Thursday, May 31, 2012

Target Your Summer Style

If you need to add some brand new contemporary pieces to your summer wardrobe, head over to Target.  The reason?  Target continues to collaborate with the biggest names in the fashion industry to bring out stylist collections at ultra affordable prices.  Why pay more when you can get fashion for less?  Whether it's bright solids, crisp stripes, fun pastels, or romantic wispy fabrics, there's no shortage of color, comfort and choice for men, women and children.  A 4-pack of Carter's bodysuits for newborns are $8 bucks.  And assorted colors of men's C9 by Champion tops and shorts range from $12.99 to $18.99.
From advanced performance running shorts and tech tees (with Duo Dry Max fabric, cooling ventilation and UV protection) to Mossinmo sun dresses and maxi dresses -- not to mention straw fedoras and handbags -- you really can't go wrong, or do better than Target.  All active wear and smart casual wear (oooh yeah ... also known as vacation wear) are on sale now.  Run in for huge savings!
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Friday, May 25, 2012

Win Train's Latest CD: California 37

Nothing says easy, breezy summer like listening to upbeat, feel-good music.  Since Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer, THE SAVVY SHOPPER wants to put you in the right mood by giving away Train's latest CD: California 37.
Here's how to enter for your chance to win:*      Keyboard

Become a member of THE SAVVY SHOPPER blog, then leave a comment, saying you'd like to enter the contest.  If you also "Like" THE SAVVY SHOPPER'S Facebook page [go to top of blog for link], you will double your entries/chances to win.

And don't worry: By signing on to "follow," nothing bad happens; you don't get spammed with promotional emails.  The lucky winner will be announced on June 16th.  It is the birthday of one of our readers, Pam H.

Train's new music is fun.  You can shimmy and dance to it, which is a splendid, uplifting way to begin your summer.  Also this summer, look for the band on tour in a city near you.  Good luck!  

*Sorry, the winner must have a USA mailing address.  Please don't leave an address under comments, only your name, or username.  The winner will be notified on the blog and can give a mailing address privately.  THE SAVVY SHOPPER received a complimentary CD and is giving it away free to a lucky reader, who will be determined by drawing names.

Update, June 16th: doglvr895 won the Train CD!

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Reduce Your Risk Of Lyme Disease

This is a good year for ticks; they are thriving.  So as we move into warm weather, we need to be more aware of lyme disease.  Lyme disease is an infection caused by the borrelia burgdorferi, a bacterium known as a spirochete, which is transmitted to people and animals through tick bites.  
Symptoms can include a rash, fatigue, chills, fever, headache, muscle or joint pain and swollen lymph nodes.  Doctors diagnose lyme disease through blood tests, and it can be treated with several weeks of antibiotics taken by mouth.  It is important to diagnose lyme disease early and treat it with the correct antibiotics so that patients recover quickly and completely.  If left untreated, lyme disease can affect the heart, joints and nervous system, causing heart failure, meningitis, arthritis and chronic joint pain.

But don't fret, you can reduce your risk of lyme disease by taking a few simple precautions.  According to the Mayo Clinic, you should [paraphrased]:

1. Wear long pants and sleeves when walking in wooded and grassy areas.  Tuck shirts and pant-legs in, and cover exposed skin.  Even wear boots and gloves.
2. Stick to trails and avoid walking through low bushes and tall grass.  Keep dogs on a lease.
3. Use insect repellents with a 10% to 30% concentration of DEET; the strength depends on how long you stay out.  The benefit of preventing lyme disease is greater than not using DEET, which can be toxic.  A 10% concentration of DEET will protect you for 2 hours.  Always follow label directions carefully.  And I'd shower it off afterwards.
4. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, lemon eucalyptus, a natual product, offers the same protection as DEET when used in the same concentration.  Neither should be used on children younger than 3 years old.
5. Tick-proof your yard by clearing bush and leaves where ticks live.  Keep wood and leaf piles in the sun before bagging them up for disposal.
Someone braver than me.
6. Check yourself, your children and pets for ticks vigilantly.  Ticks are the size of a pin head and can easily be missed.  Showering will wash off ticks, not attached to your skin.
7. Remove a tick imbedded into the skin carefully by its head.  Don't crush or squeeze it.  The bacterium could get into your wound.  When the entire tick is removed, apply antiseptic to the bite.
8. Don't think you are immune to lyme disease once you've had it.  You can get it again.

