Amanda Wolfe

Do Good For Free: Give A $25 Kiva Loan

November 18, 2011 at 9:18 am , by

I’ve always been intrigued by Kiva, the microfinance site that connects you with women entrepreneurs around the world to help them provide for themselves and their families by lending them money. It’s such a great way to make a big impact with at a fairly small cost to you—and your loan will eventually be repaid so you can reinvest in another worthy woman. Win-win! But I never actually took the plunge (I know, shame on me). That’s why I was so excited when our friends at Kiva offered an amazing opportunity: The first 3000 LHJ readers to go to and sign up can give a FREE $25 loan. It’s the perfect way to try Kiva at no cost to you.

So I was excited to finally give it a try and let me tell you — it was hard to choose. I wanted to help every woman that I clicked on! When their loans are funded, Ana Cecilia in El Salvador will buy tires for her auto repair shop, Naimajon in Tajikistan will purchase fabrics and gold embroidery thread for her sewing business, and Sama in Togo will buy groceries for her small market. I eventually decided to give my free $25 loan to Flaviana (picture above) to buy supplies for her beauty salon in the Philippines. She has four school-aged children and her goal is to use her income to pay for their education.

It was so rewarding to know who I was helping (and why) that I am definitely going to give another loan — this time on my own dime. What can I say, I’m hooked. So what are you waiting for? It’s free, people! Go to now to give your free $25 loan. It only takes a few minutes (unless you just can’t decide like me) and I promise you it’s worth it.

Guest Blogger: Trendspotter Winner Lisa Scott

September 8, 2011 at 9:51 am , by

Congratulations to Lisa Scott, winner of our LHJ trendspotter blogger contest! Her blog about wood jewelry was selected to be featured here as a guest post on our Ladies’ Lounge blog, and she won a $1,000 shopping spree at General Growth Properties malls.

I love to accessorize my wardrobe with some bold jewelry pieces. There is nothing more fun than choosing one or two unique items to dress up a T-shirt and jeans or amplify a dressier look. In the summer however, I tend to shy away from my favorite metal bracelets because in the heat they feel sweaty and uncomfortable. This year I have become totally smitten with wood, cork and simulated wood bangles. They are lighter and more pleasant to wear in the humid weather—and talk about style versatility!

You can find them in tons of shapes, colors and sizes and many of the designs can easily transition from casual to evening ensemble. The price points—especially for the basic simulated wood pieces—are very affordable and they work well on all ages. My daughter loves her animal print bangle, I love my cork cuff bracelet and my mother adores her stacked wooden bead set but we frequently swap! — Lisa Scott

Even though summer’s almost over, we like that these cute wood bracelet picks can transition into fall, too. Thanks for sharing your favorite trend, Lisa! And congrats also to our runners’ up, Angela Rodgers, Faith Heimbrodt, Dawn Moore and Carrie Clogston who won LHJ swag bags for spotting (and blogging) some of summer’s cutest looks.

Even if you didn’t win, you still have a chance to score great prizes for your trendspotting skills–check our Trendspotters site soon for a brand-new contest for fall!

Categories: Fashion, Fun | Tags: | No Comments

Creepy Halloween Cocktails For Grownups

August 10, 2011 at 2:34 pm , by

To throw a grown-up Halloween cocktail party, ditch the kiddie games—but by all means keep the candy!—and whip up some creepy cocktails. Our favorite is the crowd-pleasing (and easy make-ahead) Wizard’s Blood, a classic spiced cider with red wine. (You could also add 1.5 cups of spiced rum instead of the wine, if you prefer.)

Wizard’s Blood
6  cups  apple cider
4  cups red wine
3  cups  cranberry juice cocktail
3/4  tsp  ground cinnamon
6  whole cloves
Sliced Lady apple, for garnish
Cinnamon sticks for garnish

1. In a large pot, combine cider, wine, cranberry juice, ground cinnamon and cloves. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, 25 to 30 minutes.
2. Pour into mugs and garnish with apple slices and cinnamon sticks, if desired. Serve hot. Makes 8 cups.

Looking for some more variety? Here are our favorite Halloween cocktail recipes from around the web:

Satan’s Whiskers - A classic drink with a festive twist, this recipe has gin and vermouth plus OJ and orange peels for flare.

Vampire’s Blood – It’s red (of course) but the homemade hibiscus syrup in this tequila cocktail is much tastier (and a lot more chic) than food coloring.

Candy Corn Cocktail – There are tons of fun, creative cocktails in this roundup from Hostess With The Mostess but the layered candy corn version looks surprisingly good. (Although who could resist some Pina Gouladas?)

Eyeball Highball - Looking for a little more of the gross-out-factor? The Eyeball Highball delivers. It’s easy too: A classic martini with “eyeballs” instead of plain old olives.

Devil’s Handshake – It’s fruity enough to appeal to most (especially those of us who can’t quite do a straight-up martini) but the ginger puree adds some grown-up spiciness.

