Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas China and Nativity Sets

With Thanksgiving and Black Friday behind us, we are officially into Christmas season. If, like Maria, you are a fan of Christmas China, then you might want to take a look at our Christmas China page for a rundown of all the special table settings available. We also have done a page on Nativity Sets - there are many beautiful sets on the market over a wide variety of price ranges.

For those of you with a barbecue or grilling aficionado in the family, check out our "Have a Merry Barbecue Christmas" page where you can find gift ideas that will fit any budget.

And finally, for a little Christmas fun, how about casting your vote on our "Santa vs The Angel" page where two of the all time great Christmas movies square off.

Yes indeed, it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sounding off about Blenders

It's Thanksgiving week and we thought this would be a good time to revisit the great blender debate: Blendtec vs Vitamix. You might want to check out our Blendtec review to see why we like the Blendtec, but we think the Vitamix is a great choice too. Check out this video (one in a series of 10) which compares the noise levels of the respective blenders. We found it interesting and we think you will, too.

Meanwhile, with Christmas fast approaching, check out our latest page on setting your table with Christmas China.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Grass Fed vs Grain Fed Beef

This week we take a look at the pros and cons of Grass Fed Beef versus Grain Fed Beef. They look different, they cook different and they taste different. So, check out the story on our new page Grass Fed Beef versus Grain Fed Beef . We aren't saying one is better than the other, but we do believe you should know the differences.

Meanwhile, is it true that grass fed cows are better dancers than grain fed cows? Check it out!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Fall - Time For New Things!

We love fall, it's such an invigorating time of year as the air turns crisp and the colors turn bright (yes, even here in California)! So to ring in the fall we have created two new pages to share with you.

Best Core Workout will tell you just why we think the Indo Board is an invaluable tool for almost anyone interested in strengthening their core. Also, if you haven't already, remember to check out our Indo Board review.

Time for Tailgating is our showcase for some cool stuff to take with you to the game or other outdoor outings this fall. And while you are at it, fall can still be a fun time to barbecue, so check out our Cool Stuff for Hot Barbecue page and our Big Green Egg Blog, too.

Finally, Misty and Stormy show you one of our favorite fall pastimes ....

Maria, Gary, Misty & Stormy

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Be a Good Boy/Girl and Drink Your Vitamins! Ola Loa!!

Gary: I hate swallowing pills! To some people, it's like second nature - gulp, gulp , gulp down they go. But it's never been that way for me. And since I've had some chronic health issues through the years, I've researched and put into use a variety of nutritional supplements - and taken my share of pills. So what a revelation it was a few years ago to not only find the "better" vitamin and mineral supplement I was looking for, but to have it be in a form where I could "Drink my vitamins"! The name of the product is Ola Loa Energy and I love it. It tastes good (it comes in Orange, Tropical and Cran-Raspberry flavors), is easy to use and I feel it has helped my overall health, immune and energy levels - more so than any of the standard tablets they sell at the grocery store. And we have been fortunate to hear the creator of Ola Loa,  Dr. Richard Kunin, speak at the New Living Expo in San Francisco.

Maria: I don't have quite the same aversion to pill-swallowing that Gary does, but I totally agree that drinking my nice fizzy, tasty Ola Loa is much more pleasant that swallowing a bunch of pills.  Consequently I have been much more faithful to taking my vitamins, or, more accurately, drinking my vitamins.  There is rarely a day that I forget. My health has been pretty good over the years, but I have noticed that the number of common colds and flu bugs I used to get on a regular basis has diminished.  This is not to say that I don't still get sick sometimes, but it has been noticeably less frequent since we started taking Ola Loa.

Gary: We should point out that we do other things to try and stay healthy (diet, exercise, other supplements etc.) so we are not claiming that Ola Loa is a panacea. But as you know if you read our posts, we do research what we use and our research into Ola Loa is what got us excited. For example, Ola Loa has some key components (at least from my perspective) that you don't find in conventional vitamin and mineral formulas - CoQ10 and Amino Acids. Then there is Dr Kunin's expertise (he co-developed the Orthomolecular Medical Society with Dr. Linus Pauling) - check out this page on Methylation if you want to begin your own research. And then there are the little things - Ola Loa is sweetened with Stevia instead of sugar. You can tell a lot of thought went into this product. It does cost more than the standard fare, but less than a daily trip to the local Starbucks for a cup of coffee. and for us, it is worth it especially when we hit really stressful times in our lives.

