Saturday, February 13, 2016

Parenting Pointers: Financial Infidelity

February is a time to celebrate love and commitment, but many couples face a hidden challenge that could place their relationships in peril. According to a new survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of the National Endowment for Financial Education® (NEFE®), two in five Americans who have combined their finances in a current/past relationship admit to committing financial infidelity against their partner. Comparatively, the problem is growing. Among U.S. adults, 42 percent admit to financial infidelity compared to 33 percent just two years ago. The survey also finds that when financial deceptions occur, 75 percent say there is an effect on the relationship.
“When you agree to combine finances in a relationship, you’re also agreeing to a certain degree of cooperation and transparency in your money management. It’s easier to achieve joint financial goals when your money is pooled and working together. Yet we’re seeing the implicit promise of collaboration destroyed by financial game-playing,” says Ted Beck, president and CEO of NEFE. “Financial infidelity hurts regardless of its scale. Hiding or lying about small amounts of money can damage a relationship just as effectively as a high-dollar deceit. In fact, in all cases of this deception, people affected say it impacted their relationship in some way–almost always negatively. It causes arguments, erosion of trust, separation or even divorce.”
Among those surveyed, over one third (39 percent) hid a purchase, bank account, statement, bill or cash from their partner or spouse. Additionally, 16 percent say they have committed more severe deceptions, like lying about the amount of debt that they owe or even the amount of income that they earn. Among those who have committed financial deceptions, nearly one third (32 percent) say they believe some aspects of their finances should remain private, even from their spouse/partner; three in 10 (30 percent) say they had discussed finances with their spouse/partner and they knew they would disapprove; and 25 percent were embarrassed/fearful about their finances and didn’t want their spouse/partner to find out.
Warning Signs
Red flags that financial infidelity may be an issue in a relationship may be as simple as coming across a receipt or a piece of paper indicating a purchase that you don’t recognize, or not seeing copies of every bill each month. “Another significant indicator may be that you partner or spouse is defensive or withdrawn when the topic of money is brought up,” adds Beck.
 
Approaching Your Partner
Confronting your partner is a tough thing to face. According to Beck, you must accept that it will be stressful. He says the best way to approach the situation is to first know what you want out of the conversation before you have it, and not to approach your partner by saying “we have to talk.” You also must be careful not to sabotage your partner by inviting them to a dinner or movie night and then hitting them with the topic by surprise.
 
Getting On the Same Page
Beck says in order to rebuild trust, you must establish to your partner the following, “I’ve done some spending you don’t know about and I want to make sure we get on the same page and create goals today that we can stick to.”
 
Rebuilding Trust after Financial Infidelity Occurs
After you or your partner has come clean about committing financial infidelity, you must accept that it will take time to rebuild the trust you once had. “It will take sustained transparency in all communication, and it takes a commitment from both to stick to the goals that you’ve set together,” says Beck.
For more tips on working together as a couple to handle finances and starting that awkward conversation about money that you have been avoiding, visit www.smartaboutmoney.org.
Take the LifeValues Quiz
Understanding your financial values and how they differ from those of your partner is one key to success in managing money together as a couple. NEFE’s LifeValues Quiz helps people identify the values that drive their financial decisions. To learn more and to take the quiz, visit www.smartaboutmoney.org/lifevaluesquiz.
Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of NEFE from January 19-21, 2016, among 2,057 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. Please contact for complete survey methodology (including weighting variables).
About the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE)
NEFE is a nonprofit foundation that inspires empowered financial decision making for individuals and families through every stage of life. For more information, visit www.nefe.org.

Smart Safety: 2Steps2Minutes

The American Red Cross® recently launched a home fire awareness campaign called 2Steps2Minutes that aims to save lives from a silent killer that takes more lives each year than all hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods combined.  Launched in partnership with millennial-focused media company What’s TrendingiHeartMediaThe Charity Network and Reveal Project, the campaign calls attention to the two steps critical to safely escaping a home fire: 1) practice your home fire drill in under two minutes, and 2) check your smoke alarms each month.

