Fresh Design Ideas for Summer!

The change of seasons brings about many new aesthetics from clothing style to interior design. If you’re thinking about updating your space this summer, I’d like to introduce you to J Design Group. CEO/Founder Jennifer Corredor has worked on premier projects around the world.

Beyond luxury homes, J Design Group has been responsible for the sensational interiors of hotels, restaurants, financial institutions, corporate facilities, casinos, and resorts on an international scale. They have accumulated many prestigious accolades including the Best of Houzz 2015 award in Design and Client Satisfaction.


Read the interview with Jennifer.

Faten (FA): How should one get started without feeling overwhelmed?
Jennifer Corredor (JC):  If one is concerned about being overwhelmed, this could be achieved by doing room by room, so as not to feel the effects of pressure. However, the design as a whole should be done on the onset so that the design overall at the end will flow.

FA:  What are some must have pieces that should be in a living space?
JC: One very important piece of furniture that is always necessary is to have is a comfortable sofa that one can enjoy and relax.

FA: What are some tips on updating for those on a budget?
JC: Always remember designing these days that there is an array of products that are very well priced and it can be more easily achieved and cost effective.
Having the space plan is a must before purchasing or making any decisions.

FA: Which celebrity did you update their space? 
JCWe have designed homes for several celebrities, though our clients are very private and prefer not to be mentioned.

 For additional information or to schedule a design consultation, visit www.jdesigngroup.com.

Kickstarter Project: Fla_ver Candies and Dispensers


 

When was the last time you saw something truly unique in the candy market? Fla-Ver Candies needs your help getting the message of their sweet goodness out to the market! Looking to raise $10,000, Fla-Ver Candies are a delicious new twist in the candy arena, and are launching a uniquely artistic Fla-Ver Candies Dispenser that will spice up any space!
Just what are Fla-Ver Dispensers and Fla-Ver Candies? They are artisan-designed candy dispensers filled with mouth-watering Fla-Ver candies and are like nothing else out there! Each Fla-Ver candy is a treat for your senses with a satisfying texture that is just the right amount of crunch, and delicious natural flavors that are sure to give your mouth a burst with only a few calories! Foodies rejoice—these are the candies your palette has been craving! The natural flavors paired with fun colors make Fla-Ver Candies the grownup’s choice for a flavorful treat. Choose from yummy options like Mint, Lime Chipotle, or Cherry just to name a few!
Fla-Ver Dispensers are the perfect addition to your stylish office or swanky restaurant where you want to offer a sweet treat, without sacrificing your sense of style with a bulky candy dispenser. Each Fla-Ver dispenser is artisan made, and features a slim and attractive design with a sustainable bamboo base.
For more information, check out  

Feature Friday: Meet Jennifer Harshman

Every Friday, I plan to feature a woman who has a talent to share with the world.  I would like for you to meet Jennifer Harshman--freelance editor, writer, and writers' coach.


Faten Abdallah (FA):  What inspired you to become a writer?
Jennifer Harshman
Jennifer Harshman (JH): I started writing stories when I was three years old, just after I'd learned to read, because I realized that a person wrote the storybooks I read and that meant that I could write stories, too. Writing was natural to me. Many good writers did not experience an early epiphany or any kind of ease with writing, however, so people shouldn't be discouraged if they aren't "natural writers," or if they experience writer's block.

FA:  How do you avoid writer's block?
JH: Writer's block is usually not caused by a lack of ideas, but too many ideas along with a lack of decisiveness or direction. In between editing clients' books, coaching, and running a homeschooling household, I write a blog post a week, but I have several of my own books in the to-write stack. Part of it is a lack of time—I'm booked solid for 10 months out (for which I am very grateful)—but part of it is indecision, too. Last week I found myself with a spare hour, and a friend suggested I write for myself. I asked which of the eight books I should work on, and I laughed, but it is a serious problem. I ended up taking a much-needed nap, telling myself that within a week I would make a list of the books in the order in which I'm going to write them. (I did it.) 

