All posts by Guest Contributor

This post was authored by a guest contributor.

Freshen Up Your Outdoor Space with Summery Pops of Color

This is a sponsored guest post created in partnership with eAccountable and contains affiliate links. Incentive was provided.

Nine Space decorative pillows

Sometimes changing things up and giving your space a fresh, new look is as easy as adding pops of color.

Spending time entertaining and relaxing in your outdoor space should be a huge part of your summer days and nights, and nothing livens up an outside living space like pillows. Decorative pillows add a fresh level of style and functionality to an outdoor space that isn’t often thought of. You can change the entire look with fun, modern, graphic, bold pillows that also add that touch of flair and comfort. By mixing, matching, and playing with color, you can change the look of your space again and again. You really can’t go wrong — especially once you add family and friends.

Nine Space Solana beach towels

You can also add some beach-inspired towels to help perk up your bathroom or poolside deck or patio. Wrap yourself in luxurious comfort with soft, beautiful, absorbent towels that add subtle nautical flair with stripes in muted colors.

But it’s not just about your outdoor space. A simple, breezy tablecloth with an unexpected dip dye look adds an unexpected splash of whimsy to your dining experience. Casual, yet elegant, this modern tablecloth is perfect whether you’re dining indoors or entertaining alfresco.

These simple, colorful updates from ShopNineSpace.com have a bold impact and give you that fresh, updated, stylish feel that comes with summer.

What are some of your favorite ways to freshen up your outdoor space for summer?

Spend Less Time Standing in Line with These 4 Airport Security Tips

airport
kalleboo/Flickr

It’s a familiar scene: Two lovers cling to each other in a tearful embrace, exchange one last hand-squeeze before one of them picks up a bag and walks… two feet to the airport security line. They then proceed to stand idly for the next 20 minutes while their partner awkwardly looks on and frets about getting home before rush hour.

It’s time to rewrite the script. Skip the drawn-out goodbyes and breeze through security with these four time-saving strategies:

1. Become a Trusted Traveler

Programs like TSA PreCheck, Global Entry, Nexus, and Sentri allow so-called “low-risk” travelers to move through participating airports more efficiently. As part of the pre-screening process, you’ll cough up personal information (and a fee) in advance of flying. Fees range from $55-$122.25 for a five-year membership; if you book flights often, the time savings may be well worth it. Learn more here.

2. Get the App

The TSA has created a helpful (and free!) app that features security wait times, a guide to TSA rules, airport status updates, and instant answers to the question: “Can I bring _____?” It’s available on iPhone and Android. Download it here.

3. Pack and Prep Correctly

Practice the 3-1-1 rule for carry-on liquids. Gels, creams, liquids, etc. must be in 3.4-ounce or less containers; stored in 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic bag; and limited to 1 bag per passenger. Keep the bag near the top of your carry-on so you can easily place it in a screening bin.

  • Leave prohibited items and foods at home (or in your checked luggage) to avoid being detained by security.
  • Pack large electronics (e.g. laptops and video game consoles) near the top of your bag; you’ll need to remove these for separate X-ray screening (unless you have a checkpoint-friendly laptop bag).
  • Dress right. Wear easy-to-remove shoes (when it comes to airport security, velcro is so in). Avoid wearing a belt, heavy coat, or lots of jewelry, since you’ll need to remove these items for screening.
  • When approaching security, have proper identification and your boarding pass in-hand.

4. Pick the Right Line

Before entering security, take a moment to observe which line is moving fastest, then join in. It’s smart to avoid queuing up behind large families, as it’ll take them a while to move the whole clan through security. Instead, get in line behind people who aren’t carrying much luggage and/or have already removed their shoes and coats; this signals they’re ready to cruise on through.

This post was published by Fiona Moriarty on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on June 5, 2015 and has been republished with permission.

Sultry Hair How-To: The Snake Braid

snake braid

Looking for a braided hairstyle that stands out from the crowd, but isn’t a killer to recreate? May be present the ever-so-sultry snake braid. This braid is a great way to change up your braided look and even better, it’s ridiculously easy (and fast!) to do. If you can do a basic three-strand braid, you can master the chic snake braid. Here’s how:

snake braid tutorial

  1. Create a diagonal forward section of hair behind your ear.
  2. Split the section into three equal subsections. Apply a bit of pomade to your hand (about half the size of a dime) and smooth out each section. This will help make a smooth, clean braid. Begin braiding (a basic three-strand braid) this section, keeping medium tension on the braid. You do not want this braid too tight or too loose.
  3. Braid almost all the way down to the ends of your hair, leaving one to two inches left below where you stop the braid.
  4. Take two of the sections and combine them to make one larger section (you will not have two sections, one small and one large).
  5. Take the smaller section and carefully slide it up the braid.
  6. Keep sliding the smaller section up to the top of the braid.
  7. Now slide the section back down to create a looser “s” pattern braid.
  8. Wrap the snake braid around the back of your head and pin in place. Spray with a medium hold hairspray to add extra hold and tame any flyaways.

