Pat McNees

Writer, editor, ghostwriter, personal historian

The Wirecutter and The Sweethome ( “the best gadgets and gear for people who quickly want to know what to get")

Silver Bobby Pins for Hair (because black bobby pins look awful against silver or gray hair). I may try these next time: Karina Brilliance Bobby Pins. Both get mixed reviews, but leaning toward five-star.

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Great and Unusual Online Shopping Links


GREAT and UNUSUAL ONLINE SHOPPING
(miscellaneous)
• Amazon.com. See camelcamelcamel, a free Amazon price tracker (create Amazon price watches and get alerts via email and Twitter when prices drop).
• Annual free credit report (as federally mandated)
• c/​net reviews of tech products
• Book Club favorites and recommended titles
• Books for writers and editors
• Book Mooch
• CPR Call Blocker V500 (block robocalls, telemarketer calls, fake IRS calls, solicitations, and junk faxes)
• Catalog Choice (a free service that lets you decline catalogs you no longer wish to receive)
• Consumer World (sign up for newsletter announcing bargains)
• Cool Tools (Kevin Kelly, The Technium)
• CouchSurfing (creating a better world, one couch at a time--connecting travelers with locals in many countries)
• Transparent Kayak (Crystal Kayak Company, $1599 and free shipping!)
• Data Bazaar (printing supplies)
• Demotivator posters (scroll down the page to see samples of these creative ironic posters)
• Etsy, an online community for crafters (buy and sell handmade arts and crafts, vintage items, crafting supplies)
• 4over.com (good price, quality, for printing special postcards, etc.)
• Freecycle (rather than send that old encyclopedia to the dump, advertise it and give it to someone who actually wants it! a green way to clean house)
• TheFreeSite.com (free product samples)
• Freeshipping.com (free shipping coupons and coupon codes for 850 online stores)
• GoodGuide, rates gazillions of products on safety, health, & environmental factors See Fast Company's article about GoodGuide's community ratings, product recommendations. Is your shampoo safe?
• Go Saint Yourself (Great gift for someone good enough to be mock-sainted.)
• Hidalgo's sunglasses and eye wear(prescription and nonprescription sunglasses and eye wear for pilots, drivers, fishermen, cyclists, hikers, backpackers, mountain climbers, boaters, skiers, people with Lyme Disease, golfers and others)
• Historic Preservation.com (the preservation marketplace)
• Light bulb buying guide (C/​Net) Under federal legislation, the standard 40, 60, 75, and 100-watt incandescent light bulbs can no longer be manufactured. A general guide to what replacement bulbs to buy for various types of lighting devices. What kinds of bulbs are available? A guide to options. See also Consumer Reports Light Bulb Buying Guide
• NAUPA (unclaimed property, by state)
• Parisot Storage Bed (Oak)
• Pondering Pool greeting cards (not your Hallmark card)
• ProFlowers.com
• Rainforest shower curtain (and other fanciful designs)
• SlickDeals.net (news of sales on the Web)
• Stacks and Stacks (stuff to organize with)
• The Sweethome, a list of the best home goods like bedsheets, blenders, duct tape, and screwdrivers, for people who don't want to take the time to figure out what to get.
• thingCharger (all your chargers in one device, in one spot)
• Van Dyke's Restorers (antique products for your house restoration projects). Oddly they don't seem to appear on the OldHouses.com list of suppliers and services.
• Vermont Country Store (hard-to-find classic household, personal, and food products, items other stores no longer carry)
• The Wirecutter, a list of the best gadgets—like cameras and TVs—for people who don’t want to take a lot of time figuring out what to get.
• Your Best Digs (in-depth reviews of home products)

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Food (particularly good, a specialty, or hard to find)


Sweets

• Annabelle's ( Annabelle's chewy candies popular in Southern California and the West include Abba Zabba (taffy and peanut butter and the best candy bar in the world--unwrap it and zap it for 7 to 9 seconds in microwave first for full gooeyness), Big Hunk (second best: nougat and nuts), Look (chocolate around nougat), Rocky Road, and U-No.
• Big Island Candies. This firm's shortbreads and chocolate candy (including macadamia nut crunchies) are delicious. A wonderful gift. (Thank Leslie Lang for this Hawaiian treat.)
• See's Candies (my favorite: Nuts & Chews) Amazon also sells them,, including a special Abba Zabba and Big Hunk combo box.
• Cheryl's Cookies that are better than homemade--a fabulous gift for a special occasion or a sick friend. (Thanks, Andie, Kristin, and Sandy!)
• Favoritesof.com (Moon Pie, Abba Zabbas, and other regional and nostalgia candies). This firm appears to be closing shop.,
• L. A. Burdick Chocolate (handmade chocolates -- Bon Go๛t Ne Peut Mentir)
• CandyFavorites.com (you need to buy a lot of it!)
• Vermont Country Store (practical and hard-to-find candy and other foods, including regional specialties people away from home feel nostalgic about)
• Enstrom Candies (favorite candy of Jane and Michael Stern, authors of Road Food). My friend Lynne got me hooked on their Dark chocolate almond toffee
• Kringle Danish and other pastries (expensive but delicious)
• Meduri World Delights (dried fruit, nuts, and fruitcakes)
• Pearson Farm (Georgia pecans)
• Give the gift of pie: 6 mail-order picks (Jane Stern and Michael Stern, on The Splendid Table)
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Specialty food and drink

•
Bon Bon tea from Steven Smith Teamaker. A delightful, caffeine-free confection in a cup, combining the creamy flavor of Northwest grown peppermint leaves with the sweet cinnamon, licorice, ginger, and distinct notes of chocolate. This is the best herbal tea I've ever tasted, with a slight anise/​licorice flavor and no sugar (yet it doesn't taste as if "it's good for you"). Great house gift.
• King Arthur Flour (an "excellent, employee-run company in Vermont that once was a family business," wrote a friend/​admirer, both a baker's store and bakery, offering online baking classes and recipes. There you can buy things like barley flour and graham flour to make the yummy, healthy recipes in King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking: Delicious Recipes Using Nutritious Whole Grains
• The Virginia Chutney Co, (southern-style chutney, "best served with cheese")
• Kwik’pak Marketplace (Yukon River salmon)
• Allen Brothers (Beef Wellington and other fine beef specialties)
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Grass-fed beef

•
Hardwick Beef
• Laurel Ridge Grass Fed Beef
• Tallgrass Beef Company
• US Wellness Meats
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Miscellaneous odd and ultra-specific specialty items


• Kitchen stuff
• Pest control
• Cleaning and laundry
• Health, beauty, and comfort
• Gardens, yards, and composting
• Miscellaneous household tools
• Arts, crafts, multimedia, and office supplies

