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5 Ways That Being Eco-Friendly Around the House Can Save You Money *Guest Post*


Being eco-friendly is not just about recycling and toting around reusable grocery bags though these are great, easy ways to be more green. Helping the environment can actually help your wallet as well. With these green actions and adjustments around the house, you can effectively lower your electricity and water bills as well as save on other general expenses.

1. Turn off the lights when you leave the room. Electricity bills are typically one of the highest bills a household gets each month. Turning off the lights when you leave the room as well as turning off any appliances and electronics that are not in use are easy ways to help you conserve energy. Electricity generation is also a big source of pollution because many energy companies still rely on burning coal to provide energy for homes and businesses. By actively making sure that you are not wasting any electricity, you will simultaneously cut down on the amount of pollution created as well as cut down on your electricity bill.

2. Make the switch to CFL bulbs. It is true that CFL bulbs, also known as compact fluorescent lamp bulbs, are more expensive than regular incandescent light bulbs. However, when you factor in how much money you save in the long run with CFL bulbs, you will see that these more eco-friendly bulbs actually pay for themselves with the savings you will incur. CFL bulbs typically last up to 15 times longer than a traditional incandescent bulb, and they also have the capability of putting out the same amount of light as a traditional bulb but while using half the energy. In fact, one CFL bulb can save buyers more than $30 in energy costs in its lifetime. If you replace all of the lights in the house with CFL bulbs and make it a habit to turn off the lights when not in use, you could save hundreds of dollars in electricity costs annually.

3.  Only do laundry when there is a full load. You may be tempted to throw your favorite shirt into the wash by itself when you accidentally get some unsightly stains on it, but consider spot-cleaning it and waiting until you are ready to toss an entire load of laundry into the machine before washing it. A washing machine and dryer use up tremendous amounts of energy, so it is more eco-friendly to maximize the use of these machines by only turning them on when there is a full load to wash. When you do fewer loads of laundry, you will cut down on your water and electricity bills as well as your carbon footprint.

4. Make the switch to low-flow and aerating faucets. Just like the CFL bulbs, the initial purchase cost of a low-flow and aerating faucet would be offset by the savings you would incur with use. These faucet heads pump air into the water coming out of the faucet so that you would still experience plenty of water pressure, but with less water usage. When you consider that a single five-minute shower can use up approximately 40 gallons of water, it is easy to see why using less water for day-to-day activities is crucial. By using low-flow and aerating faucets and showerheads, you can help conserve water as well as reduce your water bill.

5. Replace paper napkins with cloth ones and disposable dishes and silverware with reusable ones. It can be tempting to use paper plates and plastic disposable forks and spoons if you hate doing the dishes, but all of that garbage getting tossed out at the end of each meal is bad for the environment. Paper napkins are ill-advised as well for the same reason. When you switch to cloth napkins and reusable dinnerware, you dramatically reduce the amount of garbage you will produce. Though initially purchasing a good dinner set and napkins would be more expensive than purchasing disposable items, you will also never need to buy these items again, unlike the constant need to refill and replace disposable ones. Coupled with fewer washing machine loads and a low-flow faucet, cleaning your reusable items will also still be environmentally friendly.

This guest post was contributed by Angelita Williams, who writes on the topics of online courses.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id: angelita.williams7

Are eco-friendly or just want to save money?  Do you agree with Angelita’s list or do you have a few suggestions to add to it?  I would love to hear your opinions!

Guest Blogger Review Opportunity



Summer is officially here and in full swing.  That means beautiful tans, bright flip flops, swimsuits, and lightened locks!  To help maintain vibrant hair color throughout the summer Clairol wants to help out.

I’m looking for one Embracing Beauty reader to review your choice of colors in Clairol’s Natural Instincts New Vibrant Collection or Clairol’s traditional demi-permanent (lasts longer than semi-permanent but not as long as permanent) with their New Week 2 Color Refresher.

If selected to participate in the blog tour, you will receive your selected Clairol product and have three weeks to review it before submitting your guest post. To add to the fun be sure to include pictures of the experience and of course before and after shots.

To sign up for this review, please click here.

