Thursday, October 20, 2016

Poetry In Fashion

Last week THE SAVVY SHOPPER featured a retailer who offers cute, trendy clothing to stretch a wardrobe. I want to follow-up with a London company, Poetry, a designer of investment pieces.

Investment pieces may cost more, but they last season after season and can be used to mix and match to create outfits. Usually the craftsmanship and fabric are of a higher quality. A smart practice is to stock your closet with mainly investment and a few trendy pieces. Not all articles of clothing need to last forever, but things you return to time and again like a trench coat; leather jacket; wool sweater; or warm scarf should be well-made and durable. Since you wear an intestment piece for decades, it will pay for itself. And, it's better for the environment to hang on to things. Unfortunately, we've become a throw-away society; and according to sociologists, constantly buying new stuff doesn't even make us happy!

Poetry, which is a family run business, designs a collection of dresses, skirts, trousers, sweaters and accessories, using unique blends of natural fabrics, such as alpaca, linen and cashmere. Cotton, silk and virgin wool ... be still, my heart! I love natural fibers. The pieces are stylish, soft and timeless. Owning fewer, but finer, more perfect and practical pieces is always savvy shopping!

Moreover, what I like about Poetry can be summed up in one word, "value" -- its attention to detail at a reasonable price, which is much less than its competitors. It may take us several paychecks to save up for a pair of knee high leather boots; a brushed cotton and wool (with buttons, 3/4 length sleeves and a dropped waist) dress; or a long checkered, blended wool and silk scarf, but it's doable.

Poetry is all about designing fashionable and versatile pieces that are meant to last!
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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Most Daily Vitamins Are Worthless

Photo: The Washington Post
According to the latest medical research, most of the daily vitamins we take are useless; and certain common vitamin supplements are, in fact, harmful. That is surprising! I don't know about you, but I have taken a multivitamin since early childhood ... even by dropper before I could swallow pills. If there's no real benefit, that's a ton of money down the drain!

Business Insider wrote an article on vitamins -- listing ones to take, as well as, ones to skip, based on what science tells us to do. Let me sum up the recommendations for you:

Vitamins to take:

1) Vitamin D - It keeps our bones strong by helping us absorb calcium, but it's hard to get all our requirements from food alone. In the summer, we get vitamin D from being out in the sun. In the winter, not so much. The people who took Vitamin D supplements in a large 2011 medical study lived longer then those who didn't.

2) Zinc - It's the only supplement proven to shorten colds. The mineral seems to interfere with the reproduction of cold viruses.

3) Folic acid - Take folic acid if you are pregnant, or if you might get pregnant. Studies show it reduces birth defects of the fetus' brain, spine and spinal cord.

Vitamins to skip:

1) Multivitamins - You get everything you need in a balanced diet. Consuming an excess of vitamins like A, Bs and C can harm you. In the 2011 study, women who took multivitamins over a long period of time died sooner than the women who didn't take multivitamins! So at the very least, multivitamins didn't keep the study group healthy.

2) Antioxidants - Get your antioxidants from berries.๐Ÿ“๐Ÿ’ (Technically, a cherry is a drupe, due to the pit.) When taken in excess as supplements, vitamins A, C and E have been linked to an increase of certain cancers, especially among male smokers.

3) Vitamin C - Eat citrus fruit ๐ŸŠ๐Ÿ‹ instead of taking vitamin C supplements. Vitamin C has not been proven to shorten a cold, plus it raises the risk of painful kidney stones.

4) Probiotics - We can get probiotics from yogurt, sauerkraut, pickles and other fermented food at a fraction of the cost of probiotic pills. The science is lacking to support the benefit of taking a more expensive pill supplement.

5) Vitamin B3 - Better to get vitamin B3 by eating salmon, tuna and beets.๐ŸŸ The study subjects who took vitamin B3 pills developed infections, liver problems and internal bleeding.

6) Vitamin E - Get vitamin E from food like eggs ๐Ÿณ and spinach. Vitamin E supplements increased the risk of prostate cancer in men.

The bottom line is, Mother Nature rules, and many of us may want to change our thinking. It is always better to get vitamins by eating food. Food gives your body all the vitamins it needs in the right form and amount. Supplements just don't cut it. Science can't prove the beneft of taking many of them, so most likely, we are spending lots of money for nothing. Arrghh!