TIP: Lift a small section of hair up and pin your snake braid below it. Drop the hair down so it conceals where you pinned the braid in place.

This post has been republished with permission and provided to Woman Tribune by Latest-Hairstyles.com guest contributor Jennie Kay.

Summer Travel Planning: Go to Slovenia. Done.

When flight searches to Slovenia increased by 306% in 2015, we decided to investigate. Nestled between Italy, Croatia, Hungary, and Austria, Slovenia is a crossroads of European cultures and offers the opportunity to explore all four of them from the comforts of a single hotel. You can experience the tastes and traditions of four countries at once with a little bit of travel planning. We took the liberty of getting you started.

Go to a Vineyard

Slovenia
emwilska/Flickr

Spanning Northeastern Italy and Western Slovenia, vineyards in the Gorizia Hills are producing world class wines. Those vineyards on the Slovene Brda side are harvesting distinctive reds and whites without the Italian prices or crowds. Now, all you have to do is learn the word for wine in Slovenian (easy, it’s “vino”).

Spelunk through a UNESCO Cave

Postojna Cave Park
michaelrperry/Flickr

Postojna is the most famous and second longest cave in Slovenia, attracting thousands of visitors a year with its underground train system. But ŠKOCJAN boasts the title of a UNESCO world heritage site. It has the highest cave hall in all of Europe, gorges, waterfalls, and footbridges. The next question is, do you know the difference between a stalactite and a stalagmite?

Be Royal at a Slovene Castle

Predjama Castle
klmircea/Flickr

Most castles in Slovenia are built on a hilltop, making them worth a visit for the views alone. However, built into the side of a cliff in a cave’s opening, Predjama Castle in Postojna is by far the most novel. Legend has it that the knight and renown robber baron, Erazem Lueger, fended off Habsburg soldiers by pelting them with cherries for a year, gaining supplies from a secret chamber that lead in and out of the castle.

So there you have it, a Slovenian getaway in the making. If you are feeling inspired by Slovenia, we already started the planning process for you (you’re welcome).

This post was published by Fiona Moriarty on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on April 22, 2015 and has been republished with permission.

Making Sense Out of Recent Direct Real Estate Investment Trends

real estate
Sherwood CC/Flickr

Investors with extremely high net worth have started to take a second look at real estate according to some recent market figures. A recent survey found that over half of wealth managers and private bankers feel that the amount of money their clients put into real estate will double over the next five years. Less than 10 percent of wealth managers expected to see less money put into direct real estate investment funds.

North American Real Estate

Despite many news stories that would suggest otherwise, North American real estate remains quite popular with wealthy international investors. The same study suggested that more money would be spent on direct real estate investments in the United States and Canada than in any other nations. Some financial experts feel that this kind of maneuvering will ultimately lead to higher prices in domestic real estate markets.

Domestic Investors Chime In

Domestic investors were quick to note that this kind of movement has actually happened several times in the past. Consider the case of Louis Ceruzzi. He purchased a house on Nantucket back in 2004 during a property bubble when fewer and fewer high-end homes were available to rent. He ended up taking the plunge and purchasing a home on the island as property values continued to rise. There was still a way to get a good deal on a home, however.

He purchased the house for considerably less than it was originally worth because it had been on the market for so long. Ceruzzi was able to get a deal as a result, and ended up saving quite a bit over renting. Rental costs have a tendency to spiral out of control whenever regular property values begin to rise.

Looking at Market Trends

Nothing is permanent, and the Nantucket example serves to prove that everything comes in trends when looking at the real estate market. That being said, these market studies seem to suggest that the North American property market should remain strong for some time to come.

Most of these figures seem to suggest that high-end homes will see the biggest appreciation when it comes to property values, but there’s no reason that this rising tide shouldn’t raise everyone’s values as well. Those who are interested in taking advantage of a temporary increase on prices might consider putting their houses on the market. They should be aware of a few things first, however.

Rising prices can also mean higher fees and taxes when it comes time to actually close on a house. Interested parties should always be sure to speak with appropriate agents before making any big decisions.

