New Year’s Resolutions

A 5 part series

After writing this blog post, editing it and then re-editing it, I have decided to make it into a series of posts.  There is just so much beneficial information to cover.  I don’t want to lose you in an extremely long post

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Yes, it’s that time again; time to think about my New Year’s resolutions. I searched my computer for last year’s – re-read  them and I decided to rewrite and condense the list to 5 major New Year’s resolutions (last year, there were many more than that) and stick to the list.

New Year Resolutions

My 5 New Year’s Resolutions

  1. Random acts of kindness
  2. Healthy lifestyle
  3. Save more
  4. Recycle – up cycle
  5. Shop smarter

Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) (Here’s one great explanation of RAK)

RAKs come in many shapes and forms. It is being polite to a stranger, smiling to the old lady sitting across from you on the bus, letting the mother with two crying children ahead of you in the line at the grocery store.

My favorite, just hug somebody!

Healthy Lifestyle

Wow! This is a big one. It means I should be cooking healthier meals for my family, cutting down on sugar, white flour, and food additives.  I need a better fitness regime for the whole family, starting with myself. Being a good role model is important! A good start would be taking walks with the family on those beautiful weekend mornings or walking our little one to school instead of just jumping into the car.

Save more

Is the economy going to get better in 2012?  That’s a good question.  I know that I can improve on my family’s’ economics by just saving more, Living a frugal life is now trendy! First, I am finally going to write down all of our expenses that come off the top of our income every month; mortgage, utilities, education and car expenses… Then, I’ll write down our expected costs for food, clothing, entertainment and my personal favorite, miscellaneous. I will track everything that we spend money on for one month, and at the end of the month, we will have a true picture of where we can trim the fat and save some cash for a rainy day (or a sunny day family vacation).

Recycle – Upcycle

I must make more of an effort to save tomorrow’s environment. True, I won’t be around forever but my children and their children and grandchildren will be!

Recycle Bin I will:

  • Be more careful about separating our garbage!
    • Buy products in eco-friendly packaging
    • Make sure that my eco-friendly shopping bags are always in the car! (no plastic bags)
    • Recycling also means giving outgrown clothing to friends for their children to use and being grateful when I receive clothing from others.

Now I am thinking more and more about upcycling - Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value. Yes! It’s trending and it’s so much fun with kids!

Shop Smarter

This probably should be a separate blog post (and it will be. Here are a few ways to shop smarter:

  • Shop with a list. (If it’s not on your list, keep moving.)
  • Look for coupons
  • Look for sales (flyers, newsletters, email specials)
  • Investigate; search the internet, use price comparison websites prior to shopping. (Don’t forget to read the store reviews!)
  • Read recommendations from strangers, but also from your friends!
  • Stock up on stuff that doesn’t go bad!

I think that the common denominator for all of my New Year’s resolutions is discipline. I think that I can do it! Can you?

I would love to hear about your New Year’s Resolutions! Please share your tips with us, too!

Transparency and Disclosures

There are so many bloggers out there recommending products. Are they getting compensated for their reviews? Some do, some don’t. Some of those bloggers receive products from major brands all the time, and some smaller bloggers reach out to brands, but either way according to the FTA they should have a disclosure statement on their website. (Here is a great FAQ about the FTA regulation.)

I have been helping a friend set up her blog (it is going to be a mommy blog full of chic design and geeky stuff) and was looking for inspiration from some of my favorite blogs. I found that bloggers who are reviewing products either have basic disclosure statements (ones that they found from a “template”), and others have disclosures with individual flavor. The latter I think is the best way to go.

What is right? Good question. What is more fun to read?

I think that those who have taken the effort to be original and have added their voice to the disclosure statement. My suggestion to my friend is that she adds a little about herself, about her blog, what type of products she reviews and recommends. I also suggested that she reviews and recommends items that she doesn’t get pitched about direct from the brand/manufacturer! And by the way you can monetize those recommendations too (check this out).

Product Review

Speak to your niche!

If you have a blog make sure that you include those items that you have in your home, use all the time and can’t live without. You must convey that you are trust worthy – that you are honest and that your blog – apart from your money making reviews is a place for people to return to. Speak to your circle of friends in a language that they will understand and relate to. Include all of this in your disclosure and post it in a place that people can actually find.

Don’t hide it. If you hide it – that will convey a message to your readers that you are hiding something from them, which will result in them assuming you’re untrustworthy and we don’t want that.

5 Sample Disclosure Statements:

  1. The Coupon Cutie
  2. Digital Mom Blog
  3. The Slacker Mom
  4. Mom Reviews
  5. Suburban Turmoil Reviews

Some bloggers even have their disclosures on the side of every post.

For the rules and regulations of disclosure here is a site that might help you out: FTC Guidelines

Now if you need help in finding great new trendy stuff to try out, review and to share your recommendations with your friends – that is my next post …… I would love to hear back from you on where you find new “stuff” below (comments, Twitter or Facebook).