Kitchen stuff

• Krups Egg Cooker, (for easily perfect boiled or poached eggs, every time; my friend Kristie gave me one and I've given it to others--a great gift if they don't already have one!)
• Cuisinart CPT-440 Touch to Toast 4-Slice Toaster
• Swing-A-Way Comfort-Grip Jar Opener. If you know ANYone who has trouble opening a jar, get this for them as a present. Give them as gifts whenever someone mentions they have a weakening of physical strength (or asks you to help them open a jar).
• OXO Good Grips measuring cup (this angled, 2-cup device lets you read measurements from above, so you don't have to squat to read them)
• 3-Compartment Bento lunch-boxes (kid-friendly containers, easy-open lids, made from FDA-approved, high-quality polypropylene #5 plastic; No BPA, PVC, or phthalates)
• Stackable glass Rubbermaid good storage containers with easy-find lids.
• Stackable 3-compartment food containers (INEVIFIT Meal Prep Containers)
• Lodge pre-seasoned heavy cast-iron skillet (Lstyle 10SK3, 12 inches wide, 2 inches deep, for kitchen or camping--there are slope-sided and straight-sided versions of this pan) Read the comments on Amazon for tips on cleaning, seasoning, degree of heat, etc.; many opinions on this classic (heavy, safe) pan.
• ThermoWorks ThermoPop superfast thermometer with backlit rotating display (red) . Hold the ThermoPop in either hand or read it when it's upside down. Any angle is convenient. Super-Fast readings are within the final degree in only 5 to 6 seconds! Designed for serious chefs and professionals, with big digits and backlight for reading in dark conditions. Also good, and much cheaper: ThermoPro TP03 digital instant-read kitchen cooking thermometer
• Kitchenmade stainless steel measuring cups (6-piece set)
• J.K. Adams Large Reversible Maple Carving Board This two-sided carving board made of Vermont maple has a large groove around the edge on one side, to hold juices, and on the other side has an indented imprint, to hold a chicken or roast in place.
• Prepworks Cutting Board (polyethylene, dishwasher-safe and fits into dishwasher easily, but large enough at 17.38" X 11.25" to hold a fair amount)
• Victorinox 12-inch Granton edge slicing knife with Fibrox handle cuts with precision through muscle meat, making it easy to slice a roast. The oval scallops of the Granton edge provide a thinner cutting edge while allowing heft in the top part of the blade. Recommended by America's Test Kitchen.
• Heavy-duty kitchen shears (Chef Remi brand, rated best multi-purpose utility scissors for poultry, fish, meat, vegetable, herbs, BBQ--"as sharp as any knife")
• Weber 6673 Original Wide Spatula with a nonslip grip, an angled neck, and a spatula head wide enough to turn fish and larger foods. For grilling outdoors, there is also a longer-handled Weber 6671 spatula.
• OXO Good Grips 16-inch locking tongs pick up a bunch of asparagus, an ear of corn, a piece of meat, without damaging them
• Peugeot Paris 9-Inch Pepper Mill (first cracks then grinds peppercorns - ensures the most flavor and aroma is released from the pepper)
• Levav salt and pepper grinder set, stainless steel/a>
•
Lindy's stainless steel stovetop popcorn popper (6-quart) (top of the line but there are cheaper alternatives on same page)
• Whynter ICM-15LS Ice Cream Maker, selected Best Ice Cream Maker by The Sweethome.
• Zojirushi Rice Cooker 5-1/​2-cup computerized rice cooker and warmer cooks all types of rice plus oatmeal (steel cut oats) and porridge
• Propresser Garlic Press (stainless steel, large capacity basket, easy to clean, dishwasher-safe)
• Chef'n StemGem strawberry huller
• All Ware pineapple easy slicer and de-corer (stainless steel; read the comments). I'm not sure I see the difference between that one and this one (though the latter appears to dice).
• Spiralizerฎ Tri-Blade Vegetable Spiral Slicer, (veggie pasta Spaghetti Maker for low carb/​Paleo/​gluten-free meals ("By spiraling our squash and zucchini I make our 'pasta' noodles (which the kids think are real pasta and eat them!"). You do need space for this one.
• Vege-magic Vegetable Spiral Slicer , smaller than previous item (easier to store). See video demo from Raw Food Magic
• Glazed Stoneware butter keeper (Norpro 284A, white with blue bands) and Norpro marble butter keeper, off-white. And on that page you will see other styles.
• Tovolo perfect cube ice trays (set of two, choice of colors)
• Chilled Creation Large Ice Cube Trays creates extra-large 2-inch, slow melting ice cubes and is good for freezing and storing one-serving portions of leftover juice, wine, sauce, baby food or creating frozen treats.
• 20 unusual and creative ice cube trays (Toxel.com),
• Arctic Chill large ice cube tray (2-inch cubes keep your drink chilled for hours without diluting)
• Alphabet ice cube trays (Martha Stewart, who has other themes, too--flowers, romantic, etc.)
• Batman Ice Cube Tray (DC Comics)
• Chillz Ice Ball Maker (I know--I went a little overboard on the ice cube trays!)
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Pest control

• Bugzooka bug catcher/​vacuum. My friend John satisfies his hunter instincts sucking up bugs and spiders around the house (including flying insects), which are then caught in a trap from which he CAN release them to the wild (or he can drown them, if Mary isn't watching). They say this bug-sucker is a great gift for the friend who has everything. I watched John catch about 20 termite-like insects in 5 minutes. No battery required. Does not do well with flies (they're too quick and get away). For that they use the Bug-A-Salt (see next entry)
• Bug-A-Salt 2.0. Shoots a shotgun spray of regular table salt, which decimates flies on contact. Has an effective range of 3 feet for flies. Cock it, click off the safety, and fire away. John and Mary's second-favorite hunting weapon.
• GAT Mosquito Traps Can Be Effective Even without Pesticides (Ed Ricciuti, Entomology Today, 5-31-16) Available from BioQuip.
• Avon Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard (a moisturizer that is also a very effect bug/​mosquito repellent). Years ago I heard of this use for Skin-So-Soft for friends in the South and urged Avon to market it for this purpose, and they weren't interested--but customers in mosquito-heavy parts of the country used it regularly. Now they market this "bug guard" package of their lotion.
• Consumer Reports: How to get rid of lice. "Comb them out instead of using Nix, Rid, or other chemicals. Use a metal nit comb—not plastic—that is thin-toothed and finely spaced." Reader Hilda Ward added this comment: "Wash hair with Dawn dish soap. leave it on hair for at least 15 minutes. Use it for three or four days in a row for any eggs that you missed with the nit comb. Does not wreck your hair, actually adds body to it." Good for pets and humans.
• ClinicalGuard V7 metal lice comb removes lice without damaging the user's hair or scalp. (Amazon shows several versions of a metal lice comb).
• Dr. Ben's Evictor. Formulated to control BED BUGS and other insects that reside in hotel mattresses, box springs, pillows, and other personal space areas. Perfect for a housekeeping staff to have on hand while cleaning rooms after check out. It also comes in handy for pilots, stewardesses, and travelers of all kinds that come into contact with potential bug infested areas.
• The Bedbug Registry (a free, public database of user-submitted bed bug reports from across the United States and Canada. Founded in 2006, the site has collected about 20,000 reports covering 12,000 locations.)
• Bed bugs: Do-it-yourself control options (Insects in the City, Texas A&M AgriLife ExtensionS)
---Waterproof/​Bed Bug and Dust Mite Proof - PREMIUM Zippered Mattress Encasement & Hypoallergenic Protector (Hospitology Sleep Defense System)
---Zippered Waterproof Mattress Encasement - Bed Bug Proof Mattress Cover (Utopia Bedding)
---Bed Bug Interceptors. There are many other versions of the same device (you put them under legs of bed).
• Bed Bugs: Get Them Out and Keep Them Out (EPA). Includes list of Pesticides to Control Bed Bugs. and a Bed bug product search tool. Information pages on many aspects of bed bug control on the EPA site, which I found via Tuck's Bed Bug Guide.
• Snap-E Mouse Trap by Kness. After months of no mouse catches on the humane traps put out by our condo exterminator, I bought two of these, which got mostly glowing reviews. Within hours after I put overripe banana on the bait part, I had two dead mice--the first one moments after I turned off the kitchen light. Easy to dispose of the dead mice.
• Black Hole Rodent Trap. Apparently you need something a little more powerful, like this highly-rated trap, to catch a rat or a gopher.
• Catchmaster Pantry Pest Traps (those little bugs that are drawn to flour products in your kitchen stick to these traps)
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Cleaning and laundry

