Shameless Promotion: Post Wii Christmas Edition

So it's back to the grind today. I had such a nice Christmas and got the super-popular Wii (with Wii Fit) from my family. We had such fun playing it that I went to bed last night with the step aerobics music in my head. You know you have a problem when…

This week despite being busy-ish, I participated in the Carnival of Personal Finance. It was hosted by Andy at Saving to Invest. If you ever want to see a bunch of blogs related to a single topic together, checking out the posts at a carnival is a good way to do it.

Here are some other posts I liked:

A website that's good if you're shopping for a new credit card (via Give Me Back My Five Bucks).

How to work lentils, yum (via Wisebread).

Readers share their top three money saving tips (via Squawkfox).

When you shop, do you love the object or the experience (via Almost Frugal).

A Quiz: Are You The Entreprenurial Type? (via Get Rich Slowly)

Confess you shopping sins at (via GRS)

Some of these links are a couple months old, I know. But I move a little slow; did I mention my Wii age is 8 years above my actual age? My goal is by the end of these next few months to not have my little Mii (that's a Wii character that represents me) have a little spare tire around the midsection (the program does that automatically if you are overweight—D'oh!).

Don't worry, I'm not about to give up my internet career for ski jumping (which I am a pro at in Wii-land). But it is a nice way to move a little more and play with family and friends.

Shameless Promotion: The Avoiding Wrapping Christmas Gifts Edition

I've been done my Christmas shopping for over a week but the chore of wrapping still looms over me. The good news is there is plenty of fun things online to keep me nice and distracted!

32 Things You Can Do With Beer @ Men's Health
This link accidentally happened to me but whether you get stuck with a six pack of beer you don't like or just enjoy random information, some interesting reading.

A New Way To Make Money By Taking Online Surveys @ Sense to Save and Counting My Pennies
I always pass on via this blog ways to make extra money when I hear about them and, while I haven't done this program, I trust these ladies who have. It may be worth a look to make a little extra cash.

Good Wines At A Great Price @ GRS
Whether you are looking for a hostess gift or a Christmas toast, check out these tips to picking a good wine. Or do a Nicole standby with a Polka Dot Reisling or Bully Hill red.

Tips For Traveling This Holiday Season @ Intelligent Travel
If you are looking for last minute travel deals (or just ways not to get screwed over while traveling), there are some good ideas here. Me, I have one option to get where I need to go and that's driving. .. using tips for good gas mileage of course!

(And if you are traveling to a major city this holiday season, this blog also has an in-depth look at celebrating the holidays at places like Paris and New Orleans.)

An Economics Christmas Poem @ WSJ
A little nerdy but festive and applicable to current events. It's the WSJ, what do you expect?

Seven Lessons Learned Working Retail @ Wisebread
As you become a crazed shopper, remember not to take it out on your poor cashier. In my only retail experience, I just remember people being disappointed by my wrapping job (we offered free wrapping). I wanted wanting to say out loud "well, it is free, lady!" but instead smiling politely and rewrapping.

The Best and Worst of The Credit Card Industry @ Master Your Card
If you are thinking of shopping for a new credit card, like myself, check out this comprehensive list from Consumer Reports, compiled by this fantastic blog.

Christmas Gifts For Foodies @ Cheap Healthy Good
Food is always a good gift. Here is a guide to food and food prep gifts.

Wrapping Gifts Without Wrapping Paper @ Squawkfox
Hmm… maybe I can avoid wrapping all together…

Happy Saturday night to those of you who are having tons of fun or getting way more done then I'm avoiding!

Shameless Promotion: The Silver Lining Edition

The week began crappy enough but seems to be finishing strong. Among the good developments:

Silver-lining 1) I found a rocking t-shirt at a thrift shop and crafted with it.
2) I got an article published in a newspaper (unrelated to personal finance but related to my French heritage).
3) Gina from Best Buy refunded my money and apparently mailed me a $50 gift card for my Best Buy fiasco. (Ah the power of the internet…and if you want to read another story about using the internet to get what is rightly yours, check this out.)
4) Last night at 7:30, I got home internet access for the first time in over a month.
5) I've been hearing from lots of far flung friends words of encouragement both in writing and life.

I've been bookmarking great online blogs and articles for the past month for future reading. Here are some of the things that made me smile:

Today while Googling someone, I came across this article about three guys being stabbed outside a strip club. The premise is ridiculous enough but the comments are the hilarious part. One of them: "… I am sick and tired of seeing naked women with stretch marks, bullet holes, and C-section scars…" Bullet holes?!? (from Victoria Advocate)

Did you know our nation needs a haircut? Apparently it's Nancy Pelosi's new favorite metaphor. (from WSJ)

Spanx came out with a male version of their shapewear product. It's about time men worked as hard as women to look hot! (from Give Me Back My Five Bucks) 

A cute picture of a puppy. Need I say more? If dogs aren't your thing, just scroll. There are lots of small animals, like a pygmy hippo. I know, random. (from Holy Cuteness)

An imaginary conversation between "The Big Three". Funny stuff, because everyone needs a laugh about the automotive bailout, right? (from Master Your Card)

Can Men Be Trained To Understand Women? I love these gender issues and interesting research and this post has both. (from Wise Bread)

Do You Say "Soda" Or "Pop"? I've always had this secret ambition of mapping the country linguistically. Where is the line dividing where people say "really good" and "wicked good"? How about "pop" and "soda"? Apparently, someone has beat me to the punch (and put in the hard work and mapping skills) to do the latter. (from My Corner of Maine)

So whether you have a soft spot for cute animals, search economic humor, or just have a sick twisted mind, I hope I made you smile with a link. Happy Almost Friday!

