{Interiors} 6 sites interior designers love that you never knew about

Our brilliant FOF Interior Design gurus reveal their sources for great finds online.

Gdchome.com (recommended by FOF interior design guru Helen Kenney Poore, retail store owner and home design enthusiast). This home-goods mecca is located on over 100,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space near Charleston, South Carolina. Known for their incredible fabrics and upholstery services as well as antiques, imports and more, GDC boasts in-house designers and an inspiring blog packed with home-decor before-and-afters.

Jaysonhomeandgarden.com (recommended by FOF interior design guru, CathyBall). Chicago’s destination for one-of-a-kind home goods, Jayson Home & Garden, also hosts an annual Fall Flea Market with the company’s largest collection of vintage and antique furniture. This year’s focus is on the flea markets of Paris and Provence, and it’s all available online.

Jossandmain.com (recommended by by FOF interior design guru, Shellrobin).
Joss & Main is a members-only site that offers private, limited-time sale events on carefully curated home brands. Each day, Members receive an email invitation to exclusive sale events at prices up to 70% off retail.

Frenchgardenhouse.com (recommended by FOF interior design guru, grnwillow).
If your tastes run towards Shabby Chic, the Paris Apartment and Provence Country, this is your place. An online treasure trove of vintage antiques and imports.

Fab.com (recommended by FOF interior design guru, RonniWhitman, ASID).
The latest in a wave of daily-deal sites, Fab.com is actually worth a subscription. With items in all price points, the selection of home goods is carefully chosen with an eye toward, modern, fundtional design. If you lust over the pages of Dwell magazine, don’t miss this site.

Tonichome.com (recommended by FOF interior design guru, Corky).
The brainchild of Linda Hayes of Rocky River, Ohio, Tonic Home combines traditional pieces with bold, modern accents, colors and statement pieces. Plus, their blog offers plenty of unique design inspiration.

How to Find Childhood Friends on the Internet

You swapped clothes, stayed up all night sharing secrets, and she’s the only one who knew about your hunky high school crush… But now, your childhood best friend is nowhere to be found. Life sped forward, and she got left behind on Memory Lane. FOF Private Investigator Norma Tillman and FOF Online Investigation Specialist Darlene Adams share surefire secrets to tracking her down:

Your search should begin where the information about your friend ended. “If you are looking for a friend you graduated with in Hunstville, Alabama, begin your search in Huntsville, Alabama,” says Norma. “Most libraries have Suburban or City Directories–annual publications listing everyone who lives in a given town.” If you compare year to year, you can figure out when someone moved away. If you can’t get to that specific library…”often, a reference librarian can give you this information by phone or e-mail,” says Norma.

Search Facebook…but not how you think! “Social networks have made it easier to find people,” says Darlene, but that doesn’t mean you can plug in any name and find a match. If your searches have come up empty, Norma recommends trying this: “Let’s say you knew the friend from camp but can’t find her on Facebook. Find other friends from camp and search their friends. Search a few friends removed.” Still no luck? “Send one a message to see if they have any idea about your friend’s whereabouts.”

It may sound morbid, but obituaries can bring new life to your search. “An obituary from someone in your friend’s family may provide you with clues to locate her,” says Darlene. “Ancestry.com has a good collection of obituaries, as well as birth, marriage and military records,” says Norma.

Search free websites and online directories. “There are a lot of websites that will give you some information, hoping you will pay for more,” says Darlene. “You should never pay for these sites, most information can be pieced together for free.” Darlene’s favorite free sites for people searching: Peoplefinder.com, MemoryLane.com (previously Classmates.com), WhitePages.com, Pipl.com, ZabaSearch.com

Contact school alumni associations. “If you went to school with this friend or know where she went to school, alumni associations can be very helpful,” says Norma. “See if you can get contact information for the alumni coordinator who may have more information about her.”

Federal and State Public Records – “There are all sorts of public records available at the city, state and federal levels,” says Norma.”But public records can be tough. Especially if you are looking for a record from a state where you are not a resident,” warns Darlene, who recommends brbpub.com, an online aggregator of public records. Norma recommends putting the pressure on federal agencies with FOIA (The Freedom of Information Act).

About the Experts

FOF Norma Tillman is a 72-year-old private investigator from Nashville, TN. She has found more than 1,000 missing persons in her career. She’s also the author of Private Investigation 101, How To Find Almost Anyone, Anywhere, The Man With the Turquoise Eyes and other True Stories of a Private Eye’s Search for Missing Persons, and The Adoption Searcher’s Handbook. She has been called on to locate missing people by Oprah, Nancy Grace, producers at The View, CNN, NBC and hundreds of other national and local television hosts, shows and stations.

FOF Darlene Adams is a 53-year-old specialist in online investigations and founder of E-infoseek, a research company dedicated to supporting private investigators and the legal community. She is a co-author of Romantic Deception: The Six Signs He’s Lying and a member of the High Technology Crime Investigation Association (HTCIA), Infra-Gard, and Female Legal & Investigative Professionals (FLIP).

{Fabulous Things of 2010} The results are in… Vote!

Last month, we asked FOFs to fill out a survey about the fabulous things they discovered in 2010, from foodie finds and beauty products to to exercise routines and tech gadgets. Hundreds of women responded, and we’ve got their top three picks in each category. Now it’s a run-off: the Number 1 winner in each group is up to you.  Vote now!

Plus, ENTER TO WIN a gift basket containing 6 of the nominees (including an e-reader, perfume and beauty product) by leaving a comment, below!

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Contest and voting close on March 26, 2011. See complete contest rules, here. See all our past winners, here.

{Music} 3 Sites for FOF Music Lovers

If you’ve had Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” on repeat since 1972, it’s time to get out of your music rut and visit these 3 must-visit sites for FOF music lovers:

1. Pandora – Imagine a radio station that plays all your favorite songs–and finds you new artists based on your personal taste. Here’s how it works: enter in your favorite song or artist, and Pandora’s genius technology, the Music Genome Project®, creates a custom radio station chock full of tunes with similar musical makeup (melody, harmony, instrumentation, rhythm, vocals, lyrics) to the one you entered. Pandora is free but has ads and is limited to 40 hours of listening per month or $36/year without ads and unlimited listening.

2. Pitchfork – A snarky, highly-influential online music publication launched in 1995. Top notch music journalists review new albums as well as reissued albums and box sets. Albums are reviewed on an extremely precise scale of 0 to 10, to the tenth-of-point. Those looking to discover new music can troll Pitchfork’s constantly updated best-of lists. Pitchfork is free.

3. Last.fm – The ultimate social music site. Last.fm scours the music libraries of you and your friends to give you new song recommendations, custom radio stations, upcoming concerts in your area and perfect strangers who are your perfect music matches. The site works using a technology called “scrobbling”: You download the “Scrobbler,” which monitors the songs you listen to most frequently. The Scrobbler compares what you play to the “scrobbles” of millions of users worldwide to help come up with music and concerts best suited to your taste. Last.fm is free or $3/month for ad-free listening and other perks.

Image via Millie Motts