I will probably still buy a drugstore brand of multivitamins, but won't worry about forgetting to take them. (Why? I won't lie ... out of habit.) At no time, have I ever gone vitamin supplement overboard, but one multivitamin, what the heck!? I'm already doomed.๐Ÿ™‚
Photo: Flickr/Michelle Dyer
Nonetheless, I do take the latest data seriously (before future studies change the advice again, bringing back the need to take multivitamins). Certainly for now, I will be vigilant about taking a vitamin D supplement ... and zinc, if I'm trying to ward off a cold. What will you do my smart, savvy readers?

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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Lulus Is On Trend Fashion

Lulus opened 20 years ago (in 1996) as a mother/daughter owned clothing store. Today the venture has evolved into a leading online retailer of trendy clothing, shoes and accessories. From casual dresses to cocktail dresses, lace-up boots and black knit sneakers, the offerings are modern, feminine and sophisticated.
The dresses; separates; fashion jewelry; hats; and scarves are not investment pieces, but they are cute, hip and affordable. Everything we buy needn't be top-of-the-line. Mixing and matching different price points in a wardrobe is a time honored art. At you can easily find a real showstopper dress for under $45. Take for example the blue one above: Very classy and conservative up front, then turn around and bam!
Marked by eye-catching design: ''The devil is in the detail'' with (on the left) black mesh and gold sequins, forming a diamond pattern on a body fitting silhouette; or (on the right) metallic embellishes on midnight black crinkled, sheer fabric. And believe it, or not, the dresses can be hand washed in cold water!
I bought these stylish mushroom tortoise sunglasses for $8 bucks; and yet, the two-hued frames are strong and well-made!

Moreover, the Lulus website is fun to browse. There is ever changing inventory -- plus a blog section with beauty and fashion tips; celebrity interviews; and chances to win prizes, like $200. 
Quite often merchandise goes on sale. Free shipping is offered on orders over $50, with free returns. Your items arrive wrapped with care too, enclosed with a note that reads, "Thanks, Gorgeous!"

Lulus is chic, cheap and sweet! Here's fair warning: Looking leads to coveting ... which leads to ordering!

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Monday, October 10, 2016

Making Pizza Dough

Photo: Alexandra Grablewski, Getty Images
With the loss of mom and pop stores, it's getting harder and harder to find a great slice of pizza in Manhattan. Sadly, the days of a real Italian pizza parlor on every block are gone. Nonetheless, nobody wants to eat mediocre pizza. So I began making my own pizza. It starts with a perfect dough.

For years I've made a good Chicago style pizza, but now I'm obsessed with trying to make a thinner crusted, brick oven, Italian style pizza. Lacking a brick oven, I can only try to come close. What I can do is get the ingredients right:

Here is an authentic pizza dough recipe for one 10 inch pie. For a family of 4, simply double the ingredients (and after it rises, split the dough in half) to bake two 10 inch pies. Yeap, half a pie each sounds about right to me.

Pizza Dough for one 10 inch pie

4 ounces lukewarm water
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast 
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil (plus extra oil to brush on the baking dish)
1 cup all purpose flour (plus extra flour for kneading the dough) Note: I use all-purpose, but professionals use bread flour. It's higher in protein. I don't stock it, so don't use it. All-purpose is just what the name says it is, "all-purpose."
3/4 teaspoon salt

1) Combine the warm water, yeast and olive oil in a bowl. With a fork or the handle of a wooden spoon, add and incorporate the flour and salt until a ball forms. (If the dough seems dry, sprinkle a few extra drops of warm water on it. If the ball forms easily, don't do anything.)

2) I only work the dough until the flour is incorporated. (I don't touch it with my hands yet.)

3) Cover the dough in the bowl with plastic wrap and sit it inside your cold oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The pilot light will keep it warm for rising.

4) After it has doubled in bulk, dump the blob of dough onto a floured surface and knead until it is elastic and no longer sticky. Sprinkle with flour as you fold it over and knead. (You can knead the dough inside the bowl if it's big enough, then have less to clean up.) Now is the time to divide the dough in half if you doubled the recipe and are making two pies.

5) Flatten, pull and toss the dough with your fingers and knuckles like a true Italian pizza maker. Feel free to shape your pizza round, or rectangle.
Photo: The New York Times
Place the pizza dough (with a little sprinkle of flour on the bottom) into an olive oiled cast iron skillet, or a stainless steel baking sheet. (If you wish, place parchment paper, or a silicon non-stick mat into your backing dish. I don't: A brush of olive oil works for me.)