• Scott Pro Shop Towels (Blue) My brother had these in his car; I bought some from a local auto supply store. They last far longer than regular paper towels and get stronger when wet.
• Scrub Daddy cleaning sponge. Cleans better (without scratching) and is more hygienic than a traditional sponge. Read How a sponge company became the biggest 'Shark Tank' success story (Richard Feloni, Business Insider, 4-17-15).
• Scotch-Brite Lint Rollers (adhesive removes lint, fuzz, human and pet hair from clothes)
• Wenol metal polish. Writes one Amazon reviewer: "The best feature of Wenol is that it can be used on sterling, plated silver, stainless steel, pewter, copper, chrome, etc. One polish for all your needs. You still have to rub and buff, but you can't beat the shine. Wouldn't use any other product!" It lasts, so you might want to start with a tube of Wenol metal polish.
• Zwipes microfiber cleaning cloths (used to clean and dust; can be washed and reused countless times)
• Gojo orange pumice hand cleaner (cuts grease and oil, so ideal for cleaning hands after working on a car -- also sold at Walmart, Costco, etc.)
• Bar Keepers Friend cleanser & polish. Make that stainless steel sink shine again. Good for copper, tile, brass, stainless steel, and glass cooktops.
• HOST spot remover for carpets
• O-Cedar Microfiber Steam Mop
• BrassCraft Zip-It Bath and Sink Hair Snare (unclog drains clogged with hair)
• Alpha Grillers BBQ grill brush Popular because it works so well, and at only $12.95, a great hostess gift.
• Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional Upright Vacuum Cleaner
• Stout Eco-Degradable Plastic Trash Bags (plastic bags modified to accelerate aging in a process that safely returns the organic carbon, from which plastic is made, to the natural bio-cycle as a food source for microorganisms)
• Hills Portable 170 Clothesline, based on the classic, wonderful Australian Hills drying rack , (the Hills Hoist height-adjustable rotary clothes line )
• Whitmor Natural Wood Clothespins (100 of them)
• Sports Cap Washer-Shaper (a device to shape a baseball cap as it washes and some customers seem to wash them in the dishwasher -- do not use lemon-scented dishwashing detergent if you do!)
For eliminating dust mites that inflame allergies:
My neighbor Suzanne S. recommends these cleaning products for dealing with allergies to dust mites. "There are no chemicals or insecticides in these products. They seem to work by process of non-ionic surfactants and do seem to remove more dust than anything else I've used. Presumably, less dust, fewer dust mites."
• Allergen Wash Laundry Detergent (removes dust mite allergens, pet dander, pollen, and mold from all fabrics without having to use water temperatures of 140 degrees or higher)
• ADS Anti-Allergen Dust Spray (use on carpet, area rugs, bedding, and soft furnishings to neutralize allergens, denature mite and cat allergen protein)
• Alen Paralda Dual Airflow HEPA Air Purifier Tower. "Running it on low medium only when I’m in the bedroom has eliminated 99% of dust in that room," says SS.
• X-Mite Anti-Allergen Moist Powder Carpet Cleaner
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Health, beauty, and comfort

• Omron 10 Series wireless upper arm blood pressure monitor (cuff fits standard and large arms)
• Avon Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard (a moisturizer that is also an effective bug/​mosquito repellent).
• Olay body wash with shea butter (my friend Ina recommended this to eliminate itchy dry legs
• Clarins extra-firming lip and contour balm (gets slightly mixed reviews but did eliminate some lines around my lips)
• Wart Stick (for the removal of common and plantar warts). Read the frank comments by Amazon customers.
• Dead Sea Mud Mask for Facial Treatment Good price for a popular product.
• Gold Bond Rough & Bumpy Daily Skin Therapy Read "customers' comments" for comments pro and con. Appears to be helpful for KP (Keratosis Pilaris), bumpy skin.
• Optimal Vitamin D3 Liquid
• Lasko blower fan (model U12100). I LOVE this multi-purpose pivoting utility fan, which is sturdier and more powerful than any I've owned. When I am drying clothes indoors, turning this fan on dries them quickly without the damage a dryer does. Three speeds and you can change the direction from lower to higher. It's different from traditional fans so it takes a while to figure out how to position it, but it is easy to carry and store.
• Vicks UV 99.999% germ-free humidifier. Hate humidifiers that get moldy? Try this one.
• Full reclining sofa (La-z-boy, "Owen Power La-Z-Time," great for people who need to elevate their legs)
• Sorbus hanging hammock porch-chair swing seat for indoors or outdoors. See also additional products for some interesting alternatives.
• Jakemans throat and chest lozenges (I like the anise-menthol flavor, and they are very effective; there is also honey and lemon, chili and lime, cherry, and peppermint.) Available at these stores and online.
• Loratadine antihistamine. These two containers of Simply Right Loratadine (the generic version of Claritin) are MUCH cheaper than what I find at my local pharmacy, and each contains 200 tablets. For those of us with allergies, this is a great bargain.
• Cough Catcher (1-877-782-6844)
• Look under Cleaning & laundry for products to eliminate dust mites to which many of us are allergic.
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Garden, yard, and composting

• Dave's Garden (Gardening by mail, for gardeners, by gardeners--where and where not to shop online, best gardening books, etc.)
• Garden Kneeler and Seat (Yard Butler GKS-2). Kneel for a while and work, then turn it over and have a seat.You can also buy a Garden Tool Pouch For Kneeler
• Felco F-2 classic manual hand pruner
• Hori Hori Japanese gardening knife (a combination knife/​trowel)
• CobraHead weeder and cultivator (pointed head and curved shank make it easy to weed, dig, cultivate, plant, etc.)
• Treegator slow-release watering bag for trees . That's the original. Here's a variation on the Treegator.
• Amish 30" bird feeder with double copper roof (high fashion in bird feeders, built by Amish)
• Amish-made painted mailbox (in beige and Navajo) (read the Amazon reviews).
• The YardStash III: space-saving outdoor bike storage, garden storage, and pool storage
• Natural Rolled Bamboo Fence (put a screen around the unsightly stuff like garbage cans)
• Oxo gardening chair, for which (since it doesn't seem to be for sale yet) you might try this substitute: Vertex rocker garden seat (in black or green)
Compost: Warning about composters: Once you start composting you may become addicted, as it is deeply satisfying to watch garden scraps become rich, dark enrichment of your garden soil -- WITHOUT wasting food.
• Algreen Products Soil Saver Classic Compost bin (read the customer reviews on these composting products, to see if they sound like they suit your conditions)
• Worm Factory 360 Worm Composter (turn those table scraps into rich soil)
• OXO compost bin (countertop bin for collecting scraps for outdoor composting)
• All Seasons Indoor Composter and All Seasons Bokashi (SCD Probiotics).
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Miscellaneous household tools

