Shoppers – here’s a great way to get some Amazon bucks and flex your creative muscles on Instagram! I recently received an email regarding a context being sponsored by the Slice app - all you need to do is share your most creative bubble photos on Instagram for a chance to win a $500 Amazon gift card! The contest is free to participate and will be open until August 1, 2014.

More info below:

The #Bubblegram giveaway celebrates the bubble-rific SLICE & DICE feature in the new redesigned app – it’s a fun, interactive display of the individual user’s spending data broken down by retailer and purchase type, as seen by year, month, week and day.

To enter: 

  • Follow @HelloSlice on Instagram
  • Post your best, most creative bubble photos on Instagram, tagging #Bubblegram and @HelloSlice 
  • Winner will be selected by Slice and awarded a $500 Amazon gift card!
  • Winner will be notified the week of August 4 and posted on the Slice Blog. Best photos will be featured on Slice’s Facebook and Twitter cover photos!
  • Eligibility: Must be 18 years of age or older, resident of the US

Good luck! We’ll be sure to follow along with the amazing #Bubblegram entries! (And don’t forget to follow @ShopHappens on Instagram while you’re at it!)


I’m so excited to announce this giveaway – this is definitely one of those prizes I wish I could win myself! To celebrate the launch of her new website, the lovely and talented Irina has generously sponsored a giveaway just for ShopHappens readers! Today’s giveaway is for  a beautiful custom Danique Jewelry birthstone necklace. The necklace is completely customizable: the lucky winner will have his or her choice of metal (Vermeil Gold, Sterling Silver or Oxidized Silver), initial, and gemstone. All birthstones are available!

Danique Jewelry Custom Birthstone Necklace

Danique Jewelry Custom Birthstone Necklace

To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. The only required entry is “What birthstone would you choose and why?” but you can get lots of extra entries too. This giveaway is open internationally and there is only one winner. Your chance at winning will be determined by the number of entries received :) The giveaway will be open from 4/15 through 4/27, so get your entries in now!

Thank you Irina for sponsoring this giveaway! Readers, please be sure to follow Danique Jewelry on Facebook for new product info and lots of exclusive deals! And check out Irina’s store at for a ton of beautiful handmade jewelry and the Danique Jewelry Etsy Store as well!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The fine print:

  • No purchase necessary. A purchase does not improve your chance of winning. Void where prohibited.
  • Entrant must be 18 years old as of sweepstakes start date.
  • Sweepstakes begins April 15, 2014, at 12:00 a.m. ET, and closes on April 28, 2014, at 12:00 a.m. ET.
  • Each entrant selected as a potential winner must comply with all terms and conditions set forth in these Official Rules, and winning is contingent upon fulfilling all such requirements. Winners will be selected by random drawing. If a potential winner cannot be contacted within three (3) days after the first attempt to contact such potential winner, an alternate entrant will be selected in his or her place from all entries received.
"Housing" by James Thompson from Flickr

“Housing” by James Thompson via Flickr

When you’re looking for a new home, there are a lot of things you need to think about. How far do I want to be from work? How much do I want to pay? How much is this house worth?

I’m not a first time home buyer, but my husband and I are looking for our first home together. It’s been a stressful process, especially now that spring is finally here and tons of houses are coming on the market. We’re also working towards staging our own home, but that’s news for another day!

What should you keep in mind when looking for a new home? My top 5 tips are below – please feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments below!

  1. Know the area. This means checking out recent home sale prices, look into schools and crime reports, basically just do your research when it comes to homes you are interested in. There are tons of resources out there for this, including Zillow and Redfin. If you’re relocating, check the internet for news from that area to see what it’s like to live there.
  2. Talk to your realtor. Make sure you have a good feel for what the homes in that area are going for, and be sure to ask your realtor’s opinion of what they think the market will be like in the next couple of months or years. If the neighborhood is improving year after year, this is a great sign.
  3. Prioritize your needs. My husband really wants a yard and a garage, and I’d like at least 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. These are the things that are non-negotiable with us. Limiting our search to these options helps us narrow down the type of house that is right for us and our situation. If being closer to work is very important to you, you may need to compromise on space or amenities.
  4. Know what you can afford. You’ll notice that I didn’t say you should compromise on cost. If it helps to speak with a realtor or financial planner, I highly recommend this option. It doesn’t make sense for anyone to be “house poor” especially when the job market is still very vulnerable.
  5. Look past the finishings. Sometimes it’s hard, but try to see past the bright pink little girl room with stickers on every wall and the stained orange carpet. Many times sellers understand these shortcomings and will provide allowances at closing. Focus on the bigger picture – the guts of the house: location, layout, footprint, etc. If the seller is not willing to negotiate, be sure to save some room in your budget to make a few cosmetic updates.and a bonus…
  6. Don’t get disheartened. When I was looking for my first house (well, technically it was a condo), I looked at about 50 different places before I found “The One” – I’d even made an offer on another condo that was rejected. It’s hard to not become beaten down when things don’t seem to go your way, but eventually you will find the right house for you.

Do you have any other suggestions for shopping for a house?


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