 “On an average day, seven of our neighbors die in home fires, and that’s just seven too many,” said Russ Paulsen, who leads community preparedness for the Red Cross.  “But we can change that.  No miracle, no incredible scientific breakthrough required – just getting the word out and having people take two simple steps.  This campaign is a great way to spread life-saving information.”
Internet sensations GloZell GreenFrankie GrandeBart BakerBrodie Smith, and Brittany Furlan are some of the first digital influencers to participate in the ‘I Can Do It In Two Minutes’ PSA, which encourages people to have a plan to safely evacuate their home in the event of a fire and to check that smoke alarms are working.  The PSA was directed by the Brothers Riedell, known for the films Camp Takota and Bad Night. 

iHeartMedia has been named the official media partner for the 2Steps2Minutes initiative and will leverage the company’s spectrum of multiplatform assets to address key aspects of fire safety and prevention. iHeartMedia will launch an on-air and online campaign that includes a series of PSAs and original content recorded by GRAMMY® Award winning a cappella group Pentatonix, 2016 ACM award 2x nominee Kelsea Ballerini, and iHeartMedia personality Bobby Bones, host of the popular nationally syndicated Country radio program The Bobby Bones Show.  

The Charity Network will host one-of-a-kind celebrity experiences across Prizeo and Charitybuzz platforms to raise funds to benefit the Red Cross. The first packages announced include experiences from celebrities including Sheryl CrowLaura MaranoScotty McCreeryAmerican Authors and influencers Frankie GrandeMatthew SantoroRooster Teeth and Joey Graceffa. Offerings include concert tickets, meet and greets, on-set visits, and cameos in social media content. 

“As we grow The Charity Network, we’re excited to partner with incredible organizations including What’s Trending, iHeartMedia, and Reveal Project to help champion some of our favorite causes like American Red Cross,” said Todd Wagner, founder and chairman of The Charity Network.
Additionally, Kelsea BalleriniAlli Simpson, and Troye Sivan have teamed up with Reveal Project to each design limited-edition merchandise. Designs can be purchased at RevealProject.com/2Steps2Minutes.


To see campaign content, check out all auction experiences, find out how you can purchase a limited edition shirt, or make a donation, visitRedCross.org/2steps2minutes.

About American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visitredcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.
About What’s Trending
What’s Trending is an award-winning US-based media company and online destination curating and producing original programming around the hottest digital trends and topics every day. With over 100 million YouTube views to date, What’s Trending has collaborated with the biggest online and traditional personalities in entertainment and pop-culture. Founded by host and digital influencer pioneer Shira Lazar, What’s Trending’s innovative, groundbreaking and interactive programs have been recognized by the Primetime Emmy Awards, the Webbys, the IAWTV, the Streamy Awards and others since the company’s launch in 2011. www.WhatsTrending.com, Facebook.com/whatstrending, YouTube.com/whatstrending, Twitter @whatstrending
About iHeartMedia
With 245 million monthly listeners in the U.S., 87 million monthly digital uniques, over 75 million social followers and 196 million monthly consumers of its Total Traffic and Weather Network, iHeartMedia has the largest reach of any radio or television outlet in America. It serves over 150 markets through 858 owned radio stations, and the company’s radio stations and content can be heard on AM/FM, HD digital radio, satellite radio, on the Internet atiHeartRadio.com and on the company’s radio station websites, on the iHeartRadio mobile app, in enhanced auto dashes, on tablets and smartphones, and on gaming consoles.
About The Charity Network
The Charity Network disrupts traditional fundraising models and helps charities transition from analog to digital. By doing so, The Charity Network reaches a diverse group of donors from millennials to baby boomers. Launched in 2016, The Charity Network is a coalition of the top digital fundraising platforms: Charitybuzz, Prizeo, and Chideo. Each platform is a leader in its own field: Charitybuzz in online charity auctions, Prizeo in online sweepstakes and experiences, and Chideo in cause and entertainment content. To learn more please visit: www.charitynetwork.com
About Reveal Project
Reveal Project is an online platform that brings social purpose to online shopping. We partner with key social influencers to create and sell custom merchandise focused on a variety of social causes. The net proceeds provide critical support to the charities behind these movements and, equally important, we inspire powerful communities of like-minded individuals who are making a real difference for social good. For more information, please visit www.revealproject.com.

Amazing Apps: Boomzap New Releases

Two of BoomZamp's newest mobile releases, Super Awesome RPG and Monster Roller, are both featured on the U.S. App Store under Best New Games, and we're hoping you'll be interested.

Super Awesome RPG( iOS and Android )is an anime-themed tactical RPG, with a card game-style combat system wherein actions come from what equipment your heroes wear, and executing attacks is done through a one-thumb scratch-card like mechanic, designed for playing on the go. It’s launched worldwide on January 21, 2016, with a free lite version and a complete full version at $4.99 USD, and support for multiple languages.