Add a thin layer of tomato sauce, and your favorite toppings, such as onions, garlic, mushrooms, banana peppers, Jalapeรฑo peppers, ham, pepperoni, sausage, fresh basil and mozzarella cheese. Also feel free to spice to taste with oregano, dried basil, red pepper flakes, or dried garlic.

Commercial pizza ovens get much hotter then a home oven. Whenever I attempt to duplicate the heat of a pizza parlor oven, the result is dry pizza, so I no longer try. For that reason I don't turn my oven all the way up. Instead, I bake my pizza at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes, or until the dough is done. Delish!

Note: Whole wheat flour works with this recipe. (Yes, I went through that phase!) However, now I mostly use all-purpose flour to make pizza, as well as, buttermilk biscuits. In moderation, it won't kill us. Just be sure to eat whole grains and fiber rich food most of the time. Buon appetito!
Mmm, dinner is ready! What are you having?

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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Trust Fund Beauty

Photo: Trust Fund Beauty from Tumblr
The average person puts a ton of personal care products on their body in a given day. Ever worry about their safety? Many people look for non-toxic beauty products that are effective. That is to say, cosmetics without harmful chemicals, that are 100% vegan and not tested on animals.

Trust Fund Beauty is an indy brand that fits the need by offering creamy "Lipgasm" lipsticks with sassy names in vivid colors, as well as, provocatively named nail polish that is organic and cruelty free. They cost a bit more, but you have the assurance that the ingredients are clean, yet the quality of the makeup is good.

Lipsticks are $22 each while the nail polish costs $15 each, not an outrageous price for an organic line. (And too, when products are not mass produced, they tend to be more expensive.) You may be able to afford one, or two (sans a family trust fund :), plus think the higher cost is worth paying for clean ingredients. Select from an array of appealing colors!

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Monday, October 3, 2016

Uniqlo Strikes Again

Uniqlo, which is founded on the Japanese values of "simplicity, quality and longevity" strikes again! I adore their new Blocktech long coat. It joins their Blocktech parka (which is available for men, women and children). The coat comes in 4 colors: white, green, navy and black.

Unbelievably lightweight (how do they do it?), the Blocktech coat is waterproof and windproof. The seams are treated with sealant to keep the rain and wind out. It has an A-line silhouette, with drawstrings at the waist. For this reason, I bought an extra-large in black, a versatile shade. Going two sizes up gives me the extra length that I like. The coat hits me right at the knee. (Two very stylish Australian shoppers assured me that the coat fit at the shoulders, and I was not being swallowed up by it.) On the other hand, by choosing to go two sizes up, I must roll up the sleeves (one turn up). But, turned up sleeves look stylish with this high performance, lightweight raincoat! I plan to layer the coat over wool sweaters, as well as, Uniqlo's Light Down Vests as temperatures drop. What an absolutely beautiful, high tech coat! Not bulky, not baggy -- so sleek when you put it on!!
Another winning item in Uniqlo's fall/winter collection is the 2-Way Knit Stole. Wear it as a wrap around your neck, or drape it around you shoulders as a cape or shawl. A fashionable button secures it in place. Available in 6 colors.
Also notable are the Blocktech Warm-Lined Slim Fit Pants. They are stylish, comfortable and super warm. They have a fleece lining, a layer of windproof film, a bit of stretch and a wool-like texture (for style). How can you go wrong? Everything you want in winter slacks! Multiple colors also.

Surely, I sound like a broken record, but I'm fully on board with Uniqlo's "Life Wear" philosophy. I love the clothing's modern elegance and thoughtful details at a price that most everyone can afford. Simple attire that makes life better -- nails it yet again!

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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Gadgets For A Small Space

The Breakfast Station
People who know how to live big in a small space fascinate me. Design shows that give tips on how to organize and maximize a room always grab my attention, as do posts featuring the tiny house craze. Teeny-tiny homes are designed to use every square inch of space in the most efficient and innovative ways.

We can all learn from such a lifestyle. Certainly, it's good to be mindful of over consumption, as well as, lessening our carbon footprint in a world where resources are limited.

Often urban dwellers learn to lessen their carbon footprint out of the necessity of living in a small apartment. There is never enough space for the 99% of New Yorkers in particular. The same is true of London, Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong and many major cities. But a lack of space doesn't have to mean a lack of modern appliances that do the jobs of their full size siblings. 

