Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. Cyril Connolly (1903 - 1974)


Caught In A Bubble

They were playing bubbles outside! And I saw this later while looking at the pictures.
For more Wordless/Wordful Wednesdays check out 5 minutes for moms, Wordless Wednesday and Parenting by Dummies and Go Graham Go and Stacy Uncorked.

About the author: Owner of JamericanSpice. Sharing my journey in the present, from the past or thoughts for my future. Mom of two who loves to travel and read and decipher people.
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E-return Policies That You Need To Know About Before Shopping

A Roundup of Holiday E-return Policies

Holiday e-shopping has begun, and with it the potential for gift returns. Because online merchants have different policies, it pays to read the fine print before you buy.

Some stores only give 30-days leeway, which means recipients can't return purchases after Christmas. Happily, some merchants are changing these deadlines for the holidays but, because there are websites who truly believe "fineprint" means "itsy bitsy print in a very pale pastel," compiled a list of major e-retailers and their return policies for 2011.

Ann Taylor
You've got 60 days to return Ann Taylor purchases but, if you don't have the receipt, only a store credit is issued. Gifts returned online will result in an e-gift certificate, so be sure to include your e-mail address on the return receipt. An in-store gift return yields a hardcopy gift certificate in the amount paid by the sender.

Bath & Body Works
Because Bath and Body Works believes "no sale is ever final," they don't need to extend their holiday deadline. You don't need a sales receipt or shipping invoice for gifts, but they can only be returned to brick-and-mortar Bath and Body Works stores.

You've got 90 days to return a Cabela's purchase, which makes everything nice and easy, until you learn you only receive a store credit or gift card when you don't have a receipt. If you need to return a gift, print a return form and send it to Cabela's customer service address or bring it in to any of their retail stores.

Coldwater Creek
There's no deadline for Coldwater Creek returns by mail or to a retail outlet. If you're sending it back and don't have a receipt or packing slip, make sure you include your name and address on a note enclosed with the package.

Best Buy
Enjoy Best Buy free shipping now through Dec. 27, and return gift purchases -- with no exclusions -- from Nov. 13 through Jan. 4. The electronics behemoth is spreading the holiday cheer even further by removing restocking fees for all products, including special orders, within this timeframe.

Costco's standard return policy is a liberal 365 days, so there's no need to extend their deadline for the holidays. In addition, Costco refunds membership fees if a customer isn't satisfied. Refunds for Internet purchases include shipping and handling charges.
The online-only shoe merchant provides a generous 365 days for returns with guaranteed free shipping. Use the Endless online returns center for proper processing.

The best part of JCPenney's online returns is they pay for shipping and handling, no matter what your reason for returning the product. You have up to 90 days and, with a gift receipt, will receive a JCPenney gift card in the amount of purchase.

You'll need an original receipt or email confirmation dated within 90 days of the original date of purchase. No exceptions, apparently.
Return any item, anytime, for any reason. Have your receipt? You'll get a full refund or even exchange. No receipt? No problem. Kohl's will give you a refund, an exchange or store credit.

Lands' End
Now through Nov. 15, enjoy Lands' End free shipping plus take 25% off your purchase. For returns without an exchange, use the return label for a flat shipping fee of $6.95. You also can return your order to any Sears or Lands' End store and entirely avoid shipping costs.

The sky's the limit with L.L. Bean, which has no return deadline and doesn't require authorization before you ship your gift back to them. Just download and fill out an online form or use the form printed on the packing slip.

The return deadline for Macy's is a generous 180 days and you don't need a receipt because they have a program that identifies products in their system. Too cool! Gifts will receive a store credit or exchange. Please note the deadline for jewelry purchases is only 30 days.

Mainline Menswear
Basically, you can return any Christmas gifts ordered from Nov. 1 to Dec. 24 up to 14 days after Christmas, which only gives you until Jan. 7.

Return the gift in its original packaging, with the original receipt or email confirmation, within 90 days of purchase for a refund or exchange. Alternately, you can return a purchase from to one of their stores.
As with Endless, Shoebacca provides totally free shipping both ways and a 365-day window in which to return or exchange unwanted gifts.

Sierra Trading Post
Sierra Trading Post makes it easy. You have up to six months and will receive instant credit plus $2.95 shipping on your next order. If you prefer, STP will give you a refund.

