I have noticed the many Amazon reviewers mentioning that they got a free or discounted product in return for an honest review, but had no idea how thoroughly the cash-for-recommendations model had infiltrated the mattress business.
How do you filter online reviews? I like to look for a certain shape of review bars — a nice exponential curve that’s fat at the five star end and fades to almost nothing at the one star end. A spike at the one star end, even a small one, is bad news, although with some products (cell phones) it seems like you can’t avoid it. And of course you have to read to see if there are patterns to what people like, or dislike, about a product.
This is the time of year for deciding on a health insurance plan and other employee benefits. It can be complicated. Our plan includes the use of a health advocate at no extra cost. Among the services offered are open enrollment assistance, care coordination, and assistance with complex medical conditions.
Have you completed your enrollment paperwork? Any questions or advice to offer?
Homeowners are increasingly leaving painting to the pros, complicating business for paint makers and retailers…..
“More and more is being done by the professional painter,” said Dan Calkins, president of global sales at Benjamin Moore & Co. “People just don’t have the time.”
Nicole Buddin, a 31-year-old marketing manager in Chicago, recently hired pros to help paint her new house in the suburbs after she and her husband painted their condo in the city themselves three years ago.
“It’s just so time consuming,” she said. “We swore we wouldn’t do that again.”
Whether it’s home renovations, repairs, or maintenance, it seems the people around me are relying more on professionals. Maybe it’s because we’re getting older!
Have you noticed a “shift from DIY to do-it-for-me”? Did you used to do more around the house? Any DIY projects planned for this long Thanksgiving weekend? Is tomorrow’s meal DIY or do-it-for-me?
It’s easy to drift over to social media to destress, only to realize much later that you’re only more tired and possibly more stressed than when you logged in. Small creature comforts are more likely to get the job done. What do you use to make your home (or office) more comforting?
Cooking can be a release for me; I cut way back for a few years, but recently have made much more from scratch. My yoga ball is also good for a quick little pick-me-up; I might do bridges, or just drape myself over it backwards for an easy stretch. From this list of items that help you unwind, I have reading socks, (but have never used that name for them until now). My son sometimes wears them, but he reaches for his fuzzy blanket every day after school and on weekend mornings when he hangs out with his computer, and his earbuds stay with him all day long, either to listen to music or just as earplugs. It’s barbarian to use tea bags instead of loose tea and a diffuser, but that’s what I do when I make iced tea; diffusers are for hot tea in my book (and home). Bluetooth speakers don’t seem to be useful enough for us to hang onto when every device has its own speakers, and I pass the bath bombs by to reach for other salts and oils, but we do pull out the sand box and forms every once in a while. The full list here includes essential oils diffuser, reading socks, a Bluetooth speaker, a cozy blanket, ear plugs, a tea diffuser, bath bombs, a fidget cube, an executive sandbox, and a foot spa.
Do you use any of these, or classic destressers like candles and mood lighting? What items would you recommend people use to relax, or to make their homes more soothing?
Here’s an idea: what if you decide to gift only experiences this year? How much more memorable will your holidays be?
Consider these experiences: concert tickets, a home-cooked meal, tickets to a play or a musical, breakfast in bed, a back rub, a foot rub, a full-body massage, a holiday parade, walking or driving somewhere without a plan, spending an evening talking with no distractions, making-out under the mistletoe, visiting a festival of lights, cutting down a Christmas tree, watching a sunrise, skiing, snowboarding, sledding, dancing, taking your children to a petting zoo, making snow angels, making a batch of hot apple cider, taking a vacation together, watching a wintertime sunset.
What other experiences can you give to someone you care about?
The object of this game is to plan a Totebag dinner party. Your guests should include:
1 historical figure
1 fictional character (books, movies, tv, comics, they’re all eligible)
1 living celebrity (sports, acting, music, eccentric billionaire, they’re all eligible)
3 Totebaggers of your choice
You and your date of choice (it doesn’t have to be your spouse!)
Who’s invited? What are you serving? And what are your seating arrangements — who is next to whom? For full credit, explain your choices.
This might be a good starter to a conversation about what kinds of travel people prefer—spend a month, as Fred says he plans to do post-retirement, spend an afternoon while your cruise ship is at port, or something in between.
Of course each of us charts our own course for peaks and valleys so these broad conclusions can be meaningless for any one person. Are you on the fast track for some of these milestones but a late bloomer for others? Share your observations.
The article has taken a political turn but I don’t want to put it on the political page or turn it into a political discussion. This is about our children, families and the role of parents, with emphasis on a mother’s role.
Once I had kids the demands of a job and those of the kids clashed. I couldn’t lean in as much as I wanted to. My own parents had busy work and social lives. They were unavailable. Many times as a teen, I wished my mother was home more like the mothers of my friends just to talk things through.
Totebaggers share your experiences, observations and opinions.
The cookbooks in the article are the Silver Palate Cookbook, Entertaining: Martha Stewart, and the Victory Garden Cookbook.
I don’t have any of those. My parents’ cookbook collection was pretty much complete by 1982, and I didn’t start my own until a couple of years later. But I have plenty of old cookbooks! Leaving aside the ones I have primarily for historical interest or sentimental reasons or reference, some old favorites that I still cook from include Marcella Hazan’s cookbooks for Italian food and Julie Sahni’s for Indian food, and Laurie Colwin’s books (essays with recipes) that I picked up in law school.