• Universal Battery Tester Tool (price, $3.12!) Wonderful and very helpful when you find AA or AAA etc. batteries around and don't know if they're duds or still working.
• Leatherman New Wave Multitool ("a versatile mix of tools, great ergonomics and solid construction") and if it is too pricey for you, check out second-best Leatherman Skelitool. See review The Best Multitool on The Wirecutter (Harry Sawyers, 7-23-14)
• Upcart (the all terrain stair-climbing folding cart)
• Kik Step Rolling Step Stool (Cramer). You may see this stool in the aisle at your library; it's handy to sit on and scoot down the aisle looking at the books on the lower shelves. It's equally handy in the home, because you can also stand on it. And then use it as a foot stool. I love this product!
• Bear Motion wind-up emergency FM/​AM radio with flashlight, cellphone charger -- crank and solar power
• Hagerty's anti-tarnish storage bags for silver (15-by-15-inch zippered Holloware bag, blue)
• Victorinox Swiss Army Climber II Pocket Knife (the "smartphone of gadgets," with a knife, scissors, tweezer, and bottle opener)
• Digitone Call Blocker (for $100, you own it and you block all those annoying calls from Card Services, etc.). Available also through Amazon. An automatic way using Caller ID service to block unwanted calls yet allow all others to ring their phones. Phone does NOT ring at all, unlike some other call blockers.
• Pink Tools (Tomboy Tools, hands-on education and high-quality tools for women)
• The Library of Congress Shopify catalog, including such items as a a canvas haversack bag (recalling the kit bags carried by soldiers in " The Great War"), an "I cannot live without books" pillow, a delightful collection of mugs, various totes and backpacks, and a banned book tie.
• Button Pant Extender (slips over existing button and gives you an extra inch at the waistline)
• Vermont Country Store (you'll find LOTS of classic but hard-to-find items there, including Lanz flannel nightgowns, Tangee lipstick, blackhead removers, Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls, and Mary Jane slipper socks)
• 15 unusual and creative doorstops (Toxol.com, 9-1-09), many of which you can order through Amazon. For example, Wizard of Oz Red Ruby Slippers doorstop
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Arts, crafts, multimedia, and office supplies

• Gaff Gun If you're a filmmaker, you need this thing (a gaff gun). Even if you aren't, watch the video. This might come in handy for any event in which someone might trip over a long cord on the floor.
https:/​/​www.facebook.com/​video.php?v=10152810236608518&
• Map Pins
• Scrapbooking
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Travel Planning, Packing, and Bargains


Airbnb (rent unique places to stay from local hosts in 190+ countries). Save money and time. But be aware also of limitations: Home-Sharing? Don’t Ignore Liability (Ron Lieber, Your Money, NY Times, 4-20-12) and Living and Dying on Airbnb (Zak Stone, Medium, 11-9-15) "My dad died in an Airbnb rental, and he’s not the only one. What can the company do to improve safety?" For links to four home-sharing and house- and pet-sitting exchanges, see first entries in Traveling in Retirement.

Atlas Obscura (sign up for "weekly wonders" and learn about sites you’ll never find in a guidebook)

The Bedbug Registry (free public database of user-submitted bed bug reports from across U.S. and Canada--check out that hotel before you book a reservation).

The Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards (The Wirecutter, 1-3-17)

Black Diamond Storm Headlamp "for climbing, skiing and other outdoor pursuits where bright, compact illumination is paramount."

Camelbak All Clear Microbiological UV Water Purifier

CarRentals (Expedia, good deals)

Car Rental Express (more good deals in car rentals)

CDC Travelers' Health advice (provides travel advice and information about vaccinations needed, diseases such as malaria, other health risks for particular countries)

Cheap Tickets (this discount airfare aggregator now searches for deals on trains, car rentals, and cruises also)

CleverLayover. "Hack travel. Book differently. Save Money. Combine two roundtrip tickets from non-partner airlines to find the cheapest flights.

Eagle Creek Pack-It Compression Sac and Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Sac plus compression cubes, etc.

FareCompare.com (find cheap flights fast).

Female urinating devices (FUDs) FUDs are funnels that allow women to pee sitting or standing up without undressing, for occasions when you wear bulky clothing, can't find a restroom, are exposed to face freezing temperatures, and other tricky situations. For peeing like a man on special occasions)
---The Complete Guide to Female Urination Devices (Maggie Wallace, Backpacker). Definitely worth a read, even if you don't plan to use one: concepts I never knew about until an elegant friend at a retreat of women writers recently explained how they work . "There’s a better way. Female urination devices (FUDs) mean that answering the call of nature does not require you to sacrifice your dignity. FUDs are straw- or funnel-shaped plastic extenders that allow women to pee like men: while standing and wearing pants, a climbing harness, or a backpacker’s hip belt" so that during outdoor activities you aren't exposed "with your hiking shorts around your ankles." She reports the pros and cons of each model (illustrated, both disposable and disposable) and provides tips on how to use them. She rates: Pibella (her #1 pick, for "long distance backpacking or peeing discreetly"), SheWee (for hiking trips, public bathrooms), PStyle, Pee Pocket, Whiz Freedom (for Porta potties), Lady P, Hopkins MultiPurpose Funnel (keep in car for emergencies), Lady J (for "people confined to bed rest"), Go Girl ("for wetting your pants"--"too wobbly too trust"). Highly rated section at end: Our Testers Best Tips, which include "Do not pee into the wind" and "Practice in the shower first." You may want to order both the device and the "extender" (for keeping your shoes dry) and carrying case. "The SheWee is a compromise between the wider funnel design of Whiz Freedom (see below) and the smaller, more ergonomic design of Pibella."
---Pibella Travel
--- SheWee original (Amazon link), a urinating device that allows women to urinate without removing clothes whilst standing or sitting--comes in several colors.
--- SheWee Extreme (Amazon link), the SheWee original plus extension pipe and case--comes in several colors
---pStyle (good for rock climbing)
---Pee Pocket (cardboard, disposable--a single-use urinary device that is perfect for athletes, travelers, the elderly, disabled, pregnancy, parents of young girls, post-surgery patients - anyone who might have to go while on the go!). Also available on Amazon
--- Lady J (Amazon link), for use during medical bedrest, at home or in hospital, with a nonflexible cupping base)
---Whiz Freedom (sold in UK, good for porta potties)
--- Hopkins FloTool QuickFill Funnel (Amazon link, a multipurpose automotive funnel)
--- Go Girl ("don't take life sitting down" -- for porta potties, fishing boats, camping on a cliff, etc.) Dryness less secure than with other products, it is reported, but comes in small cases.

