Thursday, January 31, 2019

Semi-Precious: Where Do Your Accessories Come From?

mining tunnel

Very few people spend their time thinking about where items have come from when they are buying them. With things like food, technology, and clothing all being a normal part of life, it makes sense that knowing their origins may not be that important to you. When it comes to the accessories you wear, though, there is a reason the price can often be so high. To give you an idea of where the materials for these sorts of products come from, this post will be exploring this industry, shedding light on this little-known subject.


Metals are essential to a lot of the accessories people wear and have been the main material used in jewelry for thousands of years. While this sort of resource might be abundant in some cases, in others it won’t be, and this means that it’s worth being careful with the options you buy. Below, you can find some of the most common metals found in the accessories you wear, showing you exactly where they come from.

Gold: South Africa is home to the world’s largest gold mine, with over 40% of the stuff coming from Witwatersrand Basin. The process involved with extracting gold is a very dangerous one, often involving high quantities of the toxic metal mercury, and the people doing it will rarely have the right protection. This is particularly unfortunate when you consider that gold is only valuable because it looks nice and isn’t very reactive; there isn’t a shortage of it.

Steel: Steel is found in all sorts of different accessories, and originally comes from iron. The largest mines for these resources are found in Canada, Sweden, and the US, with ore being pulled from the ground and melted into the raw metal. While this process isn’t dangerous, it has a huge impact on the surrounding landscape, destroying habitats and making it impossible for people to live there in the future.

Titanium: Not a lot of people realize, but titanium is one of the world’s most abundant elements. It is most commonly mined in Australia and Russia, using a very similar process to that of iron to get it out of the ground. Of course, while there is a lot of this stuff around, it is usually deep inside the Earth’s crust, forcing those who want it to cause loads of damage in the process. This material is becoming more and more popular as time goes on.


Along with metals, you will also find that a lot of the accessories people wear will have some sort of stone attached to them. This will usually be a semi-precious gem, but there are examples of options which are far more striking, and they may not come from where you expect. The level of effort which goes into getting these materials is often what makes them demand such a high price, with some being harder to get than others.

Pearls: When most people see a pearl necklace, they won’t be thinking about a sea creature. These small round balls come are formed inside oysters as part of a natural defensive mechanism which is built into their bodies. Extracting the pearl will kill the oyster, and they will only ever have one, making this a very low-value endeavor. Thankfully, synthetic pearls can be made from glass or plastic.

Diamonds: People have always been drawn in by diamonds, with these stones being some of the rarest on Earth. There isn’t much special about carbon which makes these stones, though, making it possible for businesses to replicate the process, producing their own colored diamonds at a far lower price than natural examples. In a lot of cases, it will be impossible to tell the difference between them.

Emeralds: There are loads of different gemstones out there, and they are all mined in a similar way; people will sift through the top layers of rocks until they find them. While this doesn’t sound bad, this job will often fall to some of the poorest people in the world, and this means that the safety standards in place are almost always low. It’s never nice to think that people may have been hurt just so that you can look nice.

Making A Difference

When most people read things like this, the alarm bells will start to ring. A lot of the materials which people choose to use for their accessories leave a big impact on the world and the people in it, even if this isn’t felt at home. This makes it well worth looking for alternatives to the damaging options available on the market, choosing options like glass over gemstones, and wood or stone instead of metal. Of course, though, this isn’t always possible.

If you can’t live without the type of material you’re looking for, it will be a good idea to look for a better way to source it. For example, using recycled metals instead of freshly mined ones will be good for the planet, but won’t put anyone at risk. There are loads of ways to take this sort of approach available, and you need only do some research to start finding them. Of course, though, you will need to put a lot of effort to find replacements for all of your purchases.

Accessories are very important to the outfits you wear, finishing the complex work which has gone into making you look great. Of course, though, as time goes on, this sort of job is getting easier and easier. People are acting more responsible for the world they live in, and this means that more and more products are hitting the market which gives you the chance to do your part. If you need some help finding inspiration in this area, it will be worth using sites like Instagram to see what other people are doing. It’s important that people work together when they are solving these problems.

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This post was written by a contributing author in collaboration with

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Stress-free Dance Costume Planning Checklist

Listening to a friend talk about all the planning that goes into preparing for her daughter's dance and cheer competitions got me thinking that the world of dance, cheer, and gymnastics can be stressful for moms who are just trying to hold it all together.  For this post, I collaborated with MoveU to come up with a checklist to make planning for performances a little less stressful.  