Maria:  Ola Loa is good for people of all ages, but Gary and I are members of the generation that is now facing the reality of aging parents and all the stress that can bring.  In addition to losing two of our parents in recent years, we were also blind-sided with the illness and death of a close relative who was younger than both of us.  It is at times of high stress that it is especially important to take care of your own health.  You owe it to yourself, your loved ones and those who are counting on you for support during stressful times.  We really believe that Ola Loa came into our lives at a time when we really needed it.  It has been one of the key components helping to keep us on an even keel as we have weathered the storms life brings.

Gary: Yes. it seems like that's how things work at times - something comes into your life just at a time you really need it. We found Ola Loa at a time when we were looking for a better daily vitamin/mineral supplement. We had been to the New Life Expo many times before, but this was the first time we had seen Ola Loa there. Awesome timing! Awesome product!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Riding the Indo Board Wave

Maria:  Gary and I always love to celebrate our birthdays!  He's not like Ricky on "I Love Lucy" who always has to be reminded of special events.  Not at all!  We always enjoy trying to find each other fun and interesting gifts.  A few years ago Gary outdid himself.  I was having one of those "big" birthdays, and Gary presented me with a big package to match!  I was intrigued.  What could it be, what could it be?  So I opened it up, and immediately sensed it was something fun!  But....I had never heard of it. Gary had found for me something called an Indo Board.  What, you may ask, is an Indo Board? 

Gary: Well let me 'splain Maria (Maria has not yet found the all-purpose box of candy in the hall closet with cards for all major occasions to match). Maria is actually so easy to buy presents for - she gets excited about getting any present (ergo the name of this blog). That really motivates me to put a lot of thought into getting gifts for her. Maria has always wanted a trampoline, but, alas, we don't have room for even a small one. So I wanted to find her something that would have similar health and fun elements that would also fit the space we have. And I came up with something a little daring, but that I really thought she would like - the Indo Board. The Indo Board is a balance board, but to just call it that would be falling way short of the mark. My chiropractor had me do some balance board work and that was intriguing, but the Indo Board is a balance board that started as a surfing trainer and it has so many more possibilities and uses than just a balance board. Since Maria always had wanted to learn to surf, I thought that the Indo Baord would be something Maria might like. At least I hoped so.

Maria:  Well you guessed right, dear!  The Indo Board combines so many fun elements!  I grew up body-surfing in the ocean in Southern California every summer when we visited my grandparents.  But I never got my hands on a surfboard.  However, it's never too late, and by using Indy (did I mention we often name things?), I will be ready when the time comes.  The great thing is you can start slowly, and work your way up.  The board comes with the Indo Board FloCushion.  You place the board on the cushion and move it back and forth trying to keep your balance.  This lets you get the feel of balancing on the board in a more controlled fashion.  Once you get the hang of riding your board on the cushion you can move on to using the roller.  With the roller in place under your board it's a lot more challenging - and fun!- to try to keep your balance.  To quote from the website: "The basic goal is to ride the Indo Board as long as possible while keeping the board from touching the ground."  We like to do this to Hawaiian music, especially Slack Key.  It really gives as that island, surfing feel!
Gary: I really think the FloCushion is what takes the Indo Board from being something mostly for the younger set or for training athletes to something anyone can use. Maintaining and improving balance is something that can be helpful at any age but becomes so much more important as we age. If you want to live life in the slow lane, you can use the Indo Board with the FloCushion to do an almost endless variety of exercises. If you want to get down-right professional in your training, using both the Indo Board with the FloCushion and the Roller gives you the ability to do some industrial strength workouts. And the variety of Boards available from the original to the mini to the pro means there something available for almost everyone.

Maria:  There is definitely a great variety of boards - different sizes, different designs, all of them really snazzy.  And as Gary mentioned, there is no reason to think this is something just for the younger crowd.  In fact it may be something even more important for those of us getting a little up there in years.  It's great to know that while we are having fun on our board, we are also strengthening our muscles, tendons, balance, core, everything!  So many older people have balance issues and are fall risks.  We hope to avoid all that!  We've even talked about getting another board, but since space is an issue we have to choose carefully.  I have to say, though, that one of my favorite things about the Indo Board that Gary picked for me is the design.  Indy is so pretty!  It is an "original" model, with a beautiful many-shaded wave of blue and white on it.  Just gorgeous!  Thank you so much, honey!