Categories: Food, Fun, Ladies' Lounge | Tags: | 2 Comments

Like This, Support The Special Olympics

June 14, 2011 at 10:13 am , by

This sweet video (which, we’ll admit, made us tear up a little), is a tribute to our Special Olympics athletes and the moms who help them get where they are. With team USA heading to Athens for the 2011 games next weekend, Proctor & Gamble is donating $250,000 to the Special Olympics, and giving all of us a chance to contribute too! For every like, share, or comment on, P&G will donate a dollar (up to an additional $250,000) to the Special Olympics in celebration of the moms and families who support our athletes.

What’s Your Go-To Summer Beauty Product?

June 1, 2011 at 8:00 am , by

ss_101406402Tell us how you stay gorgeous and beat the summer heat and we’ll send you an exclusive LHJ fan-only coupon code* for 25 percent off natural Tarte products! Just go to our Facebook and answer this question: What’s your go-to Summer beauty product to beat the heat? Or tweet your answer @LHJmagazine on Twitter. We’ll reply back (either via Facebook message or Twitter DM) with your exclusive code!

We’ll share the best summer stay-fresh tips here so stay tuned for other readers’ genius ideas! (In the meantime if you’re looking for some expert advice, check out this story from LHJ beauty director Erica Metzger.)

* Only valid at Must enter promo code at checkout. Cannot be combined with any other offer or promo code. Not valid on purchase of eGift cards. Not valid on purchase of select limited-edition items. Only valid on in-stock items, no rain checks. Not valid on previous purchases. Tarte has the right to cancel any orders due to unauthorized use. Promo expires on July 31, 2011 at 11:59pm EDT.

Sara’s Tech Tips: How To Clean Your Gadgets

May 24, 2011 at 9:48 am , by

Whether the dust that has created a protective barrier between you and your ability to see your TV screen or the computer keyboard contains at least one crumb from every meal you’ve multi-tasked over the last several months… our gadgets can get pretty nasty. Here’s the scoop on how to clean them (without ruining them!).

What you’ll need: Water and isopropyl alcohol (mixed 60/40,) a bottle of compressed air, microfiber or electrostatic cloths (like Swiffer or Pledge dry cloths) and cotton swabs.

Remember: You should always turn off and unplug all devices before cleaning them. Also, rather than vigorously scrubbing your gear like you would your dishes, channel the image of handling a baby when cleaning your gadgets. They may seem tough with the ease in which they solve all of our problems, but they are fragile (expensive!) machines to be handled with care.

Screens (computer, TV, and smart phone) seem to be magnets for dust and grime. Even the cleanest among us will notice a layer of dust coating the surface of the TV or computer. And don’t forget about the smudgy finger prints. First, wipe them down with a microfiber cloth (which traps dust between fibers) or a electrostatic cloth (which has synthetic fibers that create magnetic charge to pull dust to them). By doing this, you actually remove dust rather than spreading it around or unsettling it just to have it land back on your screen within minutes. Then, use a cloth dampened with the water/alcohol mixture to remove the fingerprints. (Paper towels and napkins are too abrasive for standard screens and can leave minute scratches on the surface).

Keyboards (computers and smart phones) are a more delicate area to clean because any fluid you use can drain into the actual machine, causing damage. That’s why it’s important to spray liquid cleaner (like the alcohol/water mix or other gadget-specific cleaning products) onto a cloth and NOT onto the device itself. Wipe the top of the keys off with a cloth and then use a cotton swab dipped in alcohol to trace the sides of the keys. Finally, use the compressed air to blast any dust and grime out from the inside of the keyboard.

Earphones often end up attracting earwax or other unidentified yuck from the bottom of the bag or purse they have been riding in. If they have soft removable covers, take them off and soak them for 10/15 minutes in a glass of water mixed with a couple drops of soap. Then, using an alcohol-dipped cotton swab, wipe over the earphones themselves. Let them dry for 20 minutes afterward to ensure that all of the water has evaporated.

Do Good: You Click, Companies Give, Girls Get a Chance

March 17, 2011 at 3:32 pm , by

96We need your help! General Mills and Merck have committed to donating $900,000 (!) to Join My Village, a program that helps fight poverty in Malawi, run by our friends at CARE. The initiative helps lift whole African communities out of poverty (and hunger) by giving girls the tools they need to spark change, whether that’s fertilizer to grow corn or teachers and school supplies. On the site your clicks help unlock tokens—and $1 donations—to the cause.

So what can you do? If you go to right now and sign up with the code “JMV4LH,” it will release $5 (for the first 2,000 LHJ readers) to help these women and girls in need, and then of course you can stick around and keep learning and unlocking dollars. These girls’ stories are so powerful that I’d watch and read even if there wasn’t a donation attached—but how awesome is it that there is?

So go right now and sign up! A few minutes of your time could truly change lives.