1) First up is the above photo^,  a 3-in-1 Breakfast Station - How clever for a resident of a tiny apartment (or dorm room) to have an all-in-one space saving: toaster oven; 4 cup coffeemaker; and griddle. It's the only gizmo a cook needs to make a hot traditional breakfast for 1-4 people. Sometimes people in tight quarters eat out because they don't have the tools to make breakfast at home, but eating out gets expensive! This unit pays for itself in less than a month's time!
2) EdgeStar 6 Place Setting Countertop Dishwasher compact unit that gets high ratings from owners. Reportedly, it's relatively quiet, powerful and has 2 wash cycles (short and long). A hose hooks up to the sink for filling and emptying water.

I don't have a home dishwasher and would need to give up a cupboard where I store pots and pans, if I ever decide to install one, so it's nice to have the option of setting a dishwasher on a countertop. But right now, I don't want to give up any space, period; however much I like the idea of using a small, portable dishwasher.

And for no logical reason, I don't mind hand washing dishes. (I use rubber gloves.) It's putting away dishes after they dry that I dislike. Unfortunately, a dishwasher would still leave me with that repetitive task.
3) On the other hand, if my apartment building lacked a laundry room, I couldn't stand to hand wash clothes, or haul my laundry outside of my building to a Laundromat. On a weekly basis, noooo! The Panda Portable Compact Washer/Spinner Dryer sits next to a sink or tub to wash (depending on the model selected) either 7, 10, 12 or 15 pounds of laundry per load. The semi-automatic washer has an inlet hose, but you can use a bucket to quickly fill the tub with water directly. A built-in pump makes for easy drainage. Overall, customers love the Panda washer/spinner despite not having all the bells and whistles of a big machine. Many reviewers recommend cutting back on the detergent (to half) when washing a load of laundry. (Coincidentally, using less detergent works better in my building's commercial-size washers also. Less seems to be best all around!) The spin dryer leaves clothes slightly damp, but almost dry. Hang items to finish drying.

4) For homes too small for a combination washer/spinner dryer, there's still hope! A stand alone, Panda Mini Portable Compact Washing Machine goes anywhere. It has a 5.5 pound laundry capacity. Customers report, this mini washer has the strength to clean blue jeans, several t-shirts, plus other light articles (socks, undies) in a single load (sounds like a super hero:).

5) Pair it with the stand alone Laundry Alternative Mini Portable Countertop Spin Dryer - The electric, spin dryer is ventless; quiet; and super gentle on clothes. Handles 12 pounds of laundry per cycle; dries clothes in 3 minutes; water empties out via a drain. Users say the clothes come out slightly damp, but close to dry. (A tumble dryer uses heat to vaporize water, whereas, a spin dryer removes the water by spinning and draining.)

6) Singer 4423 Heavy Duty Extra-High Speed Sewing Machine - Frankly, I don't how to use one of these, but imagine a competent seamstress can't be without a sewing machine regardless of how small her living space is. The Singer 4423 has 23 built-in stitches, an automatic needle threader and top drop-in bobbin. It only weighs 14.5 pounds. Click the above link to read about its many features, as well as, to compare it to other models. 
7) 6 Sheet Strip-Cut Paper And Credit Card Shredder Without A Wastebasket by Aurora - I do know how to use one of these :). Powerful with sharp blades, this compact paper shredder for scrapping sensitive documents and expired credit cards fits over a kitchen trash can. The labor saving device doesn't cross shred, but cuts 6 sheets of paper at a time into thin spaghetti strips. It also reverses to clear paper jams caused by overloading. If a person with limited space has nowhere to sit a big paper shredder, this little guy has all the parts needed to shred regular-sized paper, yet it fits into a desk drawer. And at $14-$16 (depending on the seller), it's cheap!

Surely living in tight quarters requires compromise, but just look at the ingenuity and efficiency of the mini gadget market. They lower energy bills too. Living big in a small space is very smart and doable in the 21st century!

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Monday, September 26, 2016

Meet Trendcue Pop-Shop

A Trendcue Pop-Shop
Last Thursday I attended my very first Trendcue Pop-Shop in New York's downtown Chelsea neighborhood. The event spotlighted the fashion of several new designers, namely: Nan Seo (womenswear), Stephen Sung (A. Posse sneakers), Josh Stark (organic cotton t-shirts), Polet Guzman (Muza lingerie and wearable art) and Isidoro Francisco (menswear).