If you have any questions, please contact me.  Thanks so much, and I look forward to working with one of you on this campaign!

Smart Discounts in San Francisco

Smart Discounts in San Francisco


San Francisco is known the world-over for a unique artistic energy, along with iconic sights like the Golden Gate Bridge and cable cars. It’s not surprising that planning a visit here leaves you with a host of day trip ideas and potentially, a huge bill on your credit card. So it makes sense to check out what discounts are available online and grab yourself a few bargains before you’ve even set off.


A City Pass will almost certainly come in handy for a few days or weeks here, not only for your culture fix at the famous De Young Museum and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, but with family favorites like the Aquarium of the Bay. Pre-bought online passes will also get you discounts on cruise tours and you can get around for free on the city cable cars.


There are a whole range of coupons you can buy to other attractions like Ripley’s Believe it or Not and the Winchester Mystery House. Activities like roller-blading or cycling along the waterfront are great for group visits and cost a lot less if you check your rental options online first.


Eating out in San Francisco is not to be missed and a bit of prior research can save you money on classic American dining, as well as world cuisine in Chinatown and along the Wharf. You can even raise the bar a little and go for a dinner cruise with half-price coupons available on the web. Retail therapy will be much more satisfying with online discounts for everything from sportswear to designer jewelry.


Couponing is becoming a valuable tool in the search for more affordable holidays, and if you’re opting out of restrictive package deals this might be a sound alternative to get the low prices with a bit more flexibility.


Find out more about tickets for the De Young Museum and other attractions before you leave and you’ll enjoy a break that’s both action-packed and cost-effective.


This was a guest post from Sabrina H.  Please contact us if you’re interested in writing a post for us about the best ways to save in your area.

5 Beginner Steps for Reading the Bible



This is a guest post from a new blogging friend of mine and I hope you enjoy it!  If you have any follow-up questions please feel free to contact me.


So there it sits looming in front of you in all its glory and confusion and frustration. It seems an impossible feat to not only read, but actually understand the Bible. Sure it’s intimidating. But it’s also inspiring and filled with hope and love and promise of a future beyond the realm of our mortal minds.


You don’t have to go it alone though. There are a lot of resources to help you along your journey. I’m going to outline five tips to help make Bible study be a little less daunting.


But first, let’s get an understanding of what the Bible is. The Bible is a book that is written to you from God.  There’s the Old Testament which explains the creation of the universe and everything in it, including you and me, God’s law and history. Then there’s the New Testament which discusses in great detail the life of Jesus, His sacrifice and promise to us.


It’s important to understand though that the Bible isn’t one book, but a collection of 66 books that were written by various people {inspired by God} throught various periods in history. It is not arranged in chronological order either, but rather grouped by type of book, such as the gospels, psalms and letters from the apostles. You can see the various types of books that make up the Bible and also get an overview of each book here. Want to dip your toe in a little more? Visit Christianity Today to get a deeper understanding of the messages within each book.


Now for a few tips.


Get an easy-to-understand study Bible. Trying to understand the messages in the Bible is hard enough without trying to decipher an older version of English. There are many, many translations of the Bible and everyone has their opinion of which is best. I prefer the New International Version (NIV) Life Application Study Bible, which is actually the best-selling English version. Not only is it written in more modern English, there are timelines, an introduction to each book, bios of key people and lots and lots of footnotes that explains the verses in a little more depth. You can see a list of more Bible versions here.


Work in small steps. You could start at the beginning and just read cover to cover, and while your head probably won’t explode, this isn’t a great way to fully process and truly appreciate the Bible your first time through. The NIV Study Bible has a 365-day reading plan in the back. It takes you through the Bible in a more chronological order by grouping verses and chapters that pertain to each other and although you won’t go through every single verse in a year, you will get a great overview of the entire Bible.


Start with the New Testament. Written by those who lived alongside Jesus, the New Testament talks about the life and teachings of Jesus, rather than the history of Israel. Don’t get me wrong, the Old Testament is important, but the New Testament is a much easier read.


