Thursday, January 28, 2010

Go Barefootin'

The LOOK may strike fashionistas as wacky, but TIME magazine named the Vibram Five Fingers a best invention in 2007 on its list of cool stuff from innovative minds. First worn by sailors and surfers, Five Fingers is designed to make the muscles in your toes, feet and legs stronger. According to the company, thin, foot-shaped, rubber soles and pockets for each toe improve stability, flexibility and posture. They let you run, jump and climb close-to-barefoot. Reportedly, it gives you a better range of motion and reduces the stress on your knees and lower back. The idea is to exercise as nature intended. When you are barefoot, or nearly barefoot, your foot is stimulated in a way that is limited by traditional sneakers -- those leave feet underdeveloped and prone to injury. Five Fingers put you back in touch with your natural state. Exercising barefoot is better for bones, joints, and muscles. And I admit, it seems logical. So I'm intrigued enough to keep an open mind. If the claims are true, I'd try them in a heartbeat. Would you wear them in public? Imagine: Coming into the office on a dress down Friday ... the Pope peddling a stationary bike ... or President Obama out jogging with the secret service ... everyone decked out in FiveFingers. I'm just saying, if this catches on.
costs: $80-$120

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Markdowns To Keep You Warm

Now is an ideal time to buy coats and winter essentials. Whether you need to stay warm, dry or fashionable, you will find mega sales and a wide selection of merchandize in every color, length and style.

Start with your favorite department stores like Macy's and Dillards. Try on the outerwear you fancy for style, fit and savings. Next, check out these online retailers. Each is offering hundreds of tempting items at reductions almost too good to be true:

Lands' End – Where you receive quality fabrics and premier tailoring on plush goose down coats and "polar-thin" insulated jackets, raincoats and vests. Get lots of extras -- inside pockets and detectable hoods, as well as, up to 65% off the original catalog prices.
Newport News – Check out their smart leather coats and chic swing jackets, everything from suede to glazed and cropped, or ruffled. Cute styles are marked down up to 75%.
Victoria's Secret Catalog– Get up to 50% off on jackets, sweaters and long sleeved, cotton tee-shirts, plus cozy PJs, loungewear, robes and slippers.

Warm up in adorable styles without emptying your wallet. Now you can do it.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The G-Force GreenDrive

I knew I had to buy an external hard drive to back up my files, eventually … or risk losing all my important documents, photos and itunes, if my computer died. But I procrastinated for over a year, because I didn't know what to get and had to do some research to make a choice. I knew not to cut corners, and naturally, I wanted the largest capacity for the least amount of money.

What I got was a Fantom GreenDrive, which features:
1) 1TB external eSATA and USB 2.0 interface
2) a super fast 300MB/s eSATA port
3) a silent fan-free design
4) a compact aluminum body, weighing in at 2.4 pounds
5) It's PC and Mac compatible.
6) It comes with a drive stand and a USB 2.0 cable.

And as its name suggests, GreenDrive, is environmentally friendly. It's designed to use 40% less power without sacrificing performance.

I ordered my external hard drive though MacMall and used two $25 rebates for a $50 savings. My final cost: $80, including shipping.  Not too shabby for a non-techie, eh?

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Combine Gift Certificates With Seasonal Sales

Every January I'm reminded of how much I like gift certificates. I like giving them, and I like getting them. Receiving presents from people who truly know your tastes is lovely. But, the next best thing is for family and friends to know where you like to shop and to buy you a gift certificate at that store. I've heard more than one school teacher express a preference for gift cards over gifts of food, crafts or wine.

No one has ever offended me with a gift certificate. If it's from a place I like to shop, I'm grateful and delighted to receive it. What I like about giving them is, I know for a fact the recipient will get something he, or she likes -- perhaps, something that was left out of his Christmas stocking. Plus, the person I'm trying to make happy has the option of adding money to my gift -- for a splurge on an expensive item that she can now afford without busting her budget. If your brother loves Apple products, a $50 gift card buys one computer accessory, or is a generous contribution towards software or hardware. So there are few downsides to gift certificates. [Frankly, I can't think of any!]

If the receiver is family or a good friend, we often plan a day of shopping together and catching up. So along with a gift certificate, you're also giving and receiving the gift of time. [These outings began when I was too young to drive and needed a parent to take me shopping. Now with adult friends and a new generation of youngsters, the tradition continues.]

I'm lucky to have my birthday in the summer, and Christmas in winter. When the bi-yearly sales hit, I take my gift certificates and make out like a bandit, often with markdowns of 50% - 75% off. And because I take friends and relatives with me to redeem them, I have a collection of warm memories. Clearly it's time well spent.