Monster Roller (iOS and Android)  is a monster strategy game with a hybrid slot machine combat system, combining luck and strategy elements into a competitive, live PVP game. It is easy to pick up and understand, but packs a lot of depth with different monster strategies, abilities, and combinations. After winning Game of the Year (ESGS Indie Arena) and Best Art (GDAP Awards) and soft-launching in the Philippines last year, they’ve released it globally last January 27, 2016 with support for several Southeast Asian languages.

Giveaway: BYOU Magazine

Girls in today's society get so many different messages about their bodies and personalities, who they are, and who they should be. As the mother of two girls, and someone who struggled with self-image, I'm sensitive to making sure my girls hear a balanced message of encouragement and inspiration. Many teen magazines clearly push agendas like certain ways to act or look, often focused on boys, and that's not something I want my girls to focus on, even when they're older.

BYOU Magazine wants to change that. Be Your Own You encourages girls to be unique, and while there are articles that encourage self-improvement, they have a positive tone. The magazine has many of the features found in other teen magazines, like quizzes, but the focus is on positive character aspects, like generosity. Much of the New Year, New You issue for January (which I got to review for this post) highlighted being grateful, and the beauty tip was about receiving compliments graciously (which seems like a no-brainer, but is actually hard - think about how you respond to a compliment next time you get one).

The magazine is targeted to girls ages 7-15, and my 8-year-old loved it, but the information in the magazine was, quite honestly, even refreshing for me to read! I really enjoyed the stories of inspiring women and girls in the magazine, showing other girls that anyone can have a positive impact.


I have a chance to give away a one-year print and digital subscription. To enter, leave a comment with how you inspire the young women in your life. Deadline is February 19th.

Consumer Critique: Skinit

Personalized products are a great gift for anyone, anytime. If you need a last minute idea for gifts, you could consider the gift of personalizing a case for tablet or phone from Skinit. Their eCards are instantly delivered, and then the recipient can pick out exactly what they want, whether it's a photo skin or a pattern.

I had a chance to review the site, and it was easy to use. I opted to get a pre-set pattern, because my daughter absolutely loves jungle cats. The pink leopard spot skin we picked out fit my Kindle Fire perfectly. It was easy to apply and fits securely, so it isn't likely to fall off, even with frequent use. The website is easy to search for pattern ideas (I searched for cheetah and got a variety of leopard and cheetah prints). It's also nicely organized by theme, so if you have a certain interest in mind, you can browse through categories like sports, comics, pop culture, art, lifestyle, patterns, and specific collections. You can also get metallic, carbon fiber, or glitter skins; or, of course, create your own.

The shipping time was fast, and the prices are very reasonable. It's a site I would definitely consider using again the next time we get a new device! Now is a great chance to buy, with 30% off cases and skins with code PRESIDENT.

Thrifty Thinking: Handmade Valentine's Gifts

DreamWorksTV’s “Life Hacks for Kids” star Sunny and “I ♥ DIY’s” JENerationDIY are here to serve up some DIY V-Day inspiration.

From a candy heart necklace and cuddly plush pillow to a personalized valentine for anyone, Sunny's got all the hacky heart tricks you'll need to show your friends and family that you care about them.



Jennifer shares tips on creating homemade gifts that come straight from the heart: classic chocolate-covered strawberries, personalized cards and a compliment jar! 






About DreamWorksTV
DreamWorksTV combines DreamWorks Animations’ expertise as a global family entertainment brand with the digital savvy of AwesomenessTV to create a YouTube channel featuring original live action and animated content. Helmed by AwesomenessTV’s Brian Robbins, DreamWorksTV showcases original short-form content that is laugh-out-loud funny, introducing fresh new voices as well as iconic characters.  Family-friendly versions of reality TV and original animated web series from top creators are featured along with Vlog posts from DreamWorks Animation’s stable of fan favorite characters.  Visit DreamWorksTV at www.YouTube.com/DreamWorksTV, “like” them on Facebook using keyword “DreamWorksTV” and follow them on Twitter @DreamWorksTV.

Time Tidbits: Last Minute Valentine's Day Gifts


With the day of love just around the corner people are beginning to stress out about what to get loved ones. For those out of V-day ideas, here are some sweet tips from OK SWEETHEART's Erin Austin on what to buy your favorite person this Valentine's Day:

1. Experience something new and meaningful
Do something you’ve been meaning to do together. Go play mini-golf or to in indoor water theme park, check out an exhibit and a museum, go to a comedy show, head out on a hike or snowshoe around a park

OR Do something you’ve been meaning to do together. Go to the latest exhibit at a museum, take a plane trip or helicopter ride to see your city from a new point of view, go skiing and sip cocktails at your favorite lodge, take a romantic stroll through a botanical garden or drive to a state park and explore. Whether you're on a budget or splurging, experiencing something new together will create priceless memories


2. You learn a lot just by looking around
Stressing about finding the perfect gift they’ll never expect? Relax. To love them is to really know them and their likes, so get a gift they’ll actually use. Have an artist in your life? Get them those art supplies they’d never splurge on. A reader? Find a vintage copy of their favorite book. Are they using a hair tie as a wallet? (Yes, my boyfriend actually did this) Get them a fancy new money clip with their initials on it. They will appreciate that you pay attention to them and their routines. And you won’t have to look at that hair tie wallet anymore.


