Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fun afternoon at the park!

I often take Dominic to the park after school. We ended up going to the park yesterday around 5:30. It's still really warm and sticky here in Houston, even though the first day of fall was last week. We ended up staying for awhile, but really dark clouds started rolling in and I thought it was going to rain so we left and went home. Turned out to be a false alarm. Never rained.
We were being silly and I was taking photo's of us laying down.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A peek into my house.

We moved a few months ago into a pretty cute lil' mid century modern community. It only has 14 units and our unit was completely updated right before we moved in. It's in the River Oaks area of Houston, which is a great place to be.
Our unit is the first one on the bottom to the left.
Entry way. Notice the mid century tile. Very cool.
Justin and Dominic being lazy on the sofa.
Dining room.
Totally rad vintage globe I bought for Dominic.
My mismatched mid century danish modern lounge chairs. One has the original ottoman.
My plain bedroom with vintage wall art.
Another vintage chair in our bedroom that I recovered. It's a mid century modern rocking chair and used to have arms. I recovered the chair and couldn't get the arms back on. I still like it though.
My cool bamboo divider.

I hope you enjoyed the tour of our small casa. We downsized when we moved here, but I don't have as much to clean. Yay!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Parker and Harris - Fake, identity theft employment site.

My son started pre-k a few weeks ago. I've been casually looking for a job for the past few moths because I want to feel like I have a purpose and also need something to do. I've been home with him since he was born and always worked full time up to that point. The job market has changed so much in the past four years.

My resume is currently posted on Monster and Careerbuilder. I typically log on every morning and update my resume on each site and then proceed to search out positions that sound interesting to me. Over the past month or so, I've applied to quite a few positions, which all mostly result in no response.

Last week, I received a response from a "so called" search firm by the name of Parker and Harris. The email said I had passed the initial stage of screening and had to go to their website and complete some additional questions, which I did. At the end of the questions, the site noted that the particular position I was being considered for would be handling money, etc. and they needed my credit report. I was instructed to go to Creditreport.com and complete a credit report. When I finished the credit report, I was supposed to go back to their site and enter my member number from Creditreport.com. Duh, this should have been a red flag, over and over. I'm not stupid and I'm not even desperate for a job. Why did my common sense fail me? I don't know where my head was. Anyway, I completed my credit report (all of this was done after clicking the link to Creditreport.com through Parker and Harris's website.

I thought nothing of this when I finished their online questionnaire. I called Creditreport.com a few minutes later to cancel my membership with them. They offer a 7 day trial period and you can cancel anytime within those 7 days and not be charged. When I told the agent why I had ordered the report and why I was canceling, she was like, "Are you sure you want to give you credit info to a potential employer without meeting them first"? I was like, "No, these guys are fine. They look completely legit. Their website was great and they seemed so professional". I checked today and they've already shut it down. Go figure!

When I hung the phone up, I started Googling this company and found nothing on them, except for this post noting to be aware of identity theft scams like this one. My heart sank. I became very nervous. I went back to Parker and Harris's website and got their phone number and searched it as well. Apparently these scammers have operated under the same phone number, but change their business name and website address frequently. This website was also just thrown up at the beginning of September and is registered to someone in the Bahamas, as noted on Whois. I'm so dumb. I usually check stuff like this out, but my smarts failed me this time. I started to think these guys had some key logger program built into their website, which tracked all of my keystrokes. This would have given them my ss#, my address, date of birth, debit card number required for the credit report, everything. I called Creditreport.com again and asked to speak with a supervisor. I told him I wanted to change my member id number, just in case they would have access to the credit report online somehow. He said I couldn't do that, but I could go in and change my log in and password, which I did. Next, I called my bank and canceled my debit card. I also reported these jerks to the
FTC. This all happened because they wanted to either steal my identity or drain my bank account. I was really upset, as you can imagine. More upset with myself for being so gullible and stupid. I never do stuff like this.

I emailed Parker and Harris, told them I had reported them to the FTC and closed or canceled everything. I started looking online for anti-malware sites to remove any crazy stuff from my computer and the next thing I know, my computer completely shut down. Those jerks put some crazy worm or virus on my computer and shut it down. I was so mad, I just went to bed.

Yesterday, I woke up and started messing with my computer again. I went into safe mode and tried to do a system restore from an earlier date and it didn't work. I tried once more to a way earlier date and it worked. My computer came back on. I got back into Windows, got online and started downloading as much security, anti-malware and other virus programs for my computer. All of this could have been avoided if I would have been smarter about what I was doing. I didn't even know key logger programs existed, but they do. These internet crooks don't care about you. They just want your money or your identity.

I'm not overly concerned about my identity because I have so many student loans. I know they will be unable to open credit in my name. My debt to loan ratio is through the roof. I was just concerned about the bank account, but managed to shut that down before they had the opportunity to use it. I also read there are new, fake emails coming from Linkedin. If you use that site and receive a request from someone you don't know, I would recommend going to the site and checking your requests there. You don't want to end up with spyware, malware or some crazy virus just because you clicked on a random link sent to your email.

