Monday, November 30, 2009

Copper in the Kitchen

ruffoni.jpgLately, I have seen a lot of copper cookware at the stores. There were some attractive pieces from ruffoni cookware that I had looked at. Copper stands out due to its unusual color and heft. I had a few reservations, as I recall the reactivity of copper. Once, a friend had washed her hair in water that she had collected from a copper pot. Her hair turned green! Perhaps it wasn't her hair, but the products she used to get the blond color in her hair. I also recalled the patina copper develops.

Upon researching a bit, I found that the benefit of copper cookware was primarily its heat conduction. There are no "hot spots" that develop when you cook, so the danger of scorching a cream sauce is much less likely. If you are serious about cooking, copper may be the way to go for you. The pots also look very attractive when hung. One of the disadvantages is that copper items cannot be washed in the dishwasher. That may not really be a problem, as some pots are rather large anyhow.

Copper does react to food. Copper pots are typically lined in tin. That is why ruffoni copper appears to be two toned. The inner layer acts as a barrier between the copper and the food. Of course, after years of use, the lining may break down, but the pots would still be attractive to use for display. Of course, that won't happen for many decades to come.

Great Deal on Self Inking Stamps

inkstamp.gifThe holidays are upon us, but mostly, the end of the year is also upon us. When I do my taxes, I also try to organize my desk and get my brain in order. They say an uncluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind. I am not sure if that's true or not, as my desk is always a mess except for the New Year.

While I was looking to organize my desk, I found a really great deal on self inking stamps. In fact, some basic models start off at just $4.99. I am buying some in lieu of address labels, and to also use on materials I tend to loan out. Of course, I am not going to ink my antique books. There are some paperback reference books I want to keep, but don't use myself all the time. This way, friends will remember who they came from.

Stay In and Watch Satellite

I haven't had satellite television service for quite awhile. When I most recently moved, I knew I was going to go through a temporary living situation or two before I settled. Despite there being a variety of Direct TV Offers, I didn't take advantage of them. No matter how good the deal was, it was not worth it if one didn't have a television hooked up.

Now that I am a bit more settled, I am ready to look. However, I really need to sit down and research all the Direct TV Packages, as I had forgotten about what they include. There are several channels I am interested in getting, but as my luck would have it, I am sure they are not all in the same package.

Right now, there are a variety of Direct TV Deals. If you order now, you can enjoy the television programming over the holidays. I found that when I had the service over the holidays, with a little schedule checking, I was able to gather the family around and see the movies we wanted to watch. It was far less expensive than going to the movies. Besides, you can't really have side conversations at the movies and the snacks are expensive.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Lou Lou has Luxuries for Kids from Infant to 102

LouLou's Corner is a specialty boutique in North Carolina that offers a variety of items, mostly geared towards babies and mothers. Now, they have an online store that offers a variety of their wares, including designer baby clothes and toddler clothing.

Among their offerings, they sell items by Barefoot Dreams. Barefoot Dreams is a company that makes and packages all of their items in the USA. From having read this blog, I am sure you know how much I value good products that are made in America. They have very luxurious baby blankets, and loungewear for adults. For toddlers, the Appaman line. Appaman was named for a corduroy ape that was owned by the founder as a child.

They also offer Jellycat stuffed toys, that are a higher quality line. They comply to all of the strict European safety standards that toys like this need to have. They are designed in England. I crawled around the internet, and some items state that they are made in the England as well.

If you are looking for a unique item for someone with a baby on the way, this is a great American small business to patronize.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

When Pigs Fly

pig.jpgA couple that I know restored a home to its original condition. The Arts and Crafts bungalow was gutted inside and out. They tore out the wraparound porch that was added to replace it with a cozy porch that was originally suited to the home. The trim around the windows was freshly painted. They installed a stained glass panel in the dormer panel.

