Thursday, January 31, 2013

Banks Mis-sell 90% of Rate Swaps

In an unsurprising revelation it appears that banks have yet again been fingered for selling another "dodgy" financial product that was totally unsuitable for the hapless customers onto whom it was foisted.

This time the offending products were complex interest rate derivatives, sold to SME's.

The FSA is of the view that around 90% or more of these products, which did not comply with one or more regulatory requirements, were mis-sold.

Seemingly the banks structured these products in such a way that escape from them was prohibitively expensive.

Martin Wheatley, chief executive designate of the Financial Conduct Authority, accused lenders of selling businesses “absurdly complex products” and said many customers could now expect compensation from their banks.

Mr Wheatley is quoted in the Telegraph:
This marks significant progress in our review of these products. We believe that our work will ensure a fair and reasonable outcome for small and unsophisticated businesses.”
Lenders have seemingly set aside over £700M against potential swap mis-selling claims, with Barclays making the largest provision of £450M. Whilst it is expected that the provisions will double, the final cost may in fact hit £10BN.

Valentine Ideas (DIY Door Mat)

If you're in the mood for a quick and easy Valentine decor idea, how about creating a loving message at your front door?  I was originally looking for a plain mat that I could paint a big red heart on, but when I found this "key" mat at Target, I figured I could add a sweet message instead.

I'm not sure how practical this mat will be as far as the paint lasting once dirty shoes are scraped against it, but it's sure cute for now!

I die over this adorable shabby chic wagon from Hobby Lobby.  The pink and purple faux flowers are also from Hobby Lobby. 

To apply the text, I used a stiff paint brush and leftover Urbane Bronze paint from my kitchen cabinets.  I dabbed the letters on as opposed to swiping.  The heart was created with the same brush and pink craft paint.  This project took a total of about 10 minutes. 

The best part was painting with my little guy.  Of course when he saw me painting he wanted to join in.  I wish I could bottle this age!

Didn't his picture turn out cool?

Can you believe it's February tomorrow? 

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Stella & Dot Style

You might say I'm a bit obsessed with my new Stella & Dot accessories.   Over the weekend, I had some fun incorporating the jewelry into my everyday wardrobe.  On Saturday, I dressed up a plain grey Target 3/4 tee-shirt with a few Stella & Dot pieces.  

Zoe Lariat Necklace (S&D) (This necklace is cool because it's one long chain you can wear different ways)

Gilded Arrow Bracelet (S&D) (it bends to fit different sized wrists)

Renegade Cluster bracelet (S&D) - Love this feisty piece- it's stretchy and comes in  GOLD too!

And Sunday church and brunch looked like this:

I like how my less-than-$10 Target tanks and tees can be made to look a little more special by adding the Stella & Dot accessories.  You don't need a new outfit, just some different jewelry to make your closet staples more attractive.  

I don't play favorites, but this Interlock Cross Necklace (S&D) could be an everyday staple, layered with my favorite "J" initial necklace that I found at a boutique in Austin.  

How are you dressing up your inexpensive tanks and tees?  Are you smitten with any of the Stella & Dot pieces?

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Happy Bonus Season!

As a bleak and gloomy January draws to a close, the banksters are looking forward to awarding themselves some fat bonuses for all their "hard work" last year.

Sadly for the banksters not everyone is happy at the prospect of their self awarded largess. Step forward Unite which has demanded a meeting with UK Financial Investments Ltd (UKFI), which manages the government's (ie the taxpayer's) investments in RBS, Lloyds and UK Asset Resolution, over RBS's expected bonus payout of £250M.

As if things were not already bad enough for RBS, the Wall Street Journal reports US authorities are pushing for a settlement of LIBOR allegations that would result in the bank not only paying a fine of £500M, but also pleading guilty to criminal charges. Barclays and UBS got away with criminal charges, because they co-operated with the authorities.

