I was over at a friend's house last night watching a Red Sox game (well, Sean was watching the game and we were socializing). This commerical kept coming on for It was a slick guy talking about ThingsWeBuy offering to buy your old watches and jewelry for a good price. You mail them in and they send you a check. An attractive gray haired lady is saying things like: "It was so easy. I just sent in my jewelry and got the check right away. It was a pleasure doing business with such a reputable company!"

In informercials, they say something like "Famous television actress BlahBlahBlah" to introduce someone who isn't really that famous. If people are famous, you don't have to say that they are. If a company is reputable, you shouldn't have to say so either.

I went to the website and found ThingsWeBuy is owned by a larger cooperation called Lippincott, LLC. And since they have a Better Business Bureau ad on their website, I thought I would look up this company's profile on the BBB website. 93 complaints in 36 months. Hmph. To see if that was normal, I looked up a few other companies in my area. Not only did the companies I looked up have a lot less complaints (Hannaford had 3 for example), but all the ones I looked up had a "satisfactory" rating on the top of their page. Lippincott, LLC did not. To be fair, I have no idea how big this company is and the BBB does not evaluate the validity of its complaints. Still though, doing research on this company did not put more at ease with sending jewelry to them. (Not that I would; I'm a personal finance blogger! I have my emergency stash already.)

So are these commericals coming on more often because of the economy or is it just that I haven't had television in awhile? Because if you are pawning your grandma's diamond jewelry or your Rolex you actually couldn't afford to begin with, you've got to need the cash bigtime. One way or the other, a little research into that internet company doesn't hurt and the BBB is a good place to start.

Check out an actual customer experience with this company at…
Look up a company at the Better Business Bureau's website…

Shameless Promotion: Working Through The Pain Part II

Yes, I look about two rollerskates and a tattoo away from becoming part of a roller derby and most of you commenters liked my tough look. Here's another pose and a continuation of yesterday's link love having loosely to do with the twelve steps of recovery.

Wristguards2 7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
How Big Is Your Halo?
According to a Freakonomics guest poster, we judge strangers on fairness more harshly then our friends and ourselves.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
Eva Longoria's Short Hair – And Weight Gain- Explained
I think People magazine needs to apologize to me and every other non-skinny person out there for this article (I linked it with its original title). Because Fat Eva Longoria (for a character who has "let herself go") looks an awful lot like Normal Nicole. Perhaps People can make amends with an America Ferrera article.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
Ten Steps To Financial Success For A Minimum Wage Earner
Trent at The Simple Dollar directly targets advice that few personal finance bloggers touch on: the minimum wage earner. The comments are as interesting as the post, some a little heated (clearly a compelling discussion).

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
21 Ways To Make Your Blog Or Website Sticky
I'm taking constant inventory of my site and tweaking but good ol' Problogger challenges us to inventory things we haven't even thought about.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
Surround Yourself With Constant Reminders
Gather Little By Little is a God-based personal finance blog. I really liked this post from a few months ago about surrounding yourself with constant reminders as to why you are saving money (or I guess the operative action would be not spending money anyway). If you need a little boost, God-based or otherwise to improve your attempts at financial goals, check this out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
I really enjoy this blog for the exact reason I get to interact with people who enjoy life without feeling the need to spend money they don't have. Check out the blog roll for some excellent examples of other people trying to pass on positive messages to others!

Shameless Promotion: Working Through The Pain: Part 1

So it turns out I have a touch of carpal tunnel (which is apparently reversible) and a combination of my own and the doctor's solutions, I am on the mend. (Though it could be the 800 mg of pain reliever talking.)

In any case, my fabulous link list is getting long so tonight, I'm working it… Here are the links that helped heal me, or at least made were worth tweaking my wrist to read, organized with the help of the twelve steps to recovery.

Wristguards 1. We admitted we were powerless–that our lives had become unmanageable.
Given A Shovel, Americans Dig Deeper Into Debt (NYT)
A fabulous article about debt in America. If you can identify with any of these problems, step up and admit your life has become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
For Some Products, Prices Have Been Falling
Carpe Diem reminds us of the bright side and restores those of us in hysteria over the economy to our senses.