Writers can avoid or break writer's block in many ways, and I wrote about a number of them here http://www.harshmanservices.com/get-past-writers-block/   and here:

FA:  What kinds of things have you written?
JH: ​I've written a wide variety of things, including poetry, grant proposals, articles, website content, radio commercials, ad copy, blog posts, manuals, and books. So far, the books I've written have all been done as a ghostwriter or under a pseudonym. I have a few books that will come out under my own name, but right now I have a list of books to edit for clients, and I keep my commitments.

 FA: Can anyone be a writer? What should a new writer know?
JH: It's so tempting to say that anyone can be a writer, and, with enough commitment to it and with proper help, perhaps it's true. I've seen some writers who were terrible writers, and there's no nice way to pretty-up that fact. I've helped some of those writers improve greatly, and I've helped some book manuscripts go from "Ohmagoodness, this is awful" to five-star reviews. Practice and a good editor and/or writing coach can make all the difference.

A new writer should know that while anyone can be published now (thanks to self-publishing), it is still hard to succeed. It can take years of hard work. There is no guarantee that anyone will buy your books. 

Writing is not a one-shot deal. The book, Write.Publish.Repeat. urges writers to write their book, publish it, and get busy on the next one, learning and improving their books as they go along. 

A new writer should also know that everywhere she turns, right in front of her eyes will be another "how to succeed at writing" book or course. She'll sign up for one newsletter and then will see a dozen more, and she'll buy one book and then Amazon will get in on the conspiracy to get her to spend more money on learning how to be a successful writer, and it will suggest six more books for her to buy. A dollar here, eight dollars there, or, in the case of courses, $300 here, $2,000 there . . . It won't take long before her spouse or accountant has steam coming out his ears and she realizes that she could buy and consume a thousand of those things and they still won't write her book for her.
       ​
FA: Some people think it is not necessary to hire or work with an editor.  What's the point of an editor?
JH: Many people think they don't need an editor. This is caused by one of a few things: 
  • They are extremely egotistical and won't admit that they need something that everyone else needs (a little ego can come in handy when it comes to promoting their work, but too much is a bad thing).
  • They think readers are stupid and won't notice that a book hasn't been edited. (Readers are smart, and they notice. Don't try to cheat them.) 
  • They don't know even the basics, because if they did, they'd know that everyone needs an editor. Everyone. And not just one editor, but often two, because there are two very different types of editing, and it's important to get an editor for each kind.  
  • They are lying to themselves and others by saying they don't need an editor. This may be because they don't have the money to hire a good editor, or it may be because they are too egotistical.
​Why is it so important to hire an editor? Any piece of writing is not ready for publication until after it's been edited (and proofread) at least once. Would you sell any other product to a consumer in an unfinished, unprepared state—a wedding cake without frosting, a home without doors and windows? Then don't do it with your writing. 

What if a writer can't afford an editor? Not all editors are expensive, but writers should expect to pay the industry standard rates set forth by the book titled, Writer's Market. Not only should a writer not skip editing, a writer should not have their cousin's neighbor's old-maid aunt who used to be an English teacher "edit" the book for her. With very rare exceptions, English teachers do not make good editors. 

The writer should find a good editor, and then work out a deal. Maybe the writer supplies the editor with 72 quarts of organic apple butter and applesauce made from the trees in his yard, in addition to paying half the editor's rate.​ Maybe a writer makes an arrangement with the editor to make monthly payments until she turns into an old man with a beard. Just about anything would be better than to publish a book without having it edited by a professional first.

Over the years, I've learned that it might take me a while to write something, but that's okay. Sometimes, though, a full book has come pouring out of me over the course of a few days, and I did nothing but write and sleep, and at the end of those few days, I needed to be showered, probably with a garden hose, from a distance. 

FA: What have you learned about yourself as a writer and editor?
JH: I've also learned that four of my strengths combine to make me a good editor who keeps clients coming back for more. 

1) I have a penchant for taking something that already exists and making it better.
2) Helping people say what they're trying to say comes very easily to me. I don't "take over" an author's book like many editors do. It's still the author's story after I edit it, just better.  
3) I have often been the "bridge" between people or groups, and I facilitate connections.
4) Having read 15,764 books now and adding more every day (most people, including editors, read fewer than 1,000 books in their whole lives), I have seen thousands of examples of how it's done, so errors jump out at me.

