Wedding Dresses Shouldn’t Go to Pot

After the angst of going through several wedding dresses and finally making a selection, the bride has her dream wedding dress to last her memories for a lifetime. It’s a sad fact though that the bridal gown is placed back in its box never to resurface to make a show in another wedding unless the next bride is willing to don a wedding dress that has morphed into a disaster.

Preserve Your Wedding Dress

From the rack of fashionable wedding dresses, how many do you think survives through the years after use? One would be lucky to escape crumpling and soiling if the bride knew where to send her dress for preservation. Yes, dear brides, there is apparel preservation available for those who want to keep their wedding gowns and wedding flowers to look as good new on the wedding day.

But if you are not the sentimental sort, preserving your dress, is not in your books. You can alter it later for more practical uses but pray tell how many brides would dare mutilate their dream wedding dress? Another thing, if your wedding gown was lovingly stitched with pearls and feathers and imported from the best couture house in Paris, you cannot just let your dress go to rot.

Before you go through the stack of dresses in the bridal shop, ask where you can have your wedding dress preserved. If the bridal shop does not offer this service, they can recommend a reliable apparel preservation establishment because bridal shops have set up extensive networking in the bridal business.

How Apparel Preservation Works

During weddings, wedding dresses are subjected to hugs, stains, and suffer other ‘indignities’ but that’s part of the game. Instead of rushing your thousand dollar dress to the cleaners, rush your dress to the shop that offers cleaning off wine or perspiration stains, and removal of fine confetti. Other services include fabric analysis and testing, assessment of fabric weave, dyes, and measurement, and checking out the ornaments used before the wedding dresses go through the works.

If you accidentally sloshed champagne on your beautiful gown, there’s no need to go hysterical over it – the problem can be solved easily by fine apparel preservationists. Whatever the stain, the apparel preservationist ‘detectives’ will be able to pin it down and clean it up the right way. So enjoy your wedding and don’t waste every precious minute watching over your gown and dodging hugs and toasts.

The careful study of the dresses gives the apparel preservationists the idea how to clean and preserve your dress in its original shape, perhaps for the next bride in the family or plainly for your own satisfaction of viewing and showing off your wedding dress to your children, family and friends.

You can also sign up your dress for exhibitions of wedding dresses in the future – you never know. If this happens then it would be a grand experience for you and your family. Now you know how the pricey gowns of royalty and celebrities are kept in their best shape for years and these are later auctioned off after ten or even twenty-five years. With this length of time added to the lifespan of your wedding dress, the money you spent for your dream wedding dress is worth all the trouble.

Think Wedding Dress Preservation

Preparing for the wedding takes up the bride’s time and choosing the best wedding gown is the ultimate wedding preparation. Now hear, brides should also think about preserving their wedding dresses. Plan where to have your dress treated for preservation and learn how to store your wedding dress correctly – ask the preservationist experts who did the treatment on your wedding gown. To repeat, your wedding dress shouldn’t go to pot.

Clues to Help You Chose Between Product Review Websites – A Lesson in Internet Shopping

For this example, let’s assume that you wish to learn to play the piano, and are searching the Internet for information. You will find many choices and many review sites which discuss even more choices. Your analysis process should include all of the points(clues) discussed here. This article is more about the selection process than the product or vendor.

In case you didn’t realize it, the typical Internet Product Review site will likely steer you to the product which nets them the highest commission. Shocked? Don’t be – this is absolutely normal marketing in every aspect of life. It’s all about maximizing their profit. However, and fortunately, not everyone does this. There are some obvious and some subtle clues which will help you decide who to trust, especially shopping on the Internet. Don’t be fearful – be informed. Read on.

Been shopping in town lately? Dealt with any commissioned sales folks lately? How about those, oh so helpful folks who keep asking if you found everything, and or, do you want to super size your order? Trying to maximize the store’s profit really is normal and widely practiced. Nothing to be concerned about yet.

Speaking of commissions – In all Internet purchases, the seller, also known as the vendor, pays the salesperson (known as an affiliate or associate) a small commission. The lowest is about four (4.0) percent. The price to the buyer doesn’t change – it costs the same where ever you go. (The price can vary a tiny bit in the physical product areas, for example – keyboards and pianos. This is due to volume wholesale purchasing and distribution costs. The sales commission doesn’t factor in this.)

The commission usually automatically goes to the last affiliate site you visited before you clicked through to the product detail / sales page and made a purchase. This is tracked automatically by the computers with little chunks of data called “temporary cookies.” The vendors who transmit the cookies to your computer explain it all on their privacy or terms and conditions web pages. It is nothing to be concerned about. It’s very normal and business like. Most people have never actually read these pages.