Gary: You're welcome, dear. I will have to say, I've enjoyed the Indo Board every bit as much as you have. Maybe I still owe you a present!?!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Maria's Children's Book Recs

Since she was a young girl, Maria has had a love of children's books. Children's books even played a role in how we met. In this day and age when the world keeps changing faster and faster and the news seems filled with stories of pain and bitterness, children's books provide a reminder of that love, sweetness and innocence still exist too.

We hope you take a look at Maria's list Maria's Children's Book Recs and maybe recognize a book or two, or see something you might want your own kids to read. Please also leave us a comment and share your favorite children's books, too.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Our Grandmothers in the Kitchen

Do you have a favorite memory of your grandmother cooking in the kitchen? Share your comment with us here and check out our new page "Kitchen Tools Our Grandmothers Used".

Saturday, July 16, 2011

More Than Just a Blender

Maria: Gary and I love our toys, and sometimes while checking out one, toy, we are unexpectedly led to another.  That's what happened to me when I was checking out hula hoops.  What do hula hoops and blenders have in common?  Glad you asked!  One day while reading about hooping and imagining what fun it would to go back to something I enjoyed doing when I was 10, I read a reference to "green smoothies."  Well, I like smoothies and green was my favorite color when I was little.  But what the heck was a green smoothie?  Further investigation led me to a whole world I hadn't known existed.  The world of green smoothies - that is smoothies that use greens as one of the principle ingredients.  Spinach, kale, collard greens, and tons of others.  The idea is that if you smush these nutrition power-houses up into smoothies, add a little fruit, maybe a bit of sweetener, voila - you can drink your greens, and get all that good nutrition not just painlessly, but yummily!  I loved the idea!  However, further investigation led me to the conclusion that we needed a better blender.  Your standard, everyday blender just can't handle the tougher greens without eventually burning out the motor.  And our blender was so old that I didn't even remember when or where we got it.  So, that was the next question.  Which blender?

Gary: Huh? Blenders? Yes dear, whatever you say (turns to watch baseball game).

Maria:  Ok, Sweetie, enjoy the baseball game!  Just don't fall over in shock when I tell you what I discovered.  From my research it it seemed that there were two main competitors for the best blender to handle grinding up greens.  The two blenders were Blendtec and Vitamix.  The first one I read about was the Vitamix. The name Vitamix rang a bell.  I was sure we had seen demos of it at fairs and expos, and even back then I had been interested. So that's the direction I was leaning initially.  There was one main drawback, however.  Well one main drawback besides the price.  I'd already had to pick myself up off the floor after learning how much one of these puppies was going to cost.  The cost, however, was surmountable.  The other drawback was not, and that's the size.  Vitamixes are *huge*!  Gary and I love our place, but we live in the expensive Bay Area, and do not have oodles of room, so space is always at a premium.  I just could not see bringing a Vitamix into our place.  Where would we put it?!?!?  So, I began to look into alternatives.

Gary: OK, we won. You have my full attention now. Right after a game of Doodle Jump.

Maria:  Yay, we won!  When you lose the first game of a double-header it's always nice to win the second game!  Ok, so the Vitamix was too big.  What to do, what to do?  Well, I started reading about other blenders, and the name that kept coming up was Blendtec.  The more I read, about it the more I liked it!  It was just about the size of a regular blender and could fit easily on the kitchen counter.  It seemed that Vitamix had certain features that Blendtec did not have, but Blendtec had certain features that Vitamix did not.  Most people seemed to agree that you couldn't go wrong with either.  So, after looking extensively for the best price online, we placed the order for our Blendtec!

Gary: We did? Oh yes, we did. I'll admit even I am impressed with these blenders. They are industrial strength. Watch a demo at your local fair and expo and this genre (either Vitamix or Blendtec) seemingly chomp up a whole farmers market of produce without breaking a sweat.

Maria:  It is truly amazing to watch them swallow whole apples, melons, etc.  The only problem for Gary is that he does not care for smoothies!  However, not to worry.  Smoothies are not the only thing these blenders do well.  Something else that is a blast to make is soup!  The motor is so high speed that it will even heat the soup up as it blends, although you can also help it along with some hot broth.  While Gary did not care for the smoothies, he did seem to like the yummy soups I was able to concoct with fresh veggies - tortilla soup, broccoli soup, beef barley soup - the possibilities are endless.

Gary: Yes, soups, yum!

