days). The container can then be

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  • DIY on Demand Marketplaces for Designers (and the Rest of Us)

    There was a day when designers, artists and other creatives were limited to the Zazzle and CafePress marketplaces to offer their creations on demand. But today, previously unattainable production processes have now become available for many types of designs. Technology is to thank again for providing multiple online avenues on which the designers can sell a whole new category of goods, such as items made in 2D laser cuts or in 3D manufacturing with materials such as steel, felt, wood, acrylic or fabric.

    With on-demand marketplaces such as Shapeways , Ponoko and Spoonflower , designers can design, manufacture and sell some pretty intricate creations on demand, without mortgaging their homes or wiping out their life savings. And the rest of us can buy these "custom", independently designed goods or, even better, we can get creative ourselves. I'm thinking of things like creating personalized centerpieces and table décor for an important event, wedding or celebration; redecorating the bedroom with a fabric that exists only in my mind; creating a custom trophy for the association awards… Endless possibilities.

    Shapeways custom cufflinksShapeways: allows users to design and print objects using a 3D printing technique which up to now had been prohibitively expensive. But no longer… . Objects can be 3D-printed in silver, glass, plastic, steel and unique composite that allows to print objects in color. This is a great platform for those who design in 3D. No worries for those who don't though. There is a Co-Creator program that will team you up with a designer to bring your project to 3D reality.

    Shapeways also has a marketplace, (though I find it limited and hard to navigate) where one can shop by designer or by category. Jewelry is a popular category though I'd love to see more functional items in the home accessories category.

    Great for custom work, such as creating those custom napkin rings for the upcoming wedding… Or replacing that missing dangle on the antique chandelier. Or that custom pendant to thank the volunteers. Oh, and…

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