RBS executives don't want to plead guilty because they fear that it will cause clients to cut off activity with the bank, and that it could increase exposure to ever more litigation.

Maybe then they should hold back on paying out a bonuses this year, lest the money be needed to pay for ongoing litigation?

Valentine's Cards via Martha Stewart Craft Studio App

I might still be a third grade schoolgirl the way I can't get enough of creating Valentine cards with this cool app from Martha Stewart (Craft Studio).  The app was featured in Ms. Martha's magazine and I downloaded it later that day.  I made all of these Valentine's cards in about an hour (okay, I was playing with this app for most of Sunday afternoon last weekend while my son napped).  Here are a few . . .

The app is super easy to use and comes with all kinds of fonts and graphics.  Have you played with it yet?  

This app is cool, but I still most treasure a hand-written note.  You too? 

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Organized Drawers

When you've got a whole room -- or entire house -- that needs organizing, sometimes it's easier to break the task into smaller, more doable projects.  Instead of trying to get the bathroom completely organized, just start with the medicine cabinet or the linen closet.  Similarly, you could tackle one drawer in your home or one small area.

We've got portions of our house that are "semi-organized" but still need help.  I consider the semi-organized area to be, for example, a drawer where most of what belongs there is contained there, but in a not-so-organized way.  Case in point, a drawer in our wet bar.

We've got bar/kitchen items (margarita salt, our wine bottle opener, beverage napkins, napkin rings, shot glasses and my gold silverware) in there, but they are all piled in randomly.  I took everything out and sorted it into categories. 

My organization solution was the expandable plastic storage divider ($17 from The Container Store).  It's important to measure your drawer before going out and purchasing new organization items.  Lucky for me, the length of this one fit the drawer perfectly.  (I could have found a prettier divider or lined the bottom of this one with pretty paper or painted it, but for now, I just wanted a quick solution). 

If you are starting small don't worry about prettying up your organizational things for now, just get the "stuff" organized first. 

Ah, so much better!

BUT, not everything that was in the drawer previously belonged there, so when I was done, I was left with some miscellaneous items.  We've got cords to who-knows-what, party favors, take out menus, etc. 

These "left over" items are inevitable in most organization projects and can end up preventing you from tackling the chore in the first place.  

Let's face it- it's great to have one drawer organized, but then you have another pile of stuff to organize!  Of course, it helps to have other areas in your home where those things go, and then you simply but them there.  If not, you have to CREATE a home for those things.  Does that happen when you start organizing things too? 

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The Great Green Loan Rip Off

The government has announced today, with all the usual fanfare and razzmatazz, that those wishing to improve the energy efficiency of their homes will be able to borrow money to buy energy efficient boilers and to insulate their homes etc.

However, what the government doesn't tell you is that the interest rates charged on these "green loans" will be relatively high, and that the "green assessors" (doubtless trained at taxpayer expense) who will visit your home to asses its "green needs" will charge for their services.

In other words it is a rip off!

Friday, January 25, 2013

UK Economy Flatlines

The UK economy shrank by 0.3% in the final three months of last year, and posted zero growth for the year as a whole.

Many now expect the UK to go into a triple dip recession.

Conclusions of Forthcoming EU Summit

Here, courtesy of the FT, are the draft guidelines for the conclusions of the forthcoming European Council summit to be held on 7th and 8th of February.

At the end of the document, to be added later, is the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) ie the European budget!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

GIVEAWAY // $100 Stella & Dot

My wonderful and feisty "Sista" (sis-n-law) just became a Stella & Dot stylist and invited me to become one too.  I have always been smitten with Stella & Dot's gorgeous and fun line of jewelry and accessories, so I decided to join her.  It was serendipitous how the opportunity fell into my lap, so I'm going for it!

I'm actually really excited about this since I attended a Stella & Dot meeting and was totally blown away by their awesome team and business model. (To start, stylists earn 25-30% commission on their sales).  This could have been a boring or cheesy event, but it was authentic and energizing!  I'm so happy to partner with the Stella & Dot team.  And, of course, I'm loving their new Spring line . . .  a few of my favorite pieces are below.

