Are You Really Getting The Best Deal On Black Friday? Top Myths Are Debunked!


(PCM) Black Friday may be one of the busiest shopping days of the year, but are you are really getting the best deals? Many retailers offer one or two products at deep discount to create a frenzied atmosphere, however many other “so-called” deals are not really worth the time and aggravation that goes along with waiting in long times, fighting with other consumers and most importantly losing out on spending quality time with family and friends now that majority of retailers have decided to let their Black Friday deals spill over onto the Thanksgiving holiday itself.

There has been a lot of analyzing done on many of the most popular Black Friday/Thanksgiving evening sales and majority of them are not as good of a deal as most consumers believe! In fact, many Black Friday deals are even cheaper two weeks later for the exact same product as retailers continuously lower prices throughout the holiday shopping season. The myth that the very best deals happen when doors open on  Thanksgiving evening at 6 pm forcing people to make the decision to cut out of their family dinner time early has proven to be false. Many of the items featured on sale are already sold-out by the time the customer were to arrive at 6 pm as others were already waiting in line early on Thanksgiving morning, which is just sad!

Many people also feel that the doorbusters offered early by many retailers are worth the long wait and fight to enter the store. This too has proven to be false as they are only offered to create a shopping frenzy and the discount on these items is usually only a mere 10% to 20% off the standard retail price. It is also not worth camping out for certain items because majority of the same products are offered the following weekend for the same sale price or lower.

Black Friday prices often times fail to be the lowest of the year, as most retailers offer lower prices as we get closer to Christmas. It is also not the busiest shopping day of the year surprisingly!  The Saturday before Christmas is usually the busiest as everyone scrambles around trying to pick up last minute gifts.

One of the biggest moneymakers on Black Friday is the supposed sales on HD and 4K TVs. While it may be a good day to purchase an off-brand TV at a cheaper prices, brands such as Sony, Panasonic and Samsung are often times not on-sale and many of those items are actually marked lower later in the season or closer to Super Bowl Sunday sometime in January.

There you have it!  Many Black Friday shopping myths have been debunked, so relax, stay home and enjoy some time with family and friends and if you still feel inclined to go shopping, be smart and take some time to truly study which retailers are offering the best and most fair deals.

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(PCM) According to the interwebs, November 17th is Homemade Bread Day. It’s not clear why this day, in particular, has been set aside to celebrate home bread baking, but it might have something to do with Thanksgiving being just around the corner. All over the country, holiday menus are starting to get written, and bread, in some form or another, is on most of them.

Sure, you could pick up a few bags of pre-baked dinner rolls; no fuss, no muss. You could even toss some quick-rise biscuits or loaves in the oven last minute; they smell nice and taste… fine, but why not gift your loved ones – and yourself – with the real deal this year?

Starting tonight, pick a bread recipe from your favorite cookbook, website, or family vault; gather what you need and set aside a few hours. They don’t even have to be dedicated, undivided hours – bread-making is mostly bread doing its own thing (proofing, rising, getting toasty in your oven, teasing you with that yummy fresh-baked smell). However, you’ll want to give yourself time to do each step right, especially if you’ve never made bread before. But even if you’re an old pro, allow yourself slow down and enjoy it. This time of year can be particularly stressful, but the familiar, physical, meditative act of kneading and baking can be downright therapeutic.

If your bread comes out less than perfect, don’t despair! Consider some of the most common mistakes (Did you buy the right kind of yeast? Was it still in date? Did you let it get too hot or too cold, did you use too much or too little flour in your dough?) Consult one of the many books or websites on the art of bread-making to troubleshoot and fine-tune your craft, and then try, try again! It’s so worth it, and the beauty of Homemade Bread Day is that you still have a week or more before the main event.

With a little pre-planning and elbow grease (and a warm oven!), you too can soon be rolling out delicious bread to break with those you love.

The post NOVEMBER 17TH IS HOMEMADE BREAD DAY also appeared on PCM Lifestyle.

Facebook Secret Sister Gift Exchange Is A Scam!


(PCM) Many women have reported seeing posts regarding a secret sister holiday gift exchange appearing on their Facebook feeds. The post details that if you purchase a gift valued at $10 or more you can receive up to 36 gifts in return.

The post requests that your private message the person who posted it to receive the full instructions which includes a full list of the names of those participating. You are then expected to send a gift to the first person on the list and then share the list with six other women, inviting them to join in on the gift exchange.

However, cyber security experts are now warning that the “secret sister” post is nothing more than yet another internet scheme that can put your personal information, such as your home address and credit card info at risk.

Not only are you putting your personal information in the hands of total strangers, but you are also leaving yourself vulnerable to receiving some dangerous, rude or offensive gifts in your mailbox as well.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service website says that chain letters are “illegal if they request money or other items of value and promise a substantial return to the participants.” Be cautious and be sure to give your fellow Facebook sisters the gift of warning them about this potential scam.

The post Facebook Secret Sister Gift Exchange Is A Scam! also appeared on PCM Lifestyle.