3. Made a decision to turn our will, and our lives, over to the care of God as we understood Him.
Top Five Conspiracies of Science
A fellow Maine blogger at Leave The Lights On has some pretty interesting stuff to say about scientific theories. I don't necessarily agree but thought enough of the article to put it on my list of things to mull over.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Are Your PR Efforts Working?
Kiplingers challenges us to take an inventory of our PR efforts. Hopefully you are doing things like setting measurable goals and objectives but it doesn't hurt to have a remind.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
Carnival of Money Stories
Hosted at Stop the Ride, a bunch of us shared our money stories, some of which involved our wrongs.

6. We entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
I am certainly ready for the massage I scheduled next week to remove all my defects!

So since my arm is going numb, shameless promotion continues tomorrow with the other six steps and more fun links. Plus a special bonus post… Freaky Friday: The Bad Date Mini-Series continues.

Stay healthy!

Shameless Promotion and The Periodic Table

Periodictable Remember the periodic table? I sure do!

A few years ago, in what feels like a complete other life, I taught high school chemistry. That’s right. I didn’t follow through (at least not yet) in a teaching career for a few reasons. 1) I was young at the time and routinely mistaken as one of the kids (despite dressing up every day so to appear different from them) 2) I was intimidated as hell  and 3) no matter how animated you are, unless you are making things explode, you have twenty faces looking back at you like this:


Maybe someday I’ll do this teaching bit again, folks. Just not now.

But somehow I got to thinking about the periodic table today, probably because I read a blurb that the first word written in neon lights was, indeed, neon. Thought I would use the periodic table as the piece that tied all my links together. Ready, class? Let’s crack some books…

The lightest stuff besides hydrogen but way less explosive. Has the added benefit of making people laugh when they suck it in.

Scanner blog Ok so I’ll just say it, this blog is way funnier than mine. Completely inappropriate I can’t read it at work 1) because it’s indecent and 2) I laugh out loud everytime. Celebrity gossip, funny videos, and pop culture fun, it’s light and fun.

Necessary to life as we know it. Combines with hydrogen to make water, helps drive photosynthesis. Elemental (ha!)

Six Essential Money Skills Kiplingers has got you covered with six things everyone should know, especially your kids before they leave home.

Element that makes up all organic things. Something that is becoming of increasing concern to people as global warming finally hits the mainstream.

Briefs from Xconomy Xconomy is a great blog about not only economical things but really interesting things. These are the kind of nuggets of knowledge that make you think (not to mention sound smart) without reading The Economist from cover to cover.It is one of my favorite blogs I subscribe to. This particular link I saved has briefs about increased kidney stones due to global warming, using the ocean to sequester carbon, and a new kind of battery. This post gets kudos for actually mentioning at least three different elements (at least that I noticed).

Strengthens bones. A common additive to drinking water that works well in small amounts.

Your Financial Life on One Page (FLOP) Lynnae at Being Frugal has given me the great idea of compiling everything from my financial life (regular bills, bank account numbers, etc.) onto one page. Simple and invaluable in an emergency situation.

Yellow powdery element. Smells (and probably tastes) bad.

13 Things Your Waiter Won’t Tell You I got this link from Cheap Healthy Good. Talk about ruining your appetite but you should totally read this to affirm your at home cooking.

Cheap Wine According to Freakonomics, the your average bunch of economists (and therefor the average person) can not tell a good wine from a cheap wine in a blind taste test. So much for blaming the sulfites. 

A noble gas and the only true weapon against Superman.

The Annoying Scrapers Edition Gather Little By Little talks about how people have been ripping off his posts and putting them on their sites. Then they just put a bunch of Google ads on the blog and hope that your work brings them money without giving you credit. Other bloggers talked about it this week too, so I looked into it. I was shocked to find that this has actually happened to me. Someone took my writing sans permission and put it on their site. The only true weapon against bloggers (or any writers really) is stealing their words to make money.

More links another time but for now, it’s time to relax. Class dismissed!

Image of periodic table from

Image of bored kid from

Shameless Promotion: The Sex And The City Edition

Monday night I finally got to see the Sex and The City movie. Amazing. You should have felt the collective excitement that raced through the theater as the familiar theme music began to play. Goosebumps. Ok, it also helped that I was watching it in one of those theaters that has old couches and serves alcohol.

Satcmovie Don’t worry, you can keep reading. I’m not going to spoil the movie for you. What I thought I’d do this week in my link rounding up is do a little Sex and the City theme. Think articles online that your favorite SATC characters would read. I’ll include a character synopsis for those who need it as well as a couple links they would have shared with the gals. Strange coincidence: There happens to be a lot of articles from the New York Times this week. I guess I was really feeling them, post SATC.