Find a study partner. If you don’t have a friend or family member who’s willing to study with you, there are plenty of groups online and in your Church where you can bounce ideas off each other, try to make sense of certain sections or just talk about how the Bible translates into this modern world. {Embracing Beauty recommends Good Morning Girls}


There you have it. Four tips that will get you well on your way to studying and actually comprehending the Bible in no time. Remember, it’s a journey and there’s no finish line. Studying the Bible can be a lifelong process that opens you up to a new meanings each time you take on a different journey in your own life. It’s there to uplift you and give you comfort in times of need, give you understanding in times of confusion and hope in times of despair.  God wants a relationship with you, reading His Word is a great way to get to know Him!


PR strategist turned stay-at-home mommy blogger, Momma on the Rocks now spends her days changing diapers, wiping boogies and blogging about motherhood, including recipes for the lazy, money and time-saving ideas, and product and book reviews.  You can find more of her antics on Facebook and Twitter.

New Storybook to Detect Vision Impairments

This is a guest post from my friend, Justin, who told me about a fascinating new book that helps detect vision problems in children.  I asked him to share a little more detail with you all and I’ll now turn the post over to him.  Thank you, Justin!

A new storybook has been developed to provide an early indication for possible visual problems in children.

In order to help their child develop into a happy and healthy adult, parents have a lot of different considerations and choices to make, particularly when it comes to health and education. With experts claiming that 80% of a child’s learning is processed via the visual system, ensuring that a child’s eyes are healthy and that their vision is good is an important aspect of development.

Optical Express have always been firm believers of this concept. As one of the UK’s leading eye care providers, they are often the first point of contact for parents who are concerned about nurturing and monitoring the eyesight of their children.

It’s no wonder then, that when a unique charity initiative aiming to improve the early detection of possible vision issues in children was brought to their attention. Optical Express were delighted about being asked to get involved.

Glasgow Caledonian University’s department of Vision Sciences designed and developed Eye See a Dragon in the Glen. It is a children’s storybook with a difference. As well as being an engaging story about hunting for trolls up in the Highlands, this book also carries out two important visual eye checks during the reading process. These checks include testing visual acuity to find out if both the eyes can see clearly. It also includes a suppression test using 3D glasses to ensure that both the eyes are able to work well together.

John Morgan, Business Development Director at Optical Express, said, “The idea to create a fun and interactive book for children to enjoy that will also help to detect any vision issues early on is a stroke of genius.”

Optical Express have funded a large-scale print run in order to support the aims of this initiative. They have also bought 1,500 copies of the book for distribution to families that cannot afford to buy a copy of this valuable resource for themselves.

Ken Lewandowski, the Scottish Business Challenge, thinks that Eye See a Dragon in the Glen has the possibility of selling well in the future in both the UK and even abroad. He goes on to say: “The funding from Optical Express will ensure that this is only the beginning of the success story for this brilliant book.”

The profits raised from the sale of the book are going to Children 1st. This is a charity in Scotland that helps children have happy and safe childhoods.

10 Tips to Save on Christmas Gifts

10 Tips to Save on Christmas Gifts


This time last year I wrote a guest post for entitled 10 Tips to Save on Christmas Gifts and I believe it was well received.  Lately, I’ve received quite a few emails asking about just that, how to save on Christmas gifts.  I’m hoping to feature several simple, inexpensive, homemade gifts that you can make to give to your friends and family.  Until then though, I’ll direct you to my Pinterest board that features dozens and dozens of crafty DIY gifts from other bloggers and to my post 10 Tips to Save on Christmas Gifts post on


If you have a money-saving tip or an inexpensive gift idea that you would love to share with everyone you please contact me with the details.

Maybe Today

Maybe Today


Maybe today! We all say that a lot. Maybe today I will get that room cleaned out, maybe today I will clean out that closet, or maybe today I will get a plan together to pay off those bills. But more importantly, sometimes we say, “Maybe today I will witness to that person,” “Maybe today I will forgive that person” or “Maybe today I will start my day with Bible reading and prayer.”  But we all know that many times these “days” come and go.


Allow me to remind us of something that may indeed happen today. Maybe today Jesus will come. One day the trumpet will sound, and the dead in Christ will rise first and then we who are alive will be caught up together with the Lord. You will find this in 1 Thessalonians 4. The obvious implications of this are important. We are running out of “days” to do what we know we should do.


