Category Archives: General

Customized Weddings Show Off Your Style

Many brides dream about their wedding day and plan everything down to the last detail. Weddings have become customized and personal, meaning a bride can create her day to be exactly what she wants, whether it’s a simple and intimate affair on a beach in Jamaica or a festive fete for five hundred at a luxury hotel. More and more often brides are putting tradition on the back burner in favor of showing off their own style.

Brides no longer have to choose a traditional long, white gown for their nuptials. Many designers now offer wedding gowns in colors like red, aqua, brown and even black. Appropriate length isn’t an issue any longer either with hemlines varying from short and flirty to trains that would give Princess Diana’s gown a run for its money. Even wedding bands are available in a wide variety of metals – from tungsten carbide rings to spendy platinum – to suit every taste and style.

When I got married, my husband chose a diamond ring with a platinum setting from our local jeweler. With the World Wide Web, now a bride can choose from a plethora of wedding rings and wedding band sets. Did you know that you could get rings made of copper or palladium?  I didn’t even know what palladium was. Tradition also used to dictate that couples would have a matching set of wedding bands, which is no longer the case. Brides can customize their own wedding band and get something completely different for their hubby. So, it’s now up to each couple whether they want one tungsten ring or a set of tungsten wedding rings.

Wedding favors are a favorite way to customize a wedding and couples can give their guests anything from cute little flower pots with seeds to monogrammed mini-gumball machines. These tiny tokens of appreciation give the bride and groom a chance to not only say thank you to their guests but also show off their personality. Jordan almonds wrapped in tulle are no longer the norm.

Even though weddings have become highly customized the heart of the ceremony remains the same. Whether you’re married in a long white gown in a church or if you are united with copper wedding bands, in a white mini-skirt on a desert island, it’s about two lives becoming one and sharing the joy with those closest to you.

LivingSocial: $15 for $30 Toward a Care Package or Other Efforts for US Troops

What a better way to honor our troops than to send them a care package. Pay just $15 and the USO will provide a deployment care package valued at $30 or put your donation toward other efforts for our men and women of the armed forces, and send you a United States flag. Filled with items like snacks, toiletries, and phone cards, each care package not only provides troops with a reminder of home, but helps those serving a world away reconnect with their loved ones at home.

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Please visit the deal page for further information.

My Husband’s Ridiculous Christmas Wishlist

Do you find it hard to buy gifts for your spouse?  Trying to come up with the perfect gift for my husband is a real challenge.  If it’s something simple, he’s probably already bought it for himself.  When I ask him what he wants, he gives me a list of things that I have no idea how to shop for.  Parts for car and computer projects I don’t understand, obscure albums that are no longer in print, you get the idea.

We were recently at Disneyland when he decided that it would be a fabulous idea to put a Monorail horn on his car.  “How cool would that be if your car sounded like the Monorail?!”  Can you imagine?  I don’t want to be liable for the traffic accident that’s bound to cause.  I was sure that it wasn’t even possible so I just laughed it off.  Later at home, he started to do some research.  A quick  search found him a forum where people were discussing putting train horns on their trucks.  Sometimes I hate the internet.  Leave it to Google to help my husband find train horns for trucks which of course only encouraged him further.  Apparently it might not fit on his car, but it’ll fit on the minivan no problem.  My minivan??  “You’re the one who loves shopping online so much. If you can get Train Horns Delivered to your door, surely you can get a Monorail horn, right?”
Sigh.
Now not only do I have to come up with a great Christmas gift idea, it has to be something so fabulous that he’ll forget all about this ridiculous Monorail horn business.  Until the next time we go to Disneyland anyway.

 

Even I Won’t Buy That Online

If you had told me ten years ago that someday I’d be buying everything from diapers to cereal online, I never would have believed you.  Yet here I am not only buying those things, but running a website dedicated to online shopping deals.  Go figure.  The list gets shorter and shorter, but there are still some things that even I won’t buy online.

I wish I could buy all my groceries online, but it’s cost prohibitive.   I ordered from Vons for home delivery when I was eight months pregnant with twins and confined to the couch, but for every day shopping they just don’t have the variety I need at a competitive price.  I keep hoping Amazon will expand their Amazon Fresh delivery area.

