Budget-Friendly Kitchen Redos With Wallpaper

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – A kitchen renovation is almost always a costly and time-consuming undertaking. The thought of ripping out and replacing cabinets, countertops and appliances is enough to stop you in your tracks. But a kitchen redo doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. Sometimes, the smallest changes can make the biggest difference. Take wallpaper, for example.
Nothing enlivens an outdated kitchen more quickly or more easily than wallpaper. A bright, happy pattern like a toss of fruits or vegetables can play on the past with kitschy, retro-inspired style. Or you can modernize with patterns that mimic tile, stone and metal: a budget-friendly alternative to the real, more costly materials for backsplashes. You don’t have to worry about most stains because most wallpaper has a protective coating and is washable, even scrubbable. In fact, kitchen-friendly wallpapers are much lower maintenance than paint, which has about a three-year life span.
Wallpaper isn’t just for kitchen walls. Here are some ideas that can modernize any kitchen in an instant:
* With extra wallpaper or coordinating border, cover lamp shades on hanging fixtures to create a chic, pulled-together look.
* Wallpaper inset panels on cabinets and pantry doors.
* Paper the back of glass cabinets or open shelves and turn the display of everyday china into a work of art.
* Tap into your creativity: layer wallpaper with a coordinating border and removable wall decals. Or, if there’s a hard-to-reach angle where wallpaper won’t work, use a complementary wall decal to pull the look together.
* If the seating in your kitchen faces one wall, create an art installation by placing individual peel-and-stick wall decals in store-bought frames in a pattern on the wall.
To find additional information on wallpaper, visit www.yorkwall.com.

Create Beautiful Gifts on a Dime

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – A beautifully wrapped gift can make any present look like a million bucks. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a gift-wrap expert to make your gifts shine. Follow these simple, inexpensive tips for giving the perfect present every time.
Be prepared. Stock up on wrapping paper, tissue paper, bows and gift bags at discount stores like Dollar General. Pre-and post-holiday sales provide great opportunities to stock up on the essentials. Pick some neutral designs, and you’ll be ready for birthdays and other celebrations as well as the holidays. And don’t forget necessities such as tape, scissors and pens.
Keep it simple. Wrapping doesn’t have to be elaborate to be beautiful. Combine a solid wrapping paper with a patterned bow. Or, go for a funky look by mixing polka dot paper with plaid ribbon. Use pre-made bows to ensure the perfect bow. No time to shop for gift wrap? Use the comics section from the Sunday paper for fun and colorful gift wrap.
Box it up. Wrap your gifts easily with boxes, tins or bags that need no adornment or accessorizing. Stock up on solid color gift bags that can be used year-round by simply placing your gift in the bag with a few sheets of tissue paper. Take advantage of the festive, fun and inexpensive boxes and tins at discount stores. They make baked goods and small gifts look special with little effort.
Use scrapbook trim. Put your scrapbooking expertise to work when wrapping gifts. Stickers and embellishments typically used for scrapbooking are great for putting special touches on presents. With the variety of tools and accessories available, it’s easy and inexpensive to personalize your gift.
Accessorize with style. Adorn your package with something other than a bow. Does the recipient have a sweet tooth? Top things off with a candy cane or wrapped cookie. Add a personal touch with a keepsake ornament or small picture frame with the photo of a grandchild or favorite pet. Unique accessories will impress friends and family before they even open the present.

Spruce Up Your Fall Wardrobe for Less

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – As the temperatures get colder, families start packing up their shorts and sundresses and pulling last year’s warmer garments from boxes. And inevitably, many of last autumn’s clothes no longer fit or are too worn.
Replacing entire wardrobes can create unneeded stress, but there are ways to dress the whole family without breaking the bank.
* Look for versatile wardrobe staples. Women and girls should build their wardrobe with a nice skirt or dress, dress pants, jeans, sweaters and a jacket. Men and boys need khaki pants, jeans, sweaters and collared shirts.
* Skip fancy department stores. You’ll save time and money by shopping at your local discount retailer. You’ll find inexpensive basic apparel, often for less than $16 apiece.
* Look for deals on denim. Everyone in your family is going to want several pairs of jeans, and those price tags can add up quickly. There are inexpensive lines available today that still offer quality and value. Dollar General sells Bobbie Brooks 5-pocket stretch denim for women, starting at $12, and Open Trails denim for men, starting at $10.
* Stock up on basics. Fall is the perfect time to assess your undergarments. Toss old or ill-fitting underwear, t-shirts and socks. Replace these pieces inexpensively with value packages of underwear and socks, which can be found at your local discount retailer.
* Find fun, useful accessories. Scarves, hats and gloves allow you to express your personality or embrace the newest trends in colors and patterns without breaking the bank. Better yet, they can help dress up wardrobe staples that will last for years, so you won’t spend money on a jacket or dress that will be unwearable by next fall.
* Sell old clothes. If your children are still growing, chances are there are some gently used, outgrown items taking up closet space. Take old clothes to a consignment store or thrift shop to make a little extra money to put towards updating their wardrobe.
For more information on the fashions available at Dollar General, visit www.dollargeneral.com.

Be Prepared When the Rubber Meets the Snow

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Millions of motorists will be taking to the highways and byways for holiday travel, so the experts at the nonprofit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) remind drivers to have their vehicle checked out before heading out. “Breakdowns in winter conditions can be especially dangerous,” notes Martin Lawson, ASE’s editorial director.