Maria:  Yes, the soups are good, but I really enjoy my green smoothies!  I started out using spinach as a base, which grinds up easily and does not have a strong flavor.  Some of the other greens, such as kale, can be a bit overpowering, so I had to learn to use them in moderation.  In addition to the greens, I experimented with different frozen fruits.  My favorites have been the mixed berries and pineapple.  Fresh fruit is always good too, but the frozen fruits act like ice cubes to give it that "smoothie" or "slushy" feel.  I started bringing these concoctions to work and soon attracted the attention of co-workers.  For some, the reaction was "blech," but others were quite interested.  One of my co-workers ordered a Blendtec on the spot, and had it sent to our workplace.  Once it arrived we gave a week-long series of demos at lunchtime, just for fun.  We offered smoothie and soup samples to our colleagues.  Everyone had a good time, and I know at least a few have since bought their own blenders.

Gary: Bravo, much healthier than the cookies, candies and cakes that are the usual fare.

Maria:  Yes, too bad we can't have a Blendtec permanently living at work.  Perhaps we should start a fund!  It would be better for everyone if the e-mails read, "Smoothies in the 7th floor lunchroom" rather than "Doughnuts in the 7th floor lunchroom."  To be honest, though, not everything we make with our Blendtec is always totally healthy.  One thing Gary and I both enjoyed were the chocolate milkshakes we made using our homemade vanilla ice cream.  We enjoyed these one winter night last year after bringing home our Christmas tree!

Gary: Yes, as you can see, Maria really loves the Blendtec. And I love the results. And the Blendtec fits nicely in our small kitchen. So, I would say this is one appliance that gives you great value for the money.

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Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Big Green Egg

Gary: It's summer, the weather is warm and barbecues are fun. I have nothing against gas grills and Weber kettles, but a Big Green Egg, well - it is just in a different dimension! Not only does it look cool, it is one serious piece of cooking hardware that allows you to smoke foods at low temperatures or sear them at really high temperatures. And it uses lump charcoal-slower burning and more aesthetically pleasing then the standard stuff you by in the store.

Maria: I remember when we were looking for a new grill and we came across the Big Green Egg. We both thought, "how cool!" I couldn't wait to "meet" one in real life, and when we did it was love at first sight. The basic design goes back to the ancient Japanese kamado. This type of clay oven grill apparently came to the attention of Americans after World War II. We were intrigued by it not just because of its looks - beautiful dark green color, thick clay walls and round shape - but also because, as Gary mentioned, it uses lump coal rather than briquettes. The pros and cons of one over the other is a hotly debated topic, but for us is was a definite plus.

Gary: It's also fun to be able to use wood chips and smoke food. Our Pecan smoked turkey was a big hit a Christmas dinner a couple of years ago and alder smoked salmon - yum!

Maria: Gary and I took a walk this lovely warm evening, and the scent of a neighbor's smoking wood chips came wafting through the air. I can't wait for the 4th of July two days from now! We are planning to fire up our Big Green Egg and grill something delicious!

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Diamond in the Snow

Maria: I've always called Gary my "diamond in the snow."  We met when we were a bit older than usual, and we consider ourselves very lucky that I found him!  We love celebrating our wedding anniversary, and early on we got in the habit of using the "traditional gifts" for each year as a guideline.  It's fun and it makes us stretch a bit outside the box to come up with ideas.  This year was our 10th anniversay.  Guess what we got to find for each other!  Aluminum, tin and - drum roll - diamonds!

Gary: Diamonds, believe it or not, were the easiest gift for me to work with. We don't like to break the bank for our anniversary present, but there are a lot of jewelery choices with modest prices. I went with basic quarter carat diamond stud earrings for Maria, something like these:

Maria:  My earrings are beautiful and I am wearing them right now!  Well, diamonds might have been easy for Gary, but they were the hardest one for me!  Gary's not really a jewelry type of guy - his gold band wedding ring, the watch his dad gave him years ago, and an occasional tie clip on the rare occasions he wears a tie.  That about does it.  So, I tried to expand the idea of "diamond."  We love baseball, so something related to a baseball diamond? No, that didn't quite work.  A cute picture book called Diamond in the SnowChildren's Mammal Books)?   I liked that idea, but I read the book and it was not quite right.  I would have loved to write Gary a poem because he has composed so many songs and poems for me.  But the creative juices just wouldn't flow.  What to do, what to do?  Time was ticking away.

Gary: Yes, yes, I can't bear the suspense....