Ephesians 5:15-16 says we are to “walk circumspectly not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time because the days are evil.” Live today like it may be “the day” when Jesus keeps this promise and comes to get us. And in the mean time, let us Worship Him, Wait For Him, Witness of Him and Work For Him.


Is He coming? YES, without a doubt. Will it be today? Perhaps! Should I live differently because it could happen today? Absolutely.


This is a guest post compliments of Pastor Skip Furrow.

5 Quick Tips for Getting Your Husband Looking Great

happy urban couple


When there is a rush to get out the door and your husband needs to be looking great, it might be tough to pull him together. However, there are a few quick and painless ways to make sure he looks good. With just a few minutes and perhaps a little preparation, going out can be as easy to him as dressing for yard work.

Keep His Wardrobe Up to Date 

Sometimes it is hard to rush out the door when your husband has nothing to wear. In order to make those rushed evenings easier, make sure his dry cleaning is done well in advance and that his clothes fit him well. Something like a Brooks Brothers suit can make your husband look great just by fitting his form properly.

Beard or No Beard 

Your husband may not have had enough time to shave. In these cases, make a quick decision about his facial hair. Have him do a once over with an electric shaver that leaves a quarter-inch of stubble before dressing instead of having him carefully shave. Many men look dashing with a five o’clock shadow.

Hair Without the Fuss 

Instead of trying to make his hair look perfect and stay put, let his hair look naturally good with a little help. Rub a quarter-sized dollop of gel on your palms and rub it through his hair, letting it stay just a little messy. That slightly messy look can go over well even at fancy dress events, so do not sweat it.

Odds and Ends 

In three minutes, you can pull together all of the little things that will make your husband very attractive for the evening. Run a lint brush over his clothes to make sure he looks sharp and clean. Give him a nice cologne or aftershave. Lastly, if his shoes need a polish and you lack the time for a buffing, just rub a little polish on a washcloth and rub it into his shoes in a circular motion. Take one minute per shoe.


A man does not need accessories to look sharp. Therefore, if your husband is wearing accessories that are inappropriate for the evening, such as a paint smeared work watch, have him go without accessories. If he has the right accessories handy, bring them along in the car. He can get them on in a hurry as you go.

Remember that there are some things that cannot be done in a rush out the door. For example, ironing and washing. Try to make sure these are done ahead of time so your husband only needs a bit of the above to look amazing.

This was a guest post written by my friend Amanda.  I hope you enjoyed it!  What tips do you have for helping your husband look great?

Mommy-to-Be Hospital Packing List and Tips

Hospital Packing List

This is a guest post from my blogging friend, Jamie! Since my baby is coming upon her 1 year birthday I’m looking back at my hospital visit with a lot of fond memories. I’ll interject a few comments of my own in teal throughout her post. If you enjoyed the post or think of another “must have” to add to the list please leave us a comment. I’ll turn it over to Jamie now.

I have a few friends who are about to be new mothers (how exciting!) and some that just became new mothers. I have been asked a few times about the best items to pack for your trip to the hospital and things to do or remember beforehand and after. I love helping new moms so I decided to put this packing list together, along with a few tips for when you bring baby home and before you even leave for the hospital. To print this list off please click on the green “Print Friendly” button beneath this post. I hope you find it helpful. *These statements are my opinions and I am in no way a professional.

Things to do before you leave:

  • Install baby car seat (Weeks before, you’ll think these things were invented by NASA!)
  • Have both you, your partners, and baby’s bags ready to go weeks before!
  • Buy travel size everything if possible
  • Buy extra SD cards, batteries and phone cards. (If applicable)
  • Buy Disposable Cameras
  • Buy Baby Book {Have it open to the foot stamp page so the nurses can quickly do this stamp for you!}
  • Buy Journal (Optional)
  • Buy paper plates, plastic cups, and utensils if you can. You will not feel like dishes when you first come home.
  • Buy extra sheets for bassinet and/or crib (you will thank me later.) {Layer the bed with a waterproof pad, sheet, waterproof pad, sheet, etc. so you can easily peel off dirty layers in the middle of the night}
  • Have care lined up for pets
  • Try to get things organized and tell your husband where everything is for you and baby. You may be sore esp. for c-section moms and will not feel like getting up and searching for things.
  • Have everything in place for baby. {If the rest of your house is a mess, make the baby’s room a place of solitude.  You’ll need all the order you can get in your life.}
  • Have a pediatrician picked if possible and all info ready.
  • Have the house stocked up with groceries. You will not want to have to go grocery shopping with a newborn! {Yes!  Frozen meals are divine!}
  • Have a babysitter or help lined up for the siblings if need be.
  • C-section moms, if you have a high bed, get a step stool. Trust me.