Toys 'R' Us and Babies 'R' Us
Online purchases returned by mail within 90 days to their online Returns Center by mail are refunded to the original form of payment, which means the gift giver will know your dirty little secret and you'll come up empty handed. Instead, make returns to a Toys 'R' Us or Babies 'R' Us store for a merchandise credit.

Victoria's Secret
Now through Nov. 16, you can enjoy Victoria's Secret free shipping, but you've got 90 days to return that lacy tidbit for cash. Ater that deadline, Victoria's Secret will only provide store credit. To return gifts, check the box on the Return/Exchange Form attached to the original invoice indicating you're returning a gift and provide your shipping information. If you don't have the original invoice, use theirprintable return and exchange form.

You can return or exchange most store items with a receipt within 90 days of purchase. Visit to see exceptions for electronic and regulated items. You can return online purchases to any Walmart store.

Another great shoe deal: Zappos free shipping is good both for purchases and returns. Whether you're unhappy with a purchase or simply change your mind, Zappos will provide a full refund or exchange within 365 days of purchase. You'll need the original packaging, however, to make the return. is the largest resource on the Internet linking shoppers to free-shipping deals offered by nearly 4,000 online merchants.

About the author: Owner of JamericanSpice. Sharing my journey in the present, from the past or thoughts for my future. Mom of two who loves to travel and read and decipher people

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How To Insult A Blogger With Your Pitch And MORE!

Interesting articles and chatter
How about we start off with this article about How to Insult A Blogger with your Pitch from MomSpark.

I've received pitches that just got a 'seen' and 'dump', I don't care how hard up I am as a mom blogger, there are certain pitches that will not make it on my blog.

Do you draw the line somewhere or just grab anything all the time?

Something I've been thinking about forever!
Jennifer says it nicely. Hi, my name is WHAT?
It would be really hard for me to marry someone with a messed up last name. I compare my name with others all the time. Yes I'm fickle like that.
I'm glad my husband has a pretty cool/normal name.
Now I wonder how my kids are going to least the boy gets to keep his right off the bat, no discussions. The girl will have to negotiate. Oy. Always some fight women have to think about eh.

So what about you? Would you marry someone with a messed up name like say, undirabacker?

How would you like to wake up one day and lost all your blog traffic? Can you afford to, after working so hard to build up your blog? Let Type A Parent give you a heads up on this important issue.
Yes apparently Google is doing housecleaning and lots of things will be changing.
I received an Award from Judy.
I love it.
She blogs here. Go enjoy her!

About the author: Owner of JamericanSpice. Sharing my journey in the present, from the past or thoughts for my future. Mom of two who loves to travel and read and decipher people.
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Look At That Body!

This song (I'm sexy and I know it) makes me laugh and make me do silly things to make my kids laugh hysterically!

The song also reminds me of that movie: A night at the Roxburys. lol

I can't find the video though, so look it up. It's silly, dumb, the whole for real? questions you'd ask yourself, but makes you laugh anyway.

So here is the song
And the Roxburys

About the author: Owner of JamericanSpice. Sharing my journey in the present, from the past or thoughts for my future. Mom of two who loves to travel and read and decipher people.
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C Is For Christmas The Season Of Good Cheer - 4Ms

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. I didn't do the turkey this year, but we'll see about next year, deovolente.

Welcome again to Monday's Music Moves Me. Let's start our Monday's off dancing and and a light mood. 

Theme for this month: Christmas music or anything music wise pertaining to Christmas

Thank you all for visiting. I'll drop by soon!

The Shewbridges of Celebration, Florida - Lori
Stacy Uncorked - Stacy

So, here's the steps to this party.
First step:  Run over to You Tube, (or wherever), and lock and load!  Get your pick for the theme of the week. 

Second Step:  Grab our "Monday's Music Moves Me" button (over to our right, right under mine)

Third step:  SIGN THE LINKY - Dance (follow) your host/hostesses, and grab their buttons.

Final step:  Start looking for a partner and boogie on down to her/his blog, and say hello, and tag (follow) her/him, and leave a nice comment.  If you've been tagged (followed) be hip, and get on over there, and tag (follow) her/him back and  leave a comment.