Those in the field of business might also be interested. Developers could soon be looking at purchasing existing high-value homes and putting them back on the market. This might be a good deal for them if they can avoid overpaying for properties that they wish to later turn around and sell.

Other people might end up taking Ceruzzi’s example and purchasing expensive properties in lieu of renting existing ones. That could end up saving them a substantial amount of money depending on what they pay for the property. They might also consider the fact that he was able to purchase a home that had stayed on the market for quite some time.

Why Polka Dots Will Never Go Out of Style

polka dots
shandilee/Flickr

Polka dots have been around for a long time, and there’s not much chance of this playful pattern going out of style any time soon. Polka dots aren’t just fun to wear on their own, they pair well with wardrobe staples like denim for a comfortable, new look. If you’re one of the many polka dot fans looking for new ways to incorporate these spots into your wardrobe, there are many different pieces to choose from, like dresses, tops, pants, and even swimsuits; plus a slew of accessories in every color of polka dot you might imagine.

American History of Polka Dots

Marilyn Monroe
Americans have been fans of the dot since 1926 when Miss America wore a polka-dotted bathing suit. A couple of years later, Minnie Mouse arrived in her iconic red polka dot dress. After that, a trend was born and spotted dresses for little girls, teens, and adult women began to appear in dress shops around the country. Then, several movie stars and musicians got into the act:

  • Frank Sinatra sand a hit song in 1940 called “Polka Dots and Moonbeams”
  • Christian Dior released a line of clothing speckled with spots that became popular with actresses, namely:
  • Another hit song was released in 1960 called “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini”
  • In 1962, Polka-Dot Man was introduced as a superhero by Marvel Comics

Even Earlier in World History

During Medieval Times in Europe, wearing dots was frowned upon, because they reminded people of dreaded diseases and medical conditions such as small pox, the bubonic plague, and blood spots on handkerchiefs due to tuberculosis.

Where the Name Came From

In the middle of the nineteenth century, dotted fabric was named after the spots on dice and the shape of coins, and went by several names, including:

  • Dotted Swiss (English)
  • Quiconce (French)
  • Thalertupfen (German)

The name is also related to the dance step. While WWII was going on, polka music spread like wildfire, and polka-themed products were born, such as:

  • Polka pudding
  • Polka hats, curtains, and shoes
  • Polka sauce

The Dots in Fashion

polka dot bikini
Today, polka dots still decorate many wardrobes. Because this is such a whimsical pattern, it’s usually reserved for more casual attire, although formal gowns are sometimes made from black and white polka dots. You’ll find spots on:

If you love polka dots, you’re in good company. This snappy pattern still has such a large following and will probably stay in vogue for many years to come. If you want to add some dots to your wardrobe, there are tons of stylish options to choose from.

How to Begin Your Search for the Best Fresh Seafood Online

shrimp
dinesarasota/Flickr

Seafood is a delicious delicacy that is more traditionally served during a romantic evening for two or to set a classy theme at a special or otherwise important party. Though mostly reserved for special occasions, seafood can be served — and served tastefully — during any occasion that could use some significant livening up. No matter if you are interested in lobster, shrimp, crab, or any other food from the ocean, seafood has a taste that is unique and memorable. Fresh seafood becomes even more attainable when you find a place that can sell it to you for significantly less than you would pay in a specialty store, such as online; though finding a place that sells premium seafood over the Internet can be easier said than done. The level of quality and price of seafood varies drastically, especially online, which is why you should look around before you start spending your money. Here are some of the best places to look when you are interested in buying seafood online.

Family References

Do you have people in your family who enjoy seafood? If you do, there is a chance that some of them have ordered it online. They might be able to give you the name of a site that sells high quality seafood at affordable prices. It never hurts to ask. After all, you have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain by discussing this with the members of your family. If you are lacking enough references, you can also ask your friends to weigh in. Between all of these people, the odds of you coming up with a few good online seafood dealers is pretty good.

Browse the Internet

You might as well take some time to explore some of these online seafood companies yourself. While it is always nice to get references from people in your life who you love and trust, it also helps to look at what each company has to offer. By doing this, you may discover that certain online seafood dealers are considerably cheaper than others. You may also find that some companies will offer great introductory deals as a way of attracting new customers. You work hard for your money, so there is no sense spending it when you do not need to. The key to finding cheap fresh seafood online is being patient and looking at all your options.

Saving Money While Enjoying Rome Requires a Bit of Homework

Rome Italy
storm-crypt/Flickr

International travel has an appeal that piques the interest of just about every tourist. One city in particular that normally rises to the top of most lists is Rome, Italy. Rome has a certain majesty about it, and the importance the city enjoyed in history is revealed in any number of magnificent landmarks and historical settings. Of course, the major factor that keeps many from chasing down their dream of seeing the city is the cost. Luckily, online travel guides, hotel planning tools, and booking early present a few great ways to save money on a trip to Rome.