The following tips from ASE will help vehicle owners choose a good repair shop.

* Start shopping for a repair facility before you need one.

* Ask your friends and associates for their recommendations, and consult local consumer groups.

* Arrange for alternate transportation in advance so you will not feel forced to choose a shop based solely on location.

* Look for a neat, well-organized facility, with vehicles in the parking lot equal in value to your own and modern equipment in the service bays.

* Look for a courteous staff, with a service consultant or technicians willing to answer your questions.

* Look for policies regarding estimated repair costs, diagnostic fees, guarantees and acceptable methods of payment.

* Ask if the repair facility specializes or if it usually handles your type of repair work.

* Look for signs of professionalism in the customer service area such as civic, community, or customer service awards.

* Look for evidence of qualified technicians: trade school diplomas, certificates of advanced course work, and certification by ASE indicate the presence of professional, trained technicians.

* Look for the ASE sign. ASE was founded in 1972 to improve the quality of automotive service and repair through the voluntary testing and certification of automotive professionals. ASE-certified technicians wear blue and white ASE shoulder insignia and carry credentials listing their exact area(s) of certification, while their employers display the blue and white ASE sign.

* Be ready to describe any changes in your vehicle’s handling or performance or other issues. Do not be embarrassed to ask for simple definitions for any technical terms you find unfamiliar.

* Reward good service with repeat business and customer loyalty.

Visit www.ase.com for more information, including seasonal car-care tips.

Fashionable Advice for a Career Wardrobe on a Budget

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – In the workforce, as the job market becomes more competitive, appearances can either make or break you. Yet, many Americans don’t have the money to keep up with their bills, much less update their wardrobe with fashion-forward staples. But looking professional doesn’t have to require a bank loan. It just takes a little clothing-care know-how.

According to a recent national survey sponsored by Woolite, 70 percent of American women surveyed admitted to throwing away clothing at least once a year due to misinformed laundry decisions that resulted in pilling, fading, stretching or bleeding of clothes. In fact, nearly $2 billion worth of clothing was ruined last year due to laundry-related mistakes.

Stacy London, co-host of TLC’s fashion show “What Not to Wear,” offers these tips for the working fashionista looking to maintain her look on a budget:

– First and foremost, take care of the clothes you have. Avoid ruining the clothes you already own by following each garment’s cleaning instructions. Using a non-harsh detergent, like Woolite, on all of your favorite fashions can help to protect your style investments and extend an outfit’s life.

– Shop your closet. A-line skirts and simple cardigans never go out of style, so if you already own a few, stop pushing them to the back of the closet. Combine that A-line skirt with a colorful blouse and a curve-complementing blazer, and you’ll be more than ready for your next presentation.

– Invest in versatile pieces. When you do shop for professional clothing, look for pieces that can be worn in and out of the office. The blazer is an easy flattering transition piece that can be translated from day to night. Find a “little black dress” in three season fabrics to get the most wear all year round.

Having recently partnered with Woolite to create the “Find the Look, Keep the Look” program, London is dedicated to educating clothes-minded individuals on looking their best every day. Ten boutique owners from across the country have also joined this partnership to offer their insight on regional style trends. Together, they created the “Look Book,” a compilation of basic wardrobe must-haves. The entire book is available online for free at www.findthelookkeepthelook.com.

Stacy London’s Tips on Updating Your Wardrobe

<b>Stacy London’s Tips on Updating Your Wardrobe</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – When it comes to finding a new look this spring, it’s less about spending and more about closet creativity. According to fashion expert and host of TLC’s “What Not To Wear,” Stacy London, “this season, use the basic rules of fashion and fabric care to re-create spring’s hottest looks.”

Fashion basic 101: Shop your closet first. You may already have some key items within your wardrobe that can stand as a strong foundation. Building upon key pieces, like a little black dress, can be an easy way to update your style without breaking the bank.

Regardless of the monetary or emotional price, in today’s economy, clothing can be seen as an investment. “Women spend so much time finding their perfect look, it is important to educate them on helping to extend the life of their wardrobe,” says London.

Having recently partnered with Woolite to create the “Find the Look, Keep the Look” program, London is dedicated to helping educate clothes-minded individuals on looking their best every day.

Ten boutique owners from across the country have also joined this partnership to offer their insight on regional style trends. Together, they created the “Look Book,” a compilation of basic must-haves to update your wardrobe. The entire book is available online for free at www.findthelookkeepthelook.com.

Stacy’s Style Tips

– Protect your style investments. According to a recent survey sponsored by Woolite, over $2 billion worth of clothing was ruined last year due to laundry-related mistakes. A non-harsh detergent like Woolite is the key to extending the closet-life of your favorite wardrobe pieces. It’s easy to breathe new life into classic wardrobe basics if they have been maintained through proper laundry care.

– Shop your (or your boy-friend’s) closet. Chances are, you probably already have key pieces to build on to re-create spring’s biggest trends. One must-have silhouette for spring is the relax-fit pant — AKA the boyfriend jean.

– Be bold with color. Bold, neon colors are back in a big way. To update your look, try punching up a neutral outfit with a touch of bold color. No need to go neon head-to-toe to translate this hot look.

– Make a statement with accessories. Big necklaces can streamline a silhouette and quickly update a dull outfit.