Saturday, May 30, 2009

Free 15 Day Trial at IContact!

No matter what your niche is, it is so important to develop some sort of email newsletter or other way to keep in touch with your readers or customers. There are some folks who believe that people will "find them," but in our busy lives, we tend to forget about our favorite sellers and blogs unless we are tapped on the shoulder.

iContact Email Marketing is offering a 15 day free trial for you to try out their services. They offer a way to keep track of all of those who are interested in you. Of course, the bread and butter of their services is email newsletter software. What you might realize, is to get to the point of sending out a newsletter, it takes subscribers.


They provide an online survey took to determine customer response and opinions, so you can tweak your approach. There are also ways for people to subscribe or opt-in to your mailings, so you can be sure you won't be receiving spam reports. It is so important to choose a bulk mailing service to protect your domain. Sometimes people accidentally click on emails they actually signed up to receive and mark them as spam. This way, the newsletter won't be coming from your internet provider, and will preserve your domain against faulty abuse reports.

The free trial is a sweet deal. I am considering it myself! How about you?

Lumineers: From Reality Show to You


A few years back, the craze in reality television was for makeover shows. There was The Swan, where women would be cosmetically altered. I will admit that sometimes there were contestants that looked just fine. They might not have been head turners, but they looked like average people, but maybe just didn't have the self esteem. Other times, the women had disfiguring conditions, such as scarring from accidents or dental problems, where cosmetic dentistry helped them smile without being embarrassed.

I always wondered about the teams that were on such shows, creating dental veneers that seemed to change lives. Actually, they are available to the general public. Lumineers by Cerinate, which are porcelain veneers, and the Den-Mat whitening system are what many shows and celebrities use. Lumineers are just contact lens thin and can be placed over bridges and crowns as well as standard issue teeth.

While it may be fun or voyeuristic for some to watch shows where someone else gets picked apart, you can improve your spirits and your health by paying attention to your smile. Some of us need a second chance. Teeth may deteriorate due to reasons other than daily hygiene. There are diseases, physical accidents, and medications that cause people to have tooth lost or breakage. If you are one of those people, having a veneer just may change your outlook.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Oh, Florida? No. Oh, Canada!


The cornerstone of retirement living seems to have the unspoken requirement of moving to Florida. If not, it involves buying a part time residence there, or somewhere else warm to spend the winter in. There are towns there that lose at least one third of their residents in the summer, when retirees return to their home towns. There are retirement communities that have full year residents, but they tend to empty out too.

There are folks from Canada who get in on the trend too, but they can only stay eight months at a time, I believe. The surprising thing that I learned from them is the amount of their friends who are opting to buy retirement homes in Canada instead. It defies logic to some people, as Canada is not perceived as a balmy place. I always say, "It's hot everywhere in the summer," so perhaps it really doesn't matter who you are. However, it is not the hot weather that they are after; it's nature.

I think the best part about establishing retirement residences in Canada is the wildlife and the natural beauty of the lakes and rivers. There are parts of Canada which are wide open, more so than the United States.

At, there are many resources to help you find your single residence, or assisted living facility. Good luck in your search for information, or a place to hang your hat.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Cure for Hot Nights

I love reading about ingenious inventions from regular people that see a need in their life and come up with a gadget or two. There are several reasons. Firstly, the product is more apt to address a genuine need rather than be the result of a think tank. There is something charming and homespun about the whole project as well.

There are some folks out there, no matter what they do, can't help feeling very hot at night. They may take the comforter off, open a window, and try other things to no avail. One solution for Night Sweats is to crank up the air conditioner. However, that can get very expensive over time.

Kurt Tompkins had been looking for a solution to this very problem, and came up with the BedFan. One day, his mother-in-law asked if she could use it. She was having terrible Menopause Night Sweats, that made it impossible for her to sleep. The invention seemed to do the trick!

In fact, there have been thousands of people who have been helped by the invention. Sweating at Night is not limited to menopause. Individuals with certain cancers, MS, and AIDS also find that they have this problem. It is great when an interesting product can improve the lives of others. Sleeping Hot, or way warmer than your own good, when the body cannot cool itself, is something uncomfortable that no one should have to put up with.

