Simple Fall Mantle with Budget Friendly Items

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8.20 Fall Mantle Decor - Give ThanksSimple Fall Mantle

Do you change the decor on your mantle for each season?  Well here is a Simple Fall Mantle idea… of course you can mix an match styles to add your own personal touch.

These are just ideas of course.  Some become non-budget with shipping costs, BUT you get the idea.  Be sure to check your local craft stores as well.

Send me a picture of what you create!

Price was current as of this posting but Amazon prices are subject to change without notice.

Make Over Your Mornings – 14 Day Online Course!

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TODAY is the launch of Crystal Paine’s brand-new 14-day Make Over Your Mornings course.

Do you have trouble getting started in the morning?  Do you feel overwhelmed and end up getting nothing accomplished?  Do you often wake up feeling behind—before you even get out of bed?  Are you constantly frustrated that it seems like you are so busy, but you have very little to show for all your effort?  Are you worn down and worn out by all the hats you are wearing and balls you are juggling?

Do you wish you could find time to refuel your tank, improve your health, invest more into your family, or even just to slow down and breathe?

This course walks you, step-by-step, through a process that creates a routine that will:

  • Prioritize nourishing your soul before launching your day
  • Streamline your mornings (and your whole day)
  • Create a to-do list that serves (not strangles)
  • Establish accountability
  • Set short- and long-term goals, and SO MUCH MORE!

mym-complete-set-cropEvery day of this course covers a different topic – from streamlining mornings to setting up bedtime routines to goal-setting to creating a task management system, and much more – but the beauty is that it takes only 15 minutes a day to complete! 

The course includes a handbook, a video, and a daily project.

I met Hal Elrod last year and have already started Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning routine which is awesome!  Research shows successful people are morning people and you can become one too.  I cannot wait to add some of Crystal’s learnings into my morning as well.

7 am to 12 pm ET: Just $7!
12 pm to 5 pm ET: Only $10!
5 pm to 12 am ET: Only $13!
25% Of All Sales From Our Site On Launch Day Go to South Africa!

Head on over to to learn more about the course, and get in on the rock-bottom price for this fabulous course today!

How to Give your Kitchen a Face-Lift on a Budget

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10 Ways to Give Your Kitchen a Face-lift on a Budget

Are you tired of your old, outdated kitchen but don’t have the money for a total kitchen makeover?

Do you hope and pray that HGTV’s Kitchen Crashers will show up at your door and look for camera crews whenever you enter Lowes or Home Depot?  YES I know they are always on the West Coast, but a girl can dream.

I am looking to make some changes in my kitchen so stay tuned as I will take before and after photos.  My cabinets are a pinkish, white (circa 1990’s) color.  I have found out it is pickled oak or something – but I HATE IT.

While you and I wait to be discovered or win the lottery there are MANY inexpensive things you can do to give your kitchen that much needed face-lift and in some cases a whole new look and feel.


RULE NUMBER ONE IN LIFE or anything – Make the most of what you’ve got!

Assuming your cabinets are still in decent shape, there are many things you can do to make a HUGE change.  Try sanding them down and adding a new color stain to them or paint them for a whole new look. Of course if they are currently painted you will need to buy paint stripper and remove the paint, then sand them down and stain them.  This can be very time consuming but can save you a bundle.

Be creative – add chalkboard paint to a couple doors for quick memo’s, grocery list or menu.  I LOVE chalkboard paint and decals! Even if you are not a DIY’er, do not be afraid to get quotes to have them painted – you never know it may be in your budget.

Did you paint your cabinets – did you go darker or lighter?


If the cabinets are not falling off the wall you can change the look by changing the doors, molding and more.  Replace all the doors (way cheaper than new cabinets) or even REMOVE some doors for an OPEN SHELF look.

Add beadboard around islands or at the end of the cabinets.  Add crown moulding or other details.

How have you modified your cabinets?