I don't know about you, but just thinking about tick bites makes me itch.  And yet, I'll be more alert this summer while enjoying the great outdoors.

Extra tip: To learn about clothing treated with permethrin read this article from The New York Times and to see examples click Amazon here.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bob Harper's The Skinny Rules ... Are Just the Beginning

Fruit is good.  Photo: Marco Lazzaroni
Life is about following rules.  There's no getting around it.  Eat too much, or spend too much money regularly and you end up not being able to take care of yourself, or your family.

When you think about it, how you eat and budget requires knowledge, discipline and a similar mind-set.  Both areas involve putting off instant gratification for a larger purpose or reward.

Setting goals, planning and making choices are not just facts of life, they are the subjects of countlesss books and discussions, especially in the media.  Every week a new expert explains how to eat or budget better.  Here are a few recent rules:

The Skinny Rules by Bob Harper - A new book which teaches you to lose weight and keep it off. Here's how:
1. Drink a large glass of water before breakfast and every meal. – Try to drink 8-12 glasses of water per day.  I can't see a French woman doing this. Croissant and coffee - oui.  Splish, spash - non.
2. Eat protein with every meal.
3. Eat apples and berries everyday. – They boost your antioxidants, and no one gets fat by eating fruit.
4. Go vegetarian one day a week. – No animal protein whatsoever.
5. No food 3 hours before bed. – Personally, I have a light snack at night because I fear if I go to bed hungry, I will toss and turn.  But, BH claims a body sleeps better on an empty stomach.  Noooo, I don't believe it.
6. Eat one splurge meal each week.  According to the book, if you do what you need to do 80% of the time, you can play 20% of the time.

From maintaining a healthy waist to a diet for maintaining a heathy budget --

Rules (also known as tips) for saving money on goods everybody buys:
1. Groceries: Buy bags of frozen vegetables. They are cheaper and  frozen at their peak.
2. Wine: Buy wines from Spain, Greece and South America. They cost less, but are as tasty as those from France and Italy. 
3. Technology: Don't buy the newest version out.  Apple, Canon, Boston Acoustics and other well-known manufacturers sell refurbished and last year's models at substantial savings.  Go to company websites for deals.

Rules to save on buying insurance:  

The rule of thumb: Figure out what you need to maintain your present and immediate-future lifestyle.  And, don't buy insurance for unlikely catastrophes, or when it is cheaper to save the money to repair, replace or pay for the thing/service outright.  According to this week's experts:

Insurance you need includes:
1. Health
2. House/homeowners
3. Renters
4. Auto – It is illegal to go without.
5. Medical for travel
6. Life – If you are the sole, or a substantial support of your family.
7. Umbrella – Protects your assets from lawsuits.  An extra layer of insurance that pays for medical, court and other expenses after basic car and home insurance stops.

Insurance you do not need:
1. Pet – There are too many restrictions in the policy to benefit.
2. Flight – Your chance of dying in a plane crash is about zero.
3. Extended warranties for electronics – Usually the limited warranty is sufficient.
4. Home warranty – Covers major appliances.  Often has deductibles, service charges and proof of non-neglect clause. Not worth the cost.

Is your head spinning?  (Oh, life!NoteMichael Stipe sang it.)  The yin and yang.  Dividing the pie.  Having enough.  Maintaining.  Being Secure.  Taking Risks.  Deciding which risks to take.  Not knowing the future.  Sometimes it seems simple, and at other times, it's complicated.  