If you are in the Houston area and would like to host a trunk show with me at your place, please email me at  The events last two hours and the hostesses receive free jewelry:)  

Or, if you are interested in becoming a stylist (you don't have to be in Houston), let me know and I'll get you hooked up on my team. Here's to new adventures!  

To celebrate my new business, I'm giving away a $100 credit to Stella & Dot!

To enter the giveaway, please visit my Stella & Dot website and leave a comment letting me know what piece is your favorite.  I want to see what y'all like. For extra entries, Tweet or Facebook about the giveaway. 

Please leave your email address so I can contact you if you win.

The winner will be chosen at random and announced on February 7, 2013.

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Diamond Geezer In The News Again

The Telegraph reports that some of Barclays’ most senior executives, including former chief executives Bob Diamond and John Varley and current head of investment banking Rich Ricci, are among 104 people who unsuccessfully attempted to keep their names private ahead of the UK’s first trial related to the manipulation of Libor.

The list of 104 individuals comes from a case brought by Guardian Care Homes, which is seeking about £38M in damages from Barclays over interest rate swaps it claims it was mis-sold by the bank.

Guardian Care Homes says that the swap product it was sold was tied to Libor, which it argues was set dishonestly.

Barclays was ordered to give lawyers working for Guardian Care Homes the identities and emails of staff that it passed to regulators investigating the manipulation of the key interest rate.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Davos 2013 - The Grischa Hotel

The Grischa Hotel, where the "great and the good" of the world of finance are staying in Davos this year during the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Davos Live

Davos 2013

Davos is hosting the annual gathering of the "great and good" in the world of finance, more commonly known as the "World Economic Forum" (WEF).

It seems that all and sundry are worried about David Cameron's promise of an "in/out" referendum on Europe post the 2015 election if the Tories win.

They should not worry, this is political posturing designed to put UKIP's nose out of joint and to buy Cameron more time wrt his EU discussions.

There is absolutely no guarantee that the Tories will win the next election, nor that Cameron will be leading them; hence the "promise" of a referendum is a meaningless as the oft repeated assurances emanating from Eurozone finance minsters that the "crisis" is over.

3 Ways to Style a Parsons Desk (via The Everygirl)

Are y'all reading The Everygirl?  I adore the online publication and am a big fan of Danielle and Alaina.  I especially liked their recent article about how to style a West Elm Parsons desk.  They do it up three ways and then give you the break down and even links to where to purchase the products.  Cool huh?  I have a similar desk in my home office so I really liked seeing how they made it look different by varying the color scheme and accessories.

Which one do you like best? I think I like the first one "Pink & Gold" the most, but they all appeal to me.  The images are all via The Everygirl.

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Monday, January 21, 2013

DIY // Inspiration/Memo Board

Slowly but surely I've been updating my home office and one of the latest touches was to create an inspiration/memo board.  I'm still rummaging through old magazines for images that inspire, but the board is ready and looks good all on it's own thanks to this snappy black and white polka dot fabric I found at High Fashion Home.

You might recall this fabric as the "tablecloth" for the Pottery Barn mystery box challenge I participated in last year.  I like to use what's on hand and this pattern works perfectly in my office. 

To make the board, I covered a cork board with the fabric and stapled it taut with a staple gun. 

I folded the corners like I was wrapping a present. 

Then I added nailhead trim around the edge for a decorative detail. 

You can read about my fabric-wrapped books HERE.  And thanks for the sweet little birdie friend!

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Thank you all so much for entering the Lulu & Georgia giveaway and thank you Lulu & Georgia for the generous giveaway!  

The winner is:

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And, I figured out how to put a Facebook Like Box on my blog by reading THIS 3-step tutorial:

I need to be better about updating the HWH Facebook page.  

Are you active on Facebook? 