Items to Pack for You and Husband:

  • Camera, batteries/charger, & extra SD card.
  • Camcorder & charger {A cord to connect your camera to share pictures on your laptop}
  • Disposable Camera (Just in case technology isn’t perfect because you don’t want to lose those precious moments.)
  • Cell Phones (For both you and your husband) & chargers.
  • Phone Card (If needed)
  • Lap Top (Optional) and charger
  • List of Important Phone Numbers {Don’t forget to call your photographer.  They like to schedule a newborn shoot before a baby is two weeks old}
  • Things to entertain you and your husband. Books, mags, laptop, etc. (I had 23 hours of labor with my first son, you could be there a while.) {We found iPad games to come in handy during this time}
  • Lip Balm (Your lips can get pretty dry and chapped when your huffing, puffing, and pushing.)
  • Mints or Gum ( Some hospitals will not allow you to eat or drink ESP for C-sections, so this will help curve hunger and keep your mouth moist if they allow it.) {I devoured Jolly Ranchers.  I’ll never eat one again without thinking of my sweet baby!}
  • Pads (LOTS of pads, you will have a pretty decent amount of bleeding after.)
  • GRANNY Panties in a size or two larger than normal. Especially for C-sections, you do not want them rubbing your stitches. Bring EXTRAS.)
  • Comfy BIG Pant (You will hold water for a few days and your tummy will sit different, even the pants you wore when you came in may not fit the same. I recommend big PJ pants with elastic cotton band.)
  • Slippers or Flip Flops. Weather Permitting (Your feet will swell afterward and regular shows won’t feel comfy.)
  • Nursing Pads (Even if you do not breast feed.)
  • A couple change of clothes for you and your husband.
  • All toiletries for you AND you husband (Shampoo & Conditioner, Soap, Toothbrushes, Toothpaste, Deodorant, Brush, Make-up, ect.)
  • Blow Dryer and/or Straightener (Optional)
  • Night Shirt (If you do not want to wear a gown.)
  • Belly Band (Optional)
  • Change for Vending Machine and Money for Cafeteria/Parking
  • ID (Driver License)
  • Insurance Cards
  • Glasses (if needed)
  • Bath Robe (Optional)
  • Your Own Pillow and Blanket (Optional) {I brought my favorite soft throw and it was a comfort to cuddle with}
  • Bathing Suit for Partner (Optional for Water Birth)
  • Note Pad and Pencil {To write down important stuff & sweet memories.}
  • Snacks for your husband and you afterward.
  • Large Envelope or a folder for all the documents the hospital will give you.

If you plan to Breast Feed:

  • Nipple Cream (Just in case.)
  • Breast Pump (You many need it to help you produce and get started. My hospital supplied one.)
  • Nursing Bra
  • Nursing Top (Optional)

If a sibling will be present:

  • Things for them to sleep on
  • Gift
  • Change of clothes
  • Activities to keep busy

For Baby:

  • Diaper Bag
  • Diapers (Hospital may provide SOME. Bring some size 1 ALSO. My boys were big (9lbs.) and did not fit into Newborn!)
  • Wipes
  • Vaseline (For boys being circumcised)
  • Gauze (For boys being circumcised)
  • Going Home Outfit {Make sure it has legs so they’ll fit nicely in the car seat.  I also got one that snapped all the way up so I didn’t have to fit it over her tiny head.}
  • Bottles (If not nursing)
  • Formula (Hospital may provide.)
  • Pacifier or Binky
  • Blanket
  • Sleepers
  • Hats/Beanies
  • Burp Clothes
  • Socks
  • Mittens (Their nails are long when they are born. They will scratch their little faces.)
  • Anything for pictures. (Accessories and such.)
  • Baby Book (For prints and to write things down.)
  • Anything you want their prints on.
  • Car Seat and INSTALLED Base
  • A Preemie Outfit (Optional) (My boys were both 9 lbs. and new born clothes were still to big!)