You would be amazed the change you will see just by changing the hardware on your cabinets and drawers.  Many home improvement stores typically carry a large variety of kitchen hardware.  Find knobs and pulls that compliment your other decor.  Another good tip, remove old rusted, paint covered hinges and replace then with new shiny ones.


This is a tough one, but you can look for sales on discontinued flooring at home improvement stores and flooring dealers.  Do not forget Craigslist and Freecycle as well.

Sometimes you can get used wood you can just reinstall, sand and finish like new. If new flooring is out of your budget, buy one large, inexpensive area rug or check for carpet remnants to brighten up your kitchen.


Give your walls and ceiling a fresh coat of paint.  Change the color… do not be afraid to be BOLD but make sure you use a good quality semi-gloss paint so you can easily wash your walls when necessary.


There are many new counter materials out there in addition to expensive granite.  Laminate countertops are an inexpensive option and offer a large variety of designs that look like high end granite or soapstone countertops.  Ceramic tile is also a budget friendly option to update the countertops.

BUT if new counters are not an option at all, you can update outdated laminate countertops with a new coat of paint. Simply sand down the top and paint with a paint made specifically made for laminates.  I had no idea you could paint it to look like granite – WOW!


Did you know there is peel & stick wall tiles for around $10/sqft you can use for a back splash.  You could also choose to use wallpaper that imitates the look of tile for another inexpensive choice.

I also love the idea of old tin tiles or even beadboard.  Be sure to check out the clearance section at your local home improvement center and to save even more money and do the installation yourself.


This is one that is haunting me because though I have beautiful vaulted ceilings that I love – I CANNOT SEE A THING in my kitchen. One easy fix is to add some under cabinet lighting that adds a decorative touch as well as extra lighting. They typically come in sets, and are easy to install, and can you can add them under your existing upper cabinets.

Check out funky over the sink lighting fixtures or even a free standing lamp on an island to add some character.


Just like you change the throw pillows, curtains and wall art in your living room, do the same for your kitchen!  Add new dish towels and window curtains for added touches of color.  Look for unique new pictures and artwork for the walls.

Remember that PINTEREST and GOOGLE are your friends.

What cool things have you done to your kitchen? Would love to see it!

7 Kitchen Hacks to Save you Time and Aggravation

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7 Kitchen Hacks blog

7 Kitchen Hacks to Save you Time & Aggravation

Over a period of time in the kitchen, you eventually start to learn things that make your life easier.  Saving time allows you to enjoy time doing the other things in life that you love.

Some of these tips & tricks are referred to as “kitchen wins” or “kitchen hacks” and there is a seemingly endless flow of them out there. The ones that are best for us are really unique to each individual. What you cook and how often is a large determining factor.

That said, here are seven kitchen hacks that many already know (of course I did not – LOL), but ones that most can use on a regular basis.

Boil potatoes with skin on to peel them

Making mashed potatoes without the skin used to be a nightmare. Peeling all those potatoes – especially when honestly, I do not even like mashed potatoes – but with an Irish husband, well you know.

Did you know that you can boil potatoes with the skin on and when they are done, the skin will literally peel off? No more peeling potatoes folks.  After washing just score the potato around the middle with a paring knife (just through the skin).  Once they are boiled, drain off the hot water.  Be very careful to allow them to cool before using your hands, but then run under cold water and peel the skins right off with your fingers.

What are your favorite POTATO Tips & Tricks?

Shake hard-boiled eggs to peel them

Another irritating thing to try to do in the kitchen is to peel hard-boiled eggs.  Of course using older eggs to hard boil always helps, but you can also SHAKE the shells off.

Place them in a tupperware container (or you can actually try using the pan with a cover as well) filled 1/2 way with water and shake them around for several minutes. When you remove the lid, they will come right off.

I am also going to try this really cool “Blow the Egg Out Method” by Tim Ferris…

What are your favorite Hard Boiled Eggs Tips & Tricks?

Use Non-Stick cooking spray to speed up grating

I have asked a million people.  When you grate things – cheese, veggies, garlic, anything – how the heck do you get the stuff off the grater.  Especially when it is something small like garlic.  I loose the whole clove in the grater.