You guys know I love Pinterest and Instagram (@honeywerehome), but FB and Twitter haven't really gotten my attention as much.  I think there's only so much social media I can actively participate in at one time.  I like how FB helps reconnect you to old high school friends though- it's fun to get caught up and see what's going on.  

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Happy Martin Luther King day!  

Friday, January 18, 2013

E.ON's 9% Price Hike

As the country is blanketed in snow and the mercury plummets what better day for E.ON's 9% price hike (announced in December) to come into effect?

Money Laundering In The Eurozone

Cyprus has put together a presentation to convince the Eurozone that it is not a haven for money laundering.

One of the slides shows how Cyprus and other Eurozone countries score wrt complying with recommendations on 49 areas evaluated by the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development’s financial action task force.

The highest ranking country for non compliance was Greece, scoring 13.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Barclays Discovers Ethics

Barclays discovers that ethics is not a county near London!

How to Get Wavy Curls

I see all these gorgeous women with beautiful wavy hair, but didn't really know how to do it for myself.    On Pinterest  I recently found a how-to hair tutorial for wavy curls (from Cara Loren) and tried it out on my hair.  After I shared a pic on Instagram, some people asked for the video, which is here (click the picture of Cara to see her how-to tutorial).  Isn't she cute?!

Here's how the wavy curls looked on my hair.  It's different from how I normally do it, but I like it, although it took me longer than I usually spend.  I think I'm one of the last people to curl my hair this way (wrapping it around the curing iron instead of under the clamp).  I need to get with it!  

Do you do your hair this way?  How long do you spend on your hair? What about shampooing?  I'm in the wash/blowdry almost everyday category because I feel like I need to after working out.  Cara says she goes about 5 days between washing!

If you are on Pinterest, please leave your Pinterest name in the comments.  I want to check out some new peeps!  I also created a new Pinterest board, "So Funny" if you want to follow. 

To follow me on Pinterest, click the icon below

To follow my Blog, click the Follow button below

*Update- I'm working my way through the comments to follow your Pinterest boards too.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Blockbuster has gone the way of HMV and Jessops, and has gone into administration.

Deloittes will act as administrators.

Lee Manning, joint administrator at Deloitte, said:
In recent years Blockbuster has faced increased competition from, internet based providers along with the shift to digital streaming of movies and games.

We are working closely with suppliers and employees to ensure the business has the best possible platform to secure a sale, preserve jobs and generate as much value as possible for all creditors.

The core of the business is still profitable and we will continue to trade as normal in both retail and rental whilst we seek a buyer for all or parts of the business as a going concern. During this time gift cards and credit acquired through Blockbuster’s trade-in scheme will be honoured towards the purchase of goods.”
 Blockbuster employs over 4,000 people.

Bundesbank Repatriates Gold Bullion

The Bundesbank is to repatriate gold reserves held abroad in order to tighten control and combat future currency crises. It will repatriate a large percentage of its holdings from New York and all of its bullion from Paris.

This move signals the demise of the the Dollar as a reserve currency (as the gold stored in the Fed can be pledged to shore up the Dollar), and the resurgence of a quasi gold standard.

The lesson is clear, if you invest in gold do not rely on mere paper certificates to validate your holding.

Valentine's Day Craft // Paper Straw & Washi Tape Arrows

Please tell me it's not too early to post a Valentine's Day craft project.  Paper straws, a heart-shaped craft punch, and patterned washi tape makes me a happy girl.  It might also mean I belong back in third grade:)  Being completely inspired by this DIY arrow that I originally found on Pinterest, I created my own arrow.

They are cute to look at . . . 

but more fun to play with!  

Is anyone else thinking Valentine's Day already?  I don't typically make a big deal of the holiday, but like to acknowledge it in small ways.  This year, I have some fun stuff in the works for my son (and his class).  Show you soon!

To see more Valentine's crafts, check out my glittery heart magnets and heart garland.  

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