Character Synopsis: Our favorite logical lawyer and unexpected mother can be counted on for clear headed thinking and great use of graphic prints.
Miranda’s Picks:

Madison at My Dollar Plan is now maintaining a Kids and Money site at You know, for when Brady can read.

A college near you may be giving a class about the crappy economy. “The National Academy of Public Administration and PETLab will get $325,000 to develop a game for college students focusing on “difficult fiscal issues like unsustainable entitlement programs, rising health care costs, and financing investments in alternative energy sources.” That’s one way to get younger folks to understand why there will be no social security funds when we come of age. (via Wall Street Journal)

Character Synopsis: The writer and main character, Carrie is sweet and quirky. Though endearingly and slightly self-centered (aren’t we all?), she is always there for her friends.
Carrie’s Picks:

Small Cents is now Almost Frugal. Kelly, one of my favorite PF bloggers (who just happens to live in France) is the planning all kinds of giveaways to celebrate. Do be friendly!

I submitted a blog post to this carnival and never got onto the site. Not quite as bad as getting broken up with over a Postit note but still, rejection hurts.

Even if you have $500 shoes, forget taking so many cabs, ladies. We are in the middle of a mass transit surge. You may be on the bus, but you may have to also ride it, too.

And 101 picnic dishes you can make in 20 minutes from the New York Times. Even if you keep sweaters in your oven, you can make some of these.

Character Synopsis: A career-driven go-getter with no inclination toward monogamous relationships. She’ll also be the one to tell you like it is, whether you like it or not.
Samantha’s Picks:

Do looks matter? They sure do! Check out this Freakonomics Quorum where people rate themselves and their coworkers, and talk about whether their looks helped them get where they are. (If you liked that one, check out their article on how teeth effect your social standing.)

While Samantha is pretty well connected in New York, she may want to check out Ladies Who Launch, an online professional women’s networking site. (I’ll give it a shot and let you know if anything good comes of it.)

And a 45 year old swimmer living in Maine proves that there is no age limit on a dream. Even if that dream is to make the Olympic swim team. And even if you are 45 years old. Sure, Samantha gets her aerobics a different way (you know, yoga), she could appreciate someone going for what they want with gusto.

Character Synopsis: The Pollyanna of the group, she’s a little naive but far from stupid. Classic and a little traditional, she believes in romance and happily ever after.
Charlotte’s Picks:

NYT had an article about choosing a husband. Some good questions to ask yourself pre-marriage because I may indeed fall in love with someone you can’t or shouldn’t marry. Alrighty then?

And men should really listen to their wives, especially when debating whether to listen to another economist or their wives about saving money. When you read the article, check out the comments, too. Fascinating. (good old Freakonomics blog)

Anyway, celebrate your fabulousness with your friends this weekend. You deserve it! (By the way, which SATC character are you? Boys, feel free to answer this too!)

Shameless Promotion

Due to the serendipitous nature of subscribing to lots of feeds, I ran across a blog discussing the fineness of Madeline Peyroux, an musical artist I happen to love. I commented and then ensued a discussion with a woman who likes the exact kinds of music I like. Her blog is The Laundry Is Never Finished, her name is Jennifer, and she and her blog are fabulous. We are exchanging mix CDs in the mail this week. Horray internet friends!

I participated in this week’s Carnival of Personal Finance this week hosted by Mrs. Micah. I credit the title Ten Things You Need In Your Kitchen (Besides A Good Cook) for actually driving traffic my way this week.

Madison at My Dollar Plan listed one of my posts on her blog a few weeks back. Her doing so doubled my traffic so I wrote her to thank her. She not only wrote back but offered to link me again and did so yesterday. Another big traffic spike. It’s people like this in the blogging community (and more specifically the personal finance blogging community) that make me proud to be a part of it. So help me return the favor and check our her blog. There’s a reason it gets so much traffic.

I’d also like to give a shout out to one of my current favorite blogs, Cheap Healthy Good. Except for the dislike of mayonnaise, I agree with everything she says and laugh at least once every post. Do subscribe to this blog if you like food, fun, and good healthy recipes.

And the Blood Drive Contest is almost over, folks. People have written with compelling reasons why they can’t participate (which is fine, not everyone is able to give blood and shouldn’t put themselves in a bad medical situation by trying to do so) but come on! If no one participates, I guess I’m keeping the book from the giveaway all for myself. So comment on this post if you want to participate. Still a couple more days to give if you’re thinking about it. I did mention the free book, right?

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