Listen to the fabulous song "Silver Lining" by Rilo Kiley…

Image from

Shameless Promotion: The Cute Things Edition

So like many cubicle types, I have Thanksgiving proper off but I'm working the day after. I was going to do a slightly snarky post but have decided to improve my mood but rounding up some links to cute things, thereby improving my mood. I've bookmarked over 300 great articles since my lack of internet and her are just a few cute ones.

My newest favorite blog that I like to check on my afternoon break is Holy Cuteness. Some links are from this wonderful animal blog which you should totally check out. Here are some things to make you (and me) smile.
Kittens Discover Toilet Paper (need I say more?)
Refrigerator Bread from Frugal Upstate. Mmmmm…bread!
Little Snippets of Time from Getting Ahead. Sure you have only five minutes but there are plenty of fun, creative ways to use them!
Oh and Getting Ahead also had the cute idea of voting for dinner. Makes sense to me, though since it's just me, I guess I run a dictatorship over Sadie the dog!
If you want to get into the holiday spirit, do some crafts. Kelly at Almost Frugal and other bloggers have organized a "Holidays By Hand" series so if you just need some new ideas for holiday crafts, I guarentee you will find them here! (One of my Too Cute Tuesday crafts is almost on her post even!)
Maine gets its time in the spotlight on the Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods show.
An interactive doll house with a social conscience?
Video of a pygmy (ie little)  hippo. So cute!
Cheap, Healthy, Sick: 10 Easy, Nutritious Foods for When You've Contracted the Plague is great because no doubt your immune system is running low like mine this time of year.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Shameless Promotion: The Super-Secret Edition

So in the last few weeks, we've found out that Julia Child was a spy, the KFC secret chicken recipe had to be transported by guards, Bank of America bought Merril Lynch in the middle of the night, and the Fed wants one guy to control $700 billion to keep us out of a recession. What's with all the secrets lately?

InspectorGadget Well, I'm tired of the secrets. I want to use this link roundup to do a little demystifying of my own. Enjoy these great articles; I sure did!

Car Dealerships Demystified at Get Rich Slowly
If you're thinking of getting another car or selling your own car, get inside the brain of a car dealer. Knowledge is power!

Your Credit Score Demystified Via BudgetsAreSexy and Wisebread
Even in my earliest blogging days, I knew how to get free credit reports. But a free score? Cool!

Thrift Store Fashion Demystified at DC Goodwill Blog
Thrift store shopping is a great way to save a few bucks. (I'm pretty well dressed and I'm sure if I told people over 50% of my closet is thrift store clothes, they'd be shocked.) DC Goodwill Blog is among the best fashion blogs I've seen because it talks about real things you could (or may already) actually own. If you want to hone your skills picking out good pieces at the discount stores, skim this blog for awhile.

Buying Stocks Demystified at Blunt Money
A mere few months ago, people thought you were kind of an idiot if you didn't own any stocks. Blunt Money reminds us to proceed with caution on these sorts of things and with the last couple weeks, I'd say thinking before buying is definitely smart.

Identity Theft Demystified from
I first heard from this guy on a podcast. Ok, so obituaries with your family's names in them could be used against you but come on. But while John Sileo is a little paranoid, he is right. There is lots of free stuff (at the very least advice and resources) on his site about how to reduce your risk of identity theft.

Adulthood Demystified at CheapHealthyGood
A few weeks ago, a theoretical course on adult hood geared for high school students was posted at Cheap Healthy Good. Check out parts one and two of the curriculum. Cool, huh? I'm going to read up on my weak points for sure.

So maybe there are some things that aren't so secret…Good thing, because while I am pretty good at keeping secrets, I certainly don't like to.

Shameless Promotion: Cheap Entertainment Edition

So what are you doing this weekend? It's a question casually asked during the Office Mass Exodus Friday afternoons. I always want to have something interesting to say. This weekend, I see some apple picking, a diner breakfast with Sean, and lunch with a friend in my future.

There are lots of bloggers out there who have great ideas about cheap entertainment. I may have my Too Cute Tuesdays for crafting but here are some other great ideas if you left work today not quite knowing what to say about your weekend plans:

Learn A Musical Instrument (from The Simple Dollar)
You too can learn an instrument for cheap (though like any hobby, it can get expensive if you let it). Trent has some great tips, and even learned a Coldplay song on his own.

Read That Classic Book You Never Got Around To Reading (from Counting My Pennies)
Megan has two great resources for reading books online: one where you can download the entire book and one where sections of the book are emailed to you every day. Neat! Maybe now I can stop pretending I've read The Godfather.

Read Your Favorite Magazine Online- Page Flipping Included! (from USAToday)
Zinio lets you read through issues of your favorite magazines online. Just create an account and peruse!

Tackle A Few Weekend Projects Around The House (from The Simple Dollar)
Weekends are a good time to tackle a project around the house. Whether you're solving a problem or just taking some time to DIY and save money, it's a good idea to do these things on the weekend when there's time of naps and several trips to the hardware store. Bonus is you can usually rope someone else into helping you because they have time on their hands too!

Make An Ambitious Recipe – Like Peach Gnocchi (from 101 Cookbooks)
I used to cook way more during my days on the V-have but it doesn't mean I'm not up for a good take-all-day-to-cook recipe. 101 Cookbooks is one of my favorite food blogs (if you don't cook just look at the photos!). Heidi always has amazing recipes and today's post about peach gnocchi started off "if you want a project, this is it". Sounds a lot like a challenge to me. Also on the list to attempt one of those days I have hours of time on my hands is paella, a recipe which I have from my France host mom.

And if you haven't been inspired by any of those, I don't know what to say, other then perhaps you'd enjoy a nap. Happy weekend! Speaking of which, what are you up to?

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