Spotlight Dancers

Welcome to Meet Me Monday!  Meet Me Monday is a weekly link-up hosted by Inspiring You To Save! created for socializing and to get new followers, subscribers, and readers.  Every Monday a new linky will be posted. 

Monday Music Moves Me LINK UP Below:


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The Mirror Is My Photographer

And it's not doing such a great job anyway.

Well I guess I should take responsibility for not taking better care of said mirror, so she will reward me as the fairest of them all.

See this photo? Yes that's me. I have to let the mirror be my photographer and sometimes I just get a bit excited if I think I look good one day and grab the camera without seeing what mood madam mirror is in.
See the spots on the photo/mirror?

I will have to utilize my timer more often or get a beauty shot from some professional, or clean the darn mirror!

Windex, where art thou?

Anyway, check out my feature at MomsTalkNetwork.  Not that you don't' already know everything about me :) um do you?

While you are there. Explore the Mom's Talk Network of Blogs!

About the author: Owner of JamericanSpice. Sharing my journey in the present, from the past or thoughts for my future. Mom of two who loves to travel and read and decipher people.
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From Thanksgiving To Broke Bawling

Most of us enjoyed a bounty of harvest during Thanksgiving. We shopped for most of the food made by our family, unlike days gone by when families had to work in the fields to see any sort of harvest.
Then welcome Black Friday where merchants do everything in their power to influence and brainwash you to give them your money. Some of us buy more than we ever will use or only use for a week and left to rot, collect dust until we unwillingly give it to goodwill or sell it on ebay.
I didn't stay up for black Friday, but I went out about 12pm to see if I'd find some deals. I went to JcPenny. I notice quite a few things I saw just two days before were marked up to higher prices and then made to look like they were actually doorbuster sales. I thought to myself: If only people realize the market con going on. Oy.
Not to mention that if you had your items in your hand during the sale and if the time for the sale ended, they change everything in the system and you have to pay original or higher price at check out.  Oh how happy they must be rolling in dough.

Let's keep going..
Tomorrow Saturday will be Shop Local Business Day. Um did you leave any money for more shopping? Is it your money? Or are you flashing the plastic and then cry bankruptcy later?
Wait, it's not over as yet.

Monday is Cyber Monday when your vulnerable mind will be tweaked again to unload more money....but you wont be paying in cash right? Of course you can use your bank account, but people rarely do this because of security reasons and overdraft fees etc. So once again, more credit. Not your money!
Oh and let's not forget Christmas food and gifts shopping!
On to New year's wonderful big bang party and well we simply must buy the bottle of Dom Perignon.
New Years Eve Party
Do you see how absolutely chaotic, and unmerciful this bombardment of waste and spending continues like a hamster wheel?

Are you caught up?

Do you sit back and think before being seduced?

Don't get washed down the river and end up crying on January billing cycle.

Take control of your money and do not let merchants seduce you to bankruptcy and poverty.

Make a budget and spend wisely.

Ciao my pretties.

About the author: Owner of JamericanSpice. Sharing my journey in the present, from the past or thoughts for my future. Mom of two who loves to travel and read and decipher people.
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Math Anxiety - A Real Problem or Just an Excuse?

I did great in math up to high school. I was getting 90s and 80s in my high school class before it all stopped. 
I wanted to learn. I could have. I tried. 
But I had a teacher who was just mean and would try to make you feel dumb as ever instead of answering your questions. 
I got tired of feeling stupid and so I never went back to his class. 
Do I regret it? I still can't tell. But I know he made me feel like I can't conquer math. 

So the question remains: Math Anxiety - A Real Problem or Just an Excuse?

The thought of a math test can make even the most confident student stressed out, but for some, the feelings associated with math go far beyond garden-variety stress. For these students, a feeling of intense anxiety develops to the point where they are no longer able to think clearly.

Are these emotions a real problem or just an excuse to avoid an uncomfortable academic subject?  Dr. Sian Beilock, author of Choke, a 2010 book on brain responses, says that, "People are very happy to say that they don't like math, but no one walks around bragging that they can't read. It's perfectly socially acceptable to say you don't like math."
The Latest Research
Studies show that when students solve math problems, they first process information through the amygdala, the brain's emotion center. Within a millisecond, another section of the brain, the pre-frontal cortex, takes over allowing the student to juggle data and think critically. In highly anxious students, the amygdala is far too active, leaving the pre-frontal cortex underutilized.