Good To-Go Thai Curry , one of several dishes The Wirecutter recommends as The Best Backpacking Food (Liz Thomas, 8-24-17)

Hearos Ultimate Softness Series Foam Earplugs (there are various styles and sizes)

HomeAway (rent vacation homes). See HomeAway CEO Defends Turf as Airbnb Makes Inroads ( Rachel Emma Silverman, WSJ, 12-23-14). Brian Sharples helps drive big changes in vacation-rental industry. A story about Airb&b (Death in Airbnb Rental Raises Liability Questions (Ron Lieber, NY Times, 11-13-15), speculates about why Homeaway doesn't offer homeowners the same liability insurance Airb&B has adopted: Homeaway "matches homeowners and travelers and likens itself to a classified advertising service." And: "One possibility may be that Airbnb, which has many single travelers staying in single rooms for short periods, simply won’t need to make as many claims as HomeAway travelers do. After all, people who use HomeAway often travel with their families to large rental homes with slippery pool decks and leg-eating trampolines."

Hotels.com (books domestic and international accommodations in B&Bs, hostels, resorts--and group bookings for weddings, meetings)

Icon undies (women's incontinence underwear)

Kayak (this travel search engine searches for flights, hotels, and other deals so you can compare deals for specific price and quality ranges and locations

LastMinuteTravel.com (last-minute travel bargains on hotels, packages, flights, vacations, special activities). See also Smarter Travel (aggregated list of last-minute airfare discounts (e-savers).

Leatherman-Squirt PS4 multi-tool (pliers, scissors, pliers with wire cutters, wood/​metal file, flat medium screwdriver, flat Philips screwdriver, knife, keyring, bottle opener. (Does not have toothpick, tweezers, tiny screwdriver for eyeglasses.) Read the reviews on Amazon.

MAPS.ME (download this offline map app for your phone--works on and offline, lets you search, pin locations, get offline directions. Maps updated every few weeks. Hat tip to Top 12 Things I'm Glad I Brought to Thailand (Steven Skoczen, Ink and Feet). Steven also recommends a nifty little Klipsch GiG Portable Speaker, a dictionary app, and an international driver's license (which you can get for $25 at AAA), among other things.

Priceline (travel deals)

Roadfood favorites(Splendid Table). All the places Jane and Michael Stern of Roadfood.com stop and eat as they drive around America looking for the hottest, quirkiest roadside gems. See Roadfood.com for maps, states, restaurant type, best of the best, driving tours, forums, latest reviews, etc.

SeatGuru (your guide to choosing seats on various airlines) With new Guru Factor comfort rating system. See How to avoid the worst seat on the plane(JetSetter)

Silk sleep mask, for men or women (blacks out the light better than any such mask I've owned, and comfie)

Travel Alerts and Warnings (InsureMyTrip, 1-800-487-4722)

Travelocity

Travel Guard (AIG travel insurance for various levels of coverage--for trip cancellation and interruption, for medical expense & transportation coverage, for lost/​stolen baggage, for 24/​7 travel assistance services, etc.)

Trip Advisor (find hotels, flights, restaurants, etc. that other travelers trust)

TSA Approved Cable Luggage Locks with resettable combinations, alloy body

Tunnel Bear VPN Tunnel (browse the Internet wherever you are, around the globe, privately--your data secure, your IP address hidden behind a bear)

What is TSA Pre✓TSA Pre✓ allows low-risk travelers to experience expedited, more efficient security screening at participating U.S. airport checkpoints. In other words, you jump the line at the airport, at various levels of security clearance. Transportation Security Administration, Homeland Security. This comparison chart shows what benefits you get for fees from $85 to $123 (for five years).

Vacation Rentals (airbnb.com) ( a social website that connects people who have space to spare with those who are looking for a place to stay). Read also 5 Things You Should Know About Airbnb on the Let's Fly Cheaper blog .

Yapta.com ("your amazing personal travel assistant"), tags flights to let you know if you are entitled to a refund if a flight price drops after you book (under "guaranteed airfare rules")

Airline baggage fees top $2.5 billion (Natalie Avon, CNN, 12-13-10, on which airlines are gouging most from baggage, change, and cancellation fees).


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Footwear and Foot Health


• FeelGoodStore.com Finally, a a shoe rack that holds and displays 40 to 50 pairs of shoes. I bought mine at the Container Store, where salespeople helped me figure out what I was doing wrong when assembling it, but assembly otherwise took less than an hour, and because I left off the wheels the shoe rack is quite stable. I bought and discarded at least 5 shoe racks before finding this one, which is sturdy enough and reasonably priced. Read the Amazon comments.

Compression hose and leg rests
• A friend with a clotting disorder recommends Oroblu support hose (particularly for long flights). They also carry some rather sexy stockings!
• Gold Violin (Support Like Crazy Compression Knee-Highs, beautiful designs! -- wonderful socks of various types, and more)
• Lounge Doctor leg rest with memory foam (for people who need to elevate their legs at the end of the day). There are lower-priced versions and various types and sizes. I found their "educational pitch" persuasive.
• Plantar Fasciitis Socks Foot Sleeve & Compression Sock (TMF)
• Plantar Fasciitis Socks with Arch Support (Physix Gear Sport) On the Amazon pages for these items you can see similar items, but you can also learn quite a bit from reading the comments.

Foot softeners and callus removers
• Amop้ Pedi Perfect Wet & Dry Rechargeable Foot File (shaves those calluses off your big toe and the rest of your foot). Check out the whole Amop้ line, as there are variations on a theme.
• Gold Bond Rough & Bumpy Daily Skin Therapy (for when the edges of your feet feel like sandpaper)
• Gold Bond Ultimate Softening Foot Cream with Shea Butter

Better than average shoes
• Harry's Shoes, carry hard-to-find sizes
• Inkkas has unusual (playful) shoes from this slip-on to this hightop.
• Endless (shoes and handbags)
• Footwear etc.
• Naot Footwear (this style, the Matai, got a five-star rating for comfort etc., with 799 reviews on Zappos). Zappos didn't carry my size; I bought the shoe at Foot Solutions (in Bethesda, MD). Made in Israel.
• OrthoFeet (comfortable shoes, especially for people with foot problems)
• The Walking Company is another good place for well-fitting shoes for cranky feet. I particularly like the Kirei style, Naot shoe.
• Zappos.com (shoes and more, huge selection, good prices--but often doesn't carry very large sizes). See its shoe size conversion chart (UK, US, Euro)
• FeelGoodStore.com
• Footsmart.com. WARNING: Footsmart charged me $13.89 shipping for an $85 pair of shoes, although the website said "free shipping on orders of $60 or more." When I complained, they said nothing could be done about it because I paid on Paypal. Maybe Paypal is part of the problem, but this is very bad business practice followed by bad customer service: it took ten days for the shoes to get here! I later found the same shoes are available at Zappo's for the same price, free shipping. Losing $13.89 and getting absolutely no apology from Footsmart, much less a refund, means I'll shop at FootSmart only if I can't find the same shoes elsewhere.