They needed to sell it, as one of them received a job offer in another state. They hated to part with it, but it was an important career move. They removed the weathervanes that were not exactly period appropriate, but had been given to them by grandparents when their family home was sold. They didn't want a potential home buyer to see it and list it as requested item with the purchase of the home.

They thought about removing the bird feeders, but I reminded them to leave them. Their little friends would be lost when they came back in the spring if someone suddenly took their usually food hang outs away.

For awhile there were no bites. They felt they had done everything they should have. They removed personal photos from the home so that the potential owner could visualize themselves in the space. What they had also stripped out of the home was the charm. At a suggestion of their Realtor, they purchased a new weather vane and some windchimes to add some personal touches back to the home.

In fact, the person that made an offer admitted that the pig weathervane helped them remember the home among the dozens that they had seen, and so did the sound of the chimes in the garden. The pig was something they bought at They thought the house would sell "when pigs fly." Apparently it did. For an investment of less than $150.00, it was definitely well worth the price. It sold the house and was far less than a big ad in the paper.

The North Face at Zappos

northfaceshoes.jpgI always trusted Zappos for purchasing shoes for the entire family. The selection is good and the shipping is fast. Zappos now carries clothing with the same excellent customer service they have offered with their footwear. They now offer an extensive selection of products from The North Face.

northfacetent.jpgThe North Face does make shoes and boots. Their footwear caters to an active lifestyle, with their mainstays being items suited for the snow and for activities such as hiking. Zappos didn't stop there. They are also carrying a full range of other products from The North Face. There is are a few tents and in various sizes and a selection of mummy bags for those subzero nights.

thenorthfacevest.jpgThe remainder, and most abundant of the merchandise is apparel. Zappos offers competitive prices on coats, sweatshirts and other items to keep you toasty warm. The North Face has been seen for years at sporting goods stores, but the styles of some of their clothing definitely are fashion forward. The colors and silhouettes won't have anyone accusing you of going to work in your ski pants.

You can purchase some of the items from The North Face all year at Zappos it seems. If you see something you like, however, I would not delay. If it is for you, even though some of the areas of the country are experiencing unseasonably warm temperatures, there will be snow and ice before you know it. If it is a gift, the days until Christmas are ticking by. Wouldn't it be a relief to have your shopping done early this year?

Don't Get Lost in Translation

There are many sites on the internet that offer a free translation. I have gotten a bit of a laugh out of the ways some of them do their job. The translations are extremely literal, the software does not understand idioms or sentence structure. Sometimes an online translation is written as if it was dialogue for Yoda the Jedi Master.

There is a relatively new site, or at least new to me called It offers translations online from real people. The turnaround time for short jobs, such as a word, phrase, or sentence or two is little as one hour. It may not be instant like a free translation service, but you are getting an accurate translation when it counts most. For example, if you have need a business card translation from another language or if you would like to translate yours, there will never be any possibility of embarrassment. While a free service may translate the literal words, the position titles may not directly translate to an exact English counterpart. Also, if an address is not translated in the correct order or the correct punctuation, if you write the individual on the card a letter they may never receive it.

An individual may purchase credits. A translator then bids on the job. You may receive quotes that are free of charge or that charge a more substantial but very competitive fee for the work. You are allowed final approval on the work, but since the translators are professionals, the quality is extremely high. You aren't going to have someone translating your job who has no command of either language. It seems like they can be highly trusted with business documents.

I had another idea. This would be great for someone researching their genealogy. If their grandparents left relatives behind in another country, they are more likely to find them if they can have someone write a letter in the native tongue in an attempt to reconnect.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sams has Shelving


I always think of Sam's Club for discounts on gasoline and buying condiments in industrial sized portions. What I never realized is that I can actually by the storage shelf to put my canned goods and three gallon jar of pickles on for safe keeping.

Of course, I have seen a shelf or two here and there at Sam's, but had no idea that their selection of shelving was as extensive as it is. It is not something they have whenever they can make a good by, and then it disappears. It is in fact a staple of the chain. There are 4, 5, and 6 shelf units, as well as Rubbermaid components to create your own system.