What Causes Such Stress Over Math?
 Is this reaction learned or biological? The answer is two-fold. First, brain scans reveal that young children who are quick and accurate show a very low level of stress. Those who are slow and less accurate demonstrate a high level of stress in the brain. These early difficulties, even when minor in nature, cause frustration and difficulty later on.

It is also true that math anxiety can be a learned behavior. Dr. Beilock found first and second grade female teachers unconsciously passed on their negative attitudes about math to their female students (males did not seem to be affected). This trend doesn't just exist in classrooms. Parents can also pass down their own negative perceptions to their children, both male and female.

What to Do If Your Child Experiences Math Anxiety
It is important to recognize that the problem will not go away by encouraging your child to "try harder" or "stop worrying". Instead, use the following strategies:

  • Don't Let It Slide -

Math is the sole subject that is nearly 100% cumulative. Students must have a strong foundation or they will fall behind, lose confidence, and grow to dislike the subject. When you see your child struggling, intervene right away by assisting with homework. You may find that the older your child gets, the less willing he is to work with you. Seek after-school help from the teacher or hire a tutor who can patiently break down concepts, fill in any gaps, and instill confidence.

  •  Watch Your Words -

Even if math was difficult for you as a child, don't harp on your shortcomings by saying, "I was terrible at math, too. It must run in the family." Instead, focus on what can be changed. The truth is that with practice, your child can overcome his or her weakness in math. Adopt the mantra "practice makes permanent", not "practice makes perfect". With enough reinforcement, your child will be able to remember the important steps to solving problems.

  • Do Not Push Advanced Classes -

The trend these days is for students to take advanced math classes early on, beginning with Algebra in 7th or 8th grade. This approach is a good one for many students but not for all. Those experiencing significant math anxieties may be further stymied because they feel overwhelmed and underprepared. Although your child may be capable of keeping up, don't force advanced classes if he or she is not quite ready.

  • Beware of TEST Anxiety -

Sometimes test anxiety in any subject increases when students sit down to take a test knowing they are not fully prepared. The old adage "You can't study for math" is simply not true. The best way for a student to prepare is to make a practice test and solve the problems as if it is the real exam. This allows the student to know which problems he cannot solve and to practice accordingly. In many instances, proper preparation decreases stress on test day.

  • Use the Summer -

Although it may be tempting for you and your child to take a break from math over the summer, studies show that this is not a good idea. The summer is the perfect time to review the skills that are troublesome and to preview what lies ahead in the coming school year. This ensures that your child will get off on the right foot in the fall.

Whether negative feelings towards math are biologically rooted or learned, it's never too late to help your child turn the corner to success.

Ann K. Dolin, M.Ed., is the founder and president of Educational Connections, Inc., a comprehensive provider of educational services in Fairfax, VA and Bethesda, MD. In her award-winning book, Homework Made Simple: Tips, Tools and Solutions for Stress-Free Homework, Dolin offers proven solutions to help the six key types of students who struggle with homework. Learn more at or

Mom of two who loves to travel and read and decipher people.
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Face Love - Island Hop #2

Island Hop - Share Your Link - Reciprocate

My name is Colette and I'm hosting this hop and hope you will participate and share the news with your friends and blog buddies.

Blog hops are great when they are free and blog love is being reciprocated.

I'm an island girl and I go with the music, so while today might me a link for Facebook likes, next week it might be for twitter or blog comments or another hop. So read, visit others, leave your link, enjoy and make friends!

Theme: Facebook Likes

Grab the code if you want.
Don't forget to add your url to the linky below. Click Post title for linky to show up.

Next week: Twitter Hop

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Protect Your Hard Work - AVG Internet Security 2012 Software

I received the AVG Internet Security 2012 Software just in time as my previous internet security package was up for renewal.

It was easy to download and install the software. Surprisingly I didn't have to delete my old internet security, but I did have to disable the firewall. I had no problem with that at all and was fully prepared to have my old internet program uninstalled.
1. Start the AVG installer
2. Accept the End User License Agreement
3. Select your preferred language
4. Activate or enter your license key
5. Select Quick install or Custom install
6. Select whether you would like to use AVG Secure Search as your default
web search provider
7. Select or unclick the AVG Security Toolbar option
8. Download will start
I've been using the AVG software for just a month now and so far I've had no problems with my internet in regards to virus attacks. I get adequate warning about malicious sites and pop ups being blocked. I love this because as a blogger, my computer take so many journeys and you never know what can happen  along the digiverse.
I also have AVG Secure Search set as my default.