The Satellite is On When the Cable is Out

The price of Directv Service has really come down over the years. When it was new and novel, it was an arm and a leg. Now, there are packages for as low as $29.99 a month. I knew this would eventually happen. Just ask the people who bought $500 VCRs.

DirectTV has long been something that people have had to settle with when they lived out in the boonies, but now it is more competitive with cable, both in price and in selection. The benefit to cable, is that it offers competition. Cable companies have a monopoly on the local market most of the time. In any given part of town, you usually only have one choice for a cable provider, or you don't get cable. Direct TV levels the playing field as it forces cable companies to be more competitive.

A Directv system is usually easy to install. The nice thing is that your cable and phone may be out of commission at times, but the satellite may work. Of course, there will be times during storms when the satellite won't work, but it often provides a way to get information when other services fail. I knew someone who had her phone, internet, and cable tied in with the cable company and when the cable was out, everything else was out for days too. I have had a positive experience with satellite tv and hope you do too.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Moving Boxes can Save The Day

My collection is in plastic bins and containers in the spare room right now. Just as I was settling in to my temporary digs, I know that I will be moving again within the next six months. Some of the storage solutions they have out there are just not conducive to figuring out where everything is at.

Although not a permanent solution, I have found that just breaking down and buying wardrobe boxes is the solution for me. I can hang clothing and textiles rather than folding them. I also have them perfectly labeled for each closet or room, so I can simply slide the boxes into the closet temporarily or unpack the items very quickly. The boxes may not be archival quality, but you can certainly pack more historical clothing in archival tissue paper inside the boxes if you like.

The last time I had to pack everything up, I went diving in the recycle bin for boxes for moving. That may have been a cheap (free) alternative, but swiping and begging for boxes has a downside. With all sorts of sizes, with no rhyme or reason to them, they are hard to stack. If you buy moving boxes for your most precious items, of uniform shape and size, they will pack in a truck better. Also, if you have to store things that you don't use every single day for awhile, it can be stacked and stored very neatly. Also, you know that the purchased moving boxes are clean.

Check out the website They will attend to all of your packing and storing needs. In fact, there are even frame boxes for your artwork and other specialty items. In other words, the proper boxes are out there for more than just your closet.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Life Alert: More Than Just a Panic Button


I remember in the late 80s where you couldn't go anywhere without hearing it on a commercial or watching a reenactment on the playground. A reenactment of what? The "I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up" Commercial. It was actually for the now defunct LifeCall.

There is now a product on the market called Life Alert, which has a similar use, but is far more advanced. Instead of merely pressing a button, the system actually knows when the wearer has fallen. That's genius. Also, you do not have to be home. The Life Alert dispatchers will respond no matter where you are in the world.

Unlike calling 911, a Life Alert dispatcher won't charge you with issuing a false alarm. Depending on what the situation is, they will dispatch the police, ambulance, or fire rescue. In a non emergency, they will call your family or neighbor, depending on what your preferences are. They can even talk you through your problem if that is all it takes.

The other feature I was impressed with, is that there is also a built in smoke detector and a no activity alert. Brickhouse certainly has some great products and services that gives a lot more peace of mind if you have a loved one who lives alone. It is the honorable thing to do to take care of your family, but do so with dignity.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Class Before Band Class was Always the Worst

As you can tell, I am waxing nostalgic over the school days of years far past.  What stream of consciousness would be complete without talking about band class?  Yes, the other kids would kick your musical instruments around during the class period after band.  You just didn't have enough time to take it back to your locker.

Of course, if you had a love of slide trombones, all you could do is leave it in the music room all day or lug it around.  Ditto the sousaphone, french horn, tuba, or drums. Of course, if you played drums, you usually used the school's drum set and then used your own just at home. Remember the hunk of wood with the rubber pad on it that your parents got you so you wouldn't make so much noise in the house? It sort of took the fun out of it for those that just chose the instrument to be loud, rather than those interested in the technique.

Back in the day, you really had to search around town to find an instrument.  Now, with site like Shopwiki, you can compare all the instruments from various sites around the web and get the best price.  Yes, even those flutes. Flute players always annoyed me because they could carry their instrument in their book bag, and it even fit in their locker or desk. Amateurs!