​When I decided to start editing books as a freelance editor, I drew on not only the libraries full of books I'd read, but on my years of experience editing and proofreading hundreds of papers and all of the writing at the places I'd worked. People sense who the good writer is, who the natural editor in the company is; no matter where I worked, people brought to me the things that needed to be written or edited. 

I started prospecting by emailing major publishing houses to see if they needed a freelance line editor. While doing that, I felt a sudden urge to visit the chat room on a certain website where I was a member. I thought it was weird, because that website was totally unrelated to anything in the world of writing or editing, and I wasn't one to use chat rooms. Why that, why now? I thought. But I listened and did it. Only one other person was in there, and we said hi and chatted a minute. When I said I had to get back to querying publishing companies as a freelance editor, he said his wife needed an editor for her book. Within minutes, I had met my first client. ​We emailed back and forth and came to an agreement, and now I do all of her books, and she sends me referrals. That was 2009, and I've never looked back. I now have clients who swear they'll stick with me for life, and I also have a waiting list 10 months long. Every single day—usually multiple times a day—I give thanks for my clients and the business they bring me. Without them, there would be no HarshmanServices.com. It is my honor and privilege to help writers make their writing better, and to encourage them through the whole process. My best wishes, thoughts, and prayers go out for everyone reading this.    

Business Resource: Newest Online Retail Haven: Shop on Main

Imagine taking a stroll down Main Street, going from boutique to boutique, window shopping, and purchasing the latest trends, all while sitting in front of your computer screen. Imagine engaging with fellow fashionistas and building personalized neighborhoods consisting of your favorite stores from across the country with just the click of a mouse.

These luxuries cannot be found on traditional online retail websites, but ShopOnMain.com is now here to make all of your virtual fashion dreams come true!

With ShopOnMain.com you can fully delight in your shopping desires, with direct access to the best online boutiques across the country. The site is fully interactive, allowing you to connect with other users through its social media channel without the hassle of trolls and stalkers, all while browsing the website as if you are strolling along the boulevard, browsing as you go.

So, I wanted to know more about Shop on Main because I am a big fan of Main Streets, USA, because you can find unique shops.  The interview is me: FA and SM is Shop on Main.



Faten (FA)What inspired the creation of Shop on Main?

Shop on Main (SM): We had several small business clients who were frustrated with their online sales.  We found that it was nearly impossible to help them within the confines of the current online sales platforms available. Most are not really set up favorably for the small business. You wind up competing solely on price, and sometimes the platforms themselves will even compete against you. Worse, the shopper often doesn’t even know exactly whom they are purchasing from. Small businesses spend time, effort and money building their store –but- the only business shoppers see is the platform itself.


So we wanted to create something that would be a better experience for small businesses, especially our clients.


But how to make it appealing to shoppers? Why should they come here instead of visiting the places that already exist? This is what led us to develop the idea of creating a unique experience for shoppers. One where you can shop like we do in the real world.  Pick an area (say San Francisco) then explore and discover … rather than hunt, add it to your cart and buy.


So really, we’re hoping to create something new on two fronts: A better experience for merchants, and a unique experience for shoppers. 

FA: Who is behind the website?
SM: JJSmith Marketing. We’re a small company that handles internet marketing for clients. Our founder, Joseph Smith, was involved in online and software companies like Amazon.com in their earliest days. He took this knowledge and built a small team of talented dreamers who are just crazy enough to think they can change the world. The online world, anyway. 

FA: What do the owners/creators hope Shop on Main will achieve?
SM: Right now, millions of tiny little Mom and Pop stores have their existence threatened not only by big box stores, but by the rise of online shopping. We envision a path to getting those stores online in a way that allows them to use the power of the internet FOR their businesses rather than feeling that it’s something they can’t quite make work. Or worse, something that’s an actual threat to their shops.


We want to create a place where merchants can grow their businesses together with thousands of other merchants from across the country, without just a race to the lowest price.


We see a place where shoppers can connect with those businesses and support them. But also, where shoppers can feel enriched by the shopping experience. Where you can spend an hour when you’re stuck on the bus or at the waiting room and walk away without feeling like you’ve wasted time, but instead that you’ve been somewhere, that you’ve experienced something new.