Over the summer we bought a minivan (and surprisingly, hell didn’t freeze over).  I can’t imagine buying a car online sight unseen.  Once we decided to do the sensible thing and buy used, I did a lot of online research to figure out which model we wanted.  Once we settled on a Sienna, I scoured the different dealer websites and Craigslist to find Siennas in the price range we wanted with the features we were looking for.   This saved us so much time as we didn’t have to lug the kids around to every CarMax, Jeep dealer and Dodge dealer in the hopes that they had a Sienna.  Buying used is a much different experience than buying new, it’s not as simple as heading straight for the Toyota dealership.  You never know where the perfect car is going to turn up.

Clothing and shoes used to be on my list of internet shopping no-nos, but now that so many sites are offering free shipping and free return shipping?  I’m all over it.  Besides, have you ever tried to shop for cute flats with a toddler in tow?  How about two toddlers?  Yikes.

What things will you not buy online?

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Blogging Plug-Ins and Other Online Tools

I’m somewhat new to blogging and still learning the ins and outs of how to do things. I recently had to learn about permalinks, how they work, how to change them and what happens if you don’t get them right. I like learning new things but I really don’t know how to do any programing. Thankfully there are plug-ins and computer programs to add features to blogs easily and quickly.

Here at Shopping In Your PJ’s we use WordPress, one of the most popular blogging platforms out there. One of the best things about using WordPress is all the different themes that are out there to use on your own blog. With WordPress themes you can create stylish pages for your blog that look flowery, professional or artsy. Lots of themes are free and very easy to install, allowing blogging noobs like me to have a clean, put-together blog without the hassle of trying to create something on my own.

Forms have many uses on blogs. When you need people to register, gather contact information or take a survey it’s a form you need to do it. Using form builders to create HTML forms is an essential tool bloggers need to get the most out of their site. For example, we currently have a subscriber giveaway and we use a form to gather a visitor’s email addresses and automatically enter them into the contest and add them to our mailing list. I would have  no idea how to create a form on my own so I’m glad there are plug-ins and online form builder resources out there I can take advantage of.

If you are truly a do-it-yourselfer and want to learn how to create your own themes, plug-ins and forms for WordPress there are lots of books on the market that will help you accomplish just that. For newbies like me I’d probably have to start with Blogging for Dummies or perhaps The Idiot’s Guide to Blogging.

Are you a blogger? Do you like to use plug-ins and online tools to design the look and functionality of your blog or are you able to program everything on your own? Let us know by leaving a comment. We are always interested in hearing what our readers are interested in and what tools they like to use for their blogs.

Scrapbooking In The Digital Age

As I told you in a previous post I love to scrapbook. It’s a favorite hobby of mine that I picked up years ago. There’s nothing more gratifying than getting my Michael’s coupon and heading over to the craft store to stock up on stickers, brads, die cuts, pens and pretty papers. I’m old fashioned, apparently. The latest thing is digital scrapbooking which I have not given a proper go. Some people swear it’s the wave of the future if you want to preserve your memories, so I took a moment to gather a little more information.

It seems there are a lot of computer programs out there that do all kinds of layouts and have hundreds of clip art images. All of them look like they would be a lot of fun to play around with and explore. Most also look like they try to make digital scrapbooking foolproof – something I thank them for heartily. There are themes to help novices like me put together a baby book or vacation memory in no time flat. Premade templates mean I can  do a layout in minutes rather than me trying to design a photo layout from scratch.

Another great feature these digital scrapbooking programs offer is either printing your page out at home or by using a PDF converter that allows you to print to PDF and place your creation on the Web or send it in an email to family and friends. I have to admit, this is something that old-school scrapbooks can’t compete with. You have to share them in person or mail them to your friends and family. With a PDF you can send it to anyone you like in an instant.

Despite the ease-of-use and instant access these new programs have I still think I like creating a scrapbook the old fashioned way. There’s something about taking the time to feel the paper in your hands, hear the slice of the paper cutter and snip snip snip of crinkle-cut craft scissors that allows me to relax. It’s also time I get to spend away from my computer screen for a much needed creative break.

Do you create scrapbooks digitally? If so, let us know by leaving a comment. We love hearing from you!

My Love For Scrapbooking

I love to create scrapbooks and I wish I had the space in my home to create a room just for scrapping, full of gel pens, acid-free stickers, and big file drawers and bins for 12 x 12 colored cardstock. I got into scrapping several years ago when my friend took me to a scrap party and I purchased my little “starter kit.” I created a little 8 1/2 x 11 post-bound book dedicated to a recent trip to Disney World. It wasn’t the best scrapbook ever made but it was my little masterpiece.