Stress-free Dance Costume Planning Checklist

Photo credit: Hdydi

Whether you are a dance mom, a cheerleader, or a Hip Hop dancer, you understand how important it is to be prepared. A simple thing like an extra pair of tights or a hair tie can destroy the grace and charm of a performance.

Each performer has specific needs unique to their art, but there are basic items that no performer should be without. Below you will find a no-stress checklist to make your life easier.

Please note, this list is not intended to be used for practice sessions. These items are for performers when they carry traditional dance costumes, Hip Hop dance costumes, and cheer competition. This list ensures performers will be ready for anything on their big night.

Photo credit: Patricia Palma

Must Haves
  • Dance shoes
    • This means shoes that you will wear to perform. They must be in good repair and they must fit properly. If the shoes have strings carry an extra pair.

  • Water
    • Most venues have water, but when a dancer is about to give their recital, there is no time to look for a water fountain. Keep two bottles of water in your bag at all times.

  • Hairbrush and accessories
    • This includes hair ties, rubber bands, bobby pins, and hairspray. Your hair should be neat and kept out of your face.
  • Travel sewing kit. This will contain safety pins, needle and thread, and buttons. This will save you if you have a minor incident with your costume.

  • Protein bars and hard candy
    • When you are performing, you use up much of your stored energy. A protein bar will give you more fuel and will help your body recover. However, sometimes you use up too much of your fuel and you feel the drop in your energy. Pop a few candies in your mouth. Sugar is a fast burst of energy.

  • Spare tights
    • If tights are part of your dance attire, you must take a spare set. Tights are the most likely item of clothing to be ruined.
    • If you are a cheerleader or a Hip Hop dancer, take extra socks for the same reason.

  • Warm up clothes
    • No matter what your dance of choice, you will need a cool off period to help your body adjust when you are finished. Flannel shirts, a cheer jacket, or a hoodie will do nicely.
Photo credit: KropeKK_Pl
  • Antibacterial wipes
    • Use these to freshen up if you fall or sweat too much

  • Deodorant
    • Dance is as physically challenging as any other competitive sport. You will need to reapply your deodorant

  • Breath mints
    • To keep your mouth moist and your breath fresh.

  • Bandaids
    • For minor cuts or blisters.

  • Antibiotic cream
    • A scraped knee or a splinter in your hand may not slow your performance, but when the dance has ended, use the ointment to prevent infection.

  • Feminine products
    • Never take chances

  • A hand towel
    • To pat away perspiration, to dry your hands, or for a hundred other uses.

  • Perfume or body spray
    • You must smell beautiful and feel beautiful. If you have a signature scent, you should wear it every time you perform. It will become part of your identity.

  • Disposable razor
    • Did you miss a spot while shaving your legs or forget to shave under your arms? Always have a fresh razor with you.

  • Travel size makeup
    • Hold on to those samples you receive when you buy makeup. They are the perfect size to carry with you. Last minute touch ups, refresh lipstick or tone down a shiny nose.

Photo credit: Niko_Shogol
Other items that may come in handy
  • An umbrella
  • A plastic bag (for damp clothes)
  • Pen and Paper
    • You never know who you will run into, be prepared to take down names and phone numbers
  • A current resume complete with photograph
  • A smartphone
  • Cab money
    • A dancer will let a flat tire or an empty gas tank make her miss her event
  • A change of clothes to wear when the event has ended
  • A jacket
Taking “being prepared” to a new level
Most dancers know what to take in their dance bag. However, they sometimes forget to empty it and wash or replace the items that were used when the return home. A smart dancer has two dance bags. You do not want to be ready to walk out the door and be hit with the smell of sweat and half eaten protein bars. Make it a habit of keeping a clean bag at the ready at all times. When you return home, clean it up and air out the bag.

Note: place a couple of dryer sheets in your bags to keep clothes smelling fresh.
When you decided to incorporate dance, cheer, or gymnastics into your life you may not have realized the time and energy it would take. Taking care of your beauty and body is very important. Unlike a football player or a runner, you do not have the luxury of looking hot, breathless, and sweaty after your event. You must maintain grace and control.

Do not take a chance that you will not need something on this list. It is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. Be prepared and you will be more confident, more impressive, and more comfortable. You can do this if you simply plan ahead.

