Three days of indecision, $50.00 to spend, three scripts, seven video takes, three YouTube uploads of a slightly different video … and this is what I’ve come up with!

Small Screen Scoop is part of the exclusive club of online writers and bloggers who are taking part in the Jane By Design Style Challenges to help promote this fashion-filled new ABC Family series that will premiere on January 3rd, 2012.

A large (large and heavy, man!) white trunk arrived, and inside were all sorts of items labeled as different style challenges. There was also a dress form. When the first challenge arrived I felt completely overwhelmed. I’m already going out of my mind trying to get all the Christmas presents I need for everyone and this first task was a doozy. I had to take a $50 gift card and spend it anywhere on anything then make a video showing what I bought. This was not easy for me! I had no idea what I wanted to buy, initially. But the biggest problem is that I’ve never uploaded anything to YouTube or made any kind of video.

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After several attempts I learned there were plenty of logistics that I simply couldn’t control or know until I’d already made the mistake. If it wasn’t the dog barking in the background, a cat biting at my socks, the lighting going wonky, the camera being positioned wrong, or me getting flustered as I first tried to read from a outlined script… it was my frazzled nerves causing me to say “um” just a few thousand times.

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Truth is, I am so much better with words and writing. It’s my safe space. But can a stylish entertainment writer still produce a video? Sure. Is it up to my perfectionist standards? Not really. Does this version at least have decent audio? Yes. Does this version have me making a stuffed animal talk? Sadly, no. That was another cut.

My theme for this shopping haul was ‘Tiny Luxuries.” These are all products that I hope can give you some creative ideas for ways to indulge in a little bit of luxury in your own life. Everything I bought was under $50, and I managed to find several great things from what I believe is the best lip balm out there, to one of my favorite flavored waters.

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Please cheer me on and let me know if you love any of these products, too. Comments and suggestions are very much welcome! And, in fact, if you want to make a video of your own featuring items that together only cost under $50 I’d love to view it and I’ll even add it to this post! (We get thousands of visitors on this site every day.)

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Recapping the major creative ideas of my video on these Tiny Luxuries:

  • There are essential tiny luxuries you should allow yourself to indulge in because who doesn’t want a bit of luxury in their life?
  • Make the most of what you already have, especially investment items (Whether that’s expensive jeans, some curtains, extra goat cheese, or eye primer – you can make it work for you to elevate whatever you’re doing!)
  • Think outside of the box and feel inspired to merge items you own – such as taking an inexpensive picture frame and using it to frame great pieces of stationary that are like art.
  • Trust your gut, you know what you like. And don’t be afraid to read reviews online or ask friends about their experiences with products. (I have an entire site all about my reviews of items because I am so firmly a believer in sharing knowledge and tips like that check me out at!)
  • Be kind to strangers, pass on your inner positivity and goodwill to make yourself shine and to give others a better day.
  • Stop trying for perfection, and be okay with learning via experience! (Heh, these were my personal lessons while filming!) Also, do take compliments and don’t be so hard on yourself. I may not have the best video ever (okay listen, I know I don’t!) but at least I tried and at least I did it!

Tiny Luxuries Included in this video:

What is new, what is exciting, and what do I love RIGHT NOW?

  • EOS Evolution of Smooth Lip Balm (Read my first time with this brand: Evolution of Smooth Reviews)
  • PetsSmart Cat Sofa Bed (Would Rory Gilmore or Lorelai Gilmore not love this exact pet bed if they’d had a cat? Paul Anka, their dog, would have been too large for this.)
  • WhirlyGig PetStages Cat Toy (AMAZING and so fun to twirl on tiled floors. The name is straight out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.)
  • NEW! Baked Ruffles Potato Chips
  • NEW! Keebler Coconut Dreams Cookies
  • Festive Christmas Wrapping Paper with exotic birds in pink and blue
  • Fuze Bottled Waters $1.25 each – Slenderize flavors
  • Picture Frame (The super cute stationary I’m talking about is pictured here. Lisa DeJohn, Maria Carluccio and Katie Daisy make great designs.)

“Jane By Design” stars Erica Dasher (“The Lake”) as Jane Quimby, Nicholas Roux (“Lemonade Mouth”) as Billy Nutter, Rowly Dennis (“Desperate Housewives”) as Jeremy Jones, India De Beaufort (“One Tree Hill”) as India Jordain, Meagan Tandy (“10 Things I Hate About You”) as Lulu Pope, Matthew Atkinson (“CSI”) as Nick Fadden, and featuring Andie MacDowell (“Four Weddings and a Funeral”) as Gray Chandler Murray – Jane’s steely boss whose constant demands keep her on her toes. The series will be executive-produced by Gavin Polone (“Gilmore Girls,” “Zombieland,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “My Boys”), John Ziffren (“Melissa & Joey,” “Make It or Break It”) and April Blair (“Lemonade Mouth,” “Monte Carlo”).
Disclosure: Gift card provided by ABC Family as part of the Jane By Design Style Promotion