So, the Big Question – what distinguishes a trustworthy product review site of any flavor? Listed here are critical clues. Some are more obvious than others – all are worthy of your consideration.

  • First and foremost is your gut level comfort level as you look over a site.
  • Can you identify a human with an address and contact information?
  • Does the reviewer discuss any negative aspects of the product? Few products are so wonderful that nothing negative can be found and pointed out to you, the shopper and possible customer.
  • Does the review include information and opinions not found on the vendor’s site? (All reviews where the reviewer is an affiliate for the vendor will have links for you to click on, taking you directly to the vendor’s site. Perfectly normal and to be expected.) In case you never thought about it, consider this: Vendor’s love affiliates – they are outside non-employees with no benefits, etc. who get a tiny reward (called a commission) only after a sale occurs. If no new information is on the review site, could well be that an actual review did not take place. Major clue.
  • Study the information provided, validate the customer testimonials if possible, and make your own decision. Use your normal decision making process. For example, I personally read the testimonials very carefully when researching products. Do they sound authentic – not made up. Can they be verified? Will the seller provide you contact details if asked? This is rare, but sometimes occurs.
  • Frequently digital download products are sold with 100 percent money back guarantees. The full details are always part of the information / sales letter. They are commonly placed right at the bottom end, right after the price information. Guarantees are always a very important part of the purchasing decision. Another clue to trustworthiness. Doesn’t matter on review sites – but it does matter on the vendor’s site.
  • A good reviewer owns many, but not necessarily all of the products he reviews. When you are are deciding, remember to keep in mind what your situation is (your own wants, needs, desires, etc.) It’s about building trust and confidence. Do you feel pressured? Another major clue.

So, after lots of searching and looking at several – many websites and competing products, let’s assume you have made a product selection decision and are ready to buy. Please consider giving a vote of confidence to the affiliate review site that actually provided you with useful information. Please go back to that review site just before making the actual purchase. That is what triggers that ‘cookie’ thingy I mentioned earlier. And that results in that small commission we talked about. And that is what motivates affiliates to produce meaningful review sites.

I trust that I have enlightened you a bit. Shopping on the Internet is quite safe, especially if you pay attention to the clues. As always, the final choice is yours. Now you know more about how to sort through all the choices and chose the best product for you.

When you find the right one for you, you can purchase it right away. (Remember that often the best product does in fact, cost more. Also normal.) No waiting – parking – standing in line – all the joys of Internet shopping. Fear not – Enjoy.

5 Simple Ways to Green Your Holidays This Year and Beyond

The Holidays often mean different things to different people, but whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, each tradition involves similar rituals –decorating, entertaining, and gift-giving. And for many of us, travel is also part of the equation. If greening your holiday tradition is important to you, here are some tips for making minor adjustments that can go a long way to reducing your footprint both this holiday season and for many seasons to come.

1. To Tree or Not to Tree?

Since the first trees were literally cut down and displayed in family homes nearly two centuries ago, the Christmas tree has played a huge role in our cultural identification with and celebration of Christmas. By the 1960s, our desire for convenience (and perhaps a little kitsch) gave rise to the artificial tree industry. And while many people still opt for the natural choice, the first major question that springs to mind for those looking to be more eco-friendly, is whether or not to purchase a tree at all.

Natural trees are always preferable to synthetic ones –most of which are made from petroleum by-products and can pose health hazards in the event of a fire due to toxins that are released into the air from burning. If cutting down a tree just so you can enjoy it for a few weeks seems unnecessarily wasteful, consider a live potted tree. You can place it anywhere in your home and after the season is over replant it in your yard or donate it to an organization that will plant it somewhere for you. This option eliminates the hassle of disposing of a natural tree especially if you live somewhere where there are no tree recycling programs or you don’t have access to a wood chipper. If you opt to go with a real tree, consult the National Christmas Tree Association’s web site for a list of organizations that can help you recycle or replant your tree.

Of course, the greenest way to go is to skip the tree altogether. If you’re longing for the smell and ambience that comes with a real tree, you can re-create it by diffusing essential oils like Fir Balsam or Fir Douglas, Spruce Hemlock, and/or Scotch Pine. Mix in essential oils of Orange, Cinnamon, Clove, Ginger, Nutmeg and Cedarwood to experience the full spectrum of holiday scents.

2. Deck the Halls with Natural Options

For many, the tree is merely a mechanism for displaying ornaments, and the joy of the season comes mostly from creating or acquiring, and hanging seasonal decorations. The greenest option here is ornaments made from all natural materials like dried fruits and popcorn, pinecones, and recycled material like metal, paper, and fabrics –including ribbons that can be used to make decorative bows.

