How to Save on College (from Ramen Noodles to Razors)

by Desiree Miller on July 28, 2014


(Disclaimer: Compensation was provided by Gillette via MomTrends.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of Gillette or MomTrends. #shavingrebuilt #spon)

College is expensive, no matter how you look at it, between the tuition, the books, the travel back and forth home…and we haven’t even hit on the little incidentals, like everything from ramen noodles to razors.

packed car  (This is how my son packs his car to go back and forth…just throw it in the back)

Take heart, though.  There ARE ways to save.

After two years with a kid on campus (at an out of state school to further increase expenses!!), we’ve discovered all kinds of ways to cut back on that uber-expensive higher education experience.

First, control what you can control—and that leaves out the tuition.  You’re not going to be able to talk your way down to paying less at most state schools, or private schools for that matter, though you might find an extra scholarship or two going uncollected.  For my son, that was money he was given for performing in the school marching band (ironically called the Million Dollar Band at the University of Alabama).  They actually pay him a few bucks to perform, so that’s a plus.

Rent your books.  That’s right.  With books running two or three hundred dollars each, and some classes requiring you to buy three or four of them, you’re going to want to check out sites that let you rent books, from Chegg to Amazon.  If you can’t rent, buy used. If you can’t buy used, just cry while you hand over the credit card, because it’s unlikely you’ll get much when you try to sell that book back to the book store at the end of the semester.

These days, many schools require students to live on campus, but once you can get to an apartment, be sure your young adult knows about keeping the thermostat set at reasonable levels, living without every cable channel available and other surprise expenses.


And with those surprises will come the shock of what every day expenses can add up to, from food to fashion.  One way you can easily save a few bucks is to sign up for subscription plans…they exist for everyday essentials, even items like razor blades.  Trust me, if your student will have to pick between buying a few Monster energy drinks to help him make it to his early class or picking up razor blades the next time he’s at the store, the blades will be the item still sitting on the shelf when he leaves.  You can save your son from becoming a scraggly mess if you sign him up for the plan offered through Gillette’s new subscription service.   He can use the new Gillette Fusion ProGlide with FlexBall Technology (they have this cool roller ball technology that rocks all angles) which are perfect for keeping the student looking sharp, and with the service, you won’t have to worry about him reallocating that expense into the other ‘priorities’ on his list. It won’t break the bank, either, at about a buck a week for most students (depending on how often they shave).  Other subscription services exist for everything from fruit to meat (if you want him eating more than the aforementioned ramen noodles).



razor sideways

Now, if someone would just make a subscription service that takes care of the ‘remembering to study’ issue that so many students (mine included) seem to struggle with.  I’d pay a whole lot more than a dollar a week for that!


(VIDEO) HOLY GUACAMOLE! Made Mexican Style

by Desiree Miller on July 25, 2014

I have to admit, I’m not a big guacamole fan (something about the green, mushy texture just turns me off), but when a bowl was specially made for me on a recent trip to the Hacienda Encantada, I couldn’t resist taking at least a bite.  And guess what?!  I liked it!

It could have been the cheese on top that pushed me over the edge (look, anything is better with cheese), or the margarita they also made as I checked into my room.

But in any case, if you want to try to duplicate the recipe, it’s all here in the video.

Let me know what you think!

margarita and guac

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(VIDEO) How to Make a Margarita Like They Do in Mexico

by Desiree Miller on July 24, 2014

I make plenty of margaritas with margarita mix, but rarely have I started from scratch, however, now that the kind folks at the Hacienda Encantada have shown me the way, you can bet I’ll be mixing more of my own homestyle options in the future.

Want to know how it’s done?

Well, I recorded every step in this video featuring the staff from Hacienda Encantada.

Since today, July 24th, is National Tequila Day, why not mix up one or two for yourself?


tequila 1



Anne Geddes on Photographs: How Do You Do That?

by Desiree Miller on July 21, 2014


The name ‘Anne Geddes‘ goes hand in hand with images of babies in unique settings, from sweet little flower pots to her next project, ‘Under the Sea’, and in this video, the world renowned photographer explains to a group of women during the ‘Blogger Bash Babypalooza’ event  just how she makes the magic.

She not only shares the images that will be part of her calendar and on top of credit cards (coming out this August), she also explains how she was able to capture the various pieces that came together to create the final product.

Take a listen, and check her site for more.