Since then I’ve created scrapbooks with different themes – another Disney, one that chronicles an entire year of my life, etc. Over time I’ve discovered that I prefer the large 12 x 12 strap scrapbooks to others since they can hold a volume of pages and I don’t have to purchase those little post-extenders. I have also accumulated a lot of cool and cute Mrs. Grossman’s stickers, Uchida pens, and Jolee’s die cuts – so many that it began to take over the little scrapbook carrying case I had originally started out with. When I decided to upgrade I purchased a large rolling file case that holds lots of embellishments, pens, glue, Fiskars craft scissors and large file folders. Since everything was now portable it was really easy to share files of papers and other supplies with my friends when I went to scrap parties. I also like to create scrapbooks both big and small for friends and family, however, when I want to send big files of 12 x 12 paper to Aunt Betty back in New York it can be difficult to find envelopes and it can cost a pretty penny. I don’t really mind the cost, though, because memories preserved in a scrapbook are priceless.

I haven’t had a lot of time to scrapbook since my son was born but I  do hope one day to get back into the swing of things. I look forward to the day I’ll get to take a few hours off in the afternoon, once again open a blank book, and use up all those cute Jolee’s die cuts and Me and My Big Ideas stickers that are patiently waiting in my case.

Do you like to scrapbook? If so, let us know by leaving a comment! We’d love to hear from you.

Why I’m Glad I’m Just the Shopper

It’s 9pm, the kids are finally bathed and in bed, laundry started and I just realized I’m going to run out of diapers soon.  You better believe I’m going to have a party when the last of my three is potty trained!  With my first son, I tried my best to find diaper sales, clipped coupons and ran around to the different stores to get the deal.  Then my twins came along and I didn’t have time for all of that, so Costco became my go-to diaper shopping destination.  Eventually I discovered that I could buy diapers on Amazon, often cheaper than Costco and they’d just show up at more door with no more effort than a few clicks of a mouse.   It’s just so easy from a shopper’s perspective.

On the flip side, I bet things are a bit more complicated at Amazon.  Even in the early days when they were simply an online bookstore, think of everything that goes into running an online business.  Thousands of employees doing everything from sourcing products to data entry, web traffic analysis to packing products for shipping.  Undoubtedly there is a lot of technology being employed there too, they must use some sort of marketing automation to send me those e-mails that always seem to know exactly what I want to buy.  Being that they carry pretty much every product from A to Z these days they must have some good content management software – can you imagine trying to manage a database of that size?   I wonder if their own programmers and special software written just for them or if they contract with a company like Omniture.

How did I get here from diapers?  I can’t even wrap my head around everything involved in running a company of that size.  Let’s be honest, most days it’s all I can do to keep three kids content.  I’m just glad that someone has it figured out, because they just saved me another trip to Costco!

Wedding Planning In Your PJs

Engagement Ring from Since1910.com

A few months back I purchased a great Groupon deal for photo scanning.  I’ve been sorting through all of my old photos to send in and came across some candid shots from my wedding.  It got me thinking – things have changed a lot since then.  If I was planning a wedding now, I bet I would have done so much more of the legwork online.   So many couples these days meet over the internet, plan their dates via e-mail and Facebook, at restaurants they find via Yelp.  Seems only logical that when the time comes, they turn to the computer to look for diamond engagement rings.

That’s something else that has changed – seems a lot of couples these days shop together for engagement rings.  My husband picked mine out all on his own and he did well – I love my ring.  Didn’t stop me from getting sidetracked this morning ooh-ing and aah-ing at the pretty rings at Since1910.com.

If I had it to do over again, I think I’d use Amazon’s Universal Wishlist for a wedding registry.  That sure would have saved me a lot of running around, though I must admit I kind of liked walking through Macy’s and Target scanning anything and everything with those nifty little scanner guns.

I think they only thing I really did for my wedding online was make travel arrangements for our honeymoon.  Seeing some of these Groupon and LivingSocial travel deals lately I’m thinking we could probably have done more for less if we were planning it now.   Yes, I think planning a wedding now would be a lot different than it was back then.

Did you shop for or plan your wedding online?