Shoe repair and refurbishing
• NuShoe.com (get your comfortable old shoes resoled, refurbished, rebuilt, etc. -- these are the people who re-soled my expensive but worth-every-penny Mephisto shoes)
• SteriShoe Ultraviolet Shoe Sanitizer. Using ultraviolet light (UVC), the SteriShoe shoe sanitizer kills the organisms that cause toenail fungus, athlete's foot, offensive shoe odor. Read the directions: put the shoes in the bags, and don't look at the light. Works well on most shoes, not so well on slingbacks and backless sandals, for which you must apply ingenuity.
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Purses and travel bags

and stuff to put therein

• Ultra Dry bag and smartphone case with adjustable shoulder strap -- for kayaking, camping and other outdoor activities exposing you to wetness.
• Derek Alexander EW Top Zip Crossbody w/​ Flap (lightweight, roomy shoulder bag or crossbody bag, with abundant pockets (including one on side in which to carry a water bottle). I use mine as a purse but it's particularly useful for travel and several people have asked me where to buy it! Read the comments.
• Travelon RFID Blocking Purse Organizer Organize your purse, moving from purse to purse more easily, and prevent identity theft--chip prevents broadcasting your personal data.
• Packing cubes:
---Eagle Creek Travel Gear Pack-It Starter Set
---eBags Packing Cubes (3-piece set)

• Feminist tote bag Slogan: Carry yourself with the confidence of a mediocre white man.
• Zojirushi stainless steel travel mug (voted best by Sweethome)

• Downy Wrinkle Releaser, travel size Hang dry: Relaxes fibers to smooth out wrinkles in seconds. Also works on dry-clean-only fabrics. See also Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus. A quick solution to wrinkles.
• Tide to Go instant stain remover (a mini-pen) helps eliminate many fresh food and drink stains on the spot (probably not grease stains). You press the pen nib into the stain and some liquid will squirt out and moisten the nib; then work the product into the stain. It should disappear.
• Benkii compact windproof travel umbrella (automatically open and close, 10 ribs)
• Big windproof outdoor golf umbrella (62-inch, dual layer
Straight Umbrella 62inch Dual Layer Windproof Big Outdoor Golf Umbrella
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Clothing--not your ordinary catalogs


American Giant hooded sweatshirts (made to last). See Farhad Manjoo's story, This Is the Greatest Hoodie Ever Made (Slate, 12-4-12). They also make sweatpants and tee shirts.

Aritzia (Canadian, but buy online)

Bad English T-shirts (top left corner) and T shirts for editors. See also •Evolution of the Photographer unisex T-shirt

Barely There croptop bra. This comfie microfiber bra (pullover--no fastener at back) has no underwire and is probably not supportive enough for big breasted women (though one large-breasted woman said in "comments' that she wears it to BED for comfort--like a pajama top, I guess). It's kind of like a training bra for women, in terms of comfort--not designed to seduce. The Bali Women's Comfort Revolution Wirefree Bra with Smart Sizes looks like it's good for both small- and large-breasted women, but it has a wire-and-hook fastener at back.

Buykud. These clothes look like they'd be fabulous on a madly dressed thin woman who doesn't want to look ordinary. The ensembles are "big" and wild, yet look comfortable.

"Chapter I. I am born" onesie (great gift for newborn, from The Readers' Catalog. Other items include Banned Books socks and "When in doubt, library" tee shirt.

Despairwear (tee shirts, mugs, posters, glassware, etc. that make you smile, particularly the Demotivators)

Deva Lifewear (wonderfully loose and flowing garments) seems to be out of business but if you want a replacement for a Deva item you love, "Deva by Cammy" (who did work for Deva) will probably be able to make it for you.

Everland cashmere sweaters

Ewe Hoo (handmade wool hats from Montana, which you can see in action on my cowgirl cousin Renee Daniels-Mantle, on this Facebook page, where she posts "during the freezing downpour and snowstorm one hour and fifteen miles prior to this photo, I was the envy of every cow (and cowboy)."

Funny Times T-shirts (for example, "Well-behaved women seldom make history" (on dusty rose), "Give Me That Old-Time Religion" with an image of Stonehenge), "The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it" and "I'll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one" and "I dream of a world where chickens can cross the road without having their motivations questioned."

The Hunger Site Store (GreaterGood.com).

J. Peterman. The whimsical, back-in-another-era or from-another-culture catalog tempts me to buy things I'm not sure I'll ever wear, but they are definitely stylish and they are packed BEAUTIFULLY. Curious about Peterman? Read J. Peterman is back (Susan Fornoff, S.F. Chronicle 6-12-04)

Kilted Nation, where men can buy everything from formal kilts to utilikilts, with wrap-around “Neo-Traditional” closure with 6-snaps, two deep, free-hanging side saddle cargo pockets (so that when you sit down the pockets fall to the side, instead of the whole kilt). For when you're tired of sweltering in pants and want the air-conditioning of skirts, without looking like a sissy. Washington Post article Pants are for wimps (Kris Coronado, 3-13-11) explains that Scottish tartans are based on family or clan, and Irish tartans are tied to home county.

LeSportsac 3-Zipper Wallet/​Cosmetic Case. I bought one of these years ago thinking it was a wallet, and was heartbroken when it wore out and I couldn't find another one in the local department store. Then my friend Kelley Garcia found it on the Internet, by typing in "three-zipper." It makes a great lightweight wallet but Sportsac thinks it's a cosmetic case.

Long Tall Sally (tall women's clothing and large shoes, with an interesting size guide).

Monterey Bay Clothing Company

Moresca, medieval and historical costumes (dresses, bodices, jerkins, jackets, capes, etc.)

Petal tops ("pasties"--disposable nipple covers, 5 per pkg) "A primitive solution to visible nipples, but extremely effective." For when you want to go braless.

• Period clothing (historical costumes):
Some of these also have Steampunk. And some people buy costumes on Etsy and eBay.
---Knightly Endeavors (custom made Renaissance festival wear; specializes in Renaissance wedding dresses)
---Pearson's Renaissance Shoppe (men's, women's, and children's medieval and Renaissance festival clothing and fantasy-styled outfits)
---Historica clothiers (various periods, age levels, fencing and martial arts clothing)---Dark Knight Renaissance and Medieval Clothing
---Revival Clothing (great variety in various centuries, styles -- clothing, footwear, men, women, children, etc.)
---My Renaissance (the Maryland Renaissance Festival site has a page with links to costume sources and to Simplicity patterns to make your own costumes)

Plus-size women's clothing that won't break the bank (Kate Harding's blog, Shapely Prose)

Poetry (women's fashions)

The Reader's Catalog (linking here specifically to the infant tee that reads "Chapter 1. I Am Born")

Serene Comfort (moisture-wicking sleepwear that relieves nightsweats)

Shukr Islamic clothing (tunics, abayas, jilbabs, hijabs, and so on). (See What's the difference between a hijab, niqab and burka? (BBC, 6-18-15)

Sweeney's Store (tee shirts to puzzle and amuse your friends)

Snorg Tees (funny tee shirts)

Soft Surroundings (friend Jane says clothing is "soft and squishy, but quality not always top-notch, probably Indian and Chinese")

• Stylewe (haven't purchased from this site but the designs are DEFINITELY not ordinary women's wear -- good for those who can carry off high style or weirdly interesting)

The Territory Ahead (beautiful, really well-made clothing for men and women--I've got a cotton shirt from them that I can wear repeatedly without ironing, the material is so good)

Threadless (customized tee shirts and other novelty items)

TravelSmith (travel clothing, gear)

Uniglo HeatTech (very lightweight clothing that keeps you warm in cold weather -- brought to my attention when my friend Kristie brought a small bag out of her small purse and unfolded a down vest, which she put on as we left a theater in midwinter). Does Uniqlo Heattech Really Work? (review on Does It Really Work?)