Who knew that a simple spray of non-stick cooking spray could eliminate that problem completely? I didn’t but I do now. This works like magic with cheese in particular.

Do you have other Grating Tips & Tricks?

Core your lettuce by hitting it on a hard surface

I love this one because I can always feel like I am smashing someones head (some days you just need that – LOL!).  Some restaurants need this lesson as well.  If I get one more salad that is mostly core I think I will scream.

Anyway you can just take the core of the lettuce and aim it down towards the surface. Bring the core firmly down on a cutting board or hard surface and you can then pull the core right out

Obviously this is for a head of lettuce, NOT romaine – LOL!

Keep your knives sharp by using flat side to scrape items off cutting board

I wonder how many people do this? When you are cutting or dicing on a cutting board, do you turn the knife when you scrape things to the side or into a bowl?

Dull knives can really slow things down in the kitchen – as well as frustrate the cook.  Using the sharp side to drag things back and forth will dull them quickly. Flip it over and use the flat side of the knife for that.  If you have a knife block be sure to store them flat side down as well.

How do you keep your Knives Sharp?

Store Ice Cream in a Ziploc bag

After you open a gallon of ice cream store it in a ziploc bag.  This will keep it SOFT and fresh so you do not break your wrist or bend your spoon when you go for a scoop.

Put your most commonly used utensils right by the stove

This sounds obvious, but how many times are you digging through a drawer for what you need?  Pick the five things you use the most (tongs, wooden spoon, etc) and place them in a container directly beside the stove. Why not have the most common things you use handy, right? A mason jar, vase or even a cookie jar can make a cute option for this.

Wait until you see my solution for storing my new Elevate Utensil set (pictures coming this weekend – I hope).

These kitchen hacks are far from the only ones out there and may be obvious to you but not everyone knows.

What kitchen hacks, tips or tricks are you using on a daily basis that you can share?

I would love to post regularly on this topic, so send me your tips!

FREE Daily & Weekly Planner Pages

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It is a NEW YEAR which means we all need to GET ORGANIZED!

My facebook followers are the BEST even though facebook has made it VERY hard for you to see posts all the time.  You are all a great community who help each other out to save time, money, mind, body & soul!

So to help you reach your goals I have created this 5-page Daily & Weekly Planner packet for all facebook followers to help you get organized.  Here is what you will find:

Daily Planner page – features appointments, TO-DO items, food journal along with exercise & water checkoff

Week at a Glance – plan your week as well as document weekly goals

Weekly Fitness Plan – create a healthy meal plan, document & plan your cardio and strength training along with your fitness goals

Monthly Budget – Create your monthly Budget and track category spending

Expense Tracker – document expenses all month long to roll up into your Monthly Budget form

Hope some of these basic pages will help you.  Use them all or use a few – whatever fits your life and your goals.

DOWNLOAD the FREE Daily & Weekly Planner pages –>HERE

Facebook: How to See what YOU Want in your NEWSFEED

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how-to-see-facebook-blog THIS IS A REMINDER in case you have not seen this is the past.

Facebook changes the algorithm daily it seems and I know you are not all seeing my posts.  BOO HOO HOO… BUT there are some things you can do to help that.

Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 2.51.22 PM

Here are a few things you can do to help – see pictures above.

  • The first thing to do is hover over LIKED and make sure you have checked off “Get Notificationsand “Show in News Feed“.
  • Then click on settings and make sure that “all Updates” is checked off.  UPDATE: FACEBOOK is messing with us again, you can no longer do anything about Show in Newsfeed… you can only “Get Notifications” or “Add to Interest Lists…”
  • Of course the more you “LIKE” posts, “SHARE” and comment tells facebook you want to see the posts as well.  Remember that regardless of facebook, if you ever have a question, please feel free to comment.  We have a great group and if I do not know the answer someone else may.
  • You can also join the Maven Of Savin Deals Group – I use it primarily during the holidays for HOT deals, but may start using it more since I believe you get better notifications of posts.