A Thanksgiving Ritual… Little Things You Did that Really Mattered to Me!

By: Susan Ford Collins


How to Make Habits of Highly Successful People (HSPs) Part of Your Holidays

In our family, Thanksgiving is about much more than just food! Oh yes, every year I make homemade cranberry sauce, a huge rice-stuffing filled turkey roasted with onions, mushrooms and carrots till golden brown, along with neatly trimmed broccoli “trees” for the kids, and a mouth-watering array of regular as well as gluten-free pumpkin pies. But most delicious of all (tucked inconspicuously among the silverware and napkins on our long cloth-covered table) we have something more. A ritual!

Little 3” x 3” slips of colorful paper are set under the napkins beside each person’s plate… along with small stubby pens… so that when the meal is over and we’re still too full for desert, we can write each other messages about “something you did or you were this year that really mattered to me… a phone call at just the right time, a welcome word of praise, a hug or smile that was desperately needed; the kind of mother or friend you were; the example you set that made the way easier for someone else in the family. Something you probably don’t even remember, but I do. And I want to thank you for doing it or being it.” Then we share our notes with everyone else at the table.

On Thanksgivings when we have lots of guests, instead of writing our messages, we go around the table sharing them out loud, generating smiles, hearty chuckles and even grateful tears. Spoken words are wonderful, but words written have an advantage… They last! In the months that follow, we’ve all noticed these saved “things that really mattered to me” slips of paper posted on refrigerator doors, pinned on bulletin boards or neatly creased and folded in bowls of seashells, sea glass and other memorabilia. These tiny notes serve as powerful reminders too. On particularly challenging days, it’s wonderful to reread what was said about us and, even more heartwarming, to recall what was said about our kids. To know about the kind deeds they’ve done for others that we would never otherwise hear about, or be able to enjoy.

And, now that these notes have become a family ritual, we’re on the lookout all year for experiences we can write on next year’s colorful Thanksgiving notes! But we frequently deliver them long before knowing there’ll be lots more by then!

Success Filing as a family

Here’s something I learned by shadowing Highly Successful People (HSPS) for 20 years and working with them for 20 more. HSPs make time each day to “file” their successes… all the ordinary and extraordinary things they did and realized that day, like… I ate a good breakfast, went for a run, quizzed my kids on their spelling words, replied to all my emails, returned a call I missed yesterday… that could be a hug opportunity.

Why is this important to HSPs? Here’s what they told me. If they wait for other people to acknowledge them and agree with them they could be waiting a long time! So to constantly build and rebuild their Self-Confidence, instead of relying on Other-Confidence, they write their successes in a journal, a computer file or cell phone or just underline them in their mind while repeating one of these mantras…

  • When my Success File I feel Success-Full. When it is low, I feel low too. (And tend to lie around and procrastinate instead of getting going on my priorities.) Or…
  • Success in my past gives me confidence in my future… the confidence I need to enjoy goals and dreams!

Whether we realize it or not, families have Success Files too. How full is your family’s? Hopefully this Thanksgiving Ritual will help you top it off!

Susan Ford Collins is a sought-after speaker, trainer, and the founder of The Technology of Success. She began her career as a young researcher at the National Institutes of Health with a radical idea: to focus her research on healthy, highly successful people (HSPs) rather than dysfunctional ones. With more than two decades studying HSPs and two additional decades working with them, she now shares what she has learned about leadership and management. Susan and her husband live happily in their tropical Miami home, surrounded by lush gardens, koi ponds and an indoor/outdoor aviary filled with exotic finches.

The Technology of Success book series includes:

The Joy of Success: 10 Essential Skills for Getting the Success You Want, [New edition, Greenleaf Book Group Press, October 20, 2015]

Success Has Gears: Using the Right Gear at the Right Time in Business & Life, [2014]

Our Children Are Watching: 10 Skills for Leading the Next Generation to Success, [2014]

Find Susan on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter,


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Halloween Costumes for Procrastinators

For procrastinators, Halloween sneaks up behind us like Norman Bates in Psycho, but have no fear! We have 5 quick and easy, last-minute costume ideas for those of you who forgot that Halloween is coming up this Monday.

1. A Domino

What you need: A black shirt and pants or a black dress, white felt, scissors, a hot glue gun, or tape.

How to make it: Cut out as many circles of white felt as you would like and arrange them on your black outfit in the design of a domino. Cut out a white strip that will serve as the line dividing the domino or even better find a white belt to wear. Tape or glue the felt onto your outfit and you’re all set!

2. A Twister Board

What you need: A white shirt and pants or a white dress, red, green, yellow, and blue felt, scissors, and glue or tape.

How to make it: Cut out circles of colored felt and tape or hot glue them to your white outfit in the shape of a Twister board. If you have the time to run to the halloween store, pick up a hat with a spinner on top to finish off the costume.

3. Risky Business

What you need: An oversized button-up shirt, boxer shorts, high white socks, and sunglasses.

How to make it: Throw on the outfit then slide across hardwood floors and dance around like Tom Cruise.