Maria:  I had started looking early, but was running out of time.  I finally just decided to go with an actual diamond, but I was hoping to find something somewhat subdued.  My first thought was a tie clip with a simple diamond on it. I found a nice one on Etsy, but I had not allowed enough time for it to come all the way from Israel!  Sigh.  Oh well, I thought.  I'll hit the jewelry stores.  It will be better to see it in person anyway.  Well, surprise, surprise.  Not one of the seven or eight shops I visited carried any tie clips with diamonds.  A nice sales person suggested a watch with diamonds.  Hmm.  I had never considered a watch because Gary is still quite happy to wear the handsome watch his dad gave him some years before he passed away.  However, I thought, maybe that would work.  A nice dressy watch for special occasions.  In the end that's what I chose, but not without some angst.  I wanted diamonds, but not showy diamonds.  I wanted the fewest possible diamond so it wouldn't look too bling-y.  And, of course, it couldn't break the bank!  I finally found one that I thought was almost just right.  It's a Bulova with a stainless steel band, black face and three diamonds (at 3, 9 and 12 o'clock).

 I was still unsure, and worried that Gary would think it was "too much" in the sense of "too out there."  But I do believe he liked it!

Gary: No, Sweetheart, I don't like it - I love it! And I love you, my best anniversary present :-).

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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Life in a Vacuum

Maria:  We started thinking about vacuum cleaners (again!) sometime around the holidays last year.  Our trusty 3-year-old vacuum suddenly started shutting down after 10 minutes or so of cleaning.  There was also that funny smell.  So, we decided to start doing some research on vacuums.  In the meantime, a trip to the local vacuum shop solved some of the problems.  We replaced one filter, and then Gary found another one we hadn't even known existed.  Once we got that one cleaned up the problem was solved!  Not that all that research was going to waste, because in the meantime the vacuum at Gary's mom's house was on its last legs.

Gary: My mom's house is about 1300 square feet. Large enough to indicate an upright, but with enough nooks and crannies to justify a canister. To my parents, $100 was a lot to spend on a vacuum cleaner, but since I do the vacuuming for my mom these days, and since Maria and I were buying the beastie this time around we were willing to spend more to get something that fulfilled all our needs. After looking at the field, we eventually decided on the Bissell Cleanview Helix Upright Bagless Vacuum Cleaner.

And as you can see, we held true to my parents' frugality as this unit sells for less than $100! But it also has impressive suction, a hose that is long enough and flexible enough to reach under furniture and beds or up to the ceiling, a Hepa filter and it is relatively light for an upright. It also comes with a turbo brush, crevice tool and upholstery brush that fit neatly on the unit. I didn't see anything in the mid-range price of vacuum cleaners that fit our needs any better in this case so this really seemed to be the best value, not just the lowest price.

Maria:  We did consider a few other models, but none were quite right.  We had our carpet cleaned a few months ago, and the carpet-cleaning guy recommended one that we almost went with - the Hoover Platinum upright with cannister Hoover Platinum Lightweight Upright Vacuum with Canister, Bagged, UH30010COMUpright Vacuums)There was a lot we liked about it; it's lightweight, has a kind of cool, retro look and comes with a little cannister.  But, in the end, that's why we decided against it.  It turned out that the cannister was the only way to get into those pesky nooks and crannies since the main vacuum has no hose.  It just seemed better to have one machine that could do both.  We were also intrigued by the little baby Dyson cannister Dyson City DC26 Multi floor Canister Vacuum Cleaner, but not enough to pay four times as much as the Bissell.  We didn't even consider the much higher end models I came up with when we were doing the research for our own place.  It would really have been too much for my mother-in-law's sensibilities, no matter who was paying for it!  I'll describe those in a minute.

Gary: The Dyson City Canister that Maria mentions is an interesting unit - light enough that even my mom would still be able to use it and yet with surprisingly good suction when I tried it. It seemed head and shoulders above the other cordless models on the market. But like all cordless vacuum cleaners apparently only runs for 10 to 15 minutes before needing to be recharged.