Launched in June, 2016 by CEO Ryan Wiltshire, Trendcue, is a unique "marketplace where established and emerging designers, artists and creatives" come together to present their work to shoppers both online, as well as, in curated Pop-Up spaces via trendy venues around New York City.

A sponsored, social happening is a fun way for fashionistas to discover new designers and to see the latest collections from a diverse creative community. Meanwhile, a Trendcue Pop-Shop provides designers with the opportunity to "collaborate, brainstorm and learn from each other" under one roof.
Last week's Pop-Shop event featured music, a fashion show, video, several racks of menswear, womenswear, shoes, a smattering of accessories, the chance to talk with the designers about their work, as well as, an occasion to enjoy some cocktails, appetizers and ice cream cones.

Getting the word out is vital to a new brand's taking off. The Chelsea bash was expertly curated by its organizers; and the designer goods on view were top-notch -- with fine leathers and fabrics; solid craftsmanship; and innovative designs. 

An exciting, posh, friendly and fun energy pervaded the evening. It was an ร  la mode success for designers and attendees alike. 

The plan is to have a Pop-Shop each month going forward. For updates and cutting edge fashion, browse the website.
Isidoro Francisco
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Friday, September 23, 2016

Lovely Freshwater Pearls

By nature I'm an under buyer. However, if I see something, which has "me" written all over it at a great price, I pounce to buy it. Pearl jewelry usually has the word "me" written all over it ... as I enjoy wearing a few pieces. Not to mention: diamonds, rubies and sapphires (but oh, I digress!).

These Glitzy Rocks Colored Freshwater Pearl Stretch Bracelets are selling for $10 on Overstock. Sooo, I bought myself a treat in the white color. Love them! 

They are big, real, freshwater pearls. Yes, I see some blemishes and uneven coloring. My bracelet arrived with 24 unknotted pearls (that do not slide) on a comfortable elastic strand. None of the pearls are perfect, however for under $10 I didn't expect Akoya cultured pearls. For less than the price of costume jewelry, these freshwater pearls look very classic on the arm. As a matter of fact, I like them so much, I bought my mother a bracelet in white pearls also. She should receive hers in the mail today.

You can get the pearl bracelets for $4.50 per strand if you buy all 10 colors. Plus, Overstock coupons may be applied on the purchase for additional savings. (Wow, if only my under buying nature hadn't kicked in.) For a generous number of big, beautiful, real, freshwater pearls, it's a steal!

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Five Second Rule For Food Is Untrue

Original photo: Greg Williams
A confession: If I drop non-sticky food on the floor at home, I pick it up and eat it, despite the presence of bacteria. My home is reasonably clean. I clean it. When I return from the streets of Manhattan, I remove my shoes and walk around my apartment in socks or house shoes. So I'm not that concerned about germs. I even feel like exposure to some germs builds up a body's immunities to keep us healthy.

I never eat food that has dropped on the bathroom floor, since I never take food into the bathroom. Sticky foods are another matter also. They pick up debris, that I'm not willing to pick off, so into the trash they go.

Still I'm sorry that the 5 second rule for food has been debunked by science. I really like that rule! It seems so sensible (waste not, want not :) and non-phobic. However in reality, I have never eaten food that has fallen on the sidewalk. I mean, who does that short of a young child? 

The study leads one to wonder if a large percentage of people are eating food that drops in a public place. Are they? If not, why was the study commissioned? And now definitively, they must stop! If it didn't make them sick before, surely it will now!

Yet truthfully, I will continue to eat the food I drop on the floor at home. Just last night, I dropped a strawberry on the kitchen floor, which I quickly picked up and ate. I have done the same with popcorn. What can I say? Old habits die hard. According to the study though, "Bateria can contaminate instantaeously," especially if you drop wet food like watermelon on a stainless steel floor. I will be vigilant and not take chances if I have lots of foot traffic, but I usually don't.

Do you eat food dropped on your floors too? If so,where do you draw the line? And now, will you stop?