When I think of shelves at big box stores, I always imagine they come from overseas. I was very pleasantly surprised to see that Safco and Tennesco, two of the brands that are carried at Sam's, are made in the USA. They are assembled here and made of US components. By the way, Rubbermaid is made here, too. That makes me feel good about considering a purchase if I stick with those brands.

Have you purchased shelving from Sam's Club online or in the store? Let me know what you thought!

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Satellite: Where Classic Films Hang Out

For awhile, we were watching old movies on DVD, but I had no idea there were so many channels on DirectTV that were devoted to the classics. I always knew about AMC, as it has been a cable and satellite staple for years, but had no idea how many other channels were available.

AMC - The old standby, but I must admit I am sometimes a little perplexed at some of the films they consider "classic."

Turner Classic Movies - In the past, Ted Turner's company was the pioneer of "everyone with black hair now has blue hair" colorization in films. See them in their original black and white glory now on TCM. Turner shows films primarily from Warner Brothers Studios.

Chiller - Chiller specializes in the often silly horror and scifi films, many from the 70s, but spanning the 60s through the 90s. This station is a dream come true. It is channel 257 on DirecTV.

Fox Movie Channel- Shows many classics guessed it...20th Century Fox. (Direct TV channel 258)

Look up a few of these channels on your program guide. You may be pleasantly surprised at what you find!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Day Trader No More

I have an uncle who was a day trader for a very long time. He did a lot of Online Trading during the day. He would buy a stock when it was low and attempt to sell it quickly when it spiked ever so slightly to make a quick buck. He soon realized after awhile that the stress was overriding the profit. Even in a market that may be a bit of a bear, people can still gamble on gains throughout the day. In the end, he decided to fold and get out of it.

A few months later, he decided to go back into the Stock Trading game. This time, he decided to do something that would have a bit more stability, such as concentrating on mutual funds and investing a small amount each week. He would buy high and low and it would all even out.

Because of his self service history, he was not comfortable visiting a brokerage and being content with a monthly statement. He wanted to be very hands on. He found that with, he could obtain an Online Broker without ridiculous fees that offered what he was looking for. There are over 10,000 mutual funds on the site that the brokerage would help him buy into. My aunt sure is a lot happier now that he has something that he regular contributes to in small amounts, versus gambling their savings away every few days.

I am thinking of going back and starting a mutual fund again, and I am going to seriously consider the site.

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Playing Ball? Get Zoned!

Zoned is a Baseball and Softball Academy in Bridgewater, NJ that assists athletes of all ages improve their skills in their state of the art indoor facility. They have a staff of former professional and collegiate players that offer NJ Baseball Instruction, instructing players on how to improve their game and overall skill sets.

The participants that register for NJ Baseball Instruction are also eligible for scholarships. Zoned offers college scholarships to students who have participated in classes or clinics at Zoned for at least one year prior. The potential recipients must also be involved in their school ball program, and exhibit integrity and leadership in their community as well as on their team.

Zoned is above and beyond an intramural program. They offer specialized programs, such as a multiple week speed and agility program. A CD can be burned for you in order for you to observe and improve your form. You can "Rent-a-Coach" and one of the staff members will come out and give your school, intramural, or college team some pointers. Speaking of rentals, they offer field rentals so teams without a home can meet and play, or have a birthday party. In other words, if you are looking for
NJ Baseball Instruction or Softball instruction, you have found the place.

Get Off The Boat: All Inclusive Myrtle Beach

myrtle.gifWhen one goes on a cruise, one is very accustomed to selecting excursion packages. This might include sailing, an island tour, or snorkeling. Lately, a few of my friends are hesitant to book a cruise due to past experiences. For the most part, they have a pleasant time, but on the last cruise everyone got a little under the weather, which is no fault of the cruise line.

