Monday, November 23, 2015

Celebrate Small Business Saturday by Shopping Online

FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.

I love the whole idea of Small Business Saturday.   My parents owned two small businesses when I was growing up, and I love the more recent push to "Shop Small".  I own three home businesses myself.   My blog, I sell on eBay, and I sell $5 Paparazzi jewelry.  What happens when you buy from a small business?  Your money goes to someone who is going to use the profit to go directly towards new winter tires, adoption, the heat bill, groceries, etc.  (I've used my profits in the last few months for all of the above.)

So I wanted to host a link up where you can post a link to your eBay store, Etsy store, or direct sales site.

A few rules:

1.  If you can, please share this page with others by pinning this post, tweeting, or sharing on Facebook (or all three).  What will happen is more people will see this post, and will come by and add their link and shop!  This helps everyone!

2.  No Amazon Affiliate links.  This is for small businesses.  (If you are shopping Amazon, I do have a link in my sidebar.)  No blog giveaways, referral links, etc.  These will be deleted.

3.  If you are linking to a store that kids shouldn't go to, use a large 18+ graphic when linking.

4.  Link directly to your shop / site.

5.  Don't link up to your individual items, but you may add a link for each online store you have.  For instance, if you have two eBay stores, an Etsy store, and are a direct sales consultant, feel free to add all four links!

6.  While not required, I would appreciate if you would visit my Paparazzi $5 Jewelry site and take a look around as well as browsing my eBay store.

My hope is that everyone gets at least one sale from this link up!

I've made it easy to share this post with others if you wish to do so by creating a post already.  You can create your own or share these:

Facebook  (I have even paid to boost this post through CyberMonday!)


    An InLinkz Link-up

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Tips for Holiday Shipping #Zitriom

FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.  I received a sample of Zitriom professional packing tape to help facilitate this post.

I sell online.  Full time.   It's important I always have good, reliable packing tape on hand at all times. There have been times I have sent my husband to the store at nearly 11 at night because I realized that I was out of packing tape.

It's important, too. that I have quality packing tape.  I need to be sure the tape sticks to the package and it won't come off until the recipient takes it off.

Plus, I don't want to pay a lot for packing tape.

With the cost of Zitriom professional packing tape being $11.86 -- and that including a free hand held dispenser, I wondered about the quality of this tape, but it exceeded my expectations, and believe me, I have experience with tape!

I have shipped over 10,000 packages in the last 18 years.  Here are a few tips for shipping.

1.  Tape your package well.  I have heard of some people who rely on the stickiness of certain boxes and mailers.  Don't.  I've heard of too many of these coming open in transit.  An extra couple inches of tape, especially as inexpensive as Zitrion is, gives you peace of mind that your package will arrive closed until it reaches its destination.

2.  Packing material.   I don't care if you use blank newsprint, bubble wrap, or packing peanuts, make sure your item can withstand whatever might happen.  With enough bubble wrap, tape, and cardboard you can make sure any item gets to its destination unharmed.  I have even made boxes to fit into flat rate bubble mailers and have successfully mailed coffee mugs in a bubble mailer by making my own box that fits inside!  That's why good packing tape is a must!

3.  Be aware of shipping costs.  I received a box earlier this year that cost the person almost $18 to mail because they used a large flat rate priority mail box.  There was nothing fragile in the box, it was just candy, and mostly air.  It could have easily gone in a flat rate bubble mailer and saved the person about $12.  Even putting it in their own box would have been a savings of about $10.  Watch weight, distance, and size.   Check out the site of the shipping company you are wanting to use to get an idea.  Amazingly, sometimes one inch can make the difference between a regular package and an oversized (and very expensive to ship) package.

4.  If you think you have enough tape on the box, add some more.  Tape is one thing I don't skimp on.  It's the "glue" that holds your package together, so to speak.  There is nothing I hate more than finding an opened package in my mailbox and I make sure that doesn't happen to any I mail.  Tape is inexpensive, especially Zitriom, and the extra peace of mind it gives you is certainly worth it!

5.  If you ship tons of stuff like I do, even though Zitrion has a tape dispenser, this two in one tape dispenser is well worth it in my opinion.  Zirtiom tape fits perfectly in there, and it allows me to tape my packages even better than using a handheld dispenser.  After shipping 10,00 packages, I wonder why I didn't invest in it sooner, it makes packing even easier.  But if you only ship a few packages,the free red handheld tape dispenser is all you will need!  :)

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Late November Adoption Update

FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.

Our last PRIDE (Foster / adoption) class was this week.  I'm going to enjoy having my Wednesday evenings back again, but will certainly miss the friends I made in the class.  We offered to give a ride to a friend and as we were backing out of her driveway, my husband backed right into a black 2015 Jeep Cherokee.  *sigh*   It was raining, it was dark, and the vehicle was extremely camouflaged.