Village Hat Shop

• ViralStyle tee shirts (in this case, with "Science is not a liberal conspiracy" against a dark background) Many clever (and left and right) slogans.


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CLOTHING
solid catalogs, more standard fare


Chico’s (women’s clothing for women who never frequent “petite”)

Coldwater Creek

Land’s End (swimwear, outerwear, casual clothing)

L.L. Bean (sturdy casual and outdoor clothing and gear )

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Clever tee shirts

With a focus on Bad English, editing, photography, etc.

• I'm silently correcting your grammar (Cafe Press, Bad English Gifts, various colors, travel mugs, sweatshirts and hoodies, too)
• You are the result of a billion years of evolutionary success. Act like it. (ViralStyle). Check out this website: Turn your great ideas into profit. Examples: Life begins after coffee. Legalize marinara.
• Mixed metaphors T-shirt (Cafe Press)
• If Your Not Literally Dying Inside As You Read This Then Its Time Too Tell You're Parents Their Tax Dollars We're Waisted (Cafe Press, Bad Grammar Women's T-Shirt)
• Bad Spellers Untie men's T-shirt (Cybertela) and one for women, too
• Bad Spellers Untie! (Cafe Press) Also available as a golf shirt.
• Managing Editor We do PRECISION GUESS WORK based on unreliable data PROVIDED BY THOSE OF QUESTIONABLE KNOWLEDGE (Sun Frog).
• Of course I'm awesome--I'm a managing editor unisex t-shirt'
• I'm a managing editor because BADASS isn't an official job title t-shirt
• EDITOR because freakin' miracle worker isn't an official job title (Sun Frog, which makes products for various job categories)
• Retro old-school editor t-shirt
• Eat Sleep Edit T-Shirt Film Editor Tee
• Evolution of the Photographer unisex T-shirt
• Evolution to Photographer men's T-shirt, give this along with a generic Thermo Lens Mug
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Products for independent living
assistive devices, healthcare product, practical devices

• Adjustable Lightweight Shower Bench (Ez2care's shower bench, for those who want showers but can't easily stand for them). Here's a Q&A about it.
• Anti-Slip Anti-Bacterial Bath Mat (Epica)
• Duro-Med Waterproof Leg Cast Protector (a waterproof vinyl protector to keep your cast or bandage from getting wet).
• Flaghouse (rehabilitation tools, aids to daily living, therapeutic aids, etc.)
• Garden Kneeler and Seat (Yard Butler GKS-2). You can also buy a Garden Tool Pouch For Kneeler
• Gold Violin (lighting and magnification devices, adaptive furniture, cooking and gardening items-- does cataog sales for Lighthouse International)
• HDIS (products for those who experience loss of bladder control, aka incontinence)
• Icon undies (women's incontinence underwear). See also "female urinating devices" under Travel Planning and Bargains.
• Life with Ease (products to help you live life to the max in spite of impairments or injuries)
• MaxiAids (products for people with impaired hearing, vision, or mobility)
• Mobility Store (mobility devices, scooters and wheelchairs, bathroom aids, personal care and patient care items, and other aids for daily living)
• Orthotics and Prosthetics (Infinitec.org directory of catalogs and other resources)
• Patterson Medical (rehabilitation and independent living aids, including devices for eating, drinking, and cooking) Worth looking at for openers alone
• uCan Health (home healthcare products: safety and mobility aid, patient room equipment, items such as a bathtub transfer bench, to make it easier to get over edge of tub)
• Upcart (the all terrain stair-climbing folding cart)
• WestCanProducts.com (Wheelchair accessories and aids for the elderly, including wheelchair trays)
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Bargains

(with a bow to the late, great Sarah Wernick)

Sarah Wernick left this world in 2007. The following comments on bargains are reprinted from Sarah's old site by permission of her husband, Willie Lockeretz; they may be a little out of date now, but some of them are still good!
Consumer World is the place to go before you shop for anything: www.consumerworld.org. Sign up for the free weekly newsletter to get tips on outstanding deals and links to useful articles.

For nearly anything you can buy, eBay (www.ebay.com), the leading Internet auction site, is worth a look. It's more than the world's largest yard sale; many conventional stores have outlets on eBay. And some items are available at fixed prices, without bidding. When you bid, you offer a price that's a fixed amount above the current price (e.g. if the current high bid is $24.00, your bid must be $24.50). You can also enter a maximum; if you do, eBay will automatically submit a bid for you if anyone outbids you, until your limit is reached.

If you're planning to bid on eBay, a service called Auction Sniper (www.auctionsniper.com) can help by entering your bid, including your maximum, in the last seconds of an auction. You won't beat anyone whose maximum is higher than yours. But many people bid emotionally in auctions. They get caught up in the competition and raise their offering price accordingly, rather than deciding ahead of time how much they're willing to spend. You can avoid this kind of bidding war – and avoid getting carried away yourself – by planning a last-second bid (called a snipe) via Auction Sniper. You get three free snipes when you join; thereafter, each successful snipe costs 1% of the purchase price, with a minimum of 25 cents and a maximum of $5. [That's old copy. CNET has a page on Auction software , showing starred ratings for various programs, and Auction Sniper rates well with users but has a couple competitors now.

Telephone calls can be made for 2.5 cents per minute within the US and at low rates to other countries if you use a prepaid service called One Suite: www.onesuite.com. Get 20 minutes free if you join with this link. The service has no monthly charges and it's easy to use: When you're traveling, you can use access numbers within the US (there's an extensive list) or an 800 number (which costs 2.9 cents per minute). Your PIN is your home phone number plus four digits, so it's easy to remember. You can also set up your account so that when you dial from home you don't have to enter the PIN.

www.efax.com. Efax allows you to receive up to 20 fax pages per month free via email – very useful when you're traveling and have access to your email but not to a fax machine. Note that you will be given a fax number that is not in your own area code; if you want a number in your area code, you must sign up for their for-pay service, which has a 300/​month page limit for receiving faxes and which also lets you send faxes via email for 10 cents/​page (more outside the US).

Send faxes by email via Faxaway: www.faxaway.com. You simply address the message to 12223334444@​faxaway.com (where 222-333-444 is the recipient's fax number), attaching a file if you like. You'll get an email message from Faxaway when the fax is received; if the line is busy, they'll try again and if they can't get through they'll let you know. This is very convenient when the to-be-faxed document is generated by your computer (less so if you need to scan it first). Because the fax is generated digitally, the quality is excellent – usually better than with a regular fax machine. Faxaway is considerably less expensive than Efax for occasional users: $1 per month plus about 11 cents per page within the US, and more to numbers in other countries. With an account, you also get a free incoming fax/​voicemail number; this number has a 206 area code no matter where you live. I sometimes use Faxaway to print short documents when I'm staying at a hotel: I simply fax the document to myself at the hotel's fax number. (Caution: If you do this, be sure to ask about any charges for incoming faxes; they're usually free, but some hotels charge as much as a dollar a page.)

