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    "Oh, why can't I be Blue Ivy?" was my first thought when I saw these amazing pics of the property Beyonce and husband Jay Z rented this summer.

    The couple, who've recently been plagued by both divorce and pregnancy rumors, reportedly chose the super-modern mansion for their brief respite between solo tours and their widely publicized joint "On the Run" outing. And let me tell you, their rental house is a lot nicer than any home most of the rest of us could ever even dream of owning!

    So, just what does $200,000 a month get you in the hills of northern Los Angeles? Let's take a look!

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    Preparing to put your house on the market can be an incredibly nerve-wracking experience. You may look around each and every room and wonder where to begin. Believe me, you're not alone! 

    When Leslie D. of Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, was readying to put her "cramped Cape" up for sale, she sought the help of a professional home stager to assist her in pulling it all together.

    "Instead of having me rent expensive furnishing and art, she worked with what I had," explained Leslie, who asked not to be identified by last name. "When her swirl of energy settled, she had winnowed it to a perfect home -- just enough furniture and wall art to make an average Cape feel amazingly spacious and comfortable."

    While some may not want to spend money hiring a pro, others argue that proper staging will not only sell your home quickly but also perhaps spark a bidding war.

    "The Cape sold in one day," Leslie said, "with two over-list-price offers."  

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    For the past eight years, I have been a work-at-home mom. In the early years, I was freelance, which meant that I did have a great deal of flexibility and could hang out with my kids during the day while working at night. But eventually I became staff, and with that my freedom was gone.

    What that means to you, oh dear stay-at-home mom friend whom I love? It means I'm sorry, but I can't meet you at the pool at 1:00 on a Wednesday afternoon. Or the coffee shop. Or your house. Or pretty much anywhere.

    Not this week. Not ever. Unless I take the day off. Got that?

    But that won't stop her (and countless others) from asking. Hell, even my own husband took a few years to grasp that I really didn't have time to do all the laundry, clean up after the kids, and drop off his dry cleaning. I'm working here, people!

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    Ask just about any devoted dog or cat owner where they'd draw the line when it comes to what they would spend on their pet's care, and they'll likely tell you they would do everything within their means for their beloved companion. So why shouldn't a beloved goldfish get the same care?

    That's the question one couple from Australia must have asked themselves when they chose to spend hundreds of dollars to have their 10-year-old pet goldfish named George undergo "high-risk microsurgery" for a brain tumor. The fish had reportedly developed a huge growth on his head over the past year that required an urgent, life-saving treatment.

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    I don't love cleaning up after my own family, so I feel really uncomfortable when I think about other people having to do it. When the five of us stay at a hotel, I definitely try to keep our mess contained and I also make sure to tip our housekeepers. Generously. Apparently, that's not the norm. 

    Starting this week, Marriott International is not-so-subtly reminding guests that just because you might not see your cleaning person, that doesn't mean you shouldn't show your appreciation for their efforts. Some of the chain's hotels are providing envelopes to encourage patrons to tip their room attendants

    To me, part of the thrill of staying at a hotel is returning after a day of sightseeing or swimming to find those beds made and fluffy white towels awaiting. Because Lord knows that rarely happens at home! 

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    Have you heard? Paris Hilton has a new guy in her life she's calling Mr. Amazing. He's gorgeous -- and he's expensive! In fact, he may actually be more high-maintenance than she is. How is that possible? Well, I'll tell you: Paris' new love is the world's tiniest Pomeranian. And she just dropped $13,000 on the pooch.

    As you can imagine, this is a match made in heaven. But could you blame Mr. Amazing for being just a wee bit nervous about his new mistress? That's why he's penned this open letter to Ms. Hilton. 

    Oh, and most importantly, we have a photo of Mr. Amazing you HAVE to see!

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    When my husband and I bought our first home, my boss at the time said, "Well, I hope you've got another $10,000 socked away because the minute you sign on the dotted line, everything breaks."

    What a killjoy, I thought. Until ... his prediction came true. Within days of closing, our basement flooded. Weeks after that, our furnace stopped working. A month later our pipes burst. I could go on and on! 

    Because we were first time home-buyers smitten with the charming front porch and fenced-in yard, we overlooked a lot of things we shouldn't have. 

    We're not alone. Often, what starts out as a quintessential part of the American dream turns into a costly nightmare. More than just a place to raise your children, your home is a long-term financial investment, probably one of the largest you'll ever make, so it's imperative that you really stop and think before you dive right in.

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    Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice and her husband Joe are awaiting possible prison time after pleading guilty to a multimillion-dollar fraud scheme. But they might lose something other than freedom: their house.

    The couple put their $4 million mansion up for sale, and YOU can now peek inside, drooling at the opulence or scoffing at the ostentatious display of wealth. It's not exactly kid-friendly, though. How the heck did Tre and Joe live there with four young daughters? Sidebar: But how gorg is the girl's bedroom?

    The pair could go from this big house to the big house after Joe was accused of hiding assets and income -- which would have been easy to stash away in this six-bedroom, six-bathroom manse on three acres of land! So without further ado, let's take a look at the home that Fabellini and fraud built and fantasize about life as a Housewife.

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    About eight years ago, right around the time our daughter was born, my husband and I instituted a "shoes off" policy in our home. It seemed pretty minor at the time. All we asked was that guests not track the mud, dirt, and mess from the outside world into the house where our baby spent so much time on the floor.

    With certain visitors, though, this was no simple feat (get it? hee). In fact, some -- I'm looking at you, Dad -- simply ignored the request and chose instead to traipse around the house, tracking all that mud, dirt, and everywhere. Thanks a lot!

    Apparently, we are not alone. Whether or not to ask guests to take off their shoes is, as it turns out, a controversial move. Many moms (here at CafeMom and elsewhere) think it's the height of rudeness to require your friends and family to go around in their socks or bare feet. It's not. What's rude is ignoring a house rule when you're the guest because YOU don't feel like untying your laces.

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    Let's face it: We all want to be responsible with our money. But being a parent means being under even more pressure to keep your finances in shape. After all, not only do we want to provide for our children, but we also want to lead by example so our kids grow up to be financially responsible and confident adults.

    That's just one of the many reasons financial experts Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze wrote Smart Money, Smart Kids, a guide to raising financially savvy children.

    The well-known host of The Dave Ramsey Show and his daughter recently spoke with us about how moms can create an even rosier financial future for themselves, their family, and the next generation. Here are their top tips.

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