  •  You can also do that directly from the post on the blog either next to the title OR below the post.  By the way, this also tells ME what to spend my time on!  Like you obviously LOVE Dunkin Donuts coffee – LOL!
  • Also make sure you always SORT by “Most Recent” in your newsfeed.  You will see the drop down in the upper right corner at the top of your feed.  I find I always have to change this – it is really annoying.


You could also create a LIST -The friend lists feature is just a way to create groups, so you can see just the updates from that set of friends, blogs, etc. at a time.  Here is what you do:

  • Go to your home page on facebook and look down the left side bar for the FRIENDS section – hover over it and click MORE.  (NOTE – you could also follow the same instructions under the INTERESTS section as well – whichever one works better for you)

  • Click on CREATE LIST in the upper right corner

  • In the pop-up box you can name the list and add members.  You do not need to add members at this time.  I prefer doing it in the next step.  Click CREATE.

  • Now you can click on ADD FRIENDS to search through and select people or pages for your list.

  • Use the drop down in the upper left of the pop-up box to select PAGES if you want blogs or select FRIENDS if you want to add people.  You will then see all of the people or pages you are following and can add them to your list by scrolling through or using the search box.  You can see this feature could also come in handy if you want to group friends as well – home vs. work vs college, etc.

VOILA – you should now have that LIST under your FRIENDS or INTEREST section in the left sidebar. When you check on facebook each day you can click on that and only see the newsfeed from those included in the LIST.


There are many other ways to stay on top of all the deals on a daily, hourly, minute basis as well.

  • Visit and bookmark Maven of Savin.
  • Follow me on twitter @MavenOfSavin for up to the minute updates.
  • Subscribe to my RSS feed to have it delivered through your reader of choice.  I use Feedly now that google reader is gone.
  • Subscribe to my daily emails and get a newsletter each day around 3pm listing all posts from the last 24 hours.  NOTE that although you will see all the deals, some may not be in a timely manner.
  • The newest way to get the deals is to follow me on Google+.  The format is similar to facebook, though looks like a more basic feed right now.  I am new over there but am working on chatting over there more often and making sure all the deals get there.  Are you active on Google+ – would love to know what you think.

SO – I hope all that helped. My goal is to try to get you the info you want when you want it. So remember to LIKE or SHARE posts to tell ME what you want to see, but to also tell facebook that I am the bomb (just kidding!).

So Facebook, CAN YOU SEE ME NOW?

Winter Weather Survival: Stranded on the Road

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Winter-Weather-Survival-stranded Winter Weather SURVIVAL: Stranded on the Road

As the arctic weather bears down all over the US, I thought it appropriate to remind you of some Winter Weather Tips

The winter season brings plenty of joy and happiness, but it also can bring it’s share of tragedy. Every year, winter weather travelers find themselves broken down in terrible weather conditions. Fortunately most survive these dangerous situations, but a few are not so lucky. What sets those that survive and those that don’t apart? Often it is simply having the right knowledge and then acting on it.

If you broke down or God forbid got in an accident in freezing temperatures in the middle of nowhere, would you and your family know what to do?

First of all I hope you have a cell phone, AAA and already packed your car with a Winter Weather Survival kit.

If you are going no where fast, be sure to heed this advice:

Don’t Pretend to Be a Survival Expert

Even Survivorman will succumb to sub-zero temperatures and they have training, so what chance would you have? Understand that trying to be a hero can get you killed. Go with what you know and stick to the basic, safe decisions.

Stay in the Vehicle

Rule number one through ten is to stay in the car. Leaving the car and trekking into unknown territory is a recipe for disaster. If you are in the car, you are out of the elements and more easily recognized. Stick with your car.

Make your Car Visible

Put up your hood so people will understand you are broken down and tie something bright to your antennae.  Every so often you should go out and sweep the snow away from your vehicle. This will help the car to remain visible to potential help in the air or on the ground. A snow buried vehicle will not be spotted anytime soon.