Bargain Center


•
Car buying: Driving a hard bargain (Phil Raby, MoneySense, 3-18-13)
• Stop Junk Mail: 7 Ways to Reduce It and Opt Out for Good (Tree Hugger, 2008). Some free, some cost
• How to Stop Junk Mail Forever (Ryan Guina, CashMoneyLife) This site lists things such as free meals for Veterans on Veterans Day.
• Bargain Babe (daily tips for bargain hunters)
• Frugal Village (e.g., new uses for tea)
• FreeShipping.org (free shipping coupons for various stores, catalogs)
• Money Saving Madness (coupons for freebies and discounts)
• Frugal Living
• The Dollar Stretcher
• Frugal Living (About Money blog)
• Top 50 Frugality Bloggers (The Frugal Panda)
• Affordable Holiday Gifts (Frugal Living, About Money)
• SlickDeals
• Remove Car Dents Quickly and Cheaply (Wisebread.com, 2007)
• 13+ Secrets Personal Organizers Would Never Tell You for Free (Readers Digest, March 2014). Comes with annoying ads.
•
Wise Bread (living large on a small budget)
• RetailMeNot (for coupon clippers)
• PaperBack Swap book club
• Money Saving Madness (for coupon clippers)
• EYEGLASSES. How to get an unbelievable, amazing, fantastic, thrilling deal on new glasses: Buy them online. (Farhad Manjoo, Slate, 8-27-08) Old, but the principle is still the same. Have you tried this???
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SHOPPING IN PERSON


• Second Chance, Inc. (warehouse in Baltimore, with seven buildings full of items salvaged from demolition: architectural elements, tin ceilings and iron work, lighting, antiques, fireplace mantels, doors and door hardware, windows, shutters, tiles, etc.)
• The Most Unusual Restaurants in the World
• Top ten houseplants and how to care for them (Susan Harris, Garden Rant)
• I am a big fan of Trader Joe's, but as a journalist I have to tell you about Inside the secret world of Trader Joe's "Few customers realize the chain is owned by Germany's ultra-private Albrecht family, the people behind the Aldi Nord supermarket empire....The genius of Trader Joe's is staying a step ahead of Americans' increasingly adventurous palates with interesting new items that shoppers will collectively buy in big volumes. The retailer's foodie roots and quirky in-store culture date to the original Joe. Joe Coulombe (pronounced COO-lomb), now 80, opened the first Trader Joe's 43 years ago in Pasadena to serve a sophisticated -- but strapped -- consumer."
"Former executives say that Trader Joe's wants neither its shoppers nor its competitors to know who's making its products. And many suppliers aren't that keen on consumers knowing that they produce a lower-cost version for Trader Joe's either."
• Trader Joe's recipes Okay, you can't shop at Trader Joe's online, and why would you, when great customer service is part of what makes going there a pleasure, but here you can find online recipes using their ingredients, and you can read comments. See, for example, the coconut water smoothie.
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A rant about FootSmart and Paypal
--to be specific, a rant about poor customer service at FootSmart, and at least one reason not to use Paypal for online shopping.
Footsmart charged me $13.89 shipping for an $85 pair of shoes, although the website said "free shipping on orders of $60 or more." When I complained, they said nothing could be done about it because I paid on Paypal. I know that Paypal accepts refunds. Very bad business practices and then very bad customer service. The same shoes are available at Zappo's for the same price, free shipping. And after disputing the claim at Paypal I got this totally illogical response: "Our investigation into your claim is complete. As stated in our User Agreement, the claims process only applies to the shipment of goods. It does not apply to complaints about the attributes or quality of goods received. Therefore, we are unable to reverse this transaction or issue a refund." So is the problem with Paypal or with FootSmart? It's hard to tell! What would you do?
On top of that, it took ten days for my shoes to arrive. For $13.98 I would not have expected such slow service, and I am certain I get faster service from Zappo's. Morever, the shoes when they did arrive did not fit. I bought another pair of the same shoes from someone else, at a larger size, and those do fit. So now I am going to return the shoes to FootSmart, but I put off doing so, because I am so angry about their service already. I have looked at their refund policy and it says: "SmartLabels are not provided for cash/​check orders or orders placed through Amazon, Skymall, PayPal, Bill Me Later, or Google Checkout." In this brave new world of online shopping, we have to read the fine print to know that the only safe purchase is with a credit card. What is wrong here? I compare this kind of service with service at, say, Trader Joe's, where if something is wrong with a product they simply take it back and give you a refund, no questions asked. I feel loyalty to Trader Joe's because of it. I did love FootSmart, but no more. Such dumb business practices.... Okay, I'm sorry. I am not a nut, but this made me mad!

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Books, articles, and more

Writing or telling life stories
Everyone has a story to tell. What's keeping you from telling yours? Become a storykeeper or personal historian or find one.
Read aloud at a memorial service decades later
A loving testament, or legacy letter, sharing your life experiences and lessons with the next generation
Learn to write articles, reports, ethical wills, or life stories (memoirs and beyond).
Mom — hardworking, sassy, and full of surprises
Mutual support and discussion
Social history through the life of an ordinary Midwestern businessman.
Dancing, food, good books, and other diversions
Favorites of several book groups
What is the single lunch-bag item most hated by all children?
What heightens the caviar experience is the price of those little gray or black sturgeon eggs.
Links to dancing venues and calendars for the Washington, D.C. area.
Midlife "first dates"
Did she fall in love with the man or the waltz?
Also related: jive, hustle, hand-dancing.
All the dancing your feet can take
Choosing a school of dance
Contra, English country, international, Irish, Israeli, Scandinavian, Scottish
The big ones, with dirty stems
"A rich, varied, and highly rewarding collection," says Joyce Carol Oates
Ceilis (Irish dancing)
Medical mysteries, patient stories, and practical links
John Travolta played the boy in the movie. The real story ended far differently.
Thin little Marian had a cholesterol problem most people have never heard of.
You've probably never heard of this national research hospital and clinic. But someone you know may be able to benefit from it directly and all of us do, indirectly.
Understanding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the debate on health care reform. Avoiding medical errors
Dying, mourning, and other inevitable events
"This remarkable collection, coming from personal experience and wide reading, will help many find the potential of growth through loss." --Dame Cicely Saunders, founder of the hospice movement
For those dying, for caregivers, and for the bereaved
Listen to samples of popular songs and music
Girls and science
Cool science sites
Best practices for teaching science--to strengthen the science workforce.
Some links and a selection
Practical matters
Identify children's learning styles and improve their ability to learn.
Six weeks to hassle-free homework.
Why parents should be concerned.
Public speaking is a craft, not an art. It can be learned.
Can you wash it if it says "dry clean"?
Fact vs. fantasy
One woman's story.
Don't focus on the fabric.
Organizational histories
A frank history of the Young Presidents' Organization.
The little lift truck that could — a story of brilliant marketing in America's heartland.
Online Shopping
Best places to shop online