This is where you can find the unique gems that are hidden in stores all over the country (and eventually the world!) that aren’t found online now, because it’s not worth the effort for the smallest stores to add them to the giant shopping platforms.  

FA: What can our readers on the site?  Why should they stop there?
SM: If they’re merchants, they should definitely talk to us about creating a store listing. Even if they’ve never sold products online before, we can help them get set up and make it work in a way that truly benefits them. We have some special benefits laid out for the merchants who sign up before we open to the public that will definitely make it worthwhile to sign up now rather than later when we’re the big thing online.


If you’re a shopper, then we have our “First Shoppers Club.” As we gear up to launch the site in the next 2-3 months, we need people that want to provide feedback in exchange for some really nice perks and benefits. What do they think of the experience as it unfolds? What do we need to add or change to make it truly unique for them?


We need to know what real shoppers think, and if they’ll actually provide that feedback we’ll make it well worth their while!

FA: How is Shop on Main similar/different to Shop on Main Street in real life?
SM: For one thing, it will be open 24 hours a day. So if you want to see what’s new at the store on the corner (or the corner in San Francisco or New York City) you can do that at 3 am. You’ll be able to add products to your cart from different stores all over the country and only check out once (we’ll divide the money and get it to the correct stores on our end, so for them it’s as if you checked out there, but for you it’s seamless).


It will be similar to shopping Main Street in that you can browse the stores in a particular area without having a certain product in mind. Merchants will be able to create a “store front window” that they can completely customize – some may want to show you certain product images in that window, some may want to show you a video of their quirky storefront, or a video of the owner saying hello… or maybe they just have text they want to put there for you to read. So as you scroll through your results, it’s like walking down a street and seeing which doors you want to open up, walk in and check out. 

FA: Anything else to add?
SM: Merchants are going to be the key to this entire experience. So if you have products to sell, definitely get in touch! And if you’re a shopper who has a favorite store you’d really like to see, please let us know!

What makes you happy? Minions? Freebies? Well, how about Minion Freebies?



Minion Freebie - Educents 3

These free math activities on Educents offers 22 printable pages of math activities for Minion fans. It covers addition, subtraction, measurement, money, and more!

Minion Math Centers Freebie

  • Minion Addition (to 12)
  • Minion Subtraction (to 12)
  • Minions Making Ten
  • Minion Measurement
  • Minion Money Match
  • Missing Minion Numbers
  • Minion Number Cards
Minion Freebie - Educents 2 If you're looking for more ways to make math learning fun, check this out:

Early Math Musical DVDs

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This DVD set from Rock 'N' Learn is a fun way to boost math skills for the early grades. Like the Minions, these DVDs have fun characters your little ones will love to get to know! Math facts are easy to learn with fun music and exciting animation. Learn all about counting coins and bills and practice making change. Kids will learn to tell time to the hour, half hour, and minute using traditional analog clocks. Includes Addition & Subtraction Rap DVD, Money & Making Change DVD, and the Telling Time DVD. I hope this math freebie made by Amy of Teaching in Blue Jeans makes you happy. Download the Free Minion Math Centers, then go ahead and do a little dance! :) 

College-Bound: How to Save on Dorm Room Furnishings

by 

Andrea Woroch


While overall spending on back-to-school is slightly down this year compared to last year, one category is poised to see a big uptick: dorm decor and furnishings. According to the National Retail Federation, college-bound students and their families will dish out over $126 on goods for their rooms, a nearly 25-percent increase over spending reports from 2014.

Since dorms and off-college abodes can be expensive to furnish, buying desks, futon frames and chairs from flea markets and Craigslist is a good idea. However, it's important to know what your other options are when community inventory runs thin. Plus, everybody has a style and you likely want to impart some of your flare on your furnishings!

Read on for seven ways to get college-ready for less.

Scout delivery options close to campus.
To compete with online retailers, brick-and-mortar stores are increasingly offering "ship-to-store" options to customers. This strategy is great for college kids on the move, as relocating hefty pieces of furniture across the state or country can be a cumbersome and expensive endeavor. Shop stores like Kohl's and Best Buy and get your products delivered to the store located closest to campus. JCPenney takes is a step further, offering free shipping to anywhere in the country - including dorm rooms! - on orders of $99 or more. 