4. A Smurf

What you need: White shorts/pants, a blue t-shirt, a white hat, blue tights, blue long-sleeved shirt or blue body paint.

How to make it: Put on your blue tights on underneath your white pants and put on your blue shirt. For dedciated trick-o-treaters, forget the shirt and paint your body and face blue.

5. Grapes

What you need: Green or purple balloons, a green hat, and tape.

How to make it: Blow up several balloons and tape a bunch onto your outfit. Plop on your green hat as the leaves but be careful if you decide to sit down, your costume might pop!

The post Halloween Costumes for Procrastinators also appeared on PCM Lifestyle.

Tips For Making The Change To Gluten-Free

By: Shannon Connor Winward


GlutenLifestyle(PCM) Gluten is a lovely thing. In breads and products made from wheat, barley and rye, gluten is the protein combo that creates that wonderful, irreplaceably chewy texture. Unfortunately, for some people gluten can cause gastrointestinal distress and related health issues; this reaction can range from a mild discomfort that resolves within hours after eating to a chronic and severe – even life-threatening – disability. About 1% of Americans are thought to suffer from Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s reaction to gluten causes damage to the small intestine and can lead to dangerous malnutrition.

Many more people are considered to be gluten intolerant – a condition that cannot be definitively diagnosed (you “have” it if not eating gluten makes you feel better) and thus has had variable support by medical science and is the subject for great sport on the internet (this article is gluten-free!). Despite the anti-anti-gluten snark and sentiment in the media, the number of people rethinking gluten is ever on the rise.

If you’re just getting started on a gluten-free diet, it can feel like your life is over, or that you’ll never enjoy food again (which for many of us amounts to the same thing). The good news is it really doesn’t have to be that way. Here’s what you should know:

The first rule of a gluten-free diet is to talk about the gluten-free diet. Ask your doctor (of course); she will probably caution you to get plenty of fiber and eat a variety of fruits and vegetables and/or take a multivitamin. Ask friends and family; Celiacs is a genetic disease, so if you’ve been diagnosed with it you may well be related to someone who has it, too. Social media can also be a great source of information: look for chat groups and websites dedicated to Celiacs, food allergies, and/or gluten-free lifestyles. Stalk the gluten-free aisle in your supermarket – or, better yet, check out your local health food grocer. While many modern stores are on the gluten-free band-wagon (sales in this market are expected to exceed $5 billion dollars this year), specialty stores usually offer a greater selection and can provide more specialized knowledge than your average stock boy.

Some stores and manufacturers make their products easy to spot with gluten-free icons on the packaging, which can be enormously helpful when you are first learning how to shop. However, figuring out labels for yourself is the ultimate key to surviving gluten-free. Products that were once gluten-free may change without warning. Also, not everything that is naturally gluten-free is labeled (meat, fish, eggs, dairy, vegetables, fruit, legumes, many (though not all) canned goods, nuts, rice, and other types of grain), whereas some foods that do contain gluten might surprise you (many salad dressings, malt vinegar, soy sauce, some sushi, soup, processed meat, candy, spice blends, beer and even certain wines). Wheat and gluten are can be listed by many names – learn what they are so you know what to avoid. Gluten is as sneaky as it is ubiquitous.

Fortunately, there are many safe alternatives in the marketplace today. If pizza, power bars, or cookies are your comfort foods, keep gluten-free versions stocked at home. Pasta and sandwich breads are particularly useful to have on hand for quick meals, and bringing your own hot dog roll or burger bun is an easy fix for enjoying the neighborhood cookout or office party.

As you become more comfortable with gluten-free eating, it could be a good idea to work more homemade, whole foods into your meal plan, as these are not only cheaper but also healthier. The better a specialty gluten-free product tastes, the more likely it’s harboring added fat, sugar, salt, and additives. Insidious, right?! But not to worry – the internet and cookbooks abound with gluten-free recipes. It just takes a little exploration to find some to suit your needs. While you’re at it, be sure to add a few salads, sweets, or covered-dish-crowd-pleasers to your repertoire so you’ll always have something safe to contribute at dinner parties or potlucks.

A little strategy and pre-planning are also helpful for dining out gluten-free. It can be overwhelming (not to mention depressing) to be handed a menu with nothing on it that you can order besides water and a baked potato. All things considered, though, there has never been a better time to go out gluten-free. Many restaurants have answered the trend with gluten-free/allergy-friendly menus – all you have to do is ask. Chain restaurants in particular often have nutritional information posted online, and thanks to reviews on food-allergy websites and smart phone apps, you can usually get the scoop on locally-owned places too. When in doubt (and to save time and sidelong glances) you can always call ahead, but, really, don’t be shy about asking questions of your server. Tell them what you need to know, and why. Once you learn which restaurants are most willing and able to accommodate you, reward them with your repeat business!

Eating gluten-free takes commitment, certainly, but unless you’re also allergic to pre-planning and a little education, it’s nothing you can’t handle.

The post Tips For Making The Change To Gluten-Free also appeared on PCM Lifestyle.

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