thI’ll be at the St. Louis Bread Company, 116 N. 6th St., starting at 7 a.m. on Monday. Anyone who wants to meet for coffee and one of their distressingly good pastries is cordially invited to join me.

Just look for the bottle blonde who seems very tired yet oddly keyed-up. Conferences do that to me. I’ll have my battered MacBook open and will be drinking far too much Diet Pepsi.

On the bright side: thanks to my Panera Rewards card, I will get my pastry for free. Although I like to think I’ll have a whole-grain bagel, lightly toasted with just a touch of canola-based margarine, that’s probably not going to happen.

We’re having a swell time at the Financial Blogger Conference — almost as much fun as those Cardinal fans had last night. I’d like to thank the city of St. Louis for the fireworks display after you guys cinched the World Series: We had a primo view of the pyrotechnics from our hotel window.

To paraphrase the poet, we have eaten not wisely but too well. For more on that, see “Food food glorious food” at I Pick Up Pennies (which just happens to be the People’s Choice winner at the 2013 Plutus Awards.)

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I'M-SPEAKING_LG(2)The bad news: Abby didn’t win the Plutus Award for “Best-Kept Secret Blog” last night.

The good news: She did win the People’s Choice Award. Her reaction was quite choice; read about it at her blog.

And I won for Best Frugality-Based Blog, which frankly astounds me: I didn’t even know I’d been nominated until shortly before the conference. We got a lot of good-natured ribbing about it being Mother-Daughter Night at the Plutus Awards.

So many thanks to all of you who voted. She still can’t quite believe it. Abby has already noted a number of new followers.

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thI’m attending the Financial Blogger Conference in St. Louis next week, then staying a little while to hang out with my daughter. Saying “hello” to any readers who happen to live/work in the area would be great fun, too.

To a reader named Marsha: I’m so sorry I accidentally deleted your e-mail. Yes, I would like to have coffee and a chat, and I hope it could be on Monday morning, Oct. 21.

Is anybody else available for a cup and a jaw that day?

The place where I’m staying is near the St. Louis Bread Company, 116 N. 6th St. How early would be too early and how late would be too late in terms of people’s work/life schedules?

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th-1If you’ve been in the cold/flu medicine aisle of the drugstore lately you were probably as shocked as I was by  the high cost of cold medications.

I hope none of you actually get sick this winter. But we’re indoors with a lot of other people and rhinoviruses spread faster than nasty rumors. So why not be prepared? And why not let me help?

These cold-and-flu packages are invariably popular, and probably not just because they save you money. I think a lot of people simply don’t want to keep cold medications on hand because, well, you don’t need them.

Until you do — at which point ayou might feel too miserable to make the trip to the pharmacy. And if you thought this stuff costs a lot at the pharmacy, wait until you price them at a convenience store.

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th-1Recently our heater went on the blink. The heating company that DF prefers wasn’t able to give us an appointment for almost two weeks – unless, that is, we wanted to pay extra for an after-hours visit.

Nope, we didn’t, even though temperatures dropped into the mid-20s at night and only into the high 40s during the day. We had plenty of split wood so we kept the fireplace insert stoked.

Nothing froze. In fact, the living room got a little too warm from time to time. However, the home office is farthest away from the heat source and it wasn’t exactly toasty. Most days I was plenty comfortable with a bathrobe over my sweats and T-shirt.

And when I wasn’t? I used the perfect frugal chill-chaser.

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