Anyway, I hope I am able to prevent this from happening to someone else. Please use my stupidity to your advantage and always check things out before going through what I went through.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Mad Potter: Paint your own pottery studios.

The Mad Potter located in Houston, Texas is a fabulous, family friendly place to go and paint your very own pre-made ceramic pieces of pottery. People of all ages are invited to pick out their pottery and design and paint each piece. When you're finished painting, you leave your item at The Mad Potter to be glazed and fired. It will be available for pickup in three to four days. If you aren't feeling terribly artistic, The Mad Potter will create something for you. How cool is that?

They also offer incredibly cute holiday gift ideas like this pumpkin:
Why not host your next party at The Mad Potter? They can accommodate 8-90 people and the only thing you have to supply is people and refreshments. Great for birthdays, team building sessions or as their website notes, "just because". Visit this page for pricing.

Whatever your creative needs are, look no further than The Mad Potter!

In a hurry? Try TRESemmé Fresh Start Dry Shampoo.

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of TRESemmé for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

TRESemmé Fresh Start Dry Shampoo is uniquely formulated to absorb excess oil and remove odor, the full line of dry shampoos rejuvenates hair without a drop of water. It offers a renewing burst of citrus extracts infused into every product, it leaves hair with a clean, fresh scent. It's uniquely formulated to absorb excess oil and remove odor, the full line of dry shampoos rejuvenates hair without a drop of water.

If you're in college and have don't have a lot of time to wash your hair every day, TRESemmé Fresh Start Dry Shampoo is one of the Top Hair Products for School. YouTube Celebrity Elle Fowler (http://www.youtube.com/allthat…) has teamed up with TRESemmé and created a tutorial to teach people how to use TRESemmé Fresh Start Dry Shampoo properly. Please visit the following video to learn more about this great product:

The full line includes:

o Strengthening Dry Shampoo: The formula, with B12 vitamins and keratin, helps strengthen hair and leaves it full of healthy body.

o Volumizing Dry Shampoo: The formula, with mineral clay and citrus, removes oil while injecting hair with salon-gorgeous volume.

o Smoothing Dry Shampoo: The formula, with Vitamin H & Silk Proteins, refreshes your straight style by removing excess oil, impurities and odor to ensure your smooth look lasts.

o Moisturizing Waterless Foam Shampoo: The formula, with Witch Hazel, Citrus, and Aloe Vera, refreshes your hair by removing excess oil, impurities and odor while moisturizing hair.

To get the best results from TRESemmé Fresh Start Dry Shampoo, here are some tips:

- Do shake vigorously before use and in between spray bursts for best results.

- Do lift sections of dry hair and spray lightly at roots

- Do spray in short bursts, holding 8-12 inches from head

- Don’t spray it like hair spray (all over and continuously)

- Do leave in for 1-2 minutes.

- Do use fingertips or a brush to distribute product evenly

- If clogging occurs, remove nozzle and rinse the nozzle under warm water, then reattach.

So what are you waiting for? Try TRESemmé Fresh Start Dry Shampoo today!

 

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It rained, finally! Yay!

I'm not sure how many of you follow the weather in Houston (probably not a lot of you if you don't live here), but it's rained here for the past two days. Yay! I normally don't get excited about rain, but we need it so badly. There have been horrible, raging fires in Texas recently and many people are now homeless because of the fires. The fires start so easily because the ground is super dry due to no rain. So very sad. Rain is greatly appreciated!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Tired of paying an arm and a leg for cell phone service? Try Straight Talk!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Straight Talk for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

If you're like most people these days, you try to figure out ways to cut back or cut out bills altogether. Cutting back doesn't necessarily mean you have to sacrifice good service. I'd like to tell you a little about Straight Talk:

Straight Talk offers two No-Contract plans: 

1) The “ALL YOU NEED” plan for $30 a month to receive 1000 minutes, 1000 text or multimedia messages, 30 MB of data transfer for data phones and 411 calls at no additional charge. 

2) The unlimited plan for $45 a month to receive unlimited talk, text and data Nationwide anytime with calls to 411 at no additional charge.

Straight Talk also offers an International Long Distance Service, which is a flexible prepaid calling service that enables you to make international calls from your home, cell or office phone at low rates. Call a friend

Free from activation, reactivation, or termination fees. There are no contracts, no surprise bills and no credit checks. Great nationwide coverage and excellent reception/connectivity. Amazing smart phones; touch screen phones, and app capable phones with features like voice navigation, camera, video recorder, music player, instant messaging, and Bluetooth®. Reconditioned phones are available from $10.00 with camera, mp3 player, mobile web access, and blue-tooth capability. Great for young users! Finally, Straight Talk only uses trusted phone manufacturers like LG, Motorola, Kyocera, Nokia and Samsung. Android on Straight Talk

I love how Straight Talk enables people to cut their cell phone bills in half. You have to be crazy to be on a contract these days when you can get everything you need without one. Imagine the amount of money you could save switching to Straight Talk. What would you buy with the extra money you save? 