Online Travel Guides

Online travel guides like Hipmunk offer insight into any location no matter how exotic it is. The compiled information is presented in a clear and precise manner, which makes planning a vacation, tourist trip, or even a romantic getaway a simple task. Travel guides can even offer up some information regarding hotel selection, and these electronic guide books also present a number of ways to save money. There’s nothing wrong with saving a little cash while touring the historical wonders of Rome, but knowing where to start is often the key.

Hotel Planning Tools

Being able to shop the rates of several hotels from a single website is a huge advantage that many potential travelers fail to take full advantage of. Often the lowest rate might not be the best deal because of included amenities like breakfast, workout facilities, and information centers. Therefore, vacationers looking to score the best hotel deals in Rome need to be aware of what the property being evaluated has to offer. While the process of finding the best match of needs versus budget seems like a simple concept, the varieties of hotels in and around Rome complicate the scenario. Research pays off and vacationers that consider all the factors before making a decision come out on top.

Booking Early

Hotels are not unlike traded commodities. Rates fluctuate from season to season, but as a general rule increase every year. Booking as early as possible, even a year in advance, is a great way for travelers to lock in the rates of the previous year. Not only will long-term planners beat any potential increases, but they also gain the ability to get the hotel booking out of the way in order to concentrate on planning the rest of the trip. Rome has a lot of attractions and sights to offer, which means putting together some sort of itinerary generally requires a bit of effort.

Roman Forum
Bert Kaufmann/Flickr

In the end, traveling to Rome presents a number of chances to see some legendary sights. By performing research with online travel guides, using hotel planning tools, and booking early, travelers can increase their chances of getting a great deal. Package deals can present some interesting savings as well, but anyone looking to book one of those deals should evaluate exactly what is included in the purchase before making a commitment. Rome offers a lot for the average tourist. Therefore, potential tourists that make a list of what they want to see before booking can more efficiently evaluate their options. Having a good plan can result in having a great time in one of the most popular cities in the world.

This guest post was contributed by Fiona Moriarty of Hipmunk, the most comprehensive travel search website allowing you to find the best deals on anything from flights to hotels to train rides and Homeaway rentals.

Teaching Your Kids to Give: Establishing the Mentality of Lifelong Giving

youth volunteers
directrelief/Flickr

While raising kids has never been easy, it can be one of the most rewarding things that some people do — especially when children grow up to be productive, contributing members to society, and that includes knowing how to give back and enrich the communities in which they live.

When should children start participating in the giving process? As early as possible. Even if they are still toddlers, observing charitable acts that happen regularly and eventually understanding them will leave a big impression. Learning how to give and developing that skill set is a lifelong journey.

Giving is more than a task, it’s a mindset. A way of life, a way of looking at the world and asking, how can I help? How can I make connections between needs and time and resources? How can I bring awareness to specific needs and evoke action?

  1. Ask Your Kids How They Would Like to Help.

    If giving to a cause is new to your household, involve your kids as early as possible; tell them that your family has the chance to give back. Then, engage them in a conversation about the types of causes they may feel strongly about and ways they think they can help.This could involve helping families, working to save open spaces, caring for nature or a community garden, helping to save an endangered species, or helping those in need.

    Once you’ve identified key topics that your family is interested in (make a list, as this helps visualize everything) start researching specific local organizations (add them to the list).

    • Food kitchens
    • Pet shelters and animal rescues
    • Nature conservation efforts
    • Fundraising for various activities for low-income kids, like camp
    • Zoos, museums, and aquariums
    • Schools and local libraries (these days, even they need as much help as they can get)
    • Visitation of patients in hospitals
    • Visitation of the elderly in nursing homes
  2. Make a Game Plan

    Get creative about how your family can help the organization(s) you choose. Bake sales are traditional, but there are other ways to help. Talk it through with your family, map it out, and post the results somewhere in the home that is highly visible.

    Gamify it to some degree with tasks that turn into goals that turn into accomplishments, that result in stickers.

  3. Quick Tasks and Ideas That Can Make a Big Difference

    Clear the clutter. Every 6 to 12 months, have a household closet cleaning day (that includes the toy chest, and maybe even the garage). Get everyone in the family to help.

    Make a donate box. Put it out where your kids can add to it. Donate often, even if it’s small.

    Make detours to giving. When shopping, make a trip down the canned food aisle. Ask your kids to pick a can of food to put in your donate box at home.