It's been one expense after another later. The furnace, both of our cars, someone else's car, and we need a number of windows replaced, and the one that is most in need of replacement (because it's just boarded up) is a special order.

The boy we wanted to adopt is no longer available. (Long story, and we were anticipating having him here hopefully by Christmas.)  A second boy we were considering is being adopted by another couple.  So right now, we're working towards adoption but with no specific child in mind.

Our PRIDE training is good for three years, so we might take a little more time now and approach the process a little more slowly.  It will give us more time to get the house ready.  Find things we need.  (Maybe I'll come across a great sale on a bed before we need it!)

Bottom line is we're still moving forward but just slower than we had originally planned.

I'm hoping we can get the windows replaced before winter hits.  I don't want to think about how much that will cost.  Then hopefully we can get started on a couple rooms in the house that need updated.  (When I inherited this house, it was totally filled with paneling.)  The house renovations are not cheap by any means.  They are sorely needed though.  So I'll be listing on eBay, selling Paparazzi $5 jewelry, blogging, and entering sweepstakes.  My husband is working extra hours and we're doing all we can to save money.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Radar's Round up of Giveaways November 21, 2015

FTC disclaimer:  This post may contain affiliate links.

Feel free to link up blog giveaways here.  They must be open to the USA, hosted by a blog, and the link should go directly to the giveaway.

Please be sure and enter my giveaway for a "Listen to Your Heart" fashion bracelet.$10 Dunkin Donuts Gift Card Ends 12/1 and open to the USA.

Also, if you would please like Books, Bargains, Blessings on Facebook as well as my page where I sell Paparazzi $5 Jewelry, I would be most appreciative.  

If you would like to tweet about this link up I made it easy for you right here:


    An InLinkz Link-up

Are there 7 ways to say I'm Tired?

FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.

It's time for 7 Quick Takes Friday.  You can visit to read more from other bloggers.

Are there seven ways to say I'm tired?  Maybe I'll just recount my week and then you can come up with the best way to describe it.

1.  The furnace is finally working. Yes, it has snowed.  Yes, the house has been down to 47 degrees inside.  The first two men we had looking at it wasn't sure what was wrong with it.  Two hundred dollars later and it still wasn't working.  Called a professional.  $65 later we had heat.  *sigh*  I'm thankful for the heat, but I should have called the professional first.

2.  West Virginia allows studded tires for winter.  Where we live they aren't really an option but downright dangerous to drive without them part of the winter.  So, the car went off to the mechanic.  It needed some work due to a spin out in September.  We thankfully weren't hurt, but did land in some bushes by the side of the road.  (Thankful there was a side of the road there as we were on a mountain path where in places there are steep drop offs.)  Cost of this tired? $566

3.  I sell Paparazzi $5 jewelry.  It it cute, sells itself, and is frugal fashion.  The problem is because of my husband's work schedule, I haven't been able to make it to any flea markets or bazaars.  I told him he needed to get his car running.  He learned the battery the used dealership put in his car was not the one that should be in there, and it's probably what caught his alternator on fire.  He has an appointment for his car at the mechanic and he's going to need new winter tires.  I just hope my vendor event next week makes enough to cover his car repairs.

4.  Speaking of cars, this was our last week of our foster / adopt class.  We offered to give a friend from class a ride, and as we were pulling out of her driveway, it was dark, raining, and the black vehicle across the street didn't show up in our rear view camera until we bumped against it.  Thankfully we were going slow.  We were unwelcome visitor's at someone's house that night with our insurance information.  They thanked us for our honesty, though.  And of course instead of driving an old beat up car, they own a 2015.  We don't know yet the cost of this "tired".

5.  My eBay sales have been down.  I attribute this to my "Tired #1".   I haven't listed many new things this month, therefore it's to be expected.  When it's 47 degrees in the house and I'm wearing gloves and my Columbia Peruvian hat with Omni-heat lining I dont' feel much like doing anything but staying under my electric blanket.  I do have to say this hat is the best hat I've ever owned.  I wore it during Hurricane Sandy when we were 60 hours without power/heat in a blizzard.  It has kept me warm, but focusing on being warm meant less of a focus on my job.

6.  I learned the window that is busted out is not a common size and will be an expensive special order.  The DHHR is kind of picky that you don't have any boarded up windows when you foster/adopt.  :)

7.  I did learn that two conventions that I was toying with attending will both be in Las Vegas next year.  I'm more inclined to go because there's only two days between the two events.  So I could go to one, and then either stay in Vegas for two days or road trip somewhere and then return for the second convention.  I have a free admission ticket to the second, but not the first.  Will have to see if I can save up enough money to attend them.  But with the week I have, I feel more like crawling under a rock.