The AVG Software scans links before and while they are loading to protect my computer on its constant journeys from one social network to another.
I do a weekly meme for music and I love that AVG gives me this accelerator that speeds up my videos. No long loading period and constant buffering to listen to a video. It's great being able to enjoy my videos without interruption and lag. This makes blog hopping with so many blogs faster and more efficient! I LOVE it!

I was skeptical that this accelerator would work and tried it a bunch of times because I always have buffering going on in the videos I have to watch. I seriously squealed with delight when I realize that it was working and does work! I think this is one of my favorite features because I am always listening to music and watching videos!

AVG Accelerator
  • AVG Accelerator maximizes computer connectivity to deliver content faster. 
  • Less time is spent waiting for videos and other content-rich files to download.
  • Supports Flash Videos and some other content-rich files – (additional target file types will be added in subsequent releases).
I schedule my scans daily for 12am, when I'm least likely to be using my computer and the Smart Scanning works perfectly and saves time and resources by scanning in high priority when I'm away from my pc and in low priority when I'm using my machine so things aren't clogged up and slowed down.
You have the choice to schedule scans when and however often you would like your computer to be scanned.

The AVG Software also tells me when my browser is using too much memory and recommends a restart for more efficient browsing. At this point, I usually close some of the tabs to make things run much better.
AVG 2012 Internet Security is built with some completely new features since our 2011 product release. New in 2012 is AVG Accelerator, which helps speed up Internet experiences by accelerating downloads and Flash videos. Also new is AVG Advice which provides assistance and recommendations in case of detected memory problems caused by browser sessions where tabs have been open for a long time.
So far I'm loving the AVG Security software! I can't find any fault with it at all. I have a few more months to get more acquainted with this software and I embrace this program with high hopes!
Anti-Rootkit performance is now better so that detection of malware hidden deep in the OS can be found -- as well as added support for anti-rootkit exceptions.
You can try the free trial or purchase their 2012 Security package!

About AVG
AVG Internet Security 2012 and AVG Internet Security 2012 Business Edition provide robust online protection for both home and business use. The products themselves benefit from a dedicated team of Internet security specialists and a worldwide user community, who help AVG to constantly advance its feature sets and product strength.
Engineered to work at a level appropriate to differing users’ needs, each of these products are suited for both home and office use. Their core role is to render viruses, spam, spyware and Trojans helpless while making identity theft, web exploits, drive-by phishing and rootkits a distant memory.
AVG Internet Security 2012 protects users while they are surfing the web and communicating on Instant Messenger (IM) services, while simultaneously providing security to Local Area Networks (if they exist) against hazardous system attacks.
In addition to our core range of products, AVG PC TuneUp™ 2011 is now available to help users of all levels of expertise get the most out of their PC.

All users can run a one-time-fix scan free of charge.

Providing users with over 16 tools, it enables users to:
• Increase a PC’s speed, performance and stability
• Free up space on a hard drive
• Speed up an Internet connection
• Recover accidentally deleted files
• Shred files and wipe disks – permanently
• Remove traces of a user’s activity from a PC
New | AVG Internet Security 2012 | We work hard. You play hard. | Ultra-safe shopping and banking | Download and try now
Founded in 1991, AVG Technologieshas corporate offices in Europe, the US and the UK and over 80 million active users in 167countries. The company is focused on protecting computer users at home and in small businesses against disruption and loss causedby a wide range of security threats. AVG’s award-winning products are distributed globally through resellers and over the Internet aswell as via third-party use of the company’s Software Development Kits. AVG supports all major operating systems and platforms.

You can find AVG on Facebook and Twitter

JamericanSpice received the AVG Internet Security 2012 Software for one year, free for evaluation purposes. Regardless, all opinions expressed are still 100% my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials In Advertising. JamericanSpice disclosure. Facebook is in no way associated or responsible for this feature or giveaway.

About the author: Owner of JamericanSpice. Sharing my journey in the present, from the past or thoughts for my future. Mom of two who loves to travel and read and decipher people.
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