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This post was written by a contributing author in collaboration with

Friday, December 14, 2018

Don’t Follow The Crowd To Find Your Style. Go It Alone

Group of Lining Men

Do you walk down the street or get on the subway and see three or four different women who could be your clone? Doppelgangers exist, yet they are more common than ever today thanks to generic shopping outlets. One store finds a breakthrough and every other establishment within a ten-mile radius copies it. The result is women who dress the same.

If you value individuality, this may be very annoying. All you want to do is find a style which is unique and original, and now you can. Here are the personal fashion tips to keep in mind.

Look To The Past

Humans don’t always make decisions based on free will. Sometimes, an experience from a previous time will encourage you to do something you wouldn’t normally. This is especially true of fashion because everyone has styles they love from their childhood or teenage years. And, it’s perfectly acceptable to wear them to this day. What this says is that you’re sticking to your roots and incorporating trends which are important to you due to their sentimental value. Nothing is as personal as an outfit or clothing that reminds you of a moment or moments from a past life.

Reflect Your Personality

Lots of women have plain, neutral colors in their closet because they are easy to turn into a chic ensemble. The problem is you may not be a shy, introverted type of girl. Instead, you may be outgoing and sociable and bubbly and full of life. In that case, the different shades in your wardrobe don’t reflect your personality. What will are the bright colors which are loud and stand out from the crowd. By the way, yes you should wear them in the winter. People are willing to try something new in the summer, but your dedication proves how much of a connection your clothes have with your personality.

Say Your Name

One thing you have which no one can take away is your name. It’s been yours since you were born and will continue to be owned by you up to and after death. It’s without a doubt one of the most personable things any person has, which is why it needs incorporating into your style. Don’t worry because it isn’t as tough as it sounds. Nowadays, accessories are personalized for this very reason. Visit this website to see for yourself. With these pieces, every outfit you own will have a little part of you attached to it, and that’s unique.

Dress To Impress

Currently, there the trend is to dress casually as long as the event isn’t a black tie sort of thing. With this in mind, you can easily carve out a lane for yourself by upping the stakes and dressing to impress. An LBD with a coat and a scarf is as comfortable as it is sexy and stunning. People won’t be able to ignore you and you’ll soon be known as the woman who always dresses immaculately.

Finding a unique style is all about you – what do you have that sets you apart from others?

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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

3 Non-Surgical Ways You Can Iron Out Your Wrinkles

From crows feet to frown lines; wrinkles are pretty much unavoidable. Especially when so many of them are created thanks to our facial expressions, meaning they have nothing to do with our age! This is why you might already spot a few wrinkles even if you’re young. 

But, there’s no need to worry as you can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles using different techniques and methods. The best thing about all of these ideas is that you don’t need to go under the knife at all!

Image via Pexels

Prescription anti-wrinkle creams
A quick look in any pharmacy or beauty shop and you’ll find the shelves lined with different anti-wrinkle or anti-aging creams. While some of these might work, the majority won’t really cut it for you. If you really want one that works, then you need a prescription-grade cream. This is where the good stuff lies, as they contain more powerful ingredients - and you can only buy it if you have a written prescription. So, to get this, follow these steps:

  • Step 1: See your dermatologist and ask them to look at your wrinkles. They might be able to figure out why you’ve got them, which helps them find the right cream for you
  • Step 2: Ask for a prescription and get it written out by the dermatologist.

  • Step 3: Go to the pharmacy and hand in your prescription, and they’ll get the cream for you.

    It’s as simple as that, and you’ll end up with clinically-proven stuff that has powerful anti-aging ingredients to solve your wrinkle problems.

Botox treatment
A lot of people are wary about Botox because it gets a bad name in the media. Personally, I blame celebrities that go overboard with it and end up looking like emotionless Barbie dolls. The fact is, one or two treatments won’t do any harm and can help get rid of dynamic wrinkles, which are the ones caused by your facial muscles. As for Botox pricing, it depends on how much you want, but it’s generally cheaper than you expect. Even just one treatment could make a difference, but it’s entirely up to you whether or not you want to do it.

Microdermabrasion Facial
Don’t let this long name scare you, it’s merely a cosmetic treatment that will work wonders for your skin. Basically, it’s a procedure that uses tiny crystals or exfoliating products to remove dead skin from your face. This is where things get a bit cool as your body thinks something bad has happened to the skin, so it sends new cells there to grow back. As a result, you get a fresh layer of skin that can look more vibrant and smoother than ever before. I’ve probably not done a great job of describing it, but the whole treatment is basically just like getting any other facial, and you can have it done at most spas.