And if you don't make decisions, life will decide for you.  So what can you do?  Live and learn.  Be savvy, and do the best you can.  Every few years, reassess.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Today we honor mothers and motherhood.  Like Father's Day, Mother's Day is celebrated on different days of the year throughout the world.  Here in the US, President Woodrow Wilson made Mother's Day a national holiday in 1914.  And although it's become super commercialized, what most mothers really want is love and validation for everything they do.

 So be sure to call your mom and spend time with her doing what she enjoys.  Take your cues from her, and listen twice as much as you talk.  A good gift is thoughtful.  Give your mother gifts you can afford, but things that make her life easier, better or joyful. In addition to time spent with you, mom should recieve things she wants, not things you want her to have.

Happy Mother's Day to you, Mam'ma!  (I usually call her "Mom," but she signs all her cards "Mamma.") xoxo.
Mothers DayLove, Debbie

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Kate Middleton's Thigh High Slit Gown

At 5'10" Kate doesn't shy away from wearing high heels.  (A few reports say she's actually 5'8 1/2" sans heels.)
I am an unabashed Kate Middleton fan.  I know we are supposed to call her Catherine, but she's Kate because we love her.

Previously I stated that Kate can do no wrong.  From all accounts, she has intelligence, a level head, a kind heart, a strong work ethic and is, without fail, an asset everywhere she goes.

One place Kate went recently was a formal dinner in London with Prince William at Mayfair's Claridge's Hotel.  
"Eva" earrings by Beaut sold via Jenny Packham
Kate looked smashing, wearing a cream colored, long, to-the-floor, gown believed to be designed by Roland Mouret.  Wow, did she kill it!  Her understated gown had a high neckline and long sleeves, as well as, a thigh high slit to show off a pair of lovely, bare legs.  What I love most about Kate's style is this: She is always classy, totally practical and never boring.  She stands out without being showy.  Her dazzling crystal [not diamond] earrings, crimson pedicure and shimmering, Jimmy Choo, 5 ½-inch-high sandals perfectly complement her elegant, simple dress.
"Vamp" sandals by Jimmy Choo
The Duchess famously does her own makeup (said to be foundation and eye showdow by Bobbi Brown.  Love B.B.!).  The natural earth tones Kate favors balance her high impact red nails and glitter assessories.  HRH is flawless and a role model for anyone needing a primer on looking glamorous.

London friends are reporting they are having the coldest May since 1698; therefore, Kate needs her long sleeves and is wise enough to wear them. Brrrr
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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Drink Bravely With Wine Writer Mark Oldman

Photographer: Marc Serges
If you enjoy wine and want to increase your current knowledge and tastes, let wine writer Mark Oldman expand your wine horizons.  Not only does he have an information-packed website, called: Mark Oldman, drink bravely, he teaches a number of “Outsmarting Wine” courses and seminars -- from private tastings to large corporate events.

Mark's books, including Oldman's Guide to Outsmarting Winewill teach you a tip or two as well.  It is a best seller, won a host of awards, and collected glowing reviews from publications including, Wine Enthusiast, Businessweek and The New Yorker.  The book points you to “insider wines" at reasonable prices that taste great!

Although Mark is passionate about wine, he writes with a touch of irrelevance and makes learning fun.  He cares very much about taking the mystery and snootiness out of drinking wine.  Enjoying fine wine should be accessible to anyone (and everyone!) who takes the initiative and raises a glass.

Recently I had the pleasure of meeting Mark.  He introduced me to 4 delicious wines (red and white) that I will share after he publishes his new finds -- all lesser-known-vintages, and all balanced and favorful gems!  Check back later for the link.  Meanwhile, take a look at his entertaining videos uploaded on his site and YouTube.

Update: May 8, 2012 - The video is up - click South African Wine to watch.

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