3. Treat yourselves!
(General) Does your other like a fresh cut and a shave? Find an old-school barber that will do the whole towel service deal with a straight razor. Maybe a Chinese foot massage? Find an old school co-ed bathhouse where you can hang together. Go for a float in one of those pod things … I’ve done it, it’s fun. 

4. Tour de Grub
(General) Spend the whole day casually enjoying and exploring your favorite food in your city. Pick your favorite foods and find out what restaurants in town make that one thing the best. Then go from place to place eating your favorite things together! If you live in a place with few restaurants, why not explore cooking your favorite things? If you’re convincing someone who’s not good at cooking, but is always the one volunteering to make the fire, tell them when you make creme brûlée, you get to use a blow torch. It’s a blast!

 OK SWEETHEART is pop songstress Erin Austin, business woman, artist and television's newest "go to" girl! Her songs are currently played in multiple hit tv series Including  CW's One Tree Hill, ABC's drama Revenge and most recently Royal Pains. Her new single "We're In This Together"  will be heard on the TV show Recovery Road on Monday, February 15th. Meanwhile  "We've Got Lovewill  will be featured on February 14th on the new Zales commercial.  CLICK HERE OK Sweetheart's TV hit, "Home."

Consumer Critique: Daniel Tiger DVD and Paper Products



Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is hosting a Valentine’s Day celebration! They recently released
the lovable DVD, “Would You Be Mine?,” and Buy Seasons has a line of Daniel Tiger paper products perfect for a child's party.

I had a chance to review the DVD and paper products. The themed party ware was a hit with the kids in my daughter's classroom. I would love to have shared pictures from the actual party, but I didn't get any decent pictures that I feel comfortable posting with kids who weren't my own children. However, you can see the supplies in action in the birthday party set up below.
  
 The DVD, although it has a Valentine's Day title, is appropriate for any time, with gentle lessons about love and caring. The DVD is available at most retail outlets or websites. It has eight episodes, or about two hours of child-friendly entertainment that kids will enjoy watching and parents can feel good about. Buy Seasons party supplies are available at Walmart and  Birthday Express.



World Wisdom: Zena Moon Candles

Valentine's Day is all about romance, and one way to set a romantic mood is with a beautiful candle.  A candle with meaning is an even better way to express your love and ZENA MOON candles stand apart from other options. Each handcrafted, nature-inspired candle by Zena Moon Candle Company is both a conscious tool, and a source of rich pleasure. Designed to create a specific energy in your desired environment, the handmade creations help clear your space and focus your intentions.
 
They use ingredients of the highest quality, and the company runs on sustainable practices. Crafted with an eco-consciousness, Zena Moon Candles are vegan and imbued with loving kindness. Each also comes with words of affirmation and a specially chosen gemstone, to serve as a reminder of your journey long after your candle is gone. 
 
I had a chance to sample a candle, and they are a beautiful product. The scent is natural, not overpowering but strong enough to fill a room. The look of the candles is gorgeous, I love the eco-friendly aspects of the company, and I really like the meaning behind the candles.

Consumer Critique: Valentine's Nail Polish from Sinful Colors

There are some new sweet polish shades from SinfulColors, including the NEW Limited Edition Love Bombs glitter. The polishes are $1.99 per bottle, made in the USA, and 5 free (free of Toluene, Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, DPB, Camphor). They also have some SinfulShine Gel Tech shades at $2.99 plus a $2.99 top coat, to provide the look of gel polish at a great value! SinfulColors are available at Target, Walgreens, Walmart, Rite Aid, and other drug and mass retailers.
 
I had a chance to sample the colors, and I really liked them. I loved the Love Bombs, and so did my daughter - the glitter polish had heart-shaped glitters, which is something I know my daughter will want to wear year-round, not just for Valentine's Day! The colors were easy to apply with a nice smooth finish, and lasted pretty well, even on the fingers of my busy six-year-old! They're a good value, and rich, vibrant hues.