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Wine: Graduating from the Kegger

Maybe in college, there was nothing more romantic, than throwing a "kegger." At some point, however, you grow up and look for something a bit more sophisticated. A wine website that offers all the Wine Reviews and other Wine-arama that is fit to print on the classy beverage without being stodgy is Supple Wine. Their tag line is "Screw It." I knew that you would appreciate that!

I always understood the concept of Wine Bouquet, but I never knew what "Wine Grades consisted of. I understand measures of quality but didn't know exactly what was considered standard. This particular website grades as follows:

Pure Grade
Value Grade
96-100: Outstanding quality wine
A- to A+: Can't beat this wine for the price
90-95: Very high quality wine
B- to B+: Worth just about every penny
86-89: Good to High quality wine
C+: You get a little more than you pay for
80-85: Decent quality wine
C: You get exactly what you pay for, no more, no less
70-79: Adequate, not complex
D- to C-: Your money is better spent elsewhere
60-69: Some minor flaws, not pleasing
F: Drink a beer instead
Below 60: Major flaws, not drinkable

An uncle of mine made wine recently, and on day one, it was definitely an 80-85, but after being open for a few days it was about a 50. It was lighter fluid all the way! While reviews seem a bit subjective, if done by someone who is very experienced and schooled, you can get a pretty accurate review. Where some people get confused is that the grading has nothing to do with personal preference, but in comparison to what the wine has set out to do or be.

As far as Wine Pairing, if you want to be a smarty pants and tell me that wine can't possibly go with a burger, think again. Accordng to the website, meat with barbecue sauce is paired well with a zinfandel or Shiraz. If the meat has a smokier flavor, like a burger thrown on the smoker, you would Cotes du Rhone or a Chateauneuf du Pape, which are french. Take that, beer!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Everystyle: Clothing Sales at Your FingerTips

There is a new and very unique search engine that has come from Great Britain, listed at It brings up ladies clothing from a variety of clothing sites. You can be the very first to find clothing that are on sale, in stock, and the right size for you or the gal in your life.

For example, if you click on cardigans, it will not only bring up pictures and prices of cardigans, but you can narrow them down by your criteria. You can select sizes, brands, and color. Just be vigilant to remember that these will be typically in UK sizes, so you may want to check individual sizing charts or order the next number size up from what the American size would be.

Because you can also filter by age, you may just be able to find the newest sale jeans. You can do it in two ways. Either you can click on jeans, and then use the selector to see the newest listed, or you can click directly on "on sale" when the left hand column expands. Pretty nifty, huh?

Many of the sites ship internationally and offer their products, worldwide. A handy thing to do also is to go to an online exchange rate calculator to remind yourself how much you are actually spending. It is really no big deal, as most of the time when something is your style, it is worth spending a little more to get what you like.

One thing that confused me is that there are categories for jumpers and playsuits. In the United States, those words mean something completely different. I always pictured a jumper as an "all in one" garment. Here, they are casual tops. That is easy to get used to though. With all of the photos, those of us on the opposite side of the pond can definitely figure it out.

I think that seeing offerings from different websites at once can definitely speed up the shopping experience. Have fun, and be fashionable!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Jeans STILL made in the USA at Silberman's


A good friend of mine looked into the tongue of his boots the other day and shook his head.  "Made in china?  But these have an American flag in the tongue."  It is so hard to find "all American workwear" actually made in America.  Luckily, you can find many of them at

One maker that still manufactures in the United States is Carhartt. Just like Levis, Wrangler, and the like, they started out as a company making strictly utilitarian jeans. While their counterparts have hiked up the prices, and have often gone the way of strictly fashion, Carhartt still makes good old basic jeans. There are many jeans that are at a good $40 price point at WorkingGear. A pair of Carhartt jeans is shown at left.

While there is still Wrangler Western Wear made in the good old USA, Wrangler does have plants around the world. If you are very spedicic in wanting American made items, of course you are still supporting an American company, but check individual labels.

There is a good selection of both maker at Silberman's Army and Navy. If you are wanting to buy items specifically made in America, research each brand before buying. Also, I am sure the nice folks in their customer service department would be more than happy to answer your questions!