Maria:  It is still tempting!  Definitely passes the "Maria Cuteness Test"!  Ok, so when doing the research to replace our poor mistreated vacuum, which turned out to not be broken at all, but merely abused by us, I was pulled in by the siren-song of the high end models.  And now that I've seen them I can't get them out of my head.  However, neither Gary nor I are ones to replace things that still have life in them.  Our trusty cars are in the ten-year old range, and we have our own frugal tendencies as well.  However, when the time comes, these are the two brands I would like to consider - Miele for a canister that works on carpet Miele Libra Canister Vacuum Cleaner, S5281 Libra S5 - Mango RedCanister Vacuums) and Sebo for an upright SEBO 9559AM Automatic X4 EXTRA Upright Vacuum , RedUpright Vacuums)They are considerably more expensive than your regular vacuum cleaner, but I love the quality, features and dust-trapping abilities of them.  So, someday when we actually need a new vacuum we'll see if we decide to spend the big bucks!

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Clock with a Dock!

Maria:  This weekend we set up our latest package at the door - our new clock radio with an iPod dock.  Our old clock radio lost time consistently - 22 minutes and counting.  It was time for a new one!

Gary: And man is this new one cool! It's compact, stylish, well made and programmable with my iphone 3.0 or Maria's iphone 4.0. And it docs our old ipod 32GB. And best of all, it syncs time with the iphones - so no more lost time. Hey, and did I mention it's affordable too? It's a Panasonic RC-DC1 Clock Radio

Maria:  Yeah, it really is cool.  We keep looking at and saying, "wow!"  We spent quite a bit of time thinking about this purchase and looking at different options (very common for us!).  We considered everything from the higher end Bose Wave® premium bundle for iPod®Multiroom Digital Music Systems)and Tivoli (Tivoli Audio Model Three AM/FM Clock Radio, Cherry/Metallic TaupePortable Radios)) options to other more affordable ones (Sony ICFCS10iP Speaker Dock with Alarm Clock and Radio for iPod/iPhone (Black)MP3 Player Speaker Systems)).  While we love the quality of our Bose dock, it houses the 160GB ipod in our living room.  For the limited space in this bedroom we were more concerned with other factors such as size.  And, dare I say it, the "cuteness" factor!

Gary: Ah yes, not everything must pass the Maria "cuteness" factor, but it does help. But the functionality of this unit is what made the sale here. This Panasonic is small enough for our bedroom space, yet with a read out large enough for our fading eyesight. But what I really love about it is that I can program everything from the two alarms to the radio presets from an easy to use app on my iphone. And I can charge my iphone or ipod without using precious plug space!

Maria:  I think for both of us, the app for programming the clock radio is what decided it.  We had an "ah-ha" moment when we realized that this was not just a clock radio with a dock stuck on.  It's a clock radio designed to not only function as a dock, but also take advantage of all the things you can do with an iphone and apps.  The syncing time app will really come in handy when the power goes out.  We'll wish we had it on every clock in the house!

Gary: That's for sure! Of course the sound quality isn't up to Bose standards, but it is better than our old unit and good enough to allow us to listen to our ipod without cringing. A big thumbs up to Panasonic for taking clock radio design into the 21st century!

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Saturday, May 28, 2011


Gary: Welcome to our new blog - A Package at the Door.

Maria: We love to come home and find a package at our door.  For me it all started ten years ago when every day I'd find a new wedding gift at the door.  It was the dawn of the age of internet shopping!

Gary: Well, to be honest, I get a little nervous if there are too many packages at the door! We have limited space and as financial consultant, I want to make sure we stay within our budget.

Maria:  Well, I do have my practical side too.  Some of my favorite sites offer free shipping and return or make things easy in other ways. Since I work long hours it takes the place of shopping in real stores - especially if I know I can return the "mistakes"!

Gary: And you don't make many mistakes when you buy things since you do such a great job of researching online. You really seem to enjoy it. Actually, I do too - up to a point.

Maria:  You know, you're right. I've come to realize that one of the things I enjoy most about shopping online is being able to read about products, read reviews, compare, etc..  Maybe I am a researcher at heart!  Although I do admit, I can sometimes get a bit obsessed and carried away.

Gary: I think we can all get obsessed at times with things we really care about. For me, it's like a treasure hunt. And that's the part of the reason for starting this block. We want to share our obsession with finding treasures with others!

Maria: That's it exactly!  A treasure hunt.  We love to find hidden (or not so hidden) treasures.  And we are going to enjoy sharing them.

Gary: And hopefully other people will enjoy reading about them and maybe sharing some of their favorite treasures too. So, honey, you get the last word.

Maria: Ok, sweetheart,  I'll accept that since you got the first word!  So I guess all I can say is come join us on our treasure hunt for that perfect package at the door!

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