We have more information we’ll upload soon, along with a giveaway for the book!



by Desiree Miller on July 17, 2014

Courtesy Anne Geddes (Courtesy Anne Geddes)


Having Anne Geddes as a guest speaker pretty much makes any event worth attending in my book, but the BLOGGER BASH BABYPALOOZA also features some pretty awesome products for new parents, ranging from recently released strollers from Britax, BOB, Joovy and JJ Cole to fun bathing products from Boon.  If you’re not at the event on July 18th, you can still check out the items being featured by following the links below.  But if you ARE attending Blogger Bash Babypalooza, we have some fun ways you can win what’s on display!  Here’s all you need to do:

Open your Instagram account and follow your party hosts:

Then, follow each brand offering a giveaway:

Now, as you visit each booth, post on Instagram and tweet out a photo from each brand using our hashtag #BTBBaby to showcase which product you like best in each booth.  Remember to tag the account that matches the prize you want to win!  And, if you have a bite of sweetness from Sprinkles or get a mani from Jamberry, please send out a pic and tag our generous vendors!

We will randomly choose a winner for each prize, but that winner must be someone who has completed all of the above.  Only those present at Babypalooza are eligible to win these prizes!  **Note—We will contact winners through their social media accounts. You must be able to take these prizes with you at the end of Babypalooza.  Those who do not physically claim their prize by 5:30pm forfeit their winnings. 

These are the prizes:

JJ Cole:

Out & About Prize Package: Broadway Stroller, Outdoor Blanket, Camber Diaper Bag, Original Bundleme ($600 total value)


Bath Time Prize Package: NAKED Tub, RAY Drain Cover, ODD DUCKS, FLEET Stacking Boats,  LINKS 3-D Foam Bath Pieces, PIECES Foam Bath Puzzle ($150 total value)


Caboose VaryLight Stroller ($499 total value)

Delta Children:

Safe-n-Clear Monitor, Viaggi + Playard, Sutton Safe Sleep Solution, Lil’ Frog Walker, Max Stroller ($254 total value)


Advocate convertible car seat (silver diamonds) and car seat travel cart ($460 Total value)

ENTRIES ARE UNLIMITED BUT MUST BE POSTED BY 5PM. GOOD LUCK!!  And if you don’t win or can’t win, definitely check out the products and spread the word about the companies.  This is the good stuff when it comes to kids!


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(VIDEO) Wubble Ball Review (Wubble Bubble Fun Kid Gift)

July 5, 2014

Every now and then, a toy comes along that amuses my youngest child (8 yrs old) as much as my oldest (almost 20 yrs old–yikes!), and the Wubble Ball, or Wubble Bubble Ball as we call it, currently has them both captivated, along with pretty much every other child and adult who sees it. My youngest first saw it on a commercial during one of her favorite cartoons, and we agreed to order it in advance of her upcoming birthday, thinking it would be fun to have at her party.  It […]

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Want to Work from Home? Read ‘Out of Office’ By Simon Salt

July 4, 2014

There are people who look at my life and think I’m incredibly lucky: I get to travel to amazing places—sometimes with my family, sometimes without, hosted by resorts or visitor’s bureaus who want me to write about the experience and tell others what they should know if they want to visit…I have a great job in TV news that I love, a job that fulfills my need to learn something new every day…I have an amazing family which, although they aren’t always easy or without challenges, fills my heart with […]

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How Do You Know When Your Burger is Done? Preventing Foodborne Illness

July 3, 2014

Nobody wants to spend their holiday weekend sick from something they ate, but that may end up being the case if you aren’t careful. In fact, cases of food poisoning go up in the summer months.  Experts say because that’s because the warm temperatures cause bacteria to multiply faster.  And it happens more often than you’d think: The CDC estimates about 1 in 6 Americans (about 48 million people) could suffer from foodborne illness this year. The result:  an estimated 3,000 deaths and 128,000 hospitalizations! Think it can’t happen to […]

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Tips to Save Money on Gasoline

July 3, 2014

Getting ready to take a road trip for the 4th of July?  Even if you’re not, I have some interesting ways to save money on gasoline that apply anytime. They come from Chris Faulkner, CEO of Breitling Energy Corporation. Faulkner says the gas prices this weekend are the highest since 2008 when they hit more than four dollars a gallon.  They could adjust dramatically this weekend based on several variables, ranging from the Israeli military response to the killing of the kidnapped boys (which will raise Mid-East tensions even more), […]

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Supporting ‘the Girls’ this Summer: Intimacy Bras and Bathing Suits

July 2, 2014

(Note to readers: I was invited to an Intimacy event where I was professionally fitted again for the sake of a review.  I was compensated with a bra and panty set, but decided to purchase a bathing suit on my own, because, well, read below and you’ll understand.) It’s not easy finding a bathing suit you can love when you are ‘big up top’, or ‘well-endowed’, so to speak, so when you find a place that stocks bathing suits for women with big boobs (let’s just say it), it’s a […]

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