Did you know that if you booked at Myrtle Beach Resorts instead, you can book different excursion packages, too? The Seaside resort is one of the Oceanfront Myrtle Beach Resorts that has a few tricks up their sleeves. They have a special deal where you can book a sailing package. On a cruise ship, you are far from the surface of the water, and this gives you a more up close and personal experience. Then, you can go back to shore if your sea legs are a bit rubbery.

On a cruise, there are plenty of self guided activities, but if you spontaneously decide to break away from it all, you have two choices. You can hole yourself up in your room, or walk the plank and swim. While there are many amenities at Beach Resorts Myrtle Beach and you won't want to leave, you can always hop in the car or hit the water for a spontaneous side trip. It is really the best of both worlds.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Trade Shows: The Answer is Under Your Feet

I first explored companies that made and rented trade show displays thinking along the lines of furnishing booths at antique fairs and trade shows. I had no idea about the breadth of items you could obtain that go way beyond the realm of exhibit booths, or just having a logo canopy.

One item that I didn't think of were logo mats. I often see them walking into grocery stores and very high end companies. What I didn't consider is how pulled together and professional a small business can look with them. When pennies are tight, I don't necessarily recommend getting one for your front walkway. However, when you are on the road at various shows, or have a local week long show, you want to grab people as many times as you can with your name. Memories relate to a variety of senses, and I seem to remember the graphics and logos on trade show carpet and mats in someone's booth for some reason, over one of the many brochures that are stuffed in my bag.

The idea of making a top notch impression at shows has even crossed over into the realm of the concert experience. You can order a truss for a stage show at the very same place you order your curtain holders and displays for a booth. Both types if mediums sometimes involve wowing the senses, but when you take a show display to the next level and think of entertaining rather than just passing out fliers, you are burned into someone's mind.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Fans for Your Historical Restoration

The first time I remember really noticing a Ceiling Fan was when I saw Citizen Kane for the first time. I remember the high contrast film style, showing curls from the ends of cigarettes dancing up towards the long, paddle blades. It seemed so much classier than the painted white ones with gold town curlicues that were in the bedrooms at home. Of course, the smoking was not classy. The art deco style fan was. It pushed me out of the mindset of Ceiling Fans being ugly and cheap looking.

What I really like is the belt driven ceiling fans that Hansen Wholesale Ceiling Fans offers. I have not seen anything quite like it offered to the public. This style was originally developed in the 1800s by Shediker and Carr, and would be very much at home in any number of historic restorations that you might be involved with. Now, Fanimation produces this style, and they call it the Brewmaster Longneck model.

An important improvement on the original has been made. Instead of the belts being made out of leather, they are now made with Neoprene. The change still preserves the look, but makes them not so high maintenance. You won't have to replace neoprene like you would leather, which could split over time without meticulous care. Even with the best of care, the elements would probably batter it.

Whether you decide on adding standard fans to your home, or go for an all out restoration, there are many options available. If you decide to go for something unique, you definitely do not have to settle for what every other home on your block has.


Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Save Money on Your Arabian Nights

Until recently, looking at cheap dubai hotels was not something that captured my interest in the least. I knew that the record attempt for the world's tallest building was there, but beyond that I was clueless. I recently discovered that there is a lot more to see. I don't know about any historical ruins, but it is brimming with modern attractions. Shopping is a major feature of the city. When it is too hot outside, you can chill indoors with a large indoor snowboarding and skiing facility.

Another thing that I hadn't thought about were Abu Dhabi hotels. You can visit Old Souk, which is a traditional market where you can buy metal, clothing, and handmade items. There is also an opportunity to visit Old Heritege, where traditional Bedouin ways are on exhibition.

The United Arab Emirates, I have learned, is a more tourist friendly country. The Abu Dhabi hotels are just one option. You can also rent holiday flats, apartments, or for the more adventurous, a bed in a hostel. Have you recently visited the UAE? If so, what was your experience?