You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on invasive surgeries to get rid of wrinkles. Try any of these ideas, and you’ll see quick results - that cost a fraction of the price as well.

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This post was written by a contributing author in collaboration with

Monday, December 3, 2018

Save Money for Little Luxuries!

Beauty and hair care products can be expensive so when we’re after the latest palette or hair styling product, how can we save money to go towards these luxuries?

Sell Your Old Unwanted Stuff
We hoard so many things and we only realize we do when we’re moving from one place to the next or having a spring clean. When you’re having your next declutter, set aside anything that might be of some value. There are plenty of apps nowadays that are great for selling your clothes, jewelry, CDs, and books, just look at for inspiration.

Fill In Online Surveys
Being asked to fill in a survey can be pretty boring but they’re much more appealing if you can get paid for filling one out. The surveys can vary in length and topics so there’s something for everyone and most websites can pay out immediately. With online surveys, you can do them in the comfort of your own home or on your daily commute to work.

Budget Your Money
Budgeting can be a great way of saving some money each week, so when you get your paycheck, note down all your outgoings. Work out what you have left and then split this up over the weeks and see if you can take a little bit out each week to save.

Without a budget, it can be easy to spend all of your money, so it’s worth committing to it.

Switch Energy Suppliers
You might find that you’re paying an obscene amount on your utilities and you may benefit from shopping around to find a new provider. A lot of them will offer great deals for new customers, so it’s definitely worth getting a few quotes and comparing them to what you currently pay.

After you get the quotes, it’s always useful to contact your provider to see if they can match the deal to make you stay. They’ll likely want to keep you as a customer then let you go to their competitors.

Cut Back On Eating Out
Eating out every day, even if it’s buying lunch, can be very costly. You could save a lot of money just by preparing your lunches at home and limiting the number of evening meals you have out, per month. The multiple courses and tips you’re required to pay towards aren’t something you’d normally have at home, so save your money!

If you still want to have the social side of eating out, invite your friends over for dinner and suggest a monthly rotation which gives everyone the chance to cook for each other.

Ditch The Membership
Got a gym membership that you use once in a blue moon? You don’t realize just how much you waste money through memberships until you actually cancel them. You can always find a pay as you go gym until you’re ready to go back.

Check out all your other memberships too, as well as any subscriptions that you have. It might be a good idea to cut back on a few for a while.

There’s plenty of ways to save and make money, so if you persevere, you’ll save up money for the latest beauty buys in no time!

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This post was written by a contributing author in collaboration with

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

How to Send Glam Holiday Cards & Invitations (by Email!)

  It's the holiday season and I have been so excited to put my Pinterest boards into action and start decorating and planning for all of the fun, food, and festivities.  Not only will Christmas dinner be at my house this year, but I'll be hosting a Vision Board Party for my girlfriends a few days after Christmas to get us focused and ready to goal dig in 2019.

In the midst of planning my glam Christmas gatherings, I really miss the idea of setting the tone for each event with glamourous invitations. Email and text are much more convenient, but who doesn't love to receive a sparkling invitation in a beautifully patterned envelope.  It just makes the holiday season, and the event seem even more special.  That's why I was excited to try Paperless Post.  This website offers an abundance of elegant invitation and card options while combining the ease and convenience of technology.  Purchasing digital "coins" will allow you options to customize your virtual invitation, envelope, and rsvp card. You can even change the background, the envelope liner, and the stamp on the envelope!  

I'm having a hard time deciding which card to pick for my holiday dinner invite.  The designer options are all so appealing.  Check out a few of the glam designs on my favorite list.

While I'm still deciding on my Christmas dinner invitation design, I did customize a design and send out invitations to my girlfriends for a small Vision Board Party. What makes it even more convenient is that I was able to download the Paperless Post App on my iPhone and manage my guest list, keep track of RSVPs, and even send and receive messages from my guests. 

Screenshot of  the "manage" tab for my event in the Paperless Post App

It's almost December, so before you send out that group text inviting friends and family over, or wishing everyone a happy holiday season, check out the Paperless Post website to see if they have the perfect something to add a little extra holiday cheer to your friends and family's inboxes. 

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