Straight Talk is a service provided by TracFone Wireless Inc., America’s largest no-contract cell phone provider in the U.S., with over 18.8 million subscribers. TracFone Wireless is a subsidiary of América Móvil S.A.B. de C.V. ("AMX") (BMV: AMX; NYSE: AMX; Nasdaq: AMOV; LATIBEX: XAMXL), the 5th largest cell phone company in the world with more than 236 million cell phone subscribers. Hook, line and sinker

So what are you waiting for? Ditch your carrier and your high monthly phone bill and check out Straight Talk today! You'll be happy you did!

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Express Jeans For Her: Born to Rock the Sidewalk, Bred to be Epic.

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Express for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

From boot cut to flare jeans and even the ever so popular jean leggings, Express has women's jeans and denim essentials you need! For a limited time, enter for a chance to win free Express jeans! Express will be giving away 50 free pairs that you could possibly be rockin’ on the sidewalk!

I visited http://www.express.com and found the cutest cropped denim jeans:

CROP ZELDA JEAN LEGGING - RINSE WASH

Everyone who knows me knows I love vintage. I love these cropped jeans because they look like they're a take from a pair of 1950's cropped pants. They show off your figure like nothing else! These apparently have more stretch than most Express jeans and fit really well.

I also like these cute boyfriend jeans:

CROP MODERN BOYFRIEND JEAN

They look super relaxed and comfortable. A great pair of jeans to run errands in or just hang out with friends. They have rolled cuffs and worn details. They're made of cotton/spandex to give some added stretch.

I also like the EXTREME STRETCH STELLA JEAN LEGGING jeans:

EXTREME STRETCH STELLA JEAN LEGGING at Express

These legging jeans flatter your curves in all the right places and have a lot of stretch as well.

No matter what type of jeans you like or wear, you can find what you are looking for at http://www.express.com.

I encourage everyone to visit Express giveaway to learn more about this great jeans giveaway opportunity. What Express jeans are your favorite? Leave a comment and let me know what your favorite pair is and why.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dominic started Pre-K!

It's official! My son is now in public school. While I'm not so crazy about public schools, I'm glad he's in school. I enrolled him in Pre-K programs at several schools this past spring, but most of the schools filled up fairly quickly. I thought I was on the ball with early registration, but I found out I was actually late. One school I went to was on their second round of applications and it was end of January, beginning of February.

I was lucky enough to get Dominic enrolled and accepted into a dual language academy (Spanish/English), which is a magnet school within Houston ISD. While the Pre-K students do not participate in the magnet program, Dominic's teacher does speak Spanish and she said she would be incorporating Spanish into their curriculum.

Here's his first day at school:
If you're not familiar with magnet programs within Houston ISD, you can read more about them here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Gotta love Instagram!

I know I'm late with this, but I've recently discovered Instagram. It's a great app to install on your iPhone and enables you to make your pics look pretty cool and instantly share them online.
Instagram is basically another social networking site in a nutshell. It allows users to post photo's with captions. You can tag each photo, which makes it easier for other users to find your photo. You can follow people and people can follow you if they wish. It's a pretty cool app/site and I'm totally addicted to it.
If you're into taking photo's and looking at other great photo's, I highly recommend checking out Instagram.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Upromise Celebrates its 10th Anniversary! What's your dream?

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of UPromise for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Upromise is celebrating its 10th Anniversary by giving away $20,000 to users who share a story that tells how a parent has supported a child's dream! Upromise members have received more than $600 million in college savings through their rewards program, and it wants to celebrate all of the ways it has helped to fuel those sparks that made children into the people they are today and the adults they will become tomorrow.

Users can participate in the sweepstakes by submitting a story, and can vote on their favorite stories by “liking” them. Upromise will give away $1,000 to 10 winners and a grand prize winner for $10,000 will be selected from the participants as well.

Here's my dream I submitted:

I grew up in the 1970's to parents who were children themselves. Neither my mother nor father went to college. My parents divorced when I was nine years old.  I grew up in Texas with my father. I never did exceptionally well in school. My father used to tell me I was not college material. When I was twenty-seven years old, I decided I was ready for college. I moved to Chicago and earned my degree in fashion design. Several years later, I earned my MA. Ed. I had to work full time while earning both degrees, which was very challenging.

I dream my son will someday have the luxury to earn as many degrees as he wants and not have to work while attending school.

Upromise invites you to join the movement, share your experiences and give a spark to help fuel the flame of their future dreams. This is an amazing opportunity to win a significant amount of money. I encourage my readers to visit www.upromisetodream.com and submit your dream. I would also like to see this contest promoted via Facebook, Twitter and your own blogs. You can also visit dream wall official rules to learn more about the rules of the contest.

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