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

DIY Taco Seasoning, Plus 8 Others

Recently I began making my own spice mixes to get the best quality. As a bonus, I get more spice mix for less moola. Plus, the seasoning has less salt. (More salt can always be added if a dish needs it.) Though delicious in all things Mexican, the taco mix is truly all-purpose. Grab it instead of salt and pepper to season meat, soups, vegetables and salads. I have used it as a rub on steaks. The following is my recipe:

Taco Mix

2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons paprika (Smoked piprika if I have it.)
2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (Lately I'm using Himalayan pink salt.)
1/4 teaspoon cumin (It's a strong spice. A little packs a punch. Just like salt, you can add more cumin, separately for certain dishes.)
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon = 6 turns of the black pepper mill 
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (the hottest of the peppers!)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Stir togther with a folk, then store in a small Mason jar with a tight lid. Making spice mixes ahead of time saves time when cooking! And of course, you can always double, or triple the recipe if you run out rapidly.

Not only do spices make food tasty, they keep us healthy.

I love this handy-dandy spice blend chart from Women'sHealth on how to mix 9 common ones, including their version of taco mix. You can print and post the chart on your refrigerator, if you wish, or bookmark it here. Bon appรฉtit!

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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Fine Goose Down Pillows

Photo: Bed, Bath & Beyond
My parents always had feather pillows. I'm sure they didn't pay an arm and a leg for them. Our old feather pillows were plush and perfectly supported our heads and necks in all our sleep positions: back, side and stomach. 

The comfort of a bed pillow is very subjective, but how did buying one get so complicated? Goose down verses down alternatives verses memory pillows verses non-traditional shapes like wedges, squares and horseshoes, etc. It gets very confusing! All you can do to narrow down your choice is to lay your head on the possibilities in a store (as you would try a mattress) and buy the most comfortable. 

I proceed straight to the goose down pillows. Familiar with sleeping on them, I can't get used to synthetic fills on a nightly basis. I also select extra firm (but not rock hard), since within six months, most pillows soften. However, if you can't sleep on a firm pillow, you should go with a medium or soft density pillow, since you need to be able to sleep well from the get-go.

I also want the goose down pillow to come zipped up in a fine 100% cotton enclosure. I don't care about pure silk, or Tencel Lyocell (which wicks away moisture). The goose down and cotton enclosure feel cool and smooth enough to me. Plus, the pillow goes into a pillow case, so I'm not paying for silk.

Then I buy a pillow protector (a barrier against dust mites and bed bugs.) I mean, why not? Protection against dust mites extends the life of the pillow; and if you live in New York City, you are petrified of bed bugs! 

I selected an 800 goose down fill, a queen-size, which weights 28

ounces. (Queen, since that's what my old pillow was, and I won't need to buy new bedding.) Unfortunately, I have to pay $199 (minus 20% = $159) for it. I bet my parents paid about $20 for the same quality pillows years ago, and those pillows lasted forever. My mom hang them out in the sun periodically. Now feather/down pillows are washable, yet dry cleaning is often recommended. More then likely, I will be afraid to machine wash a $200 pillow! 

So here's what I learned:

1) A goose down pillow lasts a good 10-15 years if you take care of it. Feather/down fill count (such as 600, 700, or 800 fill) and weight (21 ounces, 24 ounces, 28 ounces, etc.) make a difference in comfort and how flat the pillow gets when you lay your head on it to sleep. Some people will like a pillow lighter and flatter, while others prefer one heavier and filler. The fill comes in different percentages of down to feathers. Just lay your head on the options to decide and don't sweat the math!

2) I dislike goose down alternatives and memory pillows. They have no give and feel hot. Often they are cheaper and must be replaced every 2-3 years. Who wants to buy another pillow so soon? I mean, I have other things to do.

3) At the end of the pillow-shopping day, buy whatever feels most comfortable to you. It's all subjective.

4) It is risky to buy a pillow online. If you don't see, touch and place your head on a pillow, you will probably make a mistake and not buy the pillow that is right for you. If you are braver then me, I did find an online pillow, which appears to offer excellent quality for the price: Royal Hotel's Goose Down Pillow. I nearly ordered it, but went with an 800 fill instead that I tried out at Bed, Bath and Beyond. If only I could've put my head on the Royal Hotel one. At $79 bucks, 750 fill, 28 ounces and 90% down, it's a steal! Anyone need extra pillows?

5) Reluctantly $172 (with tax, sheesh!) is my limit for a pillow. I like some pillows in the $300-$400 price range (LL Bean, I'm thinking of you), but I am too damn cheap to buy a pillow that is half the cost of a sofa!

How the heck did a bed pillow get so crazy expensive? After my pillow arrives, I may have to hire a guard to stand outside my home!

Do you have a favorite type of pillow for sleeping?

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