For Pets:

  • Have someone bring a piece of babies clothing or blanket home before baby to introduce baby’s scent to pets.
  • Have someone let out and take care of pets while you’re away.
  • Have thank you cards and a gift on hand for after you’re back home.

Tips for when you come home:

  • Have everything organized in the baby’s room so you won’t be up in the middle of the night searching for it. Gather and organize diapers, wipes, burp clothes, extra sheets, blankets, diaper rash cream, etc.
  • Sleep when the baby sleeps if you can!
  • Get on a sleep schedule as soon as possible!

Did we leave anything off the list? If you have an questions or comments please leave a comment below!

Jamie is a mother of two boys, ages 1 and 3. She is married to her high school sweetheart. Currently she is a stay at home mom going to school and running the blog Money Saving Mommas and Poppas. Here you will find ways to stay frugal, hot coupons, frugal cleaning tips, DIY projects, giveaways, reviews and more! Everything you need to help you be a frugal Momma or Poppa!

Remember, this while in labor.  The pain you’re feeling can’t compare to the joy that is coming!

Birth Quote

The 5 “S”s to Savings



If you have been thinking about starting you & your family on a shopping budget, then couponing is definitely something you should look into doing. Couponing is a great way to save a few bucks at the grocery store. Just remember, you don’t need to start out buying 30 bottles of mustard, start small, and evaluate your family’s needs. If you’re a beginner couponer, here are some tips you might find helpful:


Search – Where to get my coupons?

Well, this would be the best (and obvious) place to start because without coupons you simply cannot save money on groceries. You should definitely also take advantage of printing coupons off the internet. You are allowed 2 prints per coupon per computer. There are also a few other ways you can get your coupons besides just buying newspapers. Check out Embracing Beauty’s post Where to Find Coupons for more creative ideas.


Sample – Try new things

The one thing I have learned from years of couponing is that you have to be open to trying new brands and products. First off, you will save more money and second, you will open your mind (and tummy) to products you never knew existed. For example, my household were Scott’s snobs (yes I’m talking about TP), until one week my store ran a sale on Marcal (it was during dollar days) so essentially, the Marcal TP was FREE, so I decided to try some, we used it and liked it, we saved a ton of money and tried something new! Now if someone asks if I’m brand loyal, I always say “Yes, to whichever brand is on sale that week!”


Schedule Meals – Plan ahead

Planning your weekly menu, based on the coupons you have, is another great way to maximize your savings. For Example: I purchased Chicken Thighs for $0.69 lb for a 4 lb package (when it was on sale) at that price, I bought 4 packages. Then I cut up some Onions ($1.49 Bag) Carrots ($0.75 Bag) I added some spices and put it in the crock pot. I made enough that I froze the remaining leftover for another day in the week. Total spent making that meal, $5.00!!!



When we are able to purchase products for free or at a very low price we purchase multiple items of it. Sales of products go in cycles. If you’ve got a coupon for basic non-perishable items such as toothpaste, Toilet paper and paper towels, take advantage of them even if you aren’t running low on supplies yet. There’s nothing wrong with stocking up on some items if you know you’ll eventually use them.



Remember that the ultimate goal behind couponing is to save money! Just because there is a coupon, don’t feel obligated to use it. You maximize your savings by pairing up your coupons with your store’s sale cycle. Always remember, if you do overbuy (which I think all of us do when we first start out) it’s OK, you can donate what you will not use before expiration to a charity.


This is a guest post from B and V Savings.  They strive to bring you the very best (and most reliable) coupons, samples and freebies around. Together they have saved their families over $6500.00+ in groceries. Their goal is to spread their knowledge and provide tools to help you save!