Run the Engine Sparingly for Heat

Hopefully your vehicle has plenty of gas since you were prepared from the other Winter Weather Safety topics we’ve discussed.  If you keep your tank topped off, running the engine for about ten minutes of every hour will ensure that it lasts a good long time. The heat is vital, so be sparing with it.  Use your blankets, coats & hats as much as possible to conserve gas.

Assume You are Going to Be There For A Long Time

If you are lucky enough to have food and water, ration it carefully. Assume you will need it over a long period of time and eat accordingly.  Remember we said to pack high calorie foods because your body will burn LOADS of calories to keep warm.  If you run out of water or drinks you can melt snow to drink.  Melt it with matches and a small container or over a fire (if you are in a position to light one). This will make the snow safe to drink and will not lower your body temperature. Just eating snow is a bad move because it lowers your body temperature doing it so melt it and drink it.

Remember Sweat Means Wet

As you keep your car visible make sure to not strain yourself.  Slow steps means that you stay dry. Dry means you stay alive. You lose heat 25 times faster when exposed to cold water than when exposed to cold air so your body cools super fast when it is moist.  Sweat will make you wet so you want to avoid doing things that will make you perspire. Do everything with purpose, but always be mindful of your body.

Always Keep Windows Cracked

Ventilation is also very important in an abandoned vehicle that is running. Keep the windows cracked slightly and always keep the exhaust pipe clear from the snow. This is a very common way that people get hurt because carbon monoxide poisoning is silent and quick.

Stay Awake

If you must sleep, do so in shifts. You need someone awake to keep the heat going and someone to notice if rescue comes near. Keep someone awake and alert at all times and check on one another regularly.

Stay Together

In the movies, John goes one way and Mary goes the other and they ultimately end up finding their way. In real life, John and Mary splitting up might get them killed. Never split up and always stay together in an emergency situation. You will be much better off facing challenges as a team then you would going solo.

I cannot stress enough how important that Winter Weather Car Survival Kit is, so start putting yours together now.

What other Winter Weather Survival Tips do you have?

Custom Chalkboard Decals $12.99, Chalkboard labels $6.99 and more

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I love using chalkboard paint all over the house but for those places that does not work, or for temporary use, check out these Custom Chalkboard decals for $12.99 from

Chalkboard Decal measures approximately 14.5” x 21”, and can be customized with the word “MENU”, “TO-DO”, “MESSAGES”, “GROCERIES”, a first or last name, or it can be left blank. Adheres well to refrigerators, walls, mirrors, wood, or nearly any other smooth surface.

It is $4 shipping for the first one and only $1 for each additional.  There may be one in my refrigerators future!

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There are so many other cute things as well like these Chalkboard labels which I love and these Dry Erase Chore Chart Magnets

Screen Shot 2013-09-13 at 8.24.02 AMCheck out all the Daily Boutique Deals at (formerly Very Jane).  There are jewelry, accessory and apparel boutiques that last 1-3 days so check back often.

Winter Weather Safety – What Every Car Must Have

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Winter Weather Safety – What Every Car Must Have

When it comes to winter weather safety out on the open road, you can’t afford to fool around. There are countless examples every winter season of someone that took weather safety lightly and paid a very high price. When you travel via car in a cold weather area, you have to prepare yourself.

Full-Gas-GaugeFirst and foremost follow local safety warnings about staying off the road when they are too dangerous for travel.  If you MUST travel or you may end up in unexpected weather conditions make sure you always FILL-UP the gas tank.  Now is not the time to let it go too low hunting for the best price.

Preparing your car with a WINTER WEATHER SURVIVAL KIT can literally save your life in an emergency.

Here are some things you need to include in your kit:

First-Aid-KitFirst Aid Kit

A good first aid kit can be found at many stores.  I like this AAA 121-Piece Road Trip First Aid Kit but any complete kit will do. The key is to keep it up to date and be familiar with how to use the contents. This basic life saving item should be in your car regardless of the weather.