Of course nothing adds more ambience to your holiday d├ęcor than lighting –whether it’s wrapped around a tree or strung along your windows. Now there is a wide selection of indoor and outdoor LED (Light Emitting Diodes) Christmas lights that can rival any of the traditional versions you’ve used over the years and have far superior energy efficiency. They have a lifespan of up to twenty years, use almost no energy when you plug them in, and they remain cool to the touch –minimizing any potential fire hazard. For outdoor lighting, consider solar powered light strings –especially if you live in a location that gets a reasonable amount of sunlight during winter months.

3. Cool Gifts in Natural Garb

Holiday gift giving is probably the area that offers the greatest opportunity for deepening sustainability. From fair trade items like jewelry, crafts, clothing, and even food to organic baby toys and furniture, to making donations to local non-profits and charities on behalf of others, to volunteering or giving gifts of time or in-kind services. Re-gifting is a perfectly acceptable way to minimize waste following the principle of the 3 Rs (Re-use, Reduce and Recycle) –provided the items you’re re-gifting bring some value to the people you plan to give them to.

Culinary and handmade gifts are an excellent choice. It’s hard not to love a box of handmade cookies, a beautiful holiday cake, or even a carefully prepared meal made in your kitchen with love. If you’re too busy to cook, you can do a variation on this theme by making gift baskets with all the ingredients necessary to prepare a batch of your famous chocolate chip cookies or a delicious pasta dinner. To keep it as green as possible, be sure to use organic, fair trade, or locally produced ingredients.

Try to keep the amount of gift-wrap you use to a minimum and forgo typical wrapping paper in favor of recycled or recyclable Kraft or white butcher paper. You can embellish your plain paper wrapping with reusable fabric ribbons like grosgrain, satin or organdy. Or opt for all natural materials like Raffia and Sinamay. You can also try read-made velvet cloth bags or organza pouches.

4. Entertaining with a Conscious Touch

Whether it’s dinner parties, buffets or cocktail receptions, you can certainly make your entertaining more sustainable both at home and at work. Starting with the invitations themselves. Instead of paper invitations, why not use an electronic invitation service like Evite to notify everyone? If you prefer paper invitations, use 100% recycled, bleach-free or FSC-certified paper. If you want to be really innovative try products from Ellie Pooh –paper products made from Elephant dung! If you’re hosting a big affair that involves printing invitations use a local green printer who can print on recycled stock using soy-based inks.

As for decorations, keep it simple. Use soy candles with lead-free wicks to create an ambience or use LED lights to be energy-efficient. Consider making decorative centerpieces with objects found in your backyard like pine boughs, sticks, and beautiful leaves; fresh or dried herb bundles; or bowls of potpourri made from natural ingredients like dried rose petals, citrus peel, cloves or other fruits and spices. Arrange them in a decorative container made of a sustainable wood or bamboo. Or purchase organic flowers from a local florist.

When planning your menu, remember to stick with locally grown produce, organic ingredients, free-range and hormone-free meats and poultry, and sustainably caught seafood –whether you’re doing the cooking or hiring someone else to do it. Use the good china and glasses instead of disposable plates, cups, and plastic cutlery. Not only is this more sustainable, it really enhances the ambience. If you must use a less expensive option, then opt for reusable dinner plates and real silverware or fully compostable dinnerware. Finally, set up clearly marked recycling bins or boxes for bottles and cans, and separate ones for plastics, paper, and compostable items. It may seem like a lot of extra work, but it’s well worth it and will make cleaning up a breeze.

5. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint: Travel, Shopping & Holiday Cards

Minimizing your carbon footprint is one of the best things you can do during the holiday season –especially with all the travel and time you typically spend in cars, trains or planes.
If you must travel this year, use public transportation whenever possible. Taking the train or bus instead of a flight is preferable, but if you must fly to your destination, try to book a direct flight as taking off and landing requires serious amounts of fuel.

Shopping online is another great way to reduce the time, energy, and fuel wasted driving to the mall, getting stuck in traffic jams, and endlessly circling around looking for parking. Shipping carriers like UPS now offer merchants the opportunity to purchase carbon offsets for their shipments. Ask online retailers if they use this option. Or take advantage of online retailers who offer electronic gift cards or certificates.

And finally, skip mailing out holiday cards especially if your list is long. Consider using online card services like Paperless Post or for more whimsical offerings try Jacquie Lawson Animated E-cards.

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