th-2In 2010 I was living in Seattle but traveling a lot. Having recently obtained a college degree in midlife and quit an apartment management job, I was happy finally to be able to go places: Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, London, Phoenix, Anchorage.

Although I made my living writing for MSN Money, I wanted another place to sound off. On April 30, 2010, I started this website as my playground for words.

I couldn’t have imagined the changes that would take place in five years’ time. But really, how many people can accurately predict their futures?

Now I’m no longer living in Seattle, working for MSN Money or traveling very much. Still got the degree and the website, though — and a wonderful relationship.

To celebrate the fifth anniversary of my first post, I’m having a really big Friday giveaway.

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th-1Consider yourself fortunate if your kids have summer birthdays, because they can have their parties outside.

This means they can rip and roar without doing much damage, vs. those winter parties when Pin the Tail on the Donkey turns into “blindfolded kid runs into table and knocks over vase,” or when sugared-up kids spill juice, smear frosting on the rug and otherwise rip up the joint.

Party supplies are just about to go on sale, which is one of the topics of my current post at RetailMeNot. In addition to birthday parties we’re also looking at graduation parties, the barbecue season and maybe even wedding-rehearsal dinners.

Disposable dishes and cutlery have improved considerably since I was a kid. The paper plates I remember had the feel – and the staying power – of a No. 10 envelope. They folded up in the direction of the heaviest foodstuff, and baked-bean juice always leaked through. The forks were wimpy little things too, tines snapping off when you tried to lift a bite of potato salad.

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F8C35AV_0ther_PCMAG_513On Monday I posted about a chance to win an HP Pavilion 11t-n000 x360 PC (Energy Star). Unfortunately, the giveaway reached its limit and stopped accepting entries shortly after I published the post.


The contest has been reopened, so go win yourself a laptop, already. Just visit the Savings.com giveaway page before 9 p.m. PDT Wednesday, April 30.

And speaking of Savings.com: The company has put up a short survey and hopes you’ll take it. Its focus is – you guessed it – online coupon/deal sites.

“We’re always trying to make Savings.com better, and hearing from consumers is very helpful in that quest,” says spokeswoman Sara Dunham Korab, head of community development.

If you have a minute, please put in your two cents. And for the last time: Should you win that laptop, please come back and boast of your awesomeness.

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thToday I noticed a Facebook posting about talking into the fan “to hear my robot voice,” complete with a picture of a windblown little girl facing a fan and either talking or singing. That is, if robots sing.

“Admit it…we all did this,” the caption concludes.

Duly admitted. However, DF says he never did any such thing. Perhaps that’s because he grew up mostly in Alaska, where fans aren’t a common household appliance.

Do kids still do that – talk into a fan to hear their voices oscillate? Or is that too lame for words, given that they can download apps to make their voices sound like Darth Vader or, yes, a robot.

How about this one: Do kids still let the fan blow bubbles for them? Show of hands if you’ve ever held a dripping bubble-blowing wand in front of a running fan to watch bubbles shoot out.

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F8C35AV_0ther_PCMAG_513Although I’m neither a contest blogger nor a deal blogger, I do sometimes post  giveaways, TweetChats and other promotions from elsewhere. Occasionally one carries the potential for affiliate income for me, e.g., when someone signs up for a seminar. Mostly, though, I put them up to give readers a chance to win stuff.

The folks at Savings.com are giving away a laptop computer. Specifically, they’re giving away an HP Pavilion 11t-n000 x360 PC (Energy Star).

Edited to add: The giveaway quickly filled up with more than 5,000 entries and closed early. But it has been retooled and is now back in business. You can enter up until 9 p.m. EDT Wednesday, April 30, by going to the Savings.com giveaway page.

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