    Find ways to raise money for donations. Hold a yard sale and give all or a portion of your sales to a selected charity. Do the same with a bake sale, an art sale, etc. Involve your kids at all stages.

    Associate getting with giving. For birthdays and holidays, aside from their other gifts, give your kids a hand-written gift “certificate of giving” with a specified amount of money that they can gift to their favorite charity. Take your child to the charity to donate that money in-person if you can. For non-location organizations, write a check and have your child include a letter.

    Volunteer time in your local community. From public gardens that need weeding, to historic buildings that need painting, or food banks that need help, find something age-appropriate that can engage your family.

  4. Growing the Mindset

    Tell stories. There are lots of real-life stories about kids or groups of kids who have found creative ways to give back. Encourage empathy. Share appropriate stories of struggle. Ask kids what they would do in a certain situation, and how they would want people to help them.

    Walk them through the cycle. If your kids are young, say, “We’re going to give this can of food/winter coat/gift to ______.” (Then explain the results.) “It will give them something to eat/keep them warm this winter/help them __________.”

    Explain why you are doing it and what you’re looking for. “We don’t need to store all this stuff when someone else could really use it.” Or, “I bet there is a kid out there who would really enjoy playing with that toy. I know you used to love it, but how about if you pass it along to someone else so they can enjoy it as much as you have?” Keep the focus on the people in need and your child’s ability to share an experience through an item. Establishing an impermanent relationships to “things” can help kids better understand the importance of relationships over acquiring goods.

    Develop a language of giving in your household. Find creative opportunities to incorporate it into regular conversation. Nothing is permanent. We are stewards of the planet, and the things we think we own. Everything is in change, and it is our duty to help those in need when we have abundance. If ever there is a time when we are without, we hope that others will think of us and help us.

Teaching children about the struggles of others not only develops a lifelong giving mindset, it also helps children understand how their words and actions impact those around them — a lesson that bears repeating.

This article has been republished with permission and provided to Woman Tribune by the authors. Read more about them below.

Jennifer L. Jacobson is the founder of Jacobson Communication and an advocate for organizations looking to make a positive difference in the world. She currently serves on the board of several influential nonprofits and organizations focused on conservation, education, and community. For more, visit www.jacobsoncommunication.com

Gretchen Barry is the Director of marketing and Communications for NonProfitEasy; the all-in-one data management software, created by nonprofits for nonprofits. From CRM and database management, to events, donor engagement, fundraising, and more, NonProfitEasy offers a one-stop, affordable, integrated software solution that is changing the status quo for the greater good. For more, visit www.nonprofiteasy.com

Beauty Lovers Gift Guide

beauty lovers gift guide

Christmas is just days away. The pressure is on if you’re still looking for some last-minute gifts or stocking stuffers. We have a list of some of the top-selling beauty products out there for the beauty lovers on your holiday shopping list.

Blush On Rouge by La Femme

La Femme blush on rougeAvailable in 52 shades, pro artists have been using these forever. Great value for thrifty color junkies, priced at $3.50 each.

Buy at Makeup Mania →

Dermaflage Tropical Perfecting Filler

Dermaflage tropical perfecting fillerInvented in Hollywood, Dermaflage is a special effects scar and wrinkle concealer. Whether accident, surgery, severe acne, or deep wrinkles, Dermaflage hides recessed imperfections for up to 36 hours. Save 10% with promo code scar10.

Buy at Dermaflage →

BORGHESE Lip Look Gift Set

BORGHESE lip look gift setThis $80 value Lip Look Gift Set is on sale for $29.50, plus you will receive a FREE BORGHESE Brightening Moments Gift Set with the purchase of any BORGHESE products. For a limited time only.

Buy at Beauty Bridge →

BQX2 Baby Quasar Bundle

BQX2 Baby Quasar bundleAs featured in Vogue, the BQX2 Bundle is the perfect light therapy skincare duo for pre-maintenance of wrinkles and blemishes. Currently 25% off with easy payment options available.

Buy at Baby Quasar →

Miami Creations Shea Body Butter

Miami Creations shea body butterThis unrefined shea butter is 100% pure and organic. It is currently on sale for 23% off, plus save another 10% with promo code LIKESPOT.

Buy at Supplement Spot →

Powdered Makeup Print by Adrianna Williams

powdered makeup print by Adrianna WilliamsCanvas prints come in 3 different styles. Save $10 instantly onsite when you click offer. Or save 20% with promo code BLOG20.

Buy at Photos.com →

This guest post was contributed by eAccountable and contains affiliate links.