Find furniture at discount retailers.
Ross, TJMaxx and HomeGoods all have selections of furnishings great for dorm rooms and apartments, not to mention cheap decor items. Look for end tables, desk chairs, dressers and even recliners and dining room chairs. Increase your savings by purchasing a discounted gift card to these retailers through Gift Card Granny, a discount gift card comparison site. Currently, you can save up to 20% off cards to TJMaxx.

Network for savings.
Remember when your parents brought your Girl Scout or Boy Scout fundraiser to their workplaces and you made bank? Well, they can take a similar approach now that you're heading off to college. Ask your parents if they'd be willing to send an email to their networks - business, social, etc. - asking if anyone has furnishings they're planning to get rid of. This will capture anyone who planned to sell or give away furnishings but hadn't posted it to Craigslist or Facebook yet, giving you first dibs!

Take advantage of gift cards.
Back-to-school is a huge event for "free gift card with purchase" offers, and while you may be tempted to go on a shopping spree with these freebies, it's best to apply them strategically. Instead of buying all your dorm room furnishings, decor items and other needed supplies in one haul, calculate which items you should purchase to score a free gift card, then purchase the rest in a separate transaction and use the gift card to offset your total expense. For example, Target is currently offering a free $20 gift card when you spend $100 on college items. Additionally, you can find Target coupon codes through sites like CouponSherpa.com, and save an additional $25 off your $100 purchase through Aug. 1.

Consider craft stores.
For unique storage solutions, kitschy decor and even night stands, check out such craft chain stores as Hobby Lobby and JoAnn Fabric. While these stores specialize in fabric and craft-making, they also have tons of decor items and select furnishings that often cost much less than furniture stores. Plus, you can typically find a coupon for 40 to 50% off one item from each store and redeem it through your smartphone using a coupon app.

Shop online for savings.
Online stores like Wayfair and Overstock offer tons of furnishings and decor items available for free or low-cost shipping. These cute side tables on Overstock, for example, are currently 50-percent off and ship for just $2.95. Wayfair is advertising up to 70% off dorm-room essentials including a Mesh Task Chair for $48.99 (originally $199.99) and a chic six-piece comforter set for $43.99 (originally $92.99). It's always a good idea to compare prices, so install the PriceBlink or Invisible Hand browser add-ons to get notified if something you're looking at is better priced elsewhere. Just don't forget to factor in shipping costs!

Bring the outdoors in.
Summer is eclipsed by back-to-school season, making all things warm-weather and carefree on clearance. That includes patio furniture and accessories, and some of these items look and function just as nicely indoors. Think wicker chairs, mosaic accent tables and area rugs. For example, Wayfair currently has a stylish 5-foot square grey and beige outdoor area rug available for $64.99, down from the original price of $125.51. 

Andrea Woroch is a consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc. From smart spending tips to personal finance advice, Andrea transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers. As a sought-after media source, she has been featured among such top news outlets as Good Morning America, Today, CNN, Dr. OZ, New York Times, MONEY Magazine, Huffington Post, Forbes and many more. For more information, visit AndreaWoroch.com or follow her on Twitter for daily savings advice and tips.

Violin Starter Set for Kids - On Sale Now!


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Perfect for beginners, this Violin Starter Set contains everything your child needs to play the violin.

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What’s more, it includes a great teacher, the award-winning eMedia My Violin interactive Win/Mac CD-ROM. Available in three sizes so kids as young as 5 can learn to play! Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 5.24.25 PM

Here's what Kole, age 11, has to say about the Violin Starter Set for Kids.

Kole has a point - what is the difference between a fiddle and a violin? Do you know?? Leave your answer in the comments!! Here's more ideas on how you can incorporate music to your lessons:
Check out the Violin Starter Set for Kids - now only $99! Or, if you're looking for more musical education resources, browse through hundreds of offers on Educents.
Big thanks to Kole for his wonderful review of the Violin Starter Set!!

*contains an affiliate link

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