Emergency-Road-KitEmergency Road Kit

Cars break down and you will eventually need to fix something on them. Having AAA is GREAT and I highly recommend it.  However sometimes having the right equipment on hand is vital as well. A good car first aid kit includes a set of general tools, clamps, hoses, fluids, booster cables and other basic car accessories. Duct tape is also an absolute must. Duct tape fixes most everything – LOL!  Check out this AAA 73 Piece Premium Excursion Road Kit which has some of what you need.

blanketsExtra blankets, sweaters and warmth

The last thing you want to be short of in a cold weather emergency is blankets. Throw a few in the back of the car and it might just save your life. A couple of well made sleeping bags work wonders or grab these Emergency Mylar Thermal Blankets.  Some car kits come with hand warmers as well – and remember gloves and hats!  Hats keep loads of body heat where you need it – in your body!  I just remember all the times I am just running out quick and do not even throw on a coat since the car is warmed up – God forbid I break down with out even a basic winter coat on – EEK!  I always grab my coat now.


Shovel and kitty litter

If you have ever been stuck in the snow or ice, you would be amazed how much this can help.  The litter is for traction and the shovel is to clear a path. It just so happens you can use it for a million other emergency type uses as well. Make room for it and you will be thankful at some point.  This of course assumes you already have an ice scraper and brush in the car – standard winter must haves.

flashlights-flaresFlashlight and flares

Make sure you have a way to illuminate yourself and your car if you break down at night. Being found might be the most important thing on your mind. That means plenty of light. Don’t forget the extra batteries!


Tow rope

A tow rope could help you out of a jam if the kitty litter isn’t enough to get you free.

matches-lighterVarious matches and lighters

In a cold weather situation, few things are more important than warmth and fire. Lighters and matches are invaluable in an emergency like this.  You could even throw in a Magnesium Fire Starter

Several kinds of high calorie foods

The last thing you want is to be stuck in the snow with no food. If you are taking a trip through a dangerous weather area, foods that are high in calories but that keep well are in huge demand. Beef jerky, peanut butter, nuts, granola bars and anything else that will keep without refrigeration will do.

Back up cell phone

If possible take along two cell phones.  One to leave fully charged but powered off and the other for normal use. You could also use a spare, fully charged battery.  This way if you break down you have a fully charged back up phone in an emergency. Also make sure you bring the car charger.

You can find many of these items in the AAA 65-Piece Winter Severe Weather Travel Kit as well as the other kits I noted above.  Though not specifically winter weather related, you may want to toss in a Car Emergency tool – seat belt cutter/window breaker.

This basic car kit can be a little bit of a pain, and it certainly can eat up some precious vacation travel space in your car. BUT even more importantly it also might save your life.


10 Tools Every Home Should Have

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10-tools Top 10 Tools Every Home Should Have

When you first move in to a new home or apartment, it does not take long to figure out that you are missing a ton of stuff. More often than not, at least half of that missing stuff you need are tools. Unfortunately you do not always realize that until you NEED them!  Tools make everything go smooth and easy around a home. Without them, we are constantly finding things to put off and “work on” some other time. When we have the right tools, we are much more likely to go ahead and fix what needs fixing.

Here are ten tools that every home should have to keep it running smoothly (at a minimum):

Screwdrivers1. SCREWDRIVER

A screwdriver is among the most basic tools you can find and without it, you will constantly be dealing with loose fitting things around the house.  A phillips head (x shaped on the end for tool rookies) and flat head screwdriver will do nicely in both large and small.  Something like this Stanley All-in-One Screwdriver which has 2 size Phillips head and 2 size flat head tips is perfect.




You have to have a hammer to hit the things you can’t fix, right? Actually a hammer is absolutely vital to keep things in working order or even to hang a picture.



A level is incredibly handy when it comes to hanging pictures, installing virtually anything with a surface or generally working around the